Vietnam is a Southeast Asia country which has long history and diverse cultures made up from different ethnic groups. Over the years, Vietnam has developed and become a hospitable place attracted a great number visitors, tourists, scholars, and experts. Although Vietnam still bears visible signs of a long history of foreign occupation and warfare, foreigners now visualize the nation through lens of an appealing tourism destination with remarkable potentials and promises. Since becoming a welcoming destination towards foreigners, the waves of tourism has brought to Vietnam many western influences including concepts of tipping.
Vietnamese tipping culture
There is the fact that the practice of tipping has not yet been really common over the country. Although the term of tipping has become more and more popular along with the accelerating step of tourism, most of visitors still feel confused about Vietnamese tipping culture. In Vietnam, it is similar to any other countries for the standard of service majorly determining tips, despite the tipping culture widely varies differently between nations. In this era, tipping is especially common in major centers of Vietnam namely Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City and other certain cities. Tipping is not really expected, but absolutely highly appreciated. For the average wages of Vietnamese workers are quite low, extra earning from tips may become a great motivation for them to keep up with their jobs. The official currency of Vietnam is dong (VND), and the denominations of paper notes come in 200đ, 500đ, 1000đ, 2000đ, 5000đ, 10.000đ, 20.000đ, 50.000đ, 100.000đ, 200.000đ and 500.000đ. However, thanks to the demand and influence of tourism development, US dollar has now been acceptable broadly at most places and can be used for tips almost all cases. There is a notable point as Vietnamese people has great pride, so concerns should be put on the sensibility when tipping because there may be rare cases when tipping can cause offense to the service makers.
Normally the bills are included service charge with the amount around 5 to 10 percent in most of upscale hotels and eateries. However, rarely this money can reach the service staff. If any when the managers deliver some to the staff, it is no likely more than a meager amount no matter how well the job done and how satisfied the customers experienced. It is believed customary for the extra tip of about VND 100.000/person in case of an outstanding service, and this amount is also common in higher priced services in restaurants.
There exists special type of restaurant that has been favored a lot by foreigners in Vietnam is street food stall. Actually the best culinary experiences can possibly be found in street food stops, although tipping for street stands is not customary. Nevertheless, if the service is particularly excellent, you can leave a tip as the thanks for your satisfaction of unique experience. It is acceptable for a tip of about VND 20.000 for street food stalls.
In spite of the fact that in this present day and age visitors are familiarizing with green tourism and new term of lodging like homestay, hotels are still the most common type of accommodation opted by most of customers for their early days in the country or for later travels. Coming to tip in the hotels, service standard is the determining factor. You are not required to tip if the service was not outstanding enough, or even when the service did impressed you, leaving tips is not an obligation. Nonetheless, tipping in other cases is highly appreciated such as for good housekeeping, or for the bellman who carried your luggage with the amount of one to two dollars. If the overall service of the hotel did satisfied you, leaving couple of dollars on the desk before you check out is appropriate.
It is not customary to tip for the taxi service in Vietnam, and the taxi drivers also do not expect for the extra money of accomplishing the service. In many cases, foreigners pay the round total amount and offer the driver to keep the change if they found that driver had shown his helpfulness and efficiency.
Hairdressers and Spas
In fact hairdressing and spas in Vietnam encompass of cheaper price than ones in western countries, which causes the confusion for customers of if they should leave the tip for the services or not. The common custom of tipping in those services is few dollars of about 5 to 10 percent of the bills if you find them deserve rewarded. In more upscale spas and hairdressing stalls, the bills may include service charge covering your tips, but go ahead and give extra money if you experienced friendly and exciting services from them.
Homestay is special term of eco-tourism in which visitors will stay with the host families as members. This is more an experience than service, so you are not expected to tip in this case. Instead, it is customary to bring gifts to the homestay host family as the greeting of the first time you met to show your friendliness of an ideal guest.