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In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette which is ingrained in all trades, from wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades. Tipping in Singapore can be confusing for tourists because unlike the US where tips are expected everywhere, tipping here is not a common practice, so do not feel obligated to leave a gratuity.

The questions `when?` and `how much?` that surround tipping can leave some travelers confused, as the practice varies. This guide attempts to cover most situations that you, as a tourist, will encounter. Hopefully using these `tips` will provide a smooth experience when interacting with locals in restaurants, bars, hotels, tour operators, and taxis. In Singapore tipping is not customary, the country does not have a tipping culture and in some areas including the airport, tipping is not allowed.

Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use Singapore Dollars?

The currency in Singapore is the Singapore Dollar (referred to as the S$) US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your US dollars for Singapore Dollars upon arrival. In our culture we can put everything on credit and debit cards, however, in Singapore you will find it useful to always keep a little cash on hand. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and many locations throughout the city.

Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars: When should I tip? How much is customary?

There is often a 10% surcharge added to your bill in most restaurants, but this amount does not go to the service staff it goes to the restaurant. If you leave an extra tip on the table this amount also will not make it to the wait staff, it will go to the restaurant. If you feel that your server went above and beyond it is best to hand the tip/money directly to that person and thank them for their service. It is not necessary to tip above this amount, locals don`t usually leave a tip. Do not tip at airport restaurants or anywhere else at the airport as it is not allowed. Do not tip at Hawker stalls or cafes and bars.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

It is not customary to tip at hotels and is discouraged except for the bellhops, you can give them around S$1 - S$2 per bag. A surcharge of 10% is normally added to your room rates in most Singapore hotels and this amount is said to cover the services of the concierge, doorman, etc.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Taxi drivers in Singapore do not expect a tip if you wish you can round up the fare.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

Tipping your tour guide is not necessary.

Miscellaneous: Is there anyone I should tip that I would not normally?

A tip is not expected at a spa in Singapore

Final Thoughts:

Remember that it is perfectly okay to abstain, especially if you are not happy with the service provided. This is also true for hotel staff, however, if you should encounter a problem with the service within the hotel, we highly recommend speaking with the manager.

When paying for services in cash (which we generally recommend for services other than your hotel) remember to take your receipt. This is important for two reasons; If you leave a tip on a credit card, the person providing the service may not always get it, and if there is a discrepancy it is important to have your receipt to settle it with the manager of the establishment and to prove that you paid for the service.