Tipping in Phuket | When and How Much to Tip in Phuket 

Tipping culture is a practice that varies widely around the world, and its origins and customs can differ significantly from one country to another. The reasons for tipping and whether it is considered necessary also vary.

Tipping can be deeply ingrained in the culture and customs of a region. In some countries, it’s seen as a way to show appreciation for good service or as a gesture of politeness.

Tipping may not be customary in other places, and service workers are paid higher wages without relying on tips. Still, today’s question is, “Do you tip in Thailand?”

Leaving gratuity and deciding how much you should tip in Thailand is a different story compared to its Asian counterparts, and surprisingly, it is not customary.

Tipping in Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Tao and other tourist-related islands in and around Thailand are the main places that may expect something more due to the constant activity of foreigners walking through its doors and all the money that comes with it.

Tropical beach and island at Phuket Province, Thailand.

On any regular occasion across non-western adapted areas, you pay the price you see. It was international customs that influenced the Thais, even though in more rural-like regions, you may receive a confused look or even have the excess money given back.

Still, the tips are appreciated in tourist hotspots, especially since many earn less than 500 THB per day. 

Phuket is a beautiful island located in the South of Thailand. It is a favoured tourist destination by people around the world, receiving about 500,000 to 600,000 visitors every month. It boasts some of Thailand’s most beautiful beaches, including Patong, Karon, and Kata Beach.

Phuket is famous for its vibrant nightlife, rich history and culture. You can visit temples like Wat Chalong and explore Old Phuket Town, known for its colourful Sino-Portuguese architecture. Phuket is a wild adventure, and it is worth understanding the tipping culture that comes with visiting. 

Below, I have rounded up a couple of common questions and helpful guides for the tipping expectations in Phuket in different industries:

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Are you expected to tip in Phuket?

The last time I lay on the sunny Patong beach, along the coast of Phuket, drinking my Leo Beer, the chap I sat next to asked ‘should you tip in Thailand?”

I found an excellent question since I knew other countries in Asia found it rude to tip since it can come across as rude if you do it incorrectly. In China, for instance, and even in Japan, they believe you have already paid for good service and will find it disrespectful to try to give them more.

Having a home like South Africa, tipping is always a must since many locals rely on that, making up most of their income, and you will find most people providing any form of service will indeed expect some form of gratuity.

In Phuket, however, the tipping culture is similar to many other tourist destinations in Thailand; it is always appreciated but not expected. 

Phuket is a popular and tourist-friendly destination where the locals have become used to tourists and the different customs and practices they bring to their homes.

As such, they generally understand that tipping may vary from one traveller to another, and fortunately, the Thai people are a very understanding culture.

The industries with the likeliest expectations regarding tipping will likely fall under restaurants, cafes, bars, porters, luggage handlers, spas and hotels. 

Heavy traffic on central street with advertisements everywhere in Patong, Phuket island, Thailand

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

Like in many places, giving a tip in Phuket can be done in various ways. Cash is widely accepted and is the most convenient way to tip in Phuket, especially for smaller amounts.

While digital payment methods are becoming more common in larger businesses and tourist areas, many smaller establishments and local service providers still prefer cash tips.

Check your bill to see if a service charge has been included before deciding whether to leave an additional bonus.

  • Cash:

The most straightforward way to give a tip in Phuket is by providing a big or small tip using cash. 

  • Tip Envelopes:

You may find tip envelopes provided at the table or in your room in some hotels and restaurants, especially those catering to tourists. You can hand it to the staff or leave it in a designated location.

  • Credit Card:

Some upscale restaurants and hotels may provide the option to include a tip on your credit card bill when settling the payment, where you can specify the amount you wish to add as a tip.

  • Tipping Apps:

While tipping is less common in Phuket than in some Western countries, there are mobile payment apps and digital wallets that can be used for tipping. 

  • Service Charge:

In some restaurants and hotels, a service charge (typically 10%) is automatically added to your bill. Even though you are not obligated to provide additional tips, it’s still common to leave small changes or round up the bill as a form of appreciation.

  • Tour Guides and Drivers:

When tipping tour guides, drivers, or boat operators, it’s best to give cash directly to them in an envelope or hand it over personally.

Phuket, Thailand - Tourist at ATM outside a 7 eleven shop in Patong. Convenience stores are everywhere.

When and How Much to Tip in Phuket?

When it comes to tipping, always aim to leave that little bit extra once the service is finished or while you close your bill. You want to ensure the tip is well-deserved and that you, as a customer, are satisfied overall, which you can only do at the end.

Always check your restaurant bill to see if a service charge has already been included; otherwise, if you feel generous, more is always appreciated.

Deciding how much to tip in Phuket is up to you. Still, the recommended minimum amount is always 10%, especially if you need to know how much.

