Tipping in Hong Kong

As I’m sharing about traveling around the world, I thought I should do my part for my home Hong Kong, and welcome those of you who are visiting or have decided to move here. To get more practical tips and information on surviving Hong Kong, follow me on Instagram, YouTube, and remember to subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter!

Today, we’re going to talk about tipping, while this thought is still on my mind. I always forget to look up how much I should tip when I travel because we don’t really do that in Hong Kong. Well, we do, but most restaurants have a service charge notice on their menus and include a 10% service charge in your bill which is essentially the tip. 

Unlike a lot of western countries, F&B staff are paid a relatively higher basic salary, without the expectation of making a significant amount in tips.

While word on the street is that wait staff in Hong Kong don’t get the tips, this is slowly changing. Restaurant groups like Pirata pride themselves in giving their wait staff all tips received. For the local restaurants, most wait staff really don’t get any tips, but at least that explains the terrible service (okay, a lot of places still offer great service). In some Chinese restaurants like “cha chan tang” (茶餐廳) where no service fee is charged, you’ll find a tin box at the cashier, and the staff split the tips collected. 

I’m cheap and don’t usually tip beyond the 10% added to my bill, knowing what I add isn’t going into the wait staff’s pocket anyway. What are your tipping habits in Hong Kong like? 

To find out more about tipping around the world, check out Stuff You Should Know’s podcast.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. JY says:

    Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for the post! I’m just wondering about hair salons in Hong Kong. Do we need to tip the hair stylist? 😛


    1. rachiepn says:

      Hi JY, thanks for your comment! Franky, I’m sorry and I don’t really know. It’s actually been a super awkward thing for me not being able to figure it out. I know years ago people slot cash into their pigeon holes, but the salon I go to now has the tip pigeon holes in the most awkward position ever which makes me wonder if we’re still expected to use it.

      Does anyone else know?


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