It is always confusing when traveling from country to country whether you should leave a tip. Some countries like the US it is expected and often the staff in restaurants and bars depend on the tips to earn a decent salary. In Indonesia and specifically Bali I guess the simple answer to if you should tip is it is really up to you!
There is no expectation that you will leave a tip but it is always appreciated. A waiter or waitress in a restaurant in Bali earns around 1,000,000Rp – 1,500,000Rp per month. That is around A$100 – A$150 per month. Restaurants and bars do charge a 10% service charge which is shared amongst all of the staff, so the more you eat and drink, the more money the staff get. No responsible service of alcohol here! If you want another drink the staff will serve you to get that extra bit of cash in their pockets.
The owner and management will take money from that service charge for things like breakages or if someone does a runner and does not pay their bill (yes this does happen, often!). So if some A-hole doesn’t pay their bill then the staff may not get any service money at all for that day.
So should you tip in a restaurant in Bali? I do! How much? Depends how many drinks I have had! I often leave about 10%. OK so if the bill comes to 200,000Rp I leave 20,000Rp tip. That’s only $2. If I get really good service and really enjoyed my time there, and drank alot I do tend to tip more. If I get bad service then no tip!
Tipping in Taxis in Bali
Should you tip in taxis in Bali? There is no service charge on the taxi fare and generally there are more taxis in Bali than tourists so the taxi drivers do it tough. If it is a short trip I round up to the nearest 5000Rp. Longer trips I may tip up to 10%.
Tipping in Hotels in Bali
When it comes to hotels I do tip the bellhop / porter who carts my bag up to my room. Usually around 5000Rp or 10,000Rp. Same when I am leaving and get in a taxi. If someone helps put my bag in the back of the taxi I will give them the same.
The staff that I always tip in a hotel is the cleaning staff. These are the people you probably never see but each day they come into your room and clean up, change your sheets and leave fresh towels. The cleaning staff in hotels in Bali earn around 5000Rp per hour. That’s 50 cents an hour. Most only work 4 – 5 hours a day so can earn around $3 per day. I leave a tip of anywhere from 10,000Rp – 20,000Rp per day. At the end of a long stay, on the last day I may leave 50,000Rp. See more about tipping housekeeping staff.
So there is no rules about tipping in Bali. It is entirely up to you if you tip or not. Though remember $0.50 can go alot further for a local Balinese then it will back home.