A Guide to Tipping in China

Tipping is a personal matter in recognition of good service from waiters, maids, hotel bellboys, tour guides and drivers. It is not common in western countries only. Tipping is not part of Chinese culture, but it has become a common practice in travel industries in mainland China. In Hong Kong and Macau, tipping is more common.

Tipping in China Mainland

Tipping in China

Since tipping is not part of the culture here, you will not see Chinese natives tipping. Most of your time traveling around China, you don’t need to worry about tipping or giving gratuity. However, there are a few places and situations where a tip or gratuity is welcomed in China if you are happy with their work. But tipping is not required.

The currency used in China mainland is renminbi (RMB). Yuan is the basic unit of the renminbi. One yuan is approximately US$0.15.

Tipping at Hotels in China

Tipping is neither expected nor required at hotels in China, even if you have someone to help with luggage. In high-end hotels catering to western tourists, leaving the skycaps and bellhops 10 to 20 yuan would be appreciated. Still, it’s not obligatory. And you don’t need to tip at hostels or inns.

Tipping at Restaurants in China

It’s not necessary to tip at most restaurants, low-end eateries and roadside stands. At fine dining restaurants in large international cities in China like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou, you could leave small cash tips to the waiter or waitress who offers services worth tipping. At some upscale urban restaurants, a 10 to 15% service charge may be customarily added to the bill. You don’t need to tip extra on top of that.

Recommended Beijing Shanghai Chengdu Tour:
10-day China Panda Tour with Classic China Highlights

Tipping a Taxi Driver in China

Basically, it’s no need to tip taxi drivers in China. It’s appropriate to round up the fare to the nearest yuan. If the driver helps with unwieldy luggage, you can round the fare up to the near 10 yuan. Sometimes taxi drivers may refuse your tips because sometimes it’s against the law to take tips or because of its no-tipping culture.

Tipping Tour Guides and Drivers in China

Tipping Tour Guide in China

Easy Tour China doesn’t include tipping in the tour quotations unless specified. However, it's recommended to tip the guides and drivers if you are satisfied with their service. It’s not compulsory but it’s a common practice in the travel industry in China. Tips are welcome and expected by tour guides and drivers, especially by foreigner group tour guides and drivers who depend on tip income. What or when you choose to tip depends on the service you get. Our suggestion would be: RMB250 or US$25 per day per group for the local tour guide and half of that for the driver.

Frequently Asked Questions by Customers of Easy Tour China:

  • What’s the best time to tip my tour guides and drivers?
    It’s up to you to decide. You can tip them at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of your tour.
  • I’m living in China. Can I tip through WeChat?
    Yes, of course. With a sense of ritual, you can put your tip in an envelope and hand it to your guide and driver. It’s also ok to directly tip them in cash. For expats in China, we understand you may be used to the cashless daily life in China. So tipping your guide and driver with payment apps such as Wechat and Alipay will be well-received too. >> see the Best China Tours for Expats
  • Tipping in Hong Kong

    Tipping in Hong Kong

    Though part of China, Hong Kong is not the same as mainland China on tipping etiquette. Tipping is common in Hong Kong, but not necessary or obligated. The local currency in Hong Kong is Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) instead of Chinese RMB. HK$1 is approximately US$0.13.

    Here are some of our popular Hong Kong Tour Packages that you may get inspired:

  • 4-day Hong Kong Tour for Family with Disneyland Package
  • 3-day Hong Kong Macau Tour of History and Modernity
  • 4-day Hong Kong In-depth Culture Tour with Food Tasting
  • Tipping at Hotels in Hong Kong

    Tipping is optional at hotels, but the skycap at upscale hotels might expect HK$10-20 for carrying your luggage. A small tip of HK$5-10 for showing your appreciation of room service is also typical. Before tipping you should check if any service charge is added in your bill.

    Tipping at Restaurants in Hong Kong

    Normally, most sit-down restaurants automatically add a 10% to 15% service charge on the bill. However, this money usually doesn’t go to the server. The local practice is to leave the coin change on the table or round up to the next dollar for courtesy. At high-end restaurants, you can leave a few cash tips for exceptional service. No need to tip if you pay at the counter. There is no need to tip at cafes and bars.

    Tipping a Taxi Driver in Hong Kong

    Taxi drivers in Hong Kong are not expected to be tipped. You may get change down to HK$0.5 at times, but they usually round up the change to the nearest dollar and don’t give the small change back to you. So there is no need to tip more than the rounded fare. But you can choose to round up the fare yourself if you are satisfied with the service. For example, if the fare of your ride is HK$48.86, you could pay HK$50 and let the driver keep the change.

    Tipping Tour Guide and Driver in Hong Kong

    It’s not compulsory, but it’s highly appreciated in Hong Kong’s tourism industry. Our suggestion would be: HK$200 or US$25 per day per group for the local tour guide and half of that for the driver.

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