Understanding Tipping in Hong Kong
Many countries have tipping customs in their establishments and some countries don’t these vary with ever country that you go to. In Hong Kong, unlike the US, tipping for the servers is very straightforward; so straightforward that you can actually see it on your receipt.
If you ever look at your receipts after paying for the meal, you can actually see a 10% service charge so you don’t really have to add anymore tip to your server. However, if you are given an excellent service, then you can add on a couple more to your server as this is the only way that your tip would actually go straight to your server.
Bars and Pubs
You don’t usually have to leave a tip if you are going to a bar or a pub unless you have a table and actually have a table service from a waitress. If you do want to give a tip, like in a restaurant, you will find an added 10% service charge on your bill afterwards. Leave more if you think they deserve more. Also, give the bar man a tip by giving them the change after buying a large round of drinks.
Taxi or Cab Driver
Taxi or cab drivers are not accustomed to tipping but it is the norm to leave a small change for the driver. For example, if the fare comes up to HK$56.20 and you paid an extra HK$20 leave the change.
This may sound weird but there are actually attendants inside the bathrooms in Hong Kong especially for hotels and upscale restaurant bathrooms. The attendants usually ready for any possible needs of the customers like towels, aftershave and even perfume. Some people are uncomfortable with this level of friendliness inside the bathroom but it is customary for the customer to give the attendant a few loose change for the service.
Lai See Tips
This one is exclusively a cultural thing done in Hong Kong especially during Chinese New Year. Lai See is basically the small red packets stuffs with money given not only to family members but also to security guards, receptionists, hairdressers and basically anybody else who gives you regular service.
There are some things to remember when giving Lai See, you should take into consideration the age and marital status as a guide as to how much you should give to your regular servers.
The Importance of Face
Hong Kong is one of the most culturally-intact countries in the world meaning that some of their oldest traditions, customs and beliefs are still very much prominent in their everyday lives and this is why their tipping system is as such. The concept of ‘face’ is very important and it is believed that you shouldn’t cause anyone you interact with to lose ‘face’ by your action such as tipping. It is important as to not wave your money and make the other person feel more inferior than you are in any way.