Tipping in Hanoi Guide | When and How Much to Tip in Hanoi 

Hanoi, a city known for its cultural and historical significance, located in the heart of Southeast Asia. This unique blend of ancient traditions and modern progress attracts travellers from around the world, eager to experience its culture.

A common question among travellers is “What is the culture of tipping in Hanoi like?” Tipping, a concept that varies widely across the world, was not traditionally a part of Hanoi’s culture. However, the influx of tourists in Vietnam has gradually made tipping a more accepted practice.

Hanoi, Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at dawn in the rays of the morning sun

It’s important to approach tipping in Hanoi with sensitivity. The city’s delicate balance of tradition and modernity demands a respect for its customs. As such, understanding the appropriate times and amounts for tipping is essential.

This guide aims to navigate the complexities of tipping in Hanoi, covering various scenarios from markets and street food stalls to hotels and airport porters.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to explore Hanoi respectfully and confidently. This information, along with your Vietnam travel plans, will help make your stay in this city both memorable and culturally respectful.

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Are you expected to tip in Hanoi?

Tipping in Hanoi, like in other Southeast Asian countries (e.g. Japan),  is not an obligatory practice, it isn’t as deeply ingrained in the culture as in some Western countries. Still, while tipping is not expected, it is appreciated in certain situations. 

Travelling to Hanoi Vietnam is one of the cheapest destinations. Wages here are fairly small, and almost everything is cheap (to Westerners) compared to Western countries.

It would be a nice gesture if you could give a small tip to locals, whenever you can. When you decide to tip, of course, it’s also dependent on the situation and how you were treated. 

Vietnamese money 500000 Dong banknotes (VND) with portrait of President Ho Chi Minh.

What’s the easiest way to give a tip in Hanoi?

Just like in any other country, the rule of thumb is to tip when you’re satisfied with the service provided, and when you are, you should tip with cash.

Hanoi remains a predominantly cash-based society, so it’s only right to hand over money when tipping. Other ways to tip in Vietnam that allow a hassle-free way of expressing your appreciation are: 

  • When you’re in a restaurant or receiving a service, simply hand over the appropriate amount of cash to the person you wish to tip. Many places may not have the infrastructure for credit card tips or digital transactions, so cash is the easiest and the most widely accepted form of gratuity.
  • Another easy way to give a tip when you’re in Hanoi is to round up the total bill. This way of tipping can be used when tipping taxi drivers or food delivery people.
  • To make things easier, I suggest you always carry small denominations, as breaking large bills might only sometimes be inconvenient for the recipient. It’s also expected you tip with their local currency.
  • If you are tipping, make sure to hand it over directly to the person you want to say thank you to. You can be discreet with this since a quiet exchange of appreciation and money is enough to say thank you.
  • There are certain restaurants, cafes or bars that have their tipping jar. You usually see this at the cashier, so you can quickly put money in these containers.
an HSBC bank ATM in the city centre

When and How Much to Tip in Hanoi?

Tipping in Hanoi is different than in Western countries, but it is not limited to restaurants and hotels when you decide to do it. You can give tips whenever you receive help or help from the locals (if you want of course). 

The amount of a tip you give in Hanoi will depend on where you are and what type of service you are getting. Generally, you can tip around 10% of the total bill you are paying. If you get an excellent service, you can add a few more bucks and tip around 20%. 

There are also situations where you do not need to tip as much, but a few Vietnamese Dong (VND) will be enough. For example, you want to tip a Tuk Tuk rider or taxi driver for guiding you during the ride.

You can round off the fare you will be paying or give 10,000 VND to 20,000 VND – which is $0.40-$0.80USD. Keep in mind that the average wage in Vietnam is 7.9 million VND a month – which is $325USD. So tipping someone $5USD = 121,000VND, isn’t costing you much and might make a difference to them.

Meanwhile, when a service charge is included on your bill, it’s also up to you if you still want to give tips to the restaurant servers.

As you continue reading, I will share more specific guidelines on how much to tip in Hanoi in different situations.  

Male hand holds a fan of  Vietnames Dong banknote, the currency of Vietnam.  Close up Polymer Money of Vietnam. 20000 Dong or VND in male hand. In front a portrait of Ho Chi Minh. Plastic banknotes

Can I tip in USD in Hanoi?

Tipping in either USD or VND (the official currency in Vietnam) is generally fine, especially in tourist areas. Many hotels, restaurants, and tour operators catering to international visitors are accustomed to receiving tips in USD. 

However, it’s also essential to remember that the exchange rate offered for converting USD to VND might not be as favourable as what you’d find at banks or currency exchange offices. Locals with a low amount of USD can find it challenging to exchange small USD bills for their local currency. 

