There are no hard and fast rules about tipping in Cambodia, and travellers who decide not to won’t be frowned upon. However, a small tip can go a long way, considering the average salaries are pretty low.
With the average starting salary for waiting staff sitting at about $100 a month, with employees working six days a week, leaving a small sum of money really can go a long way.
On average, 10% is regarded as fair, with a small but increasing number of more upmarket establishments already slapping a seven percent service charge onto the bill. However, how much of this makes it into employees’ pockets vastly varies.
If eating from street stalls or fast-food joints, no tip is necessary.
Tipping at hotels is not expected, but once again, some of the more upmarket places include a service charge in the fee.
However, leaving some of your left-over riels for the cleaner or that extra-helpful lobby staff will be greatly appreciated, as their wages are likely even lower.
For tuk tuk and moto drivers, tips again are not expected – especially seeing as you, as a foreigner, are probably already being drastically over-charged.
Of course, you can use your own discretion, but if you’ve hired transport for the day to explore Angkor Wat or Phnom Penh and your driver has impressed you, then feel free to dish out an extra couple of dollars.
And if you’ve hired a private vehicle for the day and paid a set fee to your hotel or a tour operator, a tip at the end of the day will go a long way as the chances are they only receive a very small portion of the cost you’ve paid for the car.
Yes, you guessed it. Again, tipping is not compulsory but can be given at your discretion, with some guides more than others hinting towards a tip at the end of a trip.
Don’t ever feel obliged to tip for poor service; however, if they have pulled off an impressive performance and made your trip informative and fun – Cambodians’ natural charm and sense of humour mean this is more likely than not – then giving a little extra at the end will go a long way.
And if you’re with a group, then a quick whip round at the end for a good guide will make that smile even wider.
Wats are free to explore, but if someone shows you around or a monk blesses you, it is polite to leave a few thousand riel in the contribution boxes often found at entrances.