Mar 26th, 2005, 08:31 AM
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How you tip at a hotel in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, etc the hotel porter when you just arrived in this country and you have not small local money? Is it OK to tip in US $?
valtor is offline  
Mar 26th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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If someone from Thailand comes to the US and doesn't have small US currency is it OK to tip in Thai baht?

It depends on the country, but in many there is no way for people to change small quantities of dollars into local currency. Always be sure you have local, even if you have to exchange $50 at the airport. You'd be amazed how far that consideration will go.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Mar 26th, 2005, 12:34 PM
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if it is in a hotel i am sure they can find a way to change it....i do however always make sure i have local money....or alternatively, say thank you when they bring your bags and give them something later, like later that day or the first thing the next day...don't forget however....
tipping is not the norm, so to speak, but is expected from westerners...you are paying 10% service in your room rate so technically it is not mandatory...i always give porters a decent tip as they will be helping you throughout your trip and word gets around quickly....i often store stuff with them while i go away for several days so it is wise to be known as one who tips...insurance one could say...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 26th, 2005, 02:18 PM
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I've been told (but would be interested to hear others' comments) that tipping is not part of Japanese culture. Taiwan I don't know about, but if it's like mainland China I imagine the same would hold true there. Of course, whatever the local practice may be, American visitors who tend to tip out of habit in foreign countries may have raised expectations on the part of some locals that westerners are good for a tip.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Mar 26th, 2005, 06:19 PM
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No tipping in Japan. If you left money on the table at a restaraunt then there is a good chance that you will be chased down the street to return it.

There is gift giving and bribery, though. You might leave a cash gift in an envelope for your hotel maid (you might find a card saying that your room was cleaned by Yuki along with an origami crane). I have read that it is customary to leave a gift for your maid in a high end ryokan. Also (I have read), if you were taking a group of business associates for drinks/food/entertainment that you might tip (bribe) the proprietor in advance.

I seldom require help from porters. I did tip one in Otaru and he seemed uncomfortable about it. I've left some yen for the maid sometimes, sometimes not.

A friend from Canberra who lives in Japan treated me to dinner at a rest. atop a Shinjuku hi-rise. I don't know why, but she left a very nice tip. The hostess was helping us with our coats when the waitress came out carrying the tip. The waitress offered it to my friend who explained that it was a tip and they should keep it. The waitress and hostess spoke to each other, looked at the money and looked at her. She explained that they should just share it amongst themselves. They were so surprised. They looked at the money, looked at each other, looked at her, looked at each other, ... That's when we left.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Mar 26th, 2005, 08:00 PM
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Most US banks can arrange for you to purchase foreign currency in reasonable amounts at your hometown branch before you fly overseas. Also, American Express and some foreign banks of the country you will be visitng can sell you (through their websites) small "Tip Packs" usually $20 or $50 in the local currency. Thus you can have local currency already on hand with you when you land overseas. It would be enough to get you through the airport and into the hotel with enough local cash on hand to tip the porters, cab drivers, etc..
Mar 26th, 2005, 08:27 PM
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It is not necessary to tip in Japan. Most other places (Taiwan, China, Thailand...etc.) you are expected to tip, especially if you are a foreigner. You should always tip in local currency. If you try to tip in US$, sometimes they will give it back to you.
travelmug is offline  
Mar 26th, 2005, 11:06 PM
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As replied above by other posters, no tipping in Japan.

>I have read that it is customary to leave a gift for your maid in a high end ryokan.

