On tipping & being environmentally friendly

May 18, 2010 at 13:59 | Posted in Indonesia, Travel, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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There wasn’t a safe in my hotel room, upon clarification, I’m supposed to have it in the room. So the reception promised to deliver a safe in my room.

I kept my doors open, prepared a 5000 rupiah note on the table, prepared to give out as a tip, even though it is the hotel’s fault that I did not have a safe in my room.

3 person came; the manager (with a neck tie on), the reception, and the technician. The technician installed the safe (and left immediately), the reception just stood outside the door, and the manager showed me how to use the safe, asked me if I need room service, whether I need to change my towel etc.

Who should the 5000 rupiah goes to? In the end, it’s still there on the table.

I was trying to be environmentally friendly by not asking for daily room service, don’t really NEED that… seriously, do you change your bed sheets and towels daily at home? If not, why so when you travel?

Below are some tips on tipping, hope it comes in useful…


Tips on Tipping
Gratuity can be a tricky business: what’s just right in one country can be miserly–or extravagant–in another. For this handy guide, there’s no charge

It’s every traveler’s nightmare. the porter brings your bags to your room and helpfully explains how to access CNN. He shows you how to turn on the lights and adjust the air-con. Then he points to the phone and says: “If there’s anything else you need, just call.” All this time, you’ve been thinking one thing: “How much should I tip this guy?” Out of desperation you shove a few notes into his hand, hoping that you’ve neither offended him nor become the sole benefactor of his son’s college fund.

It’s difficult to divine what constitutes an appropriate tip in any country. In Japan, if you leave a couple of coins on the table, the waiter is liable to chase after you to return your forgotten change. In New York, on the other hand, if you leave less than 15%, your reservation might not hold up next time. Asia, with it’s multiplicity of cultures and customs, is a particularly difficult terrain. To make your next trip a little easier, here’s a guide to tipping across the region:

Everything goes in Thailand’s capital, and that rule applies to tipping as well. Some places expect it; others don’t. In general, the more Westernized the place is the more likely you’ll be expected to leave a gratuity.
Restaurants: Some top-end eateries will add a 10% service charge to the bill. If not, waiters will appreciate you tacking on the 10% yourself. However, if you’re eating at a down-scale restaurant a tip is not necessary.
Porters: If you’re staying at one of Bangkok’s many five-star establishments, expect to tip the porter 20 to 50 baht, depending on how many bags you have.
Taxis: Cabs are now metered in Bangkok, so there’s no haggling over your fare. Local custom is to round the fare up to the nearest five baht.

Gratuity is de rigueur in this money-mad metropolis at all but the lowest establishments. Even bathrooms in posh hotels have little dishes for loose change.
Restaurants: Most places automatically add a 10% service charge to the bill, but the surcharge often ends up in the pocket of the owner, not the staff kitty. If the service is good, add another 10% to the bill, up to HK$100 if you’re in an especially nice restaurant.
Porters: HK$10 should do it at all but the nicest hotels where a crisp HK$20 bill may be more acceptable.
Taxis: Round up to the nearest dollar, although many drivers will do this on their own when making change.

Tipping is not part of local culture, but international influences have turned some Westernized palms upward in search of a few extra rupiah.
Restaurants: A 10% service charge is added at most high-end eateries. At moderately priced restaurants, 5,000 rupiah should do it–if the service is superb, tack on an extra 1,000 or so.
Porters: Pay a few hundred rupiah for each bag.
Taxis: Most drivers will automatically round up to the next 500 rupiah. Others will claim they have no change and will bleed you for more. Don’t accept anything more than a 1,000-rupiah markup.

Like Indonesia, tipping in Malaysia is confined to the pricier Westernized joints, which often add a 10% service charge to your meal or hotel room.
Restaurants: If you’re at a hotel restaurant, expect a 10% service charge or add the equivalent yourself. But at local hawker stalls you’ll be bargaining for your laksa anyway, so there’s no need to add a gratuity.
Porters: At five-star hotels, one or two ringgit will suffice. At lower-end establishments, don’t feel compelled to tip.
Taxis: Many taxis are now metered, so you can just round up to the nearest ringgit. In unmetered taxis, expect a session of hard bargaining for the ride.

Tipping is common in Manila, and anything above 10% will gain you undying loyalty.
Restaurants: Even if a service charge is included, custom dictates adding another 5%-10% to the bill.
Porters: Service in top hotels is good and should be rewarded with 20 pesos per bag.
Taxis: Most cabs are metered, and rounding up to the next five pesos is a good rule of thumb.

Tipping is not part of Korean culture, although it has become a matter of course in international hotels where a 10% service charge is often added.
Restaurants: If you’re at a Korean barbecue joint, there’s no need to add anything extra. But a sleek Italian restaurant may require a 10% contribution.
Porters: If you’re at a top-end hotel, international standards apply, so expect to fork over 500-1,000 won per bag.
Taxis: Drivers don’t expect a tip, so unless you’re feeling remarkably generous, keep the change for yourself.

According to government mandate in the Lion City, tipping is a no-no. It’s basically outlawed at Changi Airport and officials encourage tourists not to add to the 10% service charge that many high-end hotels tack on to the bill.
Restaurants: Singaporeans tend not to leave tips, especially at the bustling outdoor eateries. Nicer restaurants do sometimes levy a 10% service charge, and there’s no need to supplement that.
Porters: Hotel staff are the one exception to the no-tipping rule. As a general guide, S$1 should be adequate for baggage-lugging service.
Taxis: Drivers don’t expect gratuity, but they won’t refuse if you want to round up the fare to the next Singaporean dollar.

Like Japan and China, Taiwan is not a tipping society–even though much of the currency seems to come in coin form.
Restaurants: Tipping is not expected. However, that rule is changing as American-style eateries introduce Western ways.
Porters: You can offer NT$50, but the hotel staff won’t be overly offended if you don’t tip.
Taxis: Gratuity is not expected, although rounding up the fare to the next NT$5 helps avoid unnecessary change.


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