Korea Tip of the Day: Some tips on tipping

by ChiHon Kim
Stripes Korea

For foreigners new to South Korea, guidance toward tipping is usually straightforward: Don’t do it.

While this is a good general rule, the tipping situation is a bit more complex than that. There are a few circumstances when it is appropriate or expected to provide either a tip or some form of extra compensation in the form of gifts or treats. At a salon or spa, you’re not expected to tip. At western-influenced hotels, however, it is not uncommon to tip the concierge and/or housekeeping staff. The amount can vary, but some people leave around 11,000 won (about $10) under the pillow when they check out of their hotel.

Additionally, if you find yourself taking a taxi, it is not uncommon to have the driver keep the change.

In any or all these situations, don’t be surprised if the tip is politely refused.

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