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

Tipping culture is a practice that varies around the world, and its origins and customs can differ significantly from one country to another.

Today’s question is, “Do you tip in Thailand?”

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

Tropical beach and island at Phuket Province, Thailand.

Tipping in Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Tao and other tourist-related islands in and around Thailand are the main places that may expect to tip. 20-100THB to most Westerners isn’t much but to Thai people this can really help them.

Tipping in Phuket is not customary or expected. However, any tips are appreciated in tourist hotspots, especially since many Thai people earn less than 500 THB per day. In more rural areas of Thailand, you may receive a confused look or even have the money given back.

Below, I have rounded up a couple of commonly asked questions and helpful tips for the tipping expectations in Phuket in different areas such as hotels, restaurants and taxis:

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Are you expected to tip in Phuket?

While laying on Patong beach, drinking my Leo Beer with a bunch of friends, one of the Americans in our group asked ‘should you tip in Thailand?’ which started a long debate about tipping in different countries.

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

Phuket is a popular, tourist-friendly destination where the locals have become used to tourists and the different customs. They generally understand that tipping may vary from one traveller to the next, and fortunately, the Thai people are a very understanding culture.

The places in Phuket that are likely to expect a tip, are 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.

While digital payment methods are becoming more common in larger businesses and tourist areas, a lot of the smallr establishments and local service providers prefer cash tips.

  • Cash: The most straightforward way to give a tip in Phuket is by providing a big or small amounts using cash. 
  • Tip Envelopes: You may find tip envelopes provided at the table or in your room in some hotels and restaurants,. 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 an additional tip, it’s still common to leave small changes or round up the bill as a form of appreciation – you have had exceptional service.
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 with the overall service.

Deciding how much to tip in Phuket is up to you. The suggested minimum amount is always 10%, of the service received,.

Some services may expect a higher tip, 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 services. 

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, yes it’s possible to tip in USD in Phuket, but 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. It’s also a good idea to carry a small amounts of Thai Baht for tipping, 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:  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 places may accept USD. Street vendors, markets, and smaller eateries typically only accept Thai Baht.
  • 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 above, choosing to tip and deciding what is reasonable is entirely up to you. Below are some different places 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, there is no Uber here) the below general guidelines may help: 

  • Rounding Up: It’s customary to round up the fare to the nearest amount. For example, if the trip costs 250 Thai Baht, you can round up to 300 Thai Baht or 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 give 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. Tipping tour guides and operators is customary and appreciated, especially if you’ve had an enjoyable experience with them.

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

  • 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 that go for several days, consider a slightly higher tip, perhaps in the 200-400 Thai Baht per person per day. 
  • Private Tours: If you’ve booked a private tour with a dedicated guide and driver, you can use your discretion but i’d recommend that the tip is a bit 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 your 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 very well known for its traditional Thai massages, a wonderfully therapeutic practice that combines acupressure, stretching, and yoga-like movements. Thai spa and wellness centres employ skilled therapists who have extensive training.

Visitors can expect high-quality treatments delivered by experienced professionals. Whilst tipping is always appreciated, it isn’t mandatory. It is recommended to leave a tip if the service turns out well.

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.
  • Exceptional Service: If you received exceptional service, consider tipping at the higher end of the range to show your appreciation.
  • Check for Service Charge: Check your bill to see if a service charge has already been included. Some establishments automatically add a service charge, so additional tipping may not be needed.
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. There have been times when I wanted to leave something extra for a specific person who went out of their way to make my stay even better.

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

Tipping hotel staff in Phuket, Thailand, is customary and very appreciated, particularly for services like bellhops, housekeeping, and concierge 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.
  • 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. I rarely encountered a miserable waiter or a rude bartender in Thailand, even though their monthly wages are fairly small (in some cases only 300 – 400 Baht per day) – which is why providing tips in Thailand to the staff working in hospitality is a nice gesture. 

  • 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.
  • Bars: In bars, it’s common to tip for individual drink orders, especially if the bartender provides excellent service or makes you a specially made cocktail. 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 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. I am always impressed with food deliveries because they have always been super friendly and quick.

They wait for food at various restaurants, which can be lengthy. Then they speed through heavy traffic and sometimes over long distances with the expectation to keep your food hot before handing it over, for an unfortunately low income.

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, 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.
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 a 10 to 15-minute conversation about how crazy our lives are. 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, but they certainly appreciate a tip when one is given.

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

  • Appreciation: Tipping in this context is not a requirement but a way to express your thanks for a delicious meal, a memorable shopping experience, or exceptional service.
  • Friendly Interaction: If you’ve had a particularly positive interaction with a street vendor or market seller and want to show appreciation. Feel free to provide 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

FAQs About how to 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% of whatever service you’ve received.

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.

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 10-50 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 make sure to budget an amount that caters towards leaving tips wherever I end up.

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 where you are on your feet for a lot of hours.

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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Author

  • Katie Barker

    Katie, a dynamic travel expert and photographer, is dedicated to exploration and sharing her adventures through travel and lifestyle blogging. With a global perspective shaped by residences in Cape Town and beyond, she offers insights into off-the-beaten-path destinations and budget-friendly travel tips. Katie's expertise spans digital nomad living, travel planning, and empowering solo female travelers.

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