Tipping in China, Hong Kong and Macau

China is an amazing country with an interesting mix of futuristic urban areas and historic regions which will make your jaws drop. It’s a massive country where you really need weeks to explore all the different treats it has to offer.

With tourism numbers climbing and more and more visitors exploring the country each year, it’s important to acclimatise to their customs and understand their culture. So, what about tipping in China? Well, it’s not common practice in general for the mainland Chinese population. However, in the tourism trade there are increasing signs of a tipping culture appearing.

If you’re visiting Hong Kong or Macau then the rules of tipping are different to that of mainland China. It is expected and very common.

How much should you tip in Hotels in China?

When staying at a hotel in China, tip the porter or bellhop $1 per bag they help you with. For housekeeping, tipping around $5 for the week. If there has been a very helpful concierge, you can tip them $2-5 dollars at the end of your stay.

If you are in a hotel in Hong Kong or Macau you should tip porters HK$10 per bag they help you with. For housekeeping tip 1-3% of the daily room charge.

Tipping in restaurants in China

If you visit a restaurant in China you are not expected to tip. However, should you be very happy with the service then tipping cash directly to the waiting staff is acceptable. This doesn’t need to be much – perhaps 3% of the total bill value. If you’re not happy with the service there is no need to tip.

If you are eating street food or fast food then there is no need to leave a tip.   

When at a restaurant in Hong Kong or Macau you should tip the waiting staff. Tip HK$5-10 at smaller, independent restaurants. If you’re at a larger, higher-end restaurant you should tip 10-15% of the total bill value.

How much gratuity to leave for a taxi journey.

There is no tipping culture when it comes to taxi journeys in China. You could leave a small tip of $1-2 if the taxi driver helps you with your bags or in general is very helpful.

In a taxi in Hong Kong or Macau, you should round up the bill to an amount you think is satisfactory. Tip additionally for any bags the driver helps you with or if the driver is extremely helpful.

Leaving a tip for a tour guide in China

If you have a tour in China it is not necessary to tip your tour guide. However, it is often done which makes some tour guides more expectant. If the tour guide is really good and informative then it is likely you will want to tip. Leave $5 per hour for a great tour.

During a tour in Hong Kong or Macau, tip $15-20 per private tour and $10 for a group tour.

Julius Goldthorpe