Indonesia questions about tipping/gratuities

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rayaa3

Contributor
Messages
168
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133
Location
Oklahoma
# of dives
200 - 499
Hello - First time visitor to Indonesia next month. Have some questions about tipping.

First: outside of diving, who do you tip, and how much is customary. I've travelled to developing countries before and generally have likely grossly overtipped, which is usually less problematic than undertipping. The thing that always surprising it the person that is customarily tipped in that country that I never gave a 2nd thought about.
We will be in Jakarta a couple of days, as well as Sorong for a day or two (just long enough to have a full day delay in any series of flights or bags and not have to stress out). So we will encounter the typical traveller stops: eating, hotel staff(bell hop, housekeeping, maybe room service), taxi, maybe a spa day as we recover from the 36 hours of straight travel to Jakarta.

Diving: We are doing all of our diving on a liveaboard which round trips out of Sorong. What is tipping like on the liveaboard: a single tip split by the crew at the end of the sail, or individual tipping? Also what is customary.

The boat we are on is Jelajahi Laut - with Mikumba, I only mention this as tipping may scale with "poshness" of the boat - and this is somewhere in the middle of the pack...a couple of rooms with ensuite bath, a couple of rooms with shared bath (we opted for the former).

As far as currency: the plan is to grab enough rupees from an ATM to get me out of the airport and handle the first 24 hours (I suspect I'm going to have to deal with a "was this you?" txt message from my bank - USAA no longer does 'travel notifications' where you tell them where you are going to be in advance), and then the area where we are staying should have plenty of ATM options.

In Jakarta we are staying at Mercure Jakarta Batavia - for a couple nights
In Sorong we are staying at Rylich Panorama - for a couple nights

It seems like ATM are easily available near either hotel, so I'm only planning on pulling out enough at the airport to get me to the next hop....in case the ATM have a relatively low "amount of withdraw per swipe" - I'm not going to sit there for 30 minutes while I'm wiped out from flights.

thanks for any info or tips on tips. :)
 
Just returned from a dive cruise in Indonesia last week. We were southwest of Sorong, in the spice islands.

We asked about tipping for food, etc., and were informed by locals that tipping was not done.

Tipping on a liveaboard depends on each and every different liveaboard. The boat staff will brief you on everything on the first day aboard, including the tipping policy. If they don't inform you on the first day, then ask.

I quit using ATMs and banks in Third World countries for withdraws, too much fraud. Credits cards suck as well, as Visa-Mastercard always block your card when you're on some remote island without internet, leaving you stranded without no way to pay the hotel. AMEX is the only card I use nowadays.

I pre-paid as much as possible before I departed the USA, and then carried a few thousand dollars cash. We changed the money into rupees at a local bank before the cruise.
 
I *think* tipping is added in most sit down restaurants (10%). I think aside from the liveaboard don't overthink it, most people will be quite happy with a small tip. Sometimes it is unexpected, especially in non tourist areas.

On the liveaboard they will often say on the booking terms , but I think I tipped about 15$/day. It does seem like a lot on longer liveaboards. one tip for the whole staff.

Personally I would not rely entirely on ATM's. Bring extra cash. I like the piece of mind of not worrying about finding an ATM - especially in a place like Sorong. ATM's can be finicky. Jakarta won't be a problem but Sorong is fairly undeveloped so I recommend you load up in Jakarta or before you go.
 
On the liveaboard they will often say on the booking terms , but I think I tipped about 15$/day. It does seem like a lot on longer liveaboards. one tip for the whole staff.

Woah
I tipped $40/day
 
I would politely suggest Americans to stop exporting and imposing their crap and unjust "tipping culture" to other countries.
In many places in Asia tipping is quite offensive, and should be entirely avoided!
In most places it is expected that you contract for paying LESS than the initial request, not that you add a tip...
So it is good to ask in advance, it is wrong to assume that tipping is expected everywhere, being so only in US and in touristic places where a lot of American tourists imposed this bad habit.
 
