A Tipping Guide for Jakarta Expats

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A Tipping Guide for Jakarta Expats

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Tipping in Jakarta or any other cities in Indonesia is not a standard practice. It’s a personal act to appreciate a waiter or a driver’s work, so it depends on the satisfaction with the service provided. However, that doesn’t mean you can give tips as you please. There are several things you need to know before giving tips in Jakarta, Indonesia. These general guidelines will help you navigate where or when you can live a little extra for great services.

Use a suitable currency

As an expat who stays and lives in Jakarta, you need to prepare money in IDR (Indonesian rupiah). It is the only currency used by Jakartans. So, before you move to Indonesian, make sure you already exchanged your Dollar into Rupiah otherwise you cannot make any transaction here. You could exchange Dollar to Rupiah in your country, or by arriving in Indonesia. Either way will work. 

However, the transaction isn’t the only thing that requires you to have money in Rupiah. Tipping is, too. When you feel satisfied with a service, you have to give tip in Indonesian currency. Why does it matter? Because giving tip in the Dollar would be useless. Indonesian citizens cannot use Dollar in daily transaction. Moreover, the amount of currency between Dollar and Rupiah is not the same. 

Notice the place

You might feel satisfied with a service, but you can’t give tips to everyone, especially in a certain place. Some places in Indonesia, such as restaurant or hotel, don’t allow their workers to receive money from the guests. How do you know? Certain restaurant or hotel will give you a notification or put information in certain places inside the building. If you aren’t sure about giving tips, find any information about in on its website.

Don’t give tip at the crowd

Although some service workers don’t mind receiving tip in the crowd, it would be better for you to give tip without being seen by others. Why? It is because Indonesian is polite citizens who stick to the value of politeness. Giving tip to service workers in a crowd with hundreds of eyes seeing is categorized as harsh. So, make sure you give tip when none sees. You can insert the money on the workers’ hand when they stand near a desk or exit door, or you could just leave the tip on the table. 

How much tipping is enough?

It is different giving tip in a restaurant, hotel, and taxi. When you eat in a restaurant, you can give 10% of the total of your bill as a tip for the waiter if there is no service charge on your bill. If the service charge is added in your bill, you are not expected to leave with the tip for the waiter. 


However, when you stay in a hotel, giving tip is never mandatory because the hotel charges 21% tax where 11% of it goes to the service charge. On the other hand, if you feel satisfied with the hotel staffs’ service such as the bellman and the housekeeper, you are always allowed to give them a tip because most hotel workers are underpaid. The same thing applies to the taxi driver. You don’t have to give the driver tip unless you want to appreciate the service. 

Refusing to give tip might hurt them

The funny thing in Indonesia is, when you don’t give tip to the service workers, they will think that their service is not great enough. Others hope to get a tip from the visitors or guest because they are underpaid so your money will be very precious. Thus, consider giving tip to the service workers whenever you are in the restaurant, hotel, taxi, or other places. 


Now you know what to do before tipping in Jakarta, Indonesia. It’s not that difficult, right? Don’t let your good intention to appreciate a person’s work make him/her feel humiliated instead. That’s why you need to follow the tipping etiquette we have mentioned above. Hope it helps!


Which tip is the most useful for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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