I believe it’s a good idea to combine both VND and USD, particularly for tipping. A number of places prefer cash tips, and having both currencies available gives you flexibility in different situations. 

Nonetheless, while tipping in USD is generally accepted and convenient for tourists, knowing the current exchange rate is essential to make informed decisions about when and how much to tip.

Personally, I would recommend tipping in VND – you’re providing a money tip as a way of thanks, lets not complicate it further by the server having to go get it exchanged.

What Is A Reasonable Tip In Hanoi? 

Determining a reasonable tip in Hanoi can be flexible compared to tipping customs in some Western countries. Depending on where you are, a range of at least 5% to 10% of the total bill is a reasonable tip. 

Like in any other country, tipping should be a means to acknowledge and appreciate good service while respecting local customs. 

Below is a more detailed and specific guideline on a reasonable tip to give to particular service providers in Hanoi.

Taxi & Uber Drivers

Tipping taxi drivers in Hanoi is not common, and drivers do not typically expect tips. However, Hanoi is also well known to have friendly and polite taxi drivers. So, if you ride with one, giving a tip will be a great way to show appreciation. 

  • The best way to give tips to your taxi drivers in Hanoi is to round up the fare to the nearest whole number simply. For example, if your fare is 95,000 VND, you can round it up to 100,000 VND.
  • A small amount is often appreciated and considered a reasonable tip for taxi drivers in Hanoi. It’s okay to tip a specific percentage of the fare as you might in restaurants or for other services.
  • There will be instances where taxi drivers may assume that you want them to keep the change, especially if it’s small. If this happens, politely ask for your change back unless you’re treated with satisfying service.
  • Since 2018, Uber stopped operations in Hanoi. There are other trusted and well-known ride-share apps like Grab and Go-Jek. You can directly give your tip through the app.
Cycle rickshaw on busy street in Hanoi, Vietnam

Tour Guides & Operators

Tipping tour guides in Hanoi is a common practice, whether it may be a private or group tour. It’s essential to show your appreciation for their service, especially if they did well in showing you around Vietnam for a day or two – but how much to tip a Vietnam tour guide?

If you want to tip a Vietnam tour guide, a reasonable amount would range between 10% to 20% of the cost of the tour. This will change depending on the situation and quality of service you received.

  • Tour guides play an essential role in the success of your trip, so if you join a private tour for a day in Vietnam, you will have a tour guide exclusively for your group. This gives you a more exclusive and intimate experience, so, you can tip your tour guide 15% to 20% of the total tour cost.
  • Tipping tour guides in USD or VND is acceptable. However, they would appreciate it more if you could tip using local currency, especially if you only give small amounts.
  • Group tour tips would differ because you can pitch in with other travellers. This is a common practice for group tours not only in Hanoi. You can each pitch in 30,000 VND to 50,000 VND and hand it over to the operator. Or you can provide a tip directly to your guide.
  • Cash is one of many ways of tipping to your tour guides. You can also give them a drink or a small souvenir in exchange for their excellent service.
 Tourists and Tour guide walking in the garden at the Presidential Palace Area, Hanoi, Vietnam

Spa & Wellness Place

If you are in Hanoi and want to relax after a long day trip, getting a massage is the way to go. Compared to beauty and wellness services in other Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam is much cheaper. The question here is, do you tip for a Vietnam Massage? 

In spa and wellness places in Hanoi, you are expected to give tips. If you give a tip after experiencing a relaxing time at the spa, around 5% to 10% is enough. 

  • If you visit a luxurious spa in Hanoi, they might charge you with a service charge. When this happens, you can choose not to tip an extra amount. However, do know this doesn’t go directly to the staff, so tip at your discretion.
  • Small business spas and wellness places are all over Vietnam. When you decide to visit one, you are more likely to pay a cheaper price. If you are happy with their service, tipping them with 50,000 VND to 60,000 VND would be greatly appreciated.
  • You can directly hand your tip to the person assisting you in the spa. You can do this discreetly and simultaneously say your thanks when you give the money.
  • Some spas already have a tipping jar in the reception area. After the service, you can drop small bills to show your appreciation. I personally prefer to tip the staff member that looked after me – that way I know it’s going directly to them.
Woman gets body massage in spa salon. Healthy lifestyle and body care concept. Female person on massage table gets therapy in luxury spa salon. Masseur make medical massage for client

Hotel Staff

Tipping in hotels when in Hanoi is expected, especially if you are staying in a high-end hotel, but how much to tip in a Vietnam hotel?

