We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

tipping in Thailand

Which Chiang Mai hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
posts: 2
reviews: 6
tipping in Thailand

The company which planned our itinerary suggested tipping the guide $10 per person per day (there are four of us) and the driver $4 per person per day. This seems far far above what has been suggested in other forums. Any recent experience with tipping guides?

Hope Island...
posts: 69
1. Re: tipping in Thailand

Hi Sandy S, I have been travelling to Thailand for years and as far as I know tipping is not compulsory in Thailand but becoming more common, however if you believe they provide a good service please do tip them as many locals rely on your tip to live.

Have a great trip


posts: 2
reviews: 6
2. Re: tipping in Thailand

Thanks. Does $40 a day for the guide and $16 a day for the driver

sound reasonable? Many posts have suggested much less. Like most

people, I would like to be generous for good work, but an additional $56 a day adds up.

Buderim, Australia
posts: 138
3. Re: tipping in Thailand

Tell them they're dreaming.

300- 500 baht per day total ($9 - $15) would be plenty without being stingey.

Cheers, GOF.

Florida - Alaska...
Destination Expert
for Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Province, Outdoors / Adventure Travel
posts: 3,691
reviews: 1
4. Re: tipping in Thailand

You will see two basic schools of thought with tipping ... first is: Thailand is a cheap place to visit and tipping is optional, so only tip a few baht on par with the low salaries ... second is: Tips are a substantial part of a guide's earnings, and should be based on the value of services rendered not the cheap cost of living.

I tend to recommend the second approach and like the tour operator you contacted I make similar suggested values for our multiday tours. But they are just that, suggestions and the final amount tipped should be based on the level of service rendered.

I get disappointed by folks who follow the first school of thought and grumble about giving a guide a 100 baht tip, but have no issue sitting down at dinner and tossing back 2 or 3 150 baht Singhas each night.

Chiang Mai
Destination Expert
for Chiang Mai
posts: 1,737
reviews: 21
5. Re: tipping in Thailand

While tips are not expected here, it's a good thing to keep in mind that most of the drivers are only making about 5,000/THB per month. That would amount to about 175/USD A MONTH. Could you live on or would you work for that amount? Tour guides (especially those who take you out for multi day tours) spend a lot of time getting your tour ready, making sure that you are comfortable, have cold beverages/towels, translate for you during your tour and even after your tour day is over they most likely are still working answering your email questions as well as phone calls. The amount that the guide makes also has to pay for some of your entry fees, lunch, beverages, gas, etc.during your tour. At the end of the day, the profit to the guide may only be in the 1,000/THB range - or about 30/USD - and they don't work every day

So, ff your guide and driver have done a good job I would agree with MrCycling "I get disappointed by folks who follow the first school of thought and grumble about giving a guide a 100 baht tip, but have no issue sitting down at dinner and tossing back 2 or 3 150 baht Singhas each night." Just MHO - Marie (nannyre)

posts: 982
reviews: 36
6. Re: tipping in Thailand

As stated tipping isn't compulsory. I take the approach, if I am given very good service they get a good tip, if not then they get the minimum which when buying a meal might be just a roundup to the nearest 10. It really is a personal preference to how much you like to tip. Just keep in mind that an over the top tip can also be an embarassement to the one being tipped.

posts: 5,238
reviews: 61
7. Re: tipping in Thailand

Tipping is not compulsory in any country in the world. Tipping is not expected in Thailand; having said this, we round up the bill in restaurants etc. The quoted $10.00 a day is an absolutely ridiculous amount to tip. Of course tour operators will suggest this much so that they can underpay their staff. I would suggest 100 Baht a day pp if they do a good job. Don't turn Thailand into a clone of the US.

Houston, Texas
posts: 102
reviews: 23
8. Re: tipping in Thailand

Tip by how well you think they did but $10 a person seems like a lot especially if they are from a tour agency. This is their job afterall. I'd be more willing if it was from a small mom/pops tour shop that provided exceptional service. I've had experiences where I 'd hire a taxi guy from the suggestion of other bar patrons for the day and pay for their meal (Lunch/Dinner) and they are more than happy and not willing to take a tip when I offered.

In the end...IMO. Tipping is good, just don't make the country ridiculous to the point where it's expected for a certain X amount of money.

posts: 231
reviews: 3
9. Re: tipping in Thailand

Agree with Mr Cycling and Nannyre,

" I get disappointed by folks who follow the first school of thought and grumble about giving a guide a 100 baht tip, but have no issue sitting down at dinner and tossing back 2 or 3 150 baht Singhas each night. "

At the end of the day, a few hundred here or there, is not going to break the bank for you, but it means so much more to the locals here. ( the same applies to bartering over 20bt at the market).

As Nannyre says, for multi-day tours some guides will really put their heart and soul into making the best experience for you. Other guides, don't really care too much and just want to get the itinerary done and the day over with. Its a a totally different experience, and so a tip should depend on how happy you feel with service, and not about sticking rigidly to rules about %s and baht/day.

Also, any reputable company offering a quality tours, would not encourage tipping just so that they can underpay their guides.

posts: 1
10. Re: tipping in Thailand

I have the same dilemma. What did you finally settle on and was the operator happy?