Polite ways to give tipping in Vietnam

You may learn a few rules below, on how to give tipping in Vietnam properly, so that the recipient can feel comfortable and appreciated.

Giving tips is a well-known culture in plenty of countries around the world, including Vietnam, and the way how to give tips is also quite vital.

Please read the article below!

What is a tip?
How to give tips in Vietnam at different places
General good rules to give tip politely

give tipping in vietnam
Tipping is a cultural point in Vietnam to know it. Photo: Karolina Grabowska/pixels

What is a tip?

Tipping, also known as a tip, originates from service or product users wanting to express their satisfaction or thank you for the quality of suppliers or the waiters.

For a long time, tipping has become a common culture in American and European countries, which is considered a default when you use the service. Especially in restaurants and hotels, or tourism in general, receives the most common tip, including reception, waiters, waitresses, security guards, baggage staff, tourist guides, drivers, etc.

How to give tips in Vietnam at different places

give a tip in vietnam
Give a tip in correct way to improve your politeness. Photo: DerDani/pixabay

1. In restaurants with minimalist service such as ordering at the counter, receiving food and drinks at the counter, or self-service, you do not have to tip by default.

If you would like to express your gratitude or have a special reason to tip the waiter for handing you a tissue or serving you privately with warm water, you can send a little bit of gratitude during checkout. In which, not getting the change back is the way most people use it.

2. In a popular or small restaurant, you also don’t need to care about giving tips. These restaurants are almost not used to receiving tips and will be narcissistic with it, especially for many restaurant owners, a little bit of small Vietnamese money also makes them uncomfortable.

How can you send tips in this case? If for some reason, you want to tip privately, show sincerity and familiarity by complimenting their food and drink.

The best way is that you say good words or praise about the food or drink, then at checkout, you can optionally send a slightly higher amount, along with the message of your praise again. Surely they will be happy to take the money and remember you the next time and maybe will give you a special service.

3. For an average and decent restaurant, for example some restaurants in Hue City, with a beautifully designed space, a bit of privacy for guests, not too noisy and the staff is quite professional and focused on work, you can tip them.

Usually, these shops do not sell expensive food, do not charge tips on the menu, and do not require customers to tip, but you should tip in this case and it is not necessary to tip much, just from 10,000 or 20,000 VND, or more depending on your conditions.

4. When entering luxurious 4 or 5-star places, this will be the place where you should almost tip for all services. The way to give tips in Vietnam in this case both tells satisfaction and thank you and shows yourself in the way you treat people and understand. Even the way you tip can lead others to make you happy.

In luxury places, you need to follow their arrangement and service process, follow the instruction of the waiters, supervisors, and restaurant managers. You can completely change seats or even change the vase or candles on the table, but you need to speak politely and smartly.

On average, you need to tip about 10% plus 5% at the restaurant itself. Based on relative evaluation criteria such as:

  • All personal requests are fulfilled and served cheerfully and professionally.
  • Good food served at the right time and knows how to arrange time and space for a party night.
  • Bring more spoon when you or your friend need it; pour wine gently without shaking hands, accidentally dropping a drop of wine on the table also quickly pulled back the plate of food to cover, or say sorry.
  • Delicate and understanding life: When overheard that guests are flirting with each other or discussing business, the staff gently step away from a little; approach only when there is a need, and when approaching at a moderately slow pace, enough for people to gently pause while the service is present. The attentive and clever service can say that he or she is standing in the corner. If you two need anything, please signal he or she will come right away.

5. When being a traveler, you can go with drivers and guides to explore many famous destinations in Vietnam. Tipping for drivers and local guides is very common, even though it said tipping was not compulsory in your itinerary.

For traveling with a daily tour, for example, a city tour in Hanoi or Saigon, a food tour in Hue, or a cooking class, you may leave tips at the end of the service when you feel happy with what you get from the tour.

For raveling multi-day tours and using private service, you can give tips at the beginning of each day. In that way, you can receive more care. But, tipping at the beginning of the day requests a good amount enough to show your politeness. For guide, 10USD is good for a starting-day tip, driver is often half of the guide’s tipping from 5USD.

But, when traveling multi-day tours with a join-group, the tipping is often on the last day of the journey. And, tipping should be put in an envelope which you can find in your hotel room or ask reception.

General good rules to give tip politely

tipping in vietnam
Tipping in Vietnam with a good message is usually loved. Photo: RODNAE Productions/pixels

1. At the restaurant, borrow the leather cover and clip the money inside. In case of no cover, put money tipping on the table discreetly.

2. If you want to tip for the remaining change after the bill, softly say that you keep it. Thank you! Or in the case of using a card, write the tip amount in the bill and give it to the staff and sign it.

>>> Learn about the Vietnamese alphabet to start saying “Cảm ơn!” (Thank you!) in Vietnamese language!

3. Please round the number with a banknote (it means fix odd small number to be a higher note) so that it is civilized, avoid giving much small money with different denominations or too odd.

4. If you put the tip in the leather cover, and if the waiter has not yet come to pick it up, but you must leave. A thank you hand sign, or a nodding gesture is a good way, then put the cover on the table. The waiter will understand and come back to pick it up later.

5. Note not to tip exaggeratedly. Do not give tips in front of other people.

6. Tipping should be not under 5,000 dong in Vietnam. If you use dollars, from 1USD is good to give tipping.

7. When you decide not to tip, or tip very little in a fancy place, for compelling reasons, in some cases you do not need to do anything. If you want to express your disappointment with their service, please do it privately and politely. When returning raw, damaged, or incorrect food, don’t raise your voice, and don’t shake your head in dismay. Let them regret it, but don’t think you’re unlucky!

And small vital note that holds your head high and feels free to step out of luxury without tipping when you have a good reason to do so. But, when you have no good reasons, and you have ignored to tip, next time it is better to choose a restaurant that is more affordable and comfortable.

Save these tipping ways in Vietnam to use when you travel in the beautiful landscape. This is a useful travel guide to make you a polite and knowledgeable service user for the first time to come to Vietnam.

And, also note that those tips are general rules. You also need to check or listen to the own rules at each place or company. It is better to ask your local guide or a local friend to do. Good luck!

About the author


Editor at HueFlavor is a15-year local guide, Mr. Ho Thom, who loves local food in Hue as well as in Vietnam. Trusted by hundreds of guests around the world.