Tipping in South Korea isn’t customary, but there are times when a tip is welcome. This South Korea tipping guide will help you know if and when to tip.
Tipping in South Korea
Tipping in South Korea isn’t customary, and is therefore not expected or an obligation. In fact, it is not uncommon for staff to politely refuse a tip if the establishment doesn’t accept gratuity. You won’t offend someone by not tipping, but there are times when a small token of appreciation is welcome, such as in Western-influenced businesses or when hotel services are exemplary.
Though tipping isn’t common in most places, there are some general guidelines that you can use to help ensure a stress-free vacation. This South Korea tipping guide will help you navigate if you can leave a little extra for great service.
The South Korea Tipping Guide
Restaurant Server: A tip of 5 to 10 percent given directly to the server is acceptable in Western-influenced restaurants, but isn’t recommended in traditional restaurants. Don’t be surprised if a tip is politely refused.
Bartender: There is no obligation to tip at a bar.
Tour Guides: A tip is not expected, but you can try to give 5 to 10 percent of the cost for a memorable tour.
Taxis: You can let the driver “keep the change” for a smooth and courteous ride, but a formal tip isn’t standard practice and, therefore, isn’t recommended.
Doorman: Tipping isn’t common or expected, but feel free to give a little extra for exemplary service.
Bellhop: Tipping isn’t common or expected, but a small tip is always appreciated.
Housecleaning: Tipping isn’t common or expected, but is most appreciated when service exceeds expectations.
Concierge: A tip is not expected, but feel free to show your appreciation with a small amount for a special recommendation or hard-to-get reservation.
Stylist: A tip isn’t expected, but you can try to leave a little extra if thrilled with the new look.
Spa Service Provider: Tipping isn’t expected, so it is up to you if you decide to offer a little extra to the staff. Don’t be surprised if a tip is politely refused.