Below, you will see many industries expect simply that. In contrast, others may expect higher if the service requires more work, time and effort. Expect to add 20 Baht for essential services and up to 100 Baht for more luxury-related options. 

Money exchange office and ATM. Problems with withdrawing money and their high exchange rate. Travel and tourism. Thailand.

Can I tip in USD in Phuket?

While it’s technically possible to tip in USD in Phuket, there are other preferred currencies for tipping, and you may encounter some challenges, especially in more remote areas.

To avoid inconveniences and ensure that your tip is received as intended, it’s recommended to use Thai Baht when tipping in Phuket.

You can easily exchange your USD for the local currency at banks, exchange offices, or ATMs throughout the island and mainland areas. It’s also a good idea to carry a change of Thai Baht for tipping purposes, as this will make it more convenient for both you and the recipient.

Below are a couple of different reasons why it’s better to tip in the local currency compared to the internationally recognised dollar: 

  • Currency Exchange: 

Like the rest of Thailand, Phuket primarily uses the Thai Baht (THB) as its currency. Most businesses, especially smaller ones, prefer and deal exclusively in Thai Baht.

If you tip in USD, the recipient will need to convert it to Thai Baht, which can result in unfavourable exchange rates and additional fees.

  • Acceptance:

While some larger hotels, restaurants, and tourist-oriented establishments may accept USD, many local businesses still need to. Street vendors, markets, and smaller eateries typically only accept Thai Baht.

  • Exchange Rates:

When using USD for tipping, you may receive less favourable exchange rates, which can result in you giving a larger tip than intended.

  • Convenience:

Carrying and using Thai Baht for tipping is more convenient as it is widely accepted throughout Phuket.

Cash money US Dollars and Colombian Pesos

What Is A Reasonable Tip In Phuket

As mentioned before, choosing to tip and deciding what is reasonable is entirely up to you since no one is obligated to do so. Below are various industries with slightly different expectations when it comes to leaving a tip in Thailand: 

Taxi & Grab Drivers:

If you are wondering how much you should tip in Thailand for taxis, Grab (is the Thailand version of Uber, since there is no Uber in the country) the below general guidelines may help: 

  • Rounding Up:

It’s customary to round up the fare to the nearest convenient amount as a courtesy. For example, if the food is 250 Thai Baht, you can give 300 Thai Baht and let the driver keep the change.

  • Small Amount:

Tips for taxi and ride-sharing drivers in Phuket are usually small, and it’s not necessary to provide a specific percentage of the fare as you might in some other countries.

  • App Payments:

If you booked a ride through your phone, the app usually provides their customers an opportunity to tip at the end of their ride. 

small Japanese trucks converted into taxis for tourists called tuk tuk in Thailand on the island of Phuket. Multi-colored cars on the streets of the city.

Tour Guides & Operators:

Everyone loves a well-informed tour guide who knows their stuff. It can literally change your entire experience, creating that wonderfully satisfied feeling we all love after a great tour.

Tipping tour guides and operators is customary and appreciated, especially if you’ve had an enjoyable and informative experience.

While there is no fixed rule for how much to tip, it generally depends on the duration and gratitude you feel towards the tour. 

  • Day Tours: 

For day tours, such as island-hopping, sightseeing, or adventure tours, a tip of 100-200 Baht per person is standard for both the tour guide and the driver. You can always adjust the amount based on the quality of service and your overall satisfaction.

  • Multi-Day Tours:

For more extended tours spanning several days, consider a slightly higher tip, perhaps in the 200-400 Thai Baht per person per day. 

  • Private Tours:

Suppose you’ve booked a private tour with a dedicated guide and driver. In that case, you can use your discretion but tip more generously than group tours.

  • Exceptional Service:

If the tour guide or operator has gone above and beyond to make your experience memorable, feel free to provide a larger tip as a token of appreciation.

Famous James Bond island near Phuket in Thailand. Travel photo of James Bond island with thai traditional wooden longtail boat and beautiful sand beach in Phang Nga bay, Thailand.

Spa & Wellness Places:

Thailand is renowned for its traditional Thai massages, a wonderfully therapeutic practice that combines acupressure, stretching, and yoga-like movements.

Many Thai spa and wellness centres employ skilled therapists who have undergone extensive training.

Visitors can expect high-quality treatments delivered by experienced professionals. Whilst tipping wellness places and institutes alike is always appreciated, it isn’t mandatory. 

Arriving anywhere in Thailand, especially in popular tourist destinations, you will find massage parlours, resort centres and spas around every corner.

Whether it’s small street vendors or luxury-rated businesses, it is recommended to leave a tip if the service turns out well.

You will come across many spots that may need to provide an adequate standard when gratuity is within your discretion. Expect to leave a tip between 50 and 300 Thai Baht.

