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HOW TO TIP IN HONG KONG

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 Hong Kong 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.

In Hong Kong tipping is not a requirement but tipping does exist in hotels and other areas. The service staff is paid a good salary therefore tipping is not an expectation.

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

The Hong Kong dollar (HKD, HK, $) is the currency used in Hong Kong you will need to exchange your dollars for Hong Kong dollars. The official exchange rates are fixed and USD$1 = HKD$7.80. Try to avoid major banks and popular tourist areas as you tend to get the worst exchange rates. ATMs are featured in urban areas and most retailers accept major credit cards.

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

Some restaurants add a 10% service charge to your bill and some don`t be sure to check your bill for the service charge and feel free to leave an additional tip if you received great service. Giving a 10% tip would be considered polite at sit down restaurant and leaving your change as a tip works too at other eateries such as street food stalls and take out restaurants. Some restaurants may not take a tip, but at high-end restaurants you should leave at least HK$10 - HK$20, but this is also not expected.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

At hotels in Hong Kong tipping is mandatory; you can leave HK$15 - HK$20 for bellboys and maids but be sure to check if there is a service charge added to your bill. In some of the more upscale hotels, there are bathroom attendants; it is customary to offer them a few coins for their service. Hotel employees are usually paid a good salary and therefore don’t rely on tips, use your discretion.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Taxi drivers in Hong Kong generally do not expect a tip, a common practice is to round up your fare to the nearest dollar or leave the change for the driver.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

Most tour guides in Hong Kong do rely on tips, a recommend amount would be between HK$10 - HK$70 per guide who will normally split this amount with the driver.

Spas in Hong Kong do not expect a tip but it is recommended to leave some change if you were happy with your service.

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.

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.