Tipping is a form of appreciation to a waiter or driver based on the services provided.
Perhaps you’ve noticed or been told that tipping in Indonesia isn’t the norm. Despite this common belief, there is a guideline to tipping, indicating when and where your token of appreciation for great services is best used.
- Use Indonesian Rupiah
Transactions throughout the country are made with Indonesian Rupiah. Ensure you’ve exchanged your money into the local currency when you arrive. This also applies to tipping. Money changers are mostly found in major cities; small, secluded destinations don’t have them – even finding a local bank can be difficult! It’s great if you want to give extra money to your tour guide whilst on holiday but bear in mind the accessibility of money changers and the value of currencies is different.
- Read the room
Different types of places have underlying rules when it comes to tipping. In some places, such as restaurants and hotels, they are strict about employees receiving a token of appreciations from guests. One way to find out is through the service charge noted on the bill. In shopping mall parking areas, there are signs written “please do not give tip” to those helping you get a parking spot. You can always search for information on websites or read reviews to see whether a place allows it.
- Tip discreetly
Indonesians have a way of giving money to others. For example, a senior family member gives money to children discreetly. Therefore, tipping in a crowded area can cause unwanted attention. Sure, there are workers who don’t mind being given tips in public but to keep it conducive, offer tips when no one else around. Indonesians value politeness, meanwhile, tipping in crowds is considered rude. To do so, insert the money on the person of interest’s hand before exiting or parting ways.
- What is an acceptable amount?
Restaurants, hotels, taxis, and online motorcycle taxis (ojek online) each have different suitable amounts. In restaurants, 10 percent of your bill is acceptable, as long as a service charge is not already added, or you can chip into the tip jars at some café cashier counters. On the other hand, at hotels it isn’t mandatory; they normally charge 21 percent tax, a portion of which goes to the service charge. You can always give the bellman, housekeeper, etc. some extra cash, though. Likewise, for taxi and online motorcycle drivers, regardless of whether they operate conventional vehicles or run through apps; you can give cash or select the amount to offer on apps like Gojek and Grab.
- Be considerate
Consider giving tips to service workers in restaurants, warungs, hotels, taxis, and other places. Though not entirely expected by most, they are very appreciative of it due to their low incomes. It shows that their services are satisfactory and could motivate them further!
All in all, tipping in Indonesia depends on the place you’re at and how personally satisfied you are with the service. Your good intention might be perceived in a negative way in certain scenarios, but simply follow this guideline.