The question is, “How much do you tip in Thailand for massages and spa treatments?”

  • Therapists/Service Providers:

It’s common to tip the therapist or service provider directly, and a tip of 10-20% of the service cost is a reasonable range. You can choose an amount within this range based on the quality of service you received.

  • Small Cash Amounts:

It’s convenient to tip in small cash amounts. Many spas and wellness centres have envelopes available for tipping, or you can give a tip directly to the service provider.

  • Exceptional Service:

If you received exceptional service, consider tipping at the higher end of the range to show appreciation.

  • Check for Service Charge:

Check your bill or inquire if a service charge has already been included in the total cost. Some establishments automatically add a service charge, so additional tipping may not be expected.

Place for Thai massage at beautiful swimming pool in tropical resort, Koh Chang island, Thailand.

Hotel Staff:

The question is, “how much should you tip in Thailand”?

Knowing when and how to tip hotel staff can be tricky. I have formed small but numerous relationships with people working at hotels, guesthouses or resorts.

There have been many moments when I wanted to leave something extra for a specific person who went out of their way to make my experience even better.

Whether it’s the smiling bell boy who opens the door for you every day and still asks how your day was or the sweet cleaning lady who knocks on your door with that extra tea just for you.  

Tipping hotel staff in Phuket, Thailand, is customary and much appreciated, particularly for services like bellhops, housekeeping, and concierge staff.

Always use diplomacy when tipping hotel staff, and remember that it’s customary to tip in Thai Baht, and having small change on hand can make the process more convenient for both you and the hotel staff.

So, how much to tip housekeeping in thailand? How much do we tip the bellboy in Thailand? Below you will find a round-up of how much to tip the different positions in hotel-related businesses.

  • Bellhops/Porters:

Tipping bellhops or porters who assist you with your luggage is usual. A 20-50 Thai Baht tip per bag is a reasonable range. You can modify the amount based on the number of bags and the level of service provided.

  • Housekeeping:

Leaving a tip for housekeeping staff is a way to show your appreciation for a clean and comfortable room. A daily tip of 20-50 Thai Baht is typical. You can leave this amount on your pillow or in an envelope with a note expressing your thanks.

  • Concierge:

Suppose the concierge provides helpful information or arranges services for you. In that case, you can offer a 20-50 Thai Baht tip to show your appropriate assistance.

  • Additional Services:

If hotel staff go above and beyond to accommodate your needs or provide exceptional service, consider offering a larger tip.

beautiful swimming pool in tropical resort , Phuket, Thailand.

Cafes, Restaurants & Bars:

Everybody loves good service at a restaurant, cafe, or bar, and it always surprises me how much other people and I are willing to leave excellent tips for people who have excelled and proven their worth.

This is compared to the people who can’t hide their feelings of discontentment on their faces for the position they are in, which then shows in their actions, presentation, and effort. 

Luckily, I never encountered a miserable waiter or a rude bartender in this country, even though their monthly wages are meagre – expect an earning of 300 – 400 Baht per day – which is why providing tips in Thailand to the staff working in hospitality is a good practice. 

  • Cafes and Casual Eateries:

Tipping is not expected but appreciated in casual cafes and small eateries where service is minimal. You can round up the bill to the nearest convenient amount or leave small change as a token of appreciation.

  • Restaurants:

In sit-down restaurants, tipping is customary, especially if a service charge is not included in the bill. A 10-20% tip of the bill is considered polite and appreciated for good service. You can adjust it based on your level of satisfaction.

  • Bars:

In bars, it’s common to tip for individual drink orders, especially if the bartender provides excellent service. If the service is exceptional, you can tip around 20-50 Thai Baht per drink or more.

  • Service Charge:

Always check your bill to see if a service charge (often 10%) has already been included. If a service charge is listed, additional tipping is unnecessary. However, you can still leave small change or round up the bill.

Buffet service. Tasty breakfast served on table. Travel woman in hat eating breakfast is served with eggs, sausage, coffee, fresh orange juice, croissants, exotic fruits. Balanced diet on vacation

Food Delivery:

Through rain or storm, they will be there, delivering hot food to our empty stomachs. I am always impressed with food deliveries because their expectations are surprisingly high. Their wait for food at various restaurants can become lengthy.

They then collect our items and speed towards us through heavy traffic and distance with the expectation to keep our food hot before handing it over, for an unfortunately low income. (At least compared to other industries.)

Tipping food delivery workers in Phuket is more common than in other countries, primarily because many food delivery services include a delivery fee as part of the bill.

However, if you wish to show your appreciation for good service or for the delivery person’s promptness, consider giving a small tip in cash.

Remember that tipping for food delivery is optional in Phuket, and there is no fixed rule for how much to tip. 

