How to Tip in Singapore

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Feb 12, 2018

by BRIDGET DE MAINE, Online Writer

Tipping can be tricky business and every destination has its own rules around the custom. No-one wants to cheat a service person out of their wage but no-one wants to get it wrong, either. Here’s how you should approach the practice in Singapore. 

Should I tip at all?

Although there is no strong custom of tipping in Singapore like there is in countries such as America, the lack of expectation surrounding a gratuity may in fact be more of a reason to do so. In its true nature, a tip is a way of thanking service staff for just that – their service – and because it’s not a necessity, it’s very much appreciated by Singaporeans.

How much should I tip at a restaurant?

Typically, anywhere between 5 per cent and 10 per cent will do it but it’s also common for customers to simply leave the change. 

There’s a 10 per cent service charge included in my bill. Does that cover it?

It’s becoming more common for established restaurants to add a 10 per cent “service charge” to your bill. While this isn’t optional – yep, you’re required to pay this additional charge if it has been tacked on – it isn’t the same as a tip, either. Although it’s disputed, this service charge typically skips the wages of waitstaff and goes directly to the establishment. If you’d like to show your gratitude for great service, you will need to leave a little extra on top, as per the previous rule.

Where else should I (or shouldn’t I) consider tipping?

Although it’s not customary to tip taxi drivers, hotel staff or tour guides, offering a small gratuity will always be appreciated. Note that staff at Changi Airport aren’t allowed to accept tips so don’t try to slip anyone a dollar or two, even if you feel it’s warranted.

SEE ALSO: Read Before You Leave – Singapore