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HOW TO TIP IN CHINA

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 Australia can be confusing for tourists because unlike the US where tips are expected everywhere, tipping here is entirely voluntary 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.

The general tipping etiquette in China is a no-tipping culture and some establishments have a no-tipping policy and tipping can be considered rude in certain circumstances and implies that employers undervalue their workers.

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

The units of currency in China are the Renminbi (RMB or CNY). US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for Renminbi upon arrival. Currency exchanged 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?

Tipping is not common in restaurants and some eateries will refuse tips altogether. Some high-end restaurants have 10 -15% service charge added on to the bill.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

Tipping at hotels is not expected or required, but at some high end and large international hotels, the bellhop or concierge might expect CNY5 per bag. And the same can be used for maids about CNY5 if you are staying for a few days, but again it is not required.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Taxi drivers will normally not accept a tip and in some areas of China it is illegal to even accept a tip, so this is ingrained in the Chinese culture.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

You should tip a tour guide in China as they depend on this money as part of their income. A general guideline for tipping tour guides is CNY80 - CNY150 per day and CNY40 - CNY75 for the drivers.

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

Tipping at a spa is not expected or required, if the service is at a luxury hotel they might add on a 15 - 18% service charge.

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.