  • Small Amount:

A 20-50 Thai Baht tip is generally considered a reasonable amount for food delivery. Still, this amount can vary depending on the total cost of your order and your level of satisfaction with the service.

  • Rounding Up:

Alternatively, you can pay the bill to the nearest convenient amount as a courtesy. For example, if your bill is 280 Thai Baht, you can give 300 Thai Baht and let the delivery person keep the change.

  • Service Charge:

Check your receipt or inquire about the bill to see if a service charge has already been included in the delivery cost. Some food delivery services automatically add a service charge, in which case additional tipping may not be expected.

A pizza delivery man with a yellow backpack and in a red helmet rides a bicycle on a bicycle path with white markings on the main street of the city

Street Vendors & Markets:

While living in Thailand, I used to love heading to the corner market every Wednesday and Sunday. I would always greet the polite older man who sold pork on a stick (this was my favourite street food).

We would have our 10 to 15-minute conversation about how crazy our different lives were compared to each other. I would walk away, leaving small money notes in a jar for him, and he would wave me off with an even brighter smile than before. 

It isn’t necessary to tip street vendors, and it isn’t known as a common practice. You will find many of the stall sellers not expecting it at all, and their faces of surprise will prove it so.

Prices at street stalls and markets are typically fixed or subject to negotiation, and tipping is not traditionally part of these transactions.

However, if you want to show appreciation for excellent service or if you’ve developed a friendly rapport with a vendor, you can offer a small tip as a gesture of goodwill. 

  • Small Amount:

If you wish to tip, a small amount, such as 20-50 Thai Baht, is usually sufficient. Keep in mind that street food vendors and market items are often quite affordable.

  • Appreciation:

Tipping in this context is not an obligation but a way to express your thanks for a delicious meal, a memorable shopping experience, or exceptional service.

  • Friendly Interaction:

Suppose you’ve had a particularly positive interaction with a street vendor or market seller and want to show appreciation. In that case, a small tip can be a friendly gesture.

tropical fruit street vendor on the streets of Bangkok in Thailand, slicing different fruits, a woman gives money to a seller, selling from a tray

Airport Porters:

When tipping airport staff and hotel porters, like many other airports worldwide, it is customary to tip, especially those who have assisted with your luggage.

Make sure you keep some small change in your pocket or somewhere that is easily accessible when you are making your way through the airport. 

Porters at airports and hotels often rely on tips as part of their income, so your gesture of appreciation goes a long way.

Use your discretion when determining the tip amount, and consider the level of service you receive when deciding on the tip’s size.

  • Airport Porters:

At the airport, it’s common to tip porters who assist you with your luggage. A tip of 20-50 Thai Baht per bag is a reasonable range, and you can constantly adjust the amount based on the number of bags and the quality of effort they put in.

  • Rounding Up:

You can round up the tip to the nearest convenient amount or provide more if the service is exceptional.

Passenger aircrafts at the phuket international airport

FAQs About how to tip in thailand

is 200 baht a good tip in thailand?

200 Baht is considered a very generous tip in Thailand, especially if you have exceptional service. The general rule of thumb for tipping in Thailand is between 10% to 15%.

You should definitely take the time to read up on local customs and expectations before travelling anywhere since each country will have different norms when it comes to tips.

is tipping expected in phuket

Tipping is not expected or required in Phuket. There are no laws that require tipping, and most people do it out of courtesy or appreciation for excellent service.

Generally, the amount you tip is up to your discretion; however, a small gratuity to restaurant and bar staff is usually appreciated. In hotels, you can leave a tip for housekeeping if you wish.

what is customary tipping in thailand?

Tipping is not customary in Thailand, however small amounts of money are often given as tokens of appreciation.

The most common type of tipping is to round up the bill at a restaurant or other service-based establishment to the nearest 10 baht, sometimes up to 100 baht for very good service.

Aside from restaurants, tips are not often expected in Thailand except from guides and drivers.

Swing at Viking I Beach on Phi Phi Islands.Thailand. Phi Phi Islands are a popular tour destination from Phuket and Krabi.

Final Thoughts: should you tip in thailand

The tipping culture in Thailand is basic. It is not expected but always appreciated. Whenever I am out and about on holiday or visiting different countries, I budget in and put to one side an amount that caters towards leaving gratuity wherever I end up. Guides like these help us prepare ourselves before leaving and can at least 

Your daily expenses are much cheaper in places like Thailand than in more Westernised countries. Some locals go above and beyond to ensure your experience with them is the best.

You also never know whether they were having a good or bad day, and the hours can become extremely long – especially those working in the hospitality business where you are on your feet for many hours in a day.

So leaving something small is never a bad idea. It can be the highlight of someone’s day and keep them motivated to keep up the good work.

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