As well as 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, restaurant 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 for good service?
The tipping culture in Bali isn’t mandatory (although some restaurants in the main tourist areas may have a service charge included in the bill). In general you can choose to tip, or not, and no-one will be chasing after you. However, monthly wages are extremely low in the service industry. If you can spare the extra cash, I recommend tipping for every service you receive – good and mediocre alike.
Here are some super easy tips for tipping in Bali.
When and How Much 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 total bill – on these occasions you don’t have to add any extra. But, if you really loved your server, 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 highly 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 food and service.
Just remember, you won’t be shunned or chased down the street if you have nothing extra to tip.
Tipping in Bali Accommodations
Bali 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 housekeeper 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 generous tips, and IDR 30.000/day for maid services.
Private villas in Bali can differ slightly as the owner may ask you to leave a reasonable 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 so 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 exceptional 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 a Bali spa is one of the best pastimes during an island trip. Treat yourself to an intense Balinese massage with calming music playing, the room is filled with incense and a therapist that knows 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 apps 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 will help out the local Balinese 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.