HOW TO TIP IN MALAYSIA
In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette that is ingrained in all trades, from the 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.
Tipping is not a common practice in Malaysia and you do not have to leave a tip unless stated otherwise. Most restaurants apply a surcharge directly to your bill which is supposed to cover tips, therefore Malaysian workers do not expect a tip, but leaving an additional tip or your change will not go unappreciated.Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use Ringgit?
The currency in Malaysia is the Ringgit (RM). US dollars are not accepted. You will need to exchange your dollars for Ringgit. Currency Exchange desks can be found at the airport and major banks, it is advised to exchange some dollars for Ringgit before arriving in the country. ATMs are also located throughout the airport and at most major banks in the city. Normal banking hours are weekdays from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays.Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars: When should I tip? How much is customary?
Restaurants in Malaysia will add a 10% government tax to your bill automatically and some even add an additional 5% service tax. Locals normally round up the bill or leave their change; you can use this rule of thumb or leave an additional 10 - 15% if the service is outstanding.Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?
Most hotels in Malaysia add a 10% government and 5% service tax to your bill automatically, therefore tipping in hotels is not required. You can leave bellboys, room service, and housekeepers RM2 - RM10 if you would like, but it is not required.Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?
It is common to round up the fare or leave the change for your taxi driver in Malaysia, but it is not expected or required.Miscellaneous: Is there anyone I should tip that I would not normally?
Leaving your tour guide and RM20 - RM30 tip per person, per day if you take a private tour in Malaysia, and 10% for a group tour is the rule of thumb. If you visit a spa in Malaysia you are not expected to leave a tip, some establishments will add a surcharge which will include the tip.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.