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How much should you Tip in Thailand especially Pattaya

Tipping is more an American thing than it is Australian, in fact when I grew up in Australia the only time I tipped was the barmen so I could get a stronger drink. The service industry in Thailand is very similar to the American industry and those who work particularly at pubs clubs and restaurants typically live off their tips. Tipping in Pattaya goes to the extreme level and so it should as people come here to have a good time and those who service people here need to go the extra mile to make those people happy.

That said I have no problem giving a tip for great service, how much though typically depends on two things, how much money is in my pocket and how good the service was. In the USA I would be more inclined to leave a tip of 15-20% (in some cases you don't have a choice) but in Thailand I'm more likely to give a 20-50 baht tip regardless of how much the bill is unless of course it's outstanding service which then I might leave a 100 baht tip. I honestly don't think this is being cheap at all especially when at a go go bar or regular beer bar but that's just me.

For the above tipping I'm talking about waiters and waitresses as for bar girls and go go girls and for that matter Karaoke girls I rarely tip at all unless they have offerred exceptional service. They still make their tips off me albeit not in the form of cold cash but rather in drinks. That kind of work they are expected by their bosses to get drinks so the bar/club makes more money since they make around 50 baht a drink and you buy them a few I don't see why you should have to pay a tip on top of that. You can if you want but that's not how I roll.

Really giving someone a Tip should be because they have offered exceptional service, but what do you do when someone gives you terrible service, should you really give them a Tip? Many hotels especially in the 4 and 5 star category have service charge that is automatically added to the bill. In most circumstances this is ok because these kinds of establishments usually have high level of standards and training that ensure you get the utmost best service possible. But what about beer bars, go go bars, and nightclubs in Thailand, their standards are typically sub par and honestly lacking in any sort of training.

So when you get shit service should you really pay a Tip? I don't think so but these idiots working at these bars still pester you for one then call you names if you don't give them one. This kind of thing pisses me off. Take for example the other night I went and tried out this go go club called the Submarine in Soi LK metro Pattaya. I walk into the place and immediately know I don't like it but you know I walked in and felt like I'm in here now It would be rude of me to just walk out so I sit down and buy a coke (can't drink every bloody day).

I know this place isn't the kind of place I like because A. it's too damn small and B the girls are ugly but like I said I thought I'd have some manners and buy a drink anyway even if it is a coke. I'm sitting there and had a chat to the guy next to me and one of the dancers 19y/0 Oil sits next to me and immediately asks for a drink. I told her to go ask the guy accross the way from me, I kinda wanted to get out of there and really she wasn't good looking and well I don't wanna buy her a drink and then have her sit next to me so after a few attempts she moves on. I'm smiling and stuff and still in a good mood even though the place is crap and I shouldn't be there in the first place. I ask nicely for the bill and the lady says it's 80 baht (rip off considering a beer is only a few baht more).  Whatever I'm still happy at this point and hand her a 1000 baht bill. She says NO loudly and points to the 5 20 bahts in my wallet. I said NO please I want to pay with the 1000 baht bill. No you give me the 20's. Geez whatever if you wanna be like that about it here's 4 twenties my 80 baht.


Are you kidding me? First you come over to me with this attitude then don't accept my money demand I pay with money I don't wanna use (how am I going to give the motorbike taxi a 1000 baht bill idiot) then have the hide to ask me for a tip! Bitch! So ask her why would I give her a tip when you give me shit service and tell me what to do? Dumb bitch doesn't get it and starts calling me all sorts of nasty names in Thai and finishes in Thai with ใจดำ Jai Dum which is basically calling me cruel for not giving her a tip. I tell her she has the mouth of a dog and walk out without paying the tip. And to think the only reason I sat down in the first place was because I couldn't bring myself leave without at least buying a drink.

So when you get crap service in Thailand should you really have to pay for a tip?

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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

17 Responses to How much should you Tip in Thailand especially Pattaya

  1. Greg April 21, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    Well us Yanks have been trained since when we are toddlers to leave a tip no matter what, but after being away from that place for awhile I am starting to learn to be less obedient to silly American traditions. I am getting to the point where I don’t leave a tip for bad service, and then the waitress shouts, “Are you Australian or sumthin?” I always say yes to help keep up the good reputation of Aussies. I do think in regard to tipping, Aussies are a bit smarter than fresh off the boat Americans.

