Tipping in Vietnam: Yay or Nay?

Tipping in Vietnam – do you or don’t you?

tipping in vietnam

It’s an excellent question, because, on the face of it, it’s so darned cheap in Vietnam that leaving a little extra for services that you enjoyed will hardly dent your budget. But those extra few Dong when tipping in Vietnam will be more than appreciated by the locals…especially in the bigger cities, where tourists are more common (out in the sticks the concept of tipping is still in its nappies…).

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However, major hotels, restaurants and other upper-end tourist-oriented services in Vietnam typically add a 5-10% service fee to bills, so you really don’t need to tip when visiting/using one of these (just keep an eye on your bill). Elsewhere, those few extra Dong are much appreciated when tipping in Vietnam, especially by waiters, drivers, and guides.

Our golden tips for tipping in Vietnam are as follows:

The GOLDEN RULEIf the service was crap, simply don’t tip. Even though it can be incredibly cheap in Vietnam sometimes, you are under no obligation to tip. If the service was excellent, tip, and throw in an extra $ or 2, it will be so appreciated.
Restaurants and bars Many upscale restaurants don’t require tipping, as a 10% service charge is often tacked onto your bill already. For bartenders that have given excellent service, I usually round up the bill to the nearest dollar or two.
Note that for street food vendors, they will likely be offended if you try tipping them!
Porters A tip with American currency will be greatly appreciated. Throw in a dollar per time somebody really helps you out (the bellboy with your bags, for example).
Hotel ServicesGovernment-run hotels will add a 10% service charge on your bill. For other hotels, throw in a dollar or 2 for each day for the housekeeper.
Spas and massages The classier spas will probably set you back a fair few Dong, so I wouldn’t leave a tip, unless you were completely wowed. In the lower-priced spas, I’d probably give a nice little tip of 10-15% if the service was great.
TaxiYou don’t really have to leave a tip for taxi drivers, they probably won’t expect it. However, with both taxi and Grab drivers I’ve usually just rounded the fee up to include a tip – so instead of, for example, 15,000 VND, I’ve handed over 20,000VND, especially if he’s done a decent job of not killing anyone along the route!
Tour guideIf you really enjoyed the tour, I’d definitely recommend $2 per day.
Don’t miss our money saving tips for enjoying Vietnam on a budget!
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