Whenever you travel to a foreign country, it's always a concern about how to tip or whether you should tip.
Unfortunately, Thailand is becoming more and more used to tipping with many restaurants, hotels etc adding a 10% service charge to the bill. The issue with this is that you can't be sure that what you tip actually gets to the staff. Basically, this is Thailand and it would be a very special establishment that actually does the honourable thing and gives tips that have been added to the bill, to its staff.
There is nothing we can do about this. if the service is added to the bill, then we have to bite the bullet and pay up and make a decision as to whether to return or not.
Smaller establishments in Bangkok and around Thailand probably won't add a service charge to the bill and you'll have to decide what is a fair tip based upon what they have done and what they earn in general.
The minimum wage rate for Thailand is, as of 2008, 203 Baht per day. This is approximately 6.50 US Dollars and so giving a 5 dollar tip, you are doubling their daily wage and is probably too much. You have to ti[ according to where you are. The more up-market the establishment, the more you'd give as a tip but still keep it within the area of 100-200 Baht.
As a tipping guide, we've put together this table, but it's only our opinion and can be used as a general rule of thumb for tipping in Bangkok and around Thailand.
Cost in Baht
Tip Given in Baht
20 - 30
500 - 1000
30 - 50
1,000 - 2,000
50 - 100
2,000 - 5,000
100 - 200
no more than 300 Baht
We feel that going for the standard 10% is subjective. For instance. If you have a meal with a group of people and the bill comes to 5,000 Baht, you'd not leave 500 Baht as a tip. It would be far too much. Leaving 100 Baht is acceptable and probably considered quite generous but be careful not to over tip.
No need to tip taxi drivers. Just round the amount up which is shown on the meter.
If the meter shows 65 Baht, round it up to 70 Baht. If giving a 100 Baht note suggest he gives you 30 Baht change.
If the meter is 85 Baht, and you give 100 Baht, it's up to you whether you want the change or not. I'd normally give 100 and just get out. However, it should be you who offers and not the driver who takes. Bangkok taxi drivers will try every trick to get more money. Feel free to tip, but if they aren't giving you the change, sit and wait for it.
HOTEL STAFF, tipping at hotels is welcome. Bell boys, concierges don't get paid well. If the bell boy delivers your bags to your room, then give a tip. 50 Baht is fine but no more than 100 Baht.
BARS / CLUBS In Bangkok and Thailand, if you go to a bar, pub or club, they don't make you pay per drink. A tab will run where they place all order chits into a holder and add it up at the end. When you come to pay, give your waiter or waitress a tip. If you've only had one drink, then 20 Baht is fine. If you've sat there all night, then 100 wouldn't be unreasonable.