Tipping in Thailand – Whether you visit Bangkok, Pattaya, Changmai or the beautiful Thai islands of Phuket or Koh Samui, the decision to tip or not is really up to you!
There are not any hard rules about tipping in Thailand. Tipping is not common for Thai people, especially in the low end restaurants or street food vendors. It is more common for Thai people to tip in the high end restaurants or hotels, though usually the people who visit these sort of expensive restaurants and hotels have more money to be able to afford to give a tip.
So as a visitor should you tip in Thailand? I guess the simple answer for tipping in Thailand is a tip is not expected but always appreciated.
Remember salaries in Thailand are very low, extremely low compared to most Western countries so even a small tip of 10 or 20 Baht (less than $1) adds value to the staff members weekly earnings. To give you an example, the average salary for a waiter / waitress in a restaurant in Thailand is 12,000 THB per month. They generally work 6 days a week so that works out at around 500 THB per shift worked / per day worked. With wages so low, the staff in restaurants in Thailand depend on tips to increase the money they take home.
Alot of restaurants and hotels in Thailand include a 10% service charge to the bill. This service charge is supposed to be shared out amongst the staff but I guess there are some dodgy restaurant owners who would pocket all or some of this money. Alot of restaurants will keep some of the 10% service charge to cover breakages or the odd people doing a runner on their bill so there is no guarantee the staff see much of that service charge money.
As with most countries I visit, I generally tip when I receive good service. Isn’t that the idea of tipping? Rewarding good service. Tipping when you receive bad service is counterproductive. It just encourages continuation of bad service. Rewarding good service, encourages more good service.
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