Tipping isn't expected in Cambodia, but it is always appreciated. Many service workers in Cambodia earn a low wage, so if you are happy with the services provided by waiters, drivers, guides or others, leaving a small tip depending on the service is a good way to show your appreciation. Higher-end establishments, like upmarket restaurants and hotels, are beginning to include a service charge of 7–10% on travellers' bills. At cheaper eateries, like streetside food stalls or fast food outlets, a tip is not expected.
In terms of transport, it's not usually necessary to tip for short trips on a tuk-tuk or moto as you will likely be charged a tourist rate; however, if you book a driver for a day or two and are happy with the service, a tip would go a long way. Tipping also encourages excellent service in the future and is an entrenched element of the tourism industry in many Intrepid destinations.
Many temples and religious sites in Cambodia are free to visit, but some will have contribution boxes at entrances to cover the upkeep of these sacred places. Here, you may like to donate a few thousand riel at the beginning or end of your visit.
Cambodian locals are a very humble people, so if you do wish to leave a tip, please do so in a discrete manner – perhaps when shaking your guide's hand at the end of your time together. Carrying small notes in the local currency will make tipping easier. It is best to avoid tipping with coins, very small denomination notes or dirty and ripped notes, as this can be regarded as an insult.
Participate in a tipping kitty
On the first day of your trip your local leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, which everybody contributes an equal amount to at the start of the tour. Your leader then uses this to tip drivers, local guides and hotel staff on your behalf. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent, which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour is returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassle of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty is optional, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader.
Tipping your local leader in Cambodia
You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however the equivalent of USD 2–4 per person, per day, is a commonly used guideline. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Our tours in Cambodia