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Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
13 posts
6 reviews
Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

My husband and I just returned from a private tour in Hanoi. I was so disappointed and unhappy with the trip that I vowed I would not visit Vietnam again. What really got me was the tipping, which was demanded. Prior to the trip, we'd arranged a private, luxurious tour with a tour company. Everything was paid for in advance. It was not a cheap tour. When we were sent to the train station to take an overnight train to Sapa, my husband, being generous, gave the driver a small tip. The driver immediately counted the money in front of us and then 'threw' the money back at my husband and walked away. We were stunned. If he'd found the tipping not enough, he could have said so. We didn't go to Vietnam to be insulted, and our travel tour guide told my husband that he should have known - US5 a day/ US2 per person per day for the driver, US10 for tour guide (market price). Really, how could we have known? Even if the tip is not enough, I don't think people should be so rude that they throw the money back at you.

23 replies to this topic
Glasgow, United...
Level Contributor
760 posts
64 reviews
1. Re: Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

My experience was tipping is uncommon and not expected in Vietnam.

Although I sorted my own travel plans. Your experience sounds like a poor travel company service, or bad employees.

Nha Trang, Vietnam
Level Contributor
3,284 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

A tour guide on a bus with 20 tourists would then get 200 dollars a day? That's almost a month's salary. A day.


Armidale, Australia
Level Contributor
767 posts
12 reviews
3. Re: Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

Umm....well they are going to be very unhappy with me next week. I only tip when it is earnt and then the service needs to be exceptional. We are not on a tour but a self organised trip. Can’t wait! And sorry to hear about your experience, a problem created by tourists and a growing tourism industry.

pacific palms
Destination Expert
for Mui Ne
Level Contributor
10,182 posts
51 reviews
4. Re: Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

This is the expected culmination of the growing culture of tipping that is slowly being introduced by crooked travel agents and employers.

There is more to come unless someone steps in and outlaws this obnoxious trend.


Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Vietnam
Level Contributor
10,321 posts
5. Re: Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

Yep, the whole tipping thing in a country that doesn't have a tipping culture.

Regardless of what the 'do-gooders' tell you.


Edited: 11 May 2018, 23:34
Naramata, Canada
Level Contributor
18 posts
4 reviews
6. Re: Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

As a Canadian, tipping is such a part of life here that I never realized it wasn’t really a thing in other places. I was just in Vietnam in April and it was the first time in my 3 trips to Vietnam over the past decade where I noticed an increase in tipping expectations, but it’s still pretty uncommon on the whole. On a street level, most people will be confused if you try to tip them. I did notice that some of the scooter drivers tried to get tips even after agreeing on a price beforehand, but even that’s uncommon and I only experienced it with the more scammy drivers by the lake and in the backpacker ghetto. But that just goes along with all the other tourist scams you can expect in the old quarter. I think there’s more of an expectation of tips for things like private guided tours, but only if you feel it’s deserved and the amount is entirely up to you. I’ve never heard of someone acting like that in Vietnam and it makes me sad that this negative experience has tainted your view of the country and it’s people. A lot of the “luxury tour” companies are pretty scammy, it sounds like maybe you got a bad one, unfortunately. Tipping has definitely not been a thing in Vietnamese culture in the past and I really hope this kind of behaviour remains the exception and doesn’t become the norm.

Edited: 12 May 2018, 00:45
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
6,084 posts
15 reviews
7. Re: Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

Blame the people that tip. It is now becoming an extortion racket where you are guaranteed bad service or tantrums if you don't tip.

Employers see that their workers can get a few more dollars in tips, so they slowly lower wages.

Tippers should keep their habit in their own back yard

Edited: 12 May 2018, 08:55
Level Contributor
315 posts
23 reviews
8. Re: Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

Here's what I've learned about tipping there from several trips back (I'm a Vietnamese American).

Restaurants and coffee shops: tip is usually not expected, but appreciated. I usually tip whatever change left, which usually amounts to a couple bucks.

Bars: tip is expected.

Taxi: tip is not expected but appreciated. Same for Grab (Uber like) rides.

Hired driver: tip is expected.

Tour guide: tip is expected. Usually if you are in a group, the tip is pooled.

Tip is usually not expected elsewhere.

The driver was definitely rude to throw money at you, but in my experience, northerners are usually not polite, especially in Hanoi.

puerto princesa
Level Contributor
8,019 posts
449 reviews
9. Re: Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

I very rarely tipped when we were in Vietnam. On the Halong Bay boat trip the tour guide gave us a lecture about tipping just before the trip ended and i was pissed off at this. For me i tip when i feel that i have had exceptional; service, but we were very disappointed about the trip so we left nothing. When we booked another tour the agency said they would give us a free ride to the airport, so when we were picked up at our hotel we had no Dong left and only $100 bills, Just before we arrived at the airport the driver reminded us of tipping. We said we did not have any small cash left. He was extremely angry and almost crying.

Level Contributor
28 posts
2 reviews
10. Re: Tipping is Demanded in Hanoi

A cross question - did you pay the tip in USD or an equivalent amount in VND?

i'll be visiting there next week and my travel package has instructions to pay USD3 tip per person per day...

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