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I noticed that my taxi driver stood around expectantly for a few moments after dropping me off from the airport; giving him 20k Rupiah seemed to satisfy him, but I was pretty much shooting from the hip there.

I've seen a couple of restaurants in Ubud where a 5% "service fee" is automatically added to the bill, but I haven't noticed any locals leaving a tip.

What is the tipping culture in Indonesia?

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4 Answers 4

I'm Indonesian. To my knowledge, tipping is not common in Indonesia (no unwritten rules or the like). But yes, sometimes they expect a tip, especially when the guest (local or foreigner) is considered rich. Most Indonesians assume that people coming from developed countries are rich. Even when they are not, the currency exchange rate makes them rich in Indonesia ;-)

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This matches up with feedback I've gotten by asking other travelers and Indonesian people that I've met here in Bali. Thanks! –  todofixthis Apr 7 at 3:43
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Based on my experiences and conversations in Bali so far (specifically: Ubud, Denpasar, Sanur), it appears that tipping works something like this:

Restaurants

  • You're generally not expected to tip, but there are exceptions:
    • At some restaurants, a 5% "service fee" will be added to your bill.
    • As printemps noted, you will encounter a sort of "share the wealth" mentality if you appear to be wealthy or are in an area heavily frequented by tourists. You should leave a 5-10k tip in these cases (no more than 20k though; keep reading).
    • Do not leave a huge tip, even for really good service. It will be viewed as charity, and you will not leave the positive impression you were hoping for!

Taxis

  • Taxi drivers generally do not expect tips. In Bali, taxis are not metered; you negotiate the fare beforehand. So there is no "round up" tipping or anything of than nature.
  • If the driver goes above and beyond (assists with luggage, etc.), a 5-20k tip is appropriate.

Other Services

  • I've heard that you should tip at spas and hairdressers, but I haven't been to any since I got here, so I cannot comment.
  • Other service providers will not expect a tip.
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1  
especially the "don't tip big". Many Indonesians seem to consider it an insult to their dignity and "throwing your wealth around", not a good impression. And Bali, with its high density of foreign tourists, will see more people expecting tips (or used to being tipped at any rate) as compared to the more remote areas like Flores and Sumbawa. –  jwenting Apr 7 at 8:41

There's a useful breakdown for tipping in different scenarios at this web site (whototip.net).

I can't vouch for the accuracy of this information (not sure where the web developer got his info) but it appears to be pretty thorough.

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Link-only answers are discouraged - it would be better if you also summarised in your answer what the advice on that website is, so that your answer will still answer the question if the link rots. –  starsplusplus Mar 26 at 20:57

I traveled Sumatra and Java for months and I NEVER was asked any tip.

The thing is that I speak some Indonesian, so they know that I won't buy the "you are supposed to tip" line.

That said, I've never been in Bali and they may have a very different culture about tipping. Some bad habit taught by occidentals ;-)

In the end, I tip only those people who sell coffee for 3000 rupiah (25 cents) and don't ask for anything else.

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