Tips And Tipping In Bali: Everything You Need To Know About Island Tip Culture

Thinking about leaving a small tip for exceptional service in Bali but you’re not sure whether you will offend somebody?

Well, the good news is that tipping in Bali operates on some very simple rules and you should soon be an expert in when to leave a little extra cash and when not to.

Is Tipping In Bali Mandatory?

Close up picture of Indonesian rupiah coins
Picture Source: envato.com

No. In fact, many visitors and locals will never leave a tip for anything. There is no culture of tipping that is native to Indonesia.

However, it’s nice to provide a tip if Balinese people provide a great service at a fair price and given the state of local wages, a little extra cash can go a long way.

Just be aware that in tourist areas, many businesses have built-in service charges and these are levied at a percentage of the total cost of the service.

If you’ve paid a service charge then the money should go to your server and there’s no need to leave any extra unless you are particularly delighted with an individual’s efforts.

What Sort Of Tip Should I Give In Bali?

Close up picture of Indonesian rupiah banknotes
Picture Source: istockphoto.com

While excellent service is always something to be praised there are different standards for tipping in Bali depending on what service you have received.

So, we’ve broken them each down by the service provided below.

Tipping Your Masseur Or Spa Service

One of the big reasons to come to Bali is its incredible array of super relaxing spas and whether you opt for a massage or other spa service, you’re going to end up thinking about tipping at these places.

Firstly, check the bill for a service charge. Many premium and big-name spas add a 10% charge to the bill and you don’t need to tip at all if this is the case.

If there is no charge, then a 10% tip is about right. There’s no need to leave much more than that and it will always be gratefully received.

Tipping In Bali: What To Do About Hotel Staff?

Hotel workers don’t expect tips and generally speaking, most people in Bali don’t tip unless the staff go above and beyond the call of duty.

It’s fine to offer, for example, housekeeping staff a few extra bucks if they bring some extra towels on request after you’ve spent a day on the gorgeous beaches of Bali, but there’s no need for additional tipping just because they cleaned your room, that’s their job.

Tipping Your Drivers

Anonymous driver at steering wheel and riding car in summer
Picture Source: shutterstock.com

Taxi Drivers, Grab Drivers, and Private Drivers all provide an equivalent service but for different periods of time.

With a Grab or Taxi driver, we’d round to the nearest 10,000 IDR unless you’ve had a very long journey.

For a private driver, we’d offer 50,000-100,000 IDR a day for tips (it’s nice to offer to buy their lunch and provide a few snacks along the way too).

Tipping In Bali How To Handle Tour Guides

Tour guides tend to fall in a similar category to drivers in our book and you should tip a tour guide around 50,000 – 100,000 IDR for a good day’s work.

However, we don’t tip tour guides who hassle us outside of temples and waterfalls.

In fact, we won’t engage that kind of “tour guide” at all, you should expect guides to be trained and knowledgeable rather than someone expecting to make a quick buck by badgering naive tourists.

Tipping In Bali: Restaurants And The Service Charge

Most restaurants in tourist areas will add a service charge. This is usually 10% and it is meant to go to the staff and not into the pockets of the owner.

However, it’s fine to leave a small tip in addition to the service charge if you want to (most people will round their bill off) to show your gratitude.

In some smaller restaurants, there is no service charge and in these places, no tip is expected and it might even be misunderstood if you do tip.

Tipping In Bali: Hairstylists & Barbers

This group of workers is often attached to a spa and thus, there may be a service charge on the bill already.

However, if there is no such charge, you should leave a small tip that is proportional to the bill that you received.

Tipping In Bali: Dealing With Delivery Drivers

Delivery drivers unlike others working in transportation services don’t really expect a tip but tipping drivers for Grab deliveries and the like is a kind thing to do.

We’d round off the bill to the nearest 10,000 IDR, there’s no need to go overboard unless they’ve really put themselves out (if you ordered from a restaurant on the other side of the island, for example, you might want to go give a bigger tip no matter what the total bill looks like).

Places Not To Tip In Bali

candi kuning market
Picture Source: viator.com

While it’s fair to say that while local customs may not include tipping, a tip is often appreciated when offered with sincerity in Bali.

However, there are places where you shouldn’t tip and might even be perceived as a show-off if you try to tip in them.

Local Markets

You’re meant to haggle in Bali for goods and services at a market and the final price is what’s meant to be paid.

While the person you’re haggling with may be paid extremely low wages (or they may not, shopkeepers are often reasonably well off) they don’t see themselves in the same position as others in the service industry and a tip is considered to be an outright insult.

If they needed a tip for good service, they’d have built it in during the negotiations over price. So, next time you’re at Nusa Dua Night Market, keep the tips for later. 

Local Warungs

There is rarely any service charge levied in a warung, but that doesn’t mean that you’re expected to leave a tip.

The charges at these places are designed to ensure that every member of the family running it gets paid their fair share of the profits.

Guesthouses And Homestays

Strangely, many of the “workers” at small guesthouses or homestays aren’t employees, they’re helping out the owner who is usually a friend or family member.

They might be insulted if you were to tip them for work that they don’t consider to be work.

Basic Services

Nobody in Bali tips for basic services such as a gas station attendant filling their tank or for using a public restroom. It’s probably best not to instil new expectations for tipping here.

Note: Even if a tip isn’t required, it’s simply polite to treat everyone you encounter who provides a service with respect and to show gratitude for a job well done. Don’t be cheap with smiles and “thank yous”.

 

FAQs

How Much Do We Tip In Bali?

You can tip whoever you want in Bali as much as you want. However, you should check to see if there’s a service charge included as you don’t want to pay for a tip twice in most instances.

However, it’s best to keep the amount small and 10% of a bill is the most you would normally tip unless the service was completely out of this world.

In many cases, rounding the bill to the nearest 10,000 IDR or leaving 50,000 – 100,00 IDR is more than enough.

Is There A Tipping Culture In Bali?

No. In fact, there’s no culture of tipping in Bali or in Southeast Asia as a whole. That doesn’t mean that your tips aren’t appreciated, they very much are – but it does mean they’re not expected or essential.

What Is A Normal Tip In Bali?

It varies based on the service provided, but 10% in spas and restaurants would be about right, and for most other professions a small 50,000 IDR or a rounding of the bill is considered generous.

Is 50,000 IDR A Good Tip In Bali?

Yes. The minimum wage here in Bali is about 11,000 IDR (as we go to press in 2024) an hour. That means a 50,000 IDR tip is equivalent to half a day’s wages for many workers.

That shouldn’t stop you from being more generous if you feel so inclined, but it should help you keep perspective on the value of your tips here in Bali.

Is It Rude Not To Tip In Bali?

No, absolutely not. There is no requirement to tip in local culture and it is always treated as a pleasant surprise when someone does tip in Balil.

How To Book A Holiday In Bali?

If you want to spend some time in Bali practising your newfound tipping skills, we recommend that you book your holiday through the Bali Res Centre.

That’s a specialist local travel agent that always gets you a competitive deal on hotels, flights and tours here in Bali. And there’s definitely no need to tip your travel agent.

Final Thoughts On Tipping In Bali

Life in Bali is very much hassle-free compared to other countries and in common practice, the friendly locals don’t expect tips and don’t give tips, either.

However, tips are highly appreciated as a general rule for good service and leaving a small tip won’t harm anyone.

If you think the service provided merits a tip, then feel free to reward the service workers with a little extra but try not to go overboard, this isn’t America and tipping a large percentage of the total bill is entirely unnecessary.