    • Chris April 21, 2012 at 2:27 am #

      Are you Australian or sumthin! lol

  2. ChiangMaiGuy April 21, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    no way! normally I only leave coins (in bars) where I have at least reasonable service and often if it’s 80 baht and I give 100 I don’t leave the 20 baht unless I like the girl who has been pleasant. If there are two 10 baht coins I often leave one but if I have just the one drink mostly I leave zero – normally 10/20 baht if I have been there awhile and had a few drinks – normally giving the 20 baht personally to the waitress as she then gets to keep it.

    If they come sit next to me I normally say ‘I’m ok thanks I’m waiting for my friend’ (so they don’t lose their precious little faces) and they go off and bug another ‘mark’.

    In your situation it’s a no-brainer ‘kegong mak’

  3. bacardiboy April 21, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    where ever the establishment charge’s service tax usually it’s around 10% i don’t leave a tip …….. but if there is no service charge and the service is good like in restaurant’s or hotel’s i will leaving anything between 50-100 baht’s . road side stalls where i eat will around 20 baht’s . i agree with you Chris for not leaving a single penny for the lady @ Submarine gogo , she need’s to learn a lesson in customer management .

  4. steve April 21, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    Only tip I give is Don’t eat yellow Snow !!

  5. wrevelater April 23, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    here s my two cents: if you dont feel like leaving a tip then you should nt feel you have to. thais dont really tip, right? and we r in thailand.
    but if you wanna be nice, and leave something because it might make someone happy, then go ahead and tip. thats what i think about it. when it comes down to it, i dont have to tip, and that s the bottom line.

  6. Working Tourist April 24, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    In Patong Beach they seem to no longer give you a cup (running bill) so you get the chance to tip each time you order a new drink (and get a mean look if you don’t).

    They will however gladly take your 1,000 baht note for a 80 baht drink as they’ll then give you back 2 tens, 5 twenties, and the rest in bigger bills, expecting you to “leave the coins and an extra 20 baht note”.

    • Phangan April 25, 2012 at 3:40 am #

      Sneaky tricks – I’ve noticed lately that I’ll get a bunch of 10B coins as change along with a few bills, apparently hoping I’ll leave all the change as a tip, which might just happen to be 50B+ at that point 😐 I’m glad to pay 20-50B for decent service, more if exceptional service or after Thai massage – but I’ll leave nothing if I smell greed instead of gratitude.

  7. joe April 27, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    I like when they give you coins back from a bill.. I say good now I can use it for the damm toilet,5baht to piss.. wtf

    • Chris April 27, 2012 at 4:55 am #

      Why is it when you have to pay for the toilet it’s always dirty, but when you get a free toilet it’s clean? WTF?

  8. Johnnie Walker April 27, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    I don’t tip if I’ve received bad service and I make a point of telling why I’m not tipping.

    Be careful with assuming that where there is service charge this goes to staff. In many places they don’t see 1 bht of it.

    Also remember that if you place a tip on the silver tray, it goes into the collective pot to be shared amongst all staff. If you’ve received particularly good service from an individual, give it to them in their hand. Its then up to them whether they pocket it, as is the intention and they know that, or throw it in the collection.

    “Working tourist” that name is a bit of an oxymoron isnt it?

  9. Rad Bob April 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    IF the Thai people don’t tip, why should I. The white man tax is everywhere already. For great service and not ripping me off, I tip.

  10. PhilthyMcNasty June 17, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    I go to many places where they rarely see farang. More times than not I rarely see Thai people (rich Thai’s) not leave anything or 20 baht at the most. My girlfriend is shocked at how much I tip. 50 baht. Her family has money but they never would tip that much. Generally now I won’t tip more than 20 baht though.

  11. jimmymck December 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    agree that Submarine bar is fucking shite…

  12. John October 7, 2015 at 8:10 am #

    When I am in a foreign country I do like the locals. In Thailand that means I do not ever tip. In taxis I will round up, that’s about it. No one tips outside of the tourist places here in Thailand.

    • Chris October 13, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

      Any real restaurant farang or thai people tip, i’m talking quality restaurant, most nightclubs, bars thai people tip as well.

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