Is Tipping in Nepal Allowed?
Nepal, a small landlocked country located on the Himalayan range, is an economically backward country. In Nepal, tipping is expected and appreciated by the people involved in the tourism industry. Tipping in Nepal, although not mandatory, is considered as an important source of income. It helps the porters and guides of the country to make the ends meet. Usually, tipping in Nepalese rupee is preferred by them.
Ultimately, tipping is entirely a personal decision, and most feel a tip must be added only when the said person did an excellent job.
Services Where Tipping Is Expected
1. Hotels in Nepal
Tipping amount: Usually 10% of the entire bill
When to avoid: In case of service charge is added to the bill
Usually, in Nepal, service charges are added in the final bill of large or mid-range hotels. So, tipping can be avoided. However, if the final bill does not mention any service charge in the total amount, then approximately 10% of the bill could be added as a tip. In case a tipping box is offered, tourists should drop the money in the box. That way, the amount would be equally divided between the hotel staff. For porters or bellboys, a 20 rupees tip is sufficient. For group travelers, roughly 10 rupees per bag is the standard tipping in Nepal.
Restaurants to include service share into the bill, and just like the large hotels in the country. However, smaller establishments and eateries might not include service charges into the entire formula. There are circumstances, where the service charge might be included in the bill, which would be used to pay the base salary of the employees. Travelers interested in showing their gratitude to their server should directly make a small payment to them (server).
P.S: For tipping purposes, travelers are advised to keep loose change nearby.
2. Service Workers
Tipping amount: 10% of the total bill
When to avoid: If the service is not up to the mark
Nepal’s average service worker, although living off on comparatively low wages, does not expect a tip. Unfortunately, these people come from some from the poor economic background and are forced to work without a day off.
If the service worker has done an exceptional job, then as a token of appreciation travelers can add a ten percent extra to the total amount.
3. Spa or Holiday Resorts
Tipping amount: Around 5% to 8%
When to avoid: If a service charge is added to the bill
For spa sessions, tipping in Nepal is usually fixed on five to eight percent of the total bill. In case, the spa adds a service charge to the base amount, then one can avoid tipping. As a sign of gratitude, one can personally give a small amount to the masseuses for the exceptional service.
4. Teahouses or homestays
Tipping amount: Rounding off the bill
Generally, tipping in Nepal homestay or teahouses is not expected. However, since these establishments are very cheap, rounding off the bill is always appreciated by the proprietors. For example, if the bill amount for one night is close to USD 18, then visitors can leave $ 2 extra without asking for a change.
5. Trek Guides and Porters
Tipping amount: 15% of the total bill
In most cases, the trekking team expects some amount of money as gratuity for their service. These people make or break the trekking experience – the main reason for which most travelers come to Nepal. The porters and guides do not earn much for their laborious and somewhat dangerous work, and for them tipping is the only means for making the ends meet.
As a thumb rule, around 15% of the entire trip cost is given as tip.
P.S: Ideally, it is recommended to tip the trekking staff on the last evening of the trek. Usually, few of the trekking staff might leave late at night and may miss out on the tip.
Also, if traveling in a group, before dispersing the tip, trekkers are advised to discuss the amount among them.
6. Taxi or cab drivers
Tipping amount: Rounding up the fare
When to avoid: For short inter-city trips
Usually, taxi drivers do not wait for a tip at the end of the fare. But rounding up the tip, with some extra change, is always valued. However, tipping is not required for small rides in town.
Etiquette for tipping in Nepal
1. Tipping the trek leader
Ideally, in a trekking organizing team lead guide, assistant guides, porters, and cooks are included. While tipping, travelers should divide the tip into two parts – one for the group leader and other for the rest of the group. As a tipping etiquette, trekkers should hand over the money in two distinct envelopes. The leader of the group would (hopefully) divide the amount to the rest of the group.
2. Handing the tip with the right hand
One of the important tipping in Nepal etiquette includes handing money with the right hand. Handing out money with the left hand is considered rude and impolite.
3. Giving tips in a discreet manner
Since tipping in Nepal is not customary, it might cause a bit of embarrassment for the server in some instances. Instead of going overboard with the generosity, travelers are advised to give the tip discreetly.
4. Bring in something for dinner
If invited to dine with a local family or visit the home the local guide, travelers should bring something as a token of gratitude. Usually, in these parts of the world, edible items like sweets are considered good gifts.