  • When staying in hotels, you will have daily interactions with the staff. For example, bellhops or housekeeping staff, and giving them small tips of 10,000 VND to 20,000 VND is enough.
  • If you ask for assistance from the reception, you can tip them whatever you think is fair. But giving them around 20,000 to 30,000 VND is also customary.
  • Room service staff tipping is also customary, especially if you order very early in the morning or late at night. At least 20,000 VND to 30,000 VND is reasonable to thank them for their service.
  • Generally, the more expensive the hotel you’re staying at, the bigger tip you should give their staff. 
  • I always leave a tip on the bed or in an envelope with a small note for housekeeping – they work incredibly hard and are rarely seen.
external view of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi palace in the city center

Cafes, Restaurants & Bars

Tipping is often expected in cafes, restaurants and bars in Hanoi. Depending on the place you visit, you can give different amounts of tips. Here are a few instances and suggested amounts you should provide:

  • When visiting coffee shops and bars, you’ll often find a tiny tip jar or box on the counter. These tips go straight to all the servers and staff. Leaving small coins and bills is appreciated.
  • If a particular server in the restaurant has been helpful during your visit, you can give them 10% of the total bill as a tip. Cash is preferred because they do not accept cards for tip-giving in Hanoi. 
  • The amount of tip you give will also depend on the type of place you are visiting. If dining in a high-end restaurant, you are expected to tip at least 15% of the total bill or 20% for exemplary service.
  • When you pay in cash, the most convenient way to give the tip is to round off and let them keep the change. For example, if your total bill is 99,945 VND, you can give precisely 100,000 VND and leave them the difference.
old house and restaurant facades in the old quarter of Hanoi city

Food Delivery

You are not expected to tip food delivery drivers in Hanoi, just like how you are not expected to tip taxi drivers. But as they are bringing food to you so you didn’t have to go out and get it, you can always show your appreciation with a small tip. 

  • GrabFood is the most known food delivery app in Vietnam. You can pay directly on the app for your rider’s tip. There will be options on the app of how much tip you want to give, but at least 5% to 10% of your total bill is considered generous.
  • Delivery drivers usually need to wait awhile get their payment from the company, so they would appreciate it, if you could tip them directly in cash. You can round off your bill or hand them around 30,000 VND to 50,000 VND. 
Grab motorbike driver waiting for customer on Ba Trieu street. Entered Vietnam in 2014, Grab growing fast due to cheap fare and safer than traditional motorbike taxi

Street Vendors & Markets 

Tipping street food and market vendors in Hanoi is not a common practice, nor is it expected. Instead, bargaining prices on souvenirs, food and other commodities is more common. There will be instances where you may want to tip the vendors, and here are some guidelines that might be useful for you. 

  • Street and market vendors in Hanoi are usually locals living in the city. They are usually the ones you can ask for help when it comes to directions, and if they gladly help you out, you can say thanks to them by giving a small amount of tip.
  • If you have received a discount from haggling prices with the vendors. It’s up to you if you still want to give them a small tip, primarily if they provide quality products. Keep in mind when haggling that you might be “negotiation” over $1 or $2.
  • When eating in small street food stalls, you can choose whether to leave a tip, depending on how satisfied you are or if the vendor provides entertainment or a bit of a show while they prepare the food. Giving 10,000 VND to 20,000 VND is considered generous.
the cooking of the traditional duck in a street in the city centre

Airport Porters

Airport porters are usually the ones who do physical work for you. They help you carry your luggage to and fro. Porters usually expect a tip, but it’s still up to you.

  • If you are giving tips to airport porters, an amount of 40,000 VND to 60,000 VND is enough. This can vary depending on how many bags they had to carry for you. and how far.
The airport in Hanoi, Vietnam

Final Thoughts:

Tipping is a personal decision, and respecting local customs and practices is essential. This is why, when you decide to visit Hanoi, make sure to research their tipping culture and things not to do. 

Above, I have provided specific details about the tipping customs in Hanoi, Vietnam. You can use this guide to know when or how much is reasonable to give to service providers when travelling to Hanoi. 

As most of the workers in Hanoi receive low wages, it’s a good idea to give them tips occasionally. Just make sure to base it on the quality of service you received. A small amount of money to you might make a significant difference to their life.


  • Angelica Peralta

    Meet Angelica, who at 22, boldly pivoted from a legal career to pursue her passions in travel and writing. With a focus on sustainable travel, she has explored Asia and Europe, emphasizing local cultural engagement along the way | Specializing in digital nomad travel, crafting comprehensive itineraries, identifying top tour guides, sharing regional insights on Asia, The Americas, and Europe, and advising on eco-friendly travel practices.

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