International travelers are used to tipping when it comes to restaurants, hotels, taxis and more…but what about in China? Should travelers give tips in China?
The fact is that tipping STILL is not a common practice anywhere in China. Conveniently for you, 95% of the time you don’t have to worry about tipping while you’re traveling around the country. There are, however, a few exceptions that I’d like to point out here.
When to Tip in China – The Exceptions
There are very few times when it is acceptable to tip in China. Notice the word acceptable, not expected. Most of the time people will just look at you like you’re crazy if you try to hand them a monetary tip. Not always, though, and these situations include:
- High Level Restaurants – if you’re spending more than USD$100 for a meal, chances are a tip would be acceptable. If you are eating at any medium to small restaurant, don’t bother.
- Tour Group Guides & Drivers – unfortunately it has become a common practice among travelers to tip their tour guides so they have come to expect it. Watch what everybody else in your group does and follow suit.
- Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan – because these areas of China have heavy western influence, all tipping rules still apply.
What Happens If I Tip When I Shouldn’t?
If you end up tipping someone who isn’t used to being tipped, don’t be surprised if they come running after you with your extra money. This goes for waitresses, taxi drivers, and bellhops.
You may find this weird, but really it is a display of their honesty. They don’t expect a tip and don’t even know what to do with one.
More and more the practice is creeping its way into the Chinese mindset, but for now travelers don’t have to worry.