The Sri Lankan Tipping Etiquette 0 981

A medley of embracing folks and the timeless tropical properties set in the sand and stone of Sri Lanka attract holidaymakers like honey attracts a bear. The country offers no less than a harmony of culinary, topographical and ethnic delights to its visitors with its humble presence. But the one question that visitors here always struggle with is, ‘Do you tip in Sri Lanka?’ or ‘How much should I tip?’. It’s worth taking a few minutes to try and explain how tipping works here, and how much you should tip the Sri Lankan service professionals at different instances.

When it comes to tipping in Sri Lanka, don’t be hesitant to donate whatever you can wherever suitable. The culture is, however, contrasting to countries like Japan and the US where a certain amount of tip is expected or otherwise frowned upon. Don’t fail to reciprocate the impeccable service by the locals you are likely to find at budget hotels in Negombo, Colombo or just about anywhere else. The following will answer your questions pertaining to the tipping convention in Sri Lanka:


Sri Lankan food is known to derive a considerable portion of its recipes from Kerala, India, but their pastes and seasonings are very much their own. They love chilli and request a moderate dish if you don’t want to leave with your ears blowing smoke. It is customary to leave tenth of the billed amount as a tip in cash, if you’re paying by card.

Taxi Drivers

However rich in its travelling pursuits, Sri Lankans don’t enjoy financial benefits as compared to those of US or Japan. The drivers are diligent and usually, drive you to the destination as you please. Bear in mind that taxi drivers earn modest wages and a generous tip goes a long way. Nonetheless, you are not obliged to grant a tip in case your travel experience has not been satisfactory.

Taxi rentals are rather reasonably priced even if you hire for a full day and plan to travel longer miles. The standard tipping rate ranges around LKR 1,000 per day but you must tip depending on the service.


Sri Lankan hospitality is admired and it even sets a benchmark across tourist destinations. Room service, porters and cleaners usually work hard to promise a pleasant stay and a LKR 50-100 tip is appreciable. All the same, you ought to tip in case you’ve been delighted by impeccable service and not because you must. Tip the waiters and bartenders at hotels in Nuwara Eliya near Gregory Lake as well as resorts in Kandy in the aforementioned range if your food and drinks exude the Sri Lankan exotic taste. A LKR 2,000-3,000 tip in the tipping box at the reception counter is considered a symbol of greatly cherished service. When residing at a bungalow, tipping the caretaker prior to leaving is also a good idea. 


Apart of its sundry of offerings, palatial spas have cropped up in the travel culture of the island nation. As far as tipping is concerned, spas fall in the same category as restaurants. You may leave 10% in the tipping box at the counter or personally tip the therapist/masseuse with LKR 500-1,000. You may decide depending on your level of satisfaction with the spa session.

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