SEA Custom Tour Gratuties

Sep 17th, 2005, 01:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 47
SEA Custom Tour Gratuties

Hi-- I previously posted that we will be taking a custom tour arranged with the help of a VN based tour company. We will travel to Thailand, Burma, Laos, VN & Cambodia this spring. At each new location, we will be met at the airport by our driver & guide. Although we will be traveling by private car, the tour is very reasonably priced. My question is this: Do any of "the regulars" on this site that are quite familiar with this part of the world, have any guidance as to what might be a reasonable (daily) tip (for the two of us)to the guide & driver, keeping in mind, we will have a new driver/guide --- in some cases after only a day or two in one location.
I appreciate this is a subjective matter, depending of service, etc--and the guide would receive something greater than the driver, but any advise would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
artmarth is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 02:10 PM
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some you will want to give a greater tip than to others but i think i would try to establish a base amount... is it possible for you to estimate the cost per day of your land travel, excluding hotels, meals and entrance fees?? if you can, then do that... i think i would take 10% of that daily cost as my basis....i would give that to each one, and give up to 20% to those who really please you or do extra things for you....give it to them in their currency also if you can rather than in us dollars, etc...

if you treat them to meals i would not consider that part of their tip either...that is extra...

if you feel that the general fee is low, then perhaps you should bump your tip up as you know the workers are only getting a very small fee for what they do...

also remember tips are not the norm in SEA, but workers have come to know, expect and appreciate them from tourists, at least certain tourists....europeans are not known for tipping and some even refuse to do it....i live in the usa and of course it is the norm here and we also know that service workers make over 75% of their earnings from tips...that is not the case in asia...the higher quality places have pur more emphesis on tipping during the last few years...

remember that in hotels and some restaurants a 10% tip is already included in your bill...

rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 09:55 PM
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In 2000 we took a small group tour of Vietnam with Travel Indochina, an Australian company. Australians and New Zealanders are not accustomed to tipping at home, although some may tip up to 10% in a restaurant. The company offered the following advice:

"Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your Travel Indochina tour programme and an expression of satisfaction with your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. As a guide, we would recommend that you budget approximately US$4 per day on a group tour for tips to local guides, drivers and your tour leader. For independent tours allow US$2-3 per day plus small tips for restaurants and porters."

We travelled with one tour leader (Australian) and a local guide and driver at all times. From discussions with our guide, whose wife was also a tour guide, it appeared that they lived a middle-class lifestyle by local standards.

This of course was 5 years ago, but since then the Vietnamese dong has slipped from a US$ exchange rate of 11,000-odd to about 15,800, so I assume that the above amounts would still be appropriate - for Vietnam anyway, and maybe also the other countries mentioned except for Thailand, where I imagine the cost of living in Thailand is higher.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 10:10 PM
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Thanks for the info. Does $5 & $4 per day for guide & driver sound fair for my wife & me? If great service, somewhat more. Appreciate the two responses.
artmarth is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 03:00 AM
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I would give at least $10 per day for both of you. I don't think the $4 or $5 a day is per couple, but per person.
laurieco is online now  
Sep 18th, 2005, 05:28 AM
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I have never done such a sort of trip but I agree I think $10 which in Thailand would be B 400 is a nice tip and will be appreciated.
Basic pay for waiters/waitresses in Thailand is about B 4,000 ( $100 ) a month !! Better hotels and restaurants pay more, but B 6,000 ( $ 150 ) would be good, I know that a top restaurant ' Captain' at a plush 4 star resort makes between B 8,500 and 10,000 ( $ 212 and $ 250 ) including tips and share of service charge.
Knowing that I am probably over generous on tips but it is a way to "spread a little happiness on your way" and if you can give a tip that although nominal to yourself actually helps others I would do so, if I get loussy service I won't even leave any tip, but when staff are friendly and their efforts contibute to my overall feeling of happiness then I probably over tip, but hey, it's only money.
JamesA is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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while the suggested tipping above is sufficient for a group tour perhaps (Niel OZ), i do not think it is correct for an individualized trip....the two are not the same thing after all....and remember what he said that people for OZ are not used to tipping as a custom...

i look at tips as a chance to reward someone for making my visit extra special, which you will find that asians do....thus i don't look at it as to how little i can get away with don't have to give any really!!!!
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 06:39 AM
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Bob, you suggested 10% of the cost of the guide and driver per day as a basis for a tip. When we've hired a car and driver for a full day in SEA, it has never cost more than $50 per day, and frequently much less, so $10 per day is way above the 10% and sometimes more than 20%. I don't think it's a matter of getting away with the least possible amount. And remember, the tip is on top of their regular fee.
laurieco is online now  
Sep 18th, 2005, 06:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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I tipped Ratt 20%. When I have had a private guide and driver I figured $4- $5 per person per day for the guide and $2-$3 per person per day for the driver as a base -- somewhat depending on the country and the average income in the country. Less if I was on a group tour. But if they were good I tipped much more. In Nyi Nyi's case (our guide in Burma) I think we doubled that amount.

And a couple is TWO PEOPLE. Not one.
glorialf is offline  

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