As you travel, the proper amount of money to tip varies from country to country. When visiting Thailand, tipping can be a bit of confusing based on the culture of the country. Unlike in many parts of the world, tipping staff is not always customary in the Land of Smiles–especially outside of the tourist areas. While locals will not be insulted by a tip, they might be a bit confused as to why a patron is providing them with extra money as that is not the norm.
You typically won't tip a street food vendor, a sales associate in a store, a cashier, or sometimes even a bartender, if you go up to the bar and retrieve your own drinks.
Service staff at hotels and restaurants and taxi drivers appreciate tips, though, and these should be offered in Thai baht, the currency in Thailand. Whenever possible, give a cash tip directly to the people who helped you to assure they actually receive it.
Restaurants and Bars
For meals at restaurants, it is polite to tip 10 percent of your total bill. If the service has been exceptional, you can tip up to 15 percent, which would be considered very generous. Many high-end restaurants and hotels add a 10 percent service charge to the bill automatically, so make sure to check the bill first or ask if service is included. Many people round-up or add on a 10 or 20 baht tip for a typical meal. If the restaurant is inexpensive, it may be appropriate to just round-up and leave the change.
When drinking alcohol at a bar, add a few coins or leave the change for the bartender. If the group is sitting at a table and has a staffer bringing drinks, tip 10 percent of the total bill.
Some Thai people do not tip at all, although it is becoming much more common. It's generally better to air on the side of polite, especially when you are the visitor.
Hotel Staff, Tour Guides, Masseuses
Bellhops, porters, service people and others who carry things for you should also be tipped. There are no hard and fast rules for this, but 20 baht per bag is sufficient.
Housekeepers generally don't expect to be tipped, but they will appreciate a 20 to 50 baht tip in an envelope left for them.
Massage therapists, spa technicians, and salon employees should also be tipped 10 percent or more. Fifteen percent is more appropriate for a Thai massage, especially if the therapist works hard and you enjoy the service. In salons or spas where there are multiple people providing services, you should tip each person individually. Hotel spas and salons usually add a 10 percent service charge so, as in restaurants, ask first.
Don't forget to tip a tour guide, if you book a private tour in Thailand. How much you leave is up to you, based on service, but 10 percent of the tour price is often used as a good rule of thumb.
Most people round up their taxi fare—so, for a 52 baht fare the driver would get 60 baht—and tip additionally for drivers who help with luggage or bags.
Know a fair rate for your distance and make sure you agree on your taxi fare before you get in the cab. This will help you make sure you don't get taken advantage of. Count and prepare your money in advance so you can quickly give it to the driver. If the service is not good, it is not expected that you leave a tip.
Ride-sharing apps are available in many parts of Thailand, especially in high tourist areas. While it requires waiting for the car service to arrive at your location, a benefit for the trade-off for not simply flagging down a taxi in the street is that the cost of the ride is clearly defined before the trip. These prices are around the same (perhaps a bit higher) than a taxi, but adding a small tip afterward (via the app) is a nice gesture.