Nepal is rich in natural beauty with innumerable gifts of natural resource. There are many places and things of cultural, historical and religious importance. Nepal is a popular destination for all types of tourists, trekkers, vacationers. Thousands of travel enthusiasts come to Nepal throughout the year.
Some tourists come here to enjoy the natural beauty while some to trek and climb mountains. Mt.Everest, the highest peak in the world along with many other mountains like Annapurna and Manaslu lies in Nepal.
Moreover, many tourists are also drawn to take part in various adventures: bungee, mountain flight, zip flying, paragliding etc. Travelling to a country with unique culture, lifestyle, and religion is a tempting experience.
One of these things that seem to slip one’s mind is the culture of tipping. Tipping is something Europeans and North Americans feel comfortable with. Whereas, Nepalese are still unfamiliar in offering tips. But, with time people have started expecting tip after they offer their best services. When they feel they served to the best of their ability and invested their precious time.
So, what about tipping in Nepal?
How is tipping done in Nepal?
How much tip is a normal and expected from tourists?
Allow us to help you a tad bit. Let us ensure you a enjoyable and comfortable trip with knowledge
A Quick Background
There’s no fixed tipping rate for guided tours or treks in Nepal. Still, people working with tourist expect tipping.
Those working as guides and porters don’t have definite work. They get the chance to earn money only when tourists come to explore the country. And, since they don’t have a secured income source ,they expect tip to add extra amount for livelihood.
How much to Tip?
The average service worker in Nepal may not expect a tip, partly because of their culture or due to shy nature. You may find that they stuff the envelope or gratuity into a pocket. Even without counting or acknowledging it in front of you. This is because of their polite nature. Or, because they don’t want to come across as greedy.
But, wages in Nepal is much lower than the average income of the developed countries. So, many workers work hard to meet everyday needs.
If the service provided to you was great, you can tip 10% and above to show your appreciation and gratitude. This serves as great help for a worker. Also, it motivates them to work harder and serve better.
In general, a 10% service charge is added to the bills in many hotels and restaurants, not to confuse with ‘service tax’ (which is a government levied tax). When they take ‘service charge’, they do not expect tips.
There is no custom to tip the housekeeping staff or hotel bellboys. Yet,they will appreciate your gesture.
When using taxis in Nepal, you may not encounter functioning taxi meters. So, it is better to fix charges before getting into one. In this case, it is up to you whether to tip the driver or not. This is not mandatory. So, feel free to do what you feel is better .
If you enjoyed hospitality of the driver and feel like giving him back, you can tip a small amount ranging from NPR 50 to 100. Besides, if the driver agrees to put on the meter you can round up the fare to the nearest whole amount. This saves the driver from having to dig for change and can also be the best way to leave a little extra.
Tipping trekking guide, tour guide and porters
In each trekking group, there will be one guide who will be in charge of all the arrangements in the trek. And decides required number of porters. Generally, there’s one porter for two trekkers. He carries a load of 20-25 kg, including all necessary stuffs of two trekkers depending on the trail.
Unlike, the service staff in town, your trekking staff will expect some form of gratitude for a job well done. Since they belong to the remote area, their source of income is less and restricted.
Moreover, they don’t earn much for their hard work. So, keeping their hard work and situation in mind, it is always a generous idea to tip them.
A guideline on how much you should tip in case of any doubts is as follows.
Incase of a Group
Incase of Solo- trekking
|300- 400 Rs
Note: Guides usually receive quite more tip than a porter.
Tipping rates also depend on the duration of your trek. If you’re going for a week or two, you can follow above suggestions. But if you’re planning a month-long expedition, $200-$250 USD may work.
And, if you’re a solo traveler, you can lean towards the lower end of the range.
While this is a rough estimation, it may be convenient if you consider keeping a little bigger margin.
Along with giving cash, you may also leave behind pieces of gear that you no longer need. It is certain that you may have purchased some trekking essentials for your trek. And once you complete the trek, you can consider giving your team the extra equipment.
It can serve them well as their work demands them to be on these trails on almost a daily basis.
How to Tip in Nepal ?
Because tipping in Nepal is not popular and may cause embarrassment in some situation, you can offer tips discreetly. You can either put your gift into an envelope or by sensibly taking the recipient aside.
When tipping trekking staff, it is best advised to show your gratitude on the last evening of your hike.
Some staff members may not be available the next morning and you may miss out on tipping. Also, you may regret not being able to share your final goodbyes.
You can either tip in Nepali Rupees (NPR) or US Dollars. But tipping in Nepali rupees would be more convenient for those who don’t live in towns. They won’t have to worry about exchanging to finally use them.
There are workers in Nepal who make their survival based on daily wages. So, for people like them it would be very appropriate if they get money in their own currency.
You can withdraw rupees from ATMs when you’re in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Or, you can exchange cash in any nearby money exchange counters.
Things to avoid while Tipping
Do not showboat your generosity.
Avoid giving worn out and old clothes or goods. It may turn humiliating to the person receiving .
Do not tip too less like any notes below Rs. 20
If you like the service of a particular staff ,do not delay on tipping. Since, it is uncertain that staff will be on duty the next day.
While these guidelines are good for an overview, don’t feel compulsory to stick to them. For example, if you connect more with your porter than your guide, or if your porter is the one who has helped you out, feel free to switch it up.
And, sometimes you may develop close connection with people and wish to do something big for them. In such case, you can talk to the person in private and offer your help.
If you still have any questions about tipping, ask your travel specialist or you can contact us.