I don't know about a gift. That's usually an amount of money (never coins but some thousands to even a 10.000 yen note) in a small envelope. It's called kokoro-zuke that you give it to the maid (dressed in kimono) assigned to take care of you usually during whole your stay and you give it in advance unlike your(American/European)tips. This concerns, however, real high end ryokans as said by mrwunrfl. This could be applied to high end Japanese restaurants too.

mrwunrfl, so your friend from Canberra who LIVES in Japan, what will she do next time at such a restaurant? Personally I would not consider tipping at Shinjuku high rise restauants. There are good ones but I don't see them that good (meaning expensive and exclusive).

kappa is offline  
Mar 26th, 2005, 11:50 PM
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Thank you to all for the advises. Now it is clear to me, and I'll make sure that I have enough small foreing money for tips.
valtor is offline  
Mar 27th, 2005, 02:29 AM
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I did not tip in Japan. But I did take several boxes of American chocolates w/me (like those yummy filled Ghiradelli squares) and I gave them to staff who were particularly helpful at the hotel and left them for housekeeping staff in the room w/a short thank you note in Japanese when we left. The people I gave these to in person received them very graciously and it seemed fine.
emd is offline  
Mar 27th, 2005, 04:54 AM
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A post script to that: I am going through emails of the last two weeks while I was in Japan, and I have received emails from three of the people I gave chocolates to and shared email addresses with: the assistant manager of the Westin Tokyo who helped us w/baseball game details, a worker at the Tokyo Tourist Info Cneter in Shinjuku who helped me enormously in my planning by emailing w/me and sending me materials, and a service worker at the Westin Miyako. What a nice thing to come home to.
emd is offline  
Mar 27th, 2005, 05:00 AM
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Very nice idea, Emd! Thank you.
I am not from US (I am from Israel), and, based on the idea you shared with us, I'll think about some small specific things from here to give as a present to people who will help us during the trip.

Thanks again.
valtor is offline  
Mar 27th, 2005, 05:43 AM
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Valtor, We are planning a trip to Israel for next April or May. I may have lots of questions for you -- there is very little on the fodors forum & guide books are dated. I last visited Israel about 20 years ago, so my info is very dated, too. I don't want to hi-jack this strin on tipping, but if I post questions on fodor's Israel site, perhaps you can help. Thanks!
CFW is offline  
Mar 27th, 2005, 07:07 AM
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CFW, you are welocme! I'll check the forum for Israel and I'll try to help.
April is a very good time to visit - it is not too hot or too humid yet.
valtor is offline  
Mar 27th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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what is the norm in restaurants and in cabs in Bangkok?
Janak626 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2005, 02:23 PM
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"Most other places (Taiwan, China, Thailand...etc.) you are expected to tip, especially if you are a foreigner."

This would be news to the family members I have living and working in China. All the advice I had before visiting that country, and confirmed by my own experience, was that tipping is not practiced by the Chinese themselves, and is not expected - although this may be changing in hotels and restaurants patronised by western tourists, but we didn't see the inside of many of those. Many visitors to China have reported experiences similar to the one in Japan recounted by mrwunrfl.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Mar 27th, 2005, 03:31 PM
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It is not common practice to tip in Japan, and it is illegal to tip in mainland China. In my 3 years living in Tokyo, the only place EVER to tip was bell boys and porters. Even then, they don't expect it, but graciously accept it. One of the reasons you get such high quality service in Japan is because of pride in their work. Thr gift of nchocoelates is a great idea. Japanese are really big into gifts, and packaging is of utmost importance!!!

In China, I strongly advise against tipping (again, with the exception of bell boys and porters at hotels... don't tip the airport porters.) Again, not only is it illegal, but it sets a bad precedent. Don't tip your tour guides, don't tip the hutong pedi cab guy, never tip in a restaurant or taxi...and at the risk of opening a can of worms here... DON"T GIVE THE BEGGARS ANY MONEY!!!! Youa re NOT helping, you are encouraging and enabling continued dependence!!

People complain all the time that foreigners get ripped off or get charged higher prices. When foreigners tip in a society that doesn't tip, it creates the impression that we have money to burn and give away.

I have lived here over 5 years (as well as 2 years during the 80's) and foreigners who tip create a double standard. SO save your money and use it to buy a great souvenir or donate it to a local charity.

So, valtor, tipping in local currency to the bell boys would be best, but you wouldn't be the first person to tip in US$. I'm sure they earn enough to exchange at the end of the week.

Bchen is offline  
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