Generally, tipping is not expected on mainland China, although leaving spare change at restaurants and giving a small amount to tourism and hospitality workers is becoming more commonplace (although not mandatory). For example, tipping porters and bartenders a small amount is welcome and some large hotels and restaurants may already include a 10–15 per cent surcharge within the bill.
The culture of tipping is different in Hong Kong, where taxi drivers and restaurants will usually round up the bill, and service staff like porters will generally expect a tip.
If you do decide to tip, please don't use coins, very small denomination notes or dirty and ripped notes. This is culturally regarded as an insult.
Tipping local guides in China
Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest USD 2–5 per day for local guides depending on their service and their involvement with the group.
Participate in a tipping kitty in China
Depending on the type of trip you are doing and the number of local staff involved, your tour leader may discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all money spent. The record can then 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 hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.
Tipping your leader in China
You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD 4–6 per person, per day can be used. 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.
Once again for those of you in the back: a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Our tours in China