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Vietnam forum

How much to tip

Posted by m4yb on 4/12/2012 at 19:03

First, apologies if this has been covered before, I did do a search, and this is my first post on this worthy forum.
Heading to VN in 16 days, My question, how much is the usual tip for:
a taxi? anything extra added to the pre-agreed fare?
one of the kids who offer to guide you around, eg in Hanoi?
at a restaurant? and how much to give to a beggar that really gets yout heart?

In adding, I have been to VN before, actually spent my childhood there (father a french expat) but inflation happens!!!

#1 m4yb has been a member since 4/12/2012. Posts: 9

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Posted by busylizzy on 4/12/2012 at 23:22

There was a recent discussion on this ...

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by captainbkk on 5/12/2012 at 02:26

VNam is NOT Thailand. But its Asia, so that means the general throw a tipatanyone US-style is not needed.
NEVER ever use kids to show around-plus that (while in the south) I did not spot anyone wanting to do so. Kids need to go to school. Maybe you want some NGo behind your back accusing you of more immoral things?
taxi"s: these are expensive enough-no tip really needed-esp. not if they detour or use the hard-sell tactics for anything that maybe also for sale.
I in fact hardly saw any beggars-only a very few limped/handicapped. But sob-stories enough-and only in tourist quarters. which as such says enough.
For the rest: your style of travel also plays a role-this site is mainly for lowbudget bekpekkers-otherwise go to tripadvisor or virtualtourist, that also means hardly any tip will be given-or is even expected from them.

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Posted by busylizzy on 5/12/2012 at 03:17

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Posted by m4yb on 5/12/2012 at 04:15

Thankyou busylizzy, thank you captainbkk.
I should have been more specific: when I said "kids who show you around", I was referring to the likes of Hanoi Free Tour Guides ("a social non-profit organization founded and run by a group of students and ex-students since January 2010"- source: wikipedia). We are 60 ish and to us, anyone 20 and under are kids!
Despite our age, we consider ourselves active independent budget travellers.... I did not realise this forum was mainly for "budget backpackers", and indeed some threads suggest otherwise, eg Ha Long Bay cruises, and some restaurant reviews. To say "otherwise go to tripadvisor or virtualtourist" makes me feels shunted away from here!

#5 m4yb has been a member since 4/12/2012. Posts: 9

Posted by busylizzy on 5/12/2012 at 13:16

my4b - this is NOT a forum just for 'low-budget backpackers' and it's rude and inappropriate for him to try to drive you away. The majority participants of the forum tend to be independent travellers regardless of budget (backpacker, flashpacker or whatever). Regardless of style, they come here for information - and that's what most of us try to help with.

Captainbkk just gets on his high horse and posts rather aggressively. His comments about NGO's accusing you of immoral things is unnecessary and inappropriate in the context of your question - but that's just what he does.

I don't see anything wrong with enjoying the company of the Hanoi Free Tour Guides. In fact, had I known about them when I was there I very well may have looked them up.

With respect to how much to tip? Well, you would have seen from the comments in the discussion that linked to above, people take varying approaches on it. Americans seem to be more generous with their tipping, but it's ingrained in their cultural. Those of us who are used to the concept at home, struggle with it a bit more!

Ultimately, if you want to tip, then do so. It shouldn't be an exorbitant amount - keep it in context to local salaries, etc. A couple of dollars maybe and/or perhaps buy them a drink or lunch along the way.

If it's a straight-forward, short taxi ride, I'd suggest not - or just round it up to the nearest appropriate 'dong'. But if it's a driver that you've hired for the day to drive you around various places and they've made a real effort to ensure you have an enjoyable day, then yes, give them something. How much? Maybe 10-20% of the fare?

With respect to giving something to beggars - that's a difficult one, and something that I often struggle with! Yes, you will see beggars in Vietnam. Could they get out there and get a job so that they become self-sufficient rather than rely on begging? Are the opportunities there for them? Do you encourage them to continue begging by giving them something? I don't know the correct response to that - it's one that I struggle with when travelling in SEA. As a rule, I don't, but I do sometimes. Perhaps the better thing to do is to buy them some local food so that they have food in their stomach. Either way, I do believe it's wrong to give something to child beggars. They should be in school, not sent out to the streets to beg. Giving to them encourages the behaviour.

I'd be interested to see other people's opinion about that - although I know it's been discussed previously.

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Posted by m4yb on 5/12/2012 at 16:28

Thankyou busylizzy, your post will be very helpful. Yes, I was in the US in May and encountered a tipping culture that as an Australian I am not used to, but then again I am aware of the pay difference referred to in the discussion above. In France I was "reprimanded" by a taxi driver for not tipping him, when in fact I was waiting for him to open his boot/trunk and maybe unload my suitcase.
Regarding beggars, well said, I am curious to see how things have changed since my last visit 10 years ago.

#7 m4yb has been a member since 4/12/2012. Posts: 9

Posted by venorica on 21/12/2012 at 04:27

in Vietnamese culture Tip is not regular, but I think you should to do that.

#8 venorica has been a member since 18/10/2012. Posts: 9

Posted by daawgon on 22/12/2012 at 12:30

As a senior American who has just returned from Vietnam, and a regular client of Hanoikids, I encourage you not to tip with cash, but with kindness. As Venorica states, the Western custom of tipping is yet to be introduced here. It is true that some people (not only Americans) just ignore this suggestion, and tip as they do in Western countries. I maintain that we encourage greed this way, and I have learned (after 5 successful trips here) that the Vietnamese are more than happy to stick with the old custom. Many in this country will be offended by a tip, because they approach you out of friendship and curiousity, and your tip is an insult to their purpose.

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