Apart from the stunning beaches and incredible scenery, one of the biggest draws to Bali – and my favourite thing about the island – is the friendly locals. Always with a smile on their face and offering a helping hand, nothing is too much of a bother.
Whether it’s hotel staff, taxi drivers, restaurants waiters or spa therapists, their curious questions and friendly temperaments allow you to feel comfortable and welcomed.
So, considering all this about the lovely Balinese people how much should you tip?
The tipping culture in Bali isn’t mandatory (although some restaurants in the main tourist areas may have a service charge). So in general you can choose to tip, or not, and no-one will be chasing after you. However, monthly wages are very low in the service industry, so if you can spare the extra, I recommend tipping for every good service you receive.
Here are some tips for tipping in Bali –
When to Tip in Bali?
Tipping in Bali Restaurants
When you are eating in established restaurants, it is more than likely that a service charge has been included in your bill – on these occasions you don’t necessarily have to add any extra. But, if you really loved your server then adding some extra cash when returning your check is a nice way to thank them.
There is no specific percentage or amount outlined for tipping, even just a ‘keep the change’ will be appreciated.
It is different for local warungs or cafes as they don’t usually include a service charge. Although it is not expected, adding a little extra when you settle your bill will let them know you loved their service.
Just remember, you won’t be shunned or chased down the street if you have nothing extra to tip.
Tipping in Bali Accommodations
Hotels generally include a service charge in their price, so there is no requirement for additional tipping. However, if you receive an excellent service from a certain bellboy, doorman or maid you can hand over a little bit extra for their troubles.
Once again, this is not an expectation so there is no required amount or percentage, it depends on the length of your stay. I would recommend starting at IDR 50.000 for one-off tips and IDR 30.000/day for maid services.
Private villas can differ slightly as the owner may ask you to leave a tip for their staff upon checkout. Make sure to ask when you book!
Tipping Drivers in Bali
After a long day of touring the island, visiting the tourist sites and taking part in activities you are bound to be exhausted – and so will your driver! It is customary to add an extra IDR 100.000 to your driver’s fee as well as cover at least one of their meals throughout the day.
Inviting your driver to join you for a snack, or asking if they have eaten, will be just as appreciated as handing over a big tip.
When you arrange a trip with a driver, be sure to check that petrol is included in the price, or you may be expected to pay extra for that too.
With taxi drivers I would recommend topping up the total to the nearest 10.000 and letting them keep the change. If your fare is IDR 28.000, and you’ve handed over IDR 30.000, the driver won’t expect to return the change.
Tipping Tour Guides in Bali
If you choose to hire a tour guide for your adventure around the island, they are likely to act as your translator, barter-er, guide and security – with no many roles, they deserve a little extra.
Similar to a driver, adding an extra IDR 100.000 to their fee will show your appreciation for their service.
And, of course, as with all the others tipping in Bali is not mandatory, just a kind gesture. If you don’t have the extra cash on you, or you weren’t impressed with the service, don’t tip.
Tipping at Spas in Bali
Relaxing days at the spa is one of the best pastimes during a trip to Bali. Treat yourself to an intense Balinese massage where calming music plays, the room is filled with incense and the therapist knows just where to work your kinks and knots.
At high-end spas, it is likely that a service charge is already included in the price. But at the smaller, more local spots, adding an extra IDR 50.000 will thrill the therapist while not breaking the bank.
After you have been treated so well throughout your appointment, it is only fair to give a little back.
Tipping Delivery Drivers in Bali
For the lucky ones who are returning guests to Bali or one of the long-timers, you are bound to have heard – and actively used – the applications GO-JEK or Grab.
Able to deliver anything your heart requires right to your doorstep, it is – in my opinion – the best app on my phone.
Along with the delivery will come a friendly driver to hand over the goods before going off to his next job. Tipping these helpful folk with an extra IDR 20.000 or so will make their day, as well as earn you a high rating on the app! During the rainy season in Bali, when the driver arrives sodden and wet, I usually tip a little bit extra.
There is no exact science to the practice, but if you are capable and happy to, tipping in Bali will help out the local workers, as well as let their bosses know they are doing a good job.
A little can go a long way on the island, you don’t need to hand over stacks of cash, just a simple small bill here and there makes a difference. It also ensures that if you are ever to return to that restaurant, or use that driver again, you will be well looked after.