We often get asked about tipping in Vietnam. Tipping is one of those things that varies from country to country, andoften travelers can get confused on the subject of tipping. So we are here to help clear that up. Frequently, people receive completely different answers to this question.
Here are the most common occurrences when someone may ask themselves, “Should I leave a tip?” and how to properly respond.
In some countries, like the United States, it is considered rude to not leave a tip for a taxi driver. In Vietnam, it isn’t required and a driver will not be insulted if you do not tip. However, if your taxi fare is, for example, VND 90,000 then it is normal to give VND 100,000 and tell them to keep the change.
Vietnam is pretty famous for its delicious street food. Some of the best food can be found at street food stops. It is not typical to tip at these street food stops, unless you are really impressed by the food or service. If you are very impressed, VND 20,000 is a good tip!
Fancier restaurants get more confusing. Nicer restaurants almost always include a service charge of around 10%. Although you may think this goes directly to your server, it doesn’t always reach their pockets. The management may divide this up and the servers end up getting a smaller cut than you expect. If you receive outstanding service it is typical to leave an extra tip of VND 100,000/person.(When dealing with higher priced services in general, if you are really impressed then use the easy rule of thumb to leave a tip of VND 100,000/person. So when in doubt, just refer back to this as a pricing point.)
Ahh… the spa. Spas are considerably cheaper in Vietnam than countries like Australia, Canada, the United States, or in Europe. So it’s understandable that when people go to the spa they become unsure of proper tipping etiquette. For cheaper spas, a few dollars is appropriate. Similarly to restaurants, the nicer spas will include a service charge of 5-10%. Again, like most situations in Vietnam, if you truly had an outstanding experience it is appropriate to add a little extra tip!
Tour Guides: (We are a tour company… so can’t dodge this part!)
For day tours, use the rule of thumb! VND 100,000 is typical if you are pleased with your tour. If you have a great tour guide and driver then let them know! Usually when giving the tip, just give the amount to the tour guide and they will divide it out amongst the driver(s) and themselves.
As many people know, Vietnam is a developing economy. This means that many people do not receive high wages. When they receive tips, it is greatly appreciated. However, tips should always reflect their level of service!