@rayaslin

Rupiah not rupee.
Tipping is NOT an acceptable culture in most part of SE Asia, HK is the only exception. In Singapore even the taxi driver gives exact change and with a receipt.
Tip is NOT expected but appreciated.
If you are feeling generous and the crew had done the duty well then $20.00 a day is adequate.
I could not remember the last time that I tipped in a restaurant in SE Asia. If the 10% service is not included then I won't even tip in HK.

There is nothing right or wrong to tip/not to. It is your money afterall.
Have an nice trip.

BTW, you will be surprised to find out how well your old scuba equipment, sun-glasses, baseball cap, torn fleece jacket etc received.
 
Hello - First time visitor to Indonesia next month. Have some questions about tipping.

First: outside of diving, who do you tip, and how much is customary. I've travelled to developing countries before and generally have likely grossly overtipped, which is usually less problematic than undertipping. The thing that always surprising it the person that is customarily tipped in that country that I never gave a 2nd thought about.
We will be in Jakarta a couple of days, as well as Sorong for a day or two (just long enough to have a full day delay in any series of flights or bags and not have to stress out). So we will encounter the typical traveller stops: eating, hotel staff(bell hop, housekeeping, maybe room service), taxi, maybe a spa day as we recover from the 36 hours of straight travel to Jakarta.\]
I'm in Indonesia now, having spent 4 days in Jakarta and now in Sorong for 2 days before going to Sorido Bay Resort. Indonesia is a non-tipping country, so don't worry about tipping any staff at the hotel unless you do a spa treatment. There's generally a 10% service charge (their words for tip) added to the restaurant bill. Room service will also have a service charge added. If you have any transfer service or taxi, you will not need to tip them either. I'm from Oregon; you're from Oklahoma. Americans have gotten out of control with tipping. I now see tip jars at McDonalds, Starbucks, and even 7-11 and other convenience stores. Don't feel guilty about not tipping. It's the culture here.

I did have a couple of spa services and that's where I did tip. So, how do you tip on a $5, hour-long foot massage when the same service would cost $75 or more in the U.S.? I gave her 50,000 IDR, which is about $3 USD. In addition, I gave her a piece of my jewelry, an inexpensive ring, from home, and I honestly think she was more delighted with the ring than the cash. She asked me three times if it was really hers to keep because she didn't think I was serious. I've been doing this lately when I go to some destinations. I have costume-style, inexpensive jewelry that I no longer wear, and instead of giving it to Goodwill, I just bring some with me and give it away.


Diving: We are doing all of our diving on a liveaboard which round trips out of Sorong. What is tipping like on the liveaboard: a single tip split by the crew at the end of the sail, or individual tipping? Also what is customary.

My land-based diving is followed by a liveaboard on the Damai II. It may vary by company, but on the Damai II, all the tips are shared and you tip at the end of the sailing. If you tip individually, that staff member is required to put it into the pool. They are not allowed to keep it for themselves. The thing about liveaboards in Indonesia (and many other countries) is that you are vacationing in a non-tipping country, yet we're paying U.S. prices for the liveaboard, then expected to tip on those U.S. prices. The Damai company is located in Bali, Indonesia, employing locals on their boats. In theory, no tipping is necessary. Right? The liveaboard companies will tell you to tip 10-15%, which is insane for a higher-end or luxury liveaboard. I've been told the Damai boats are a high-end liveaboard, and it's reflected in my price tag of $9900 for 11 nights. I had to pay the single penalty for a room of my own with no roommate. I will not be tipping $990. That doesn't include the fuel charge of $250 payable only in cash on board. IMO, tipping is at the discretion of each person, and overtipping is every bit as bad as undertipping, because then expectations are set very high, especially from Americans.

I'd be curious to hear from a European here, since most of Europe is a non-tipping culture.
The boat we are on is Jelajahi Laut - with Mikumba, I only mention this as tipping may scale with "poshness" of the boat - and this is somewhere in the middle of the pack...a couple of rooms with ensuite bath, a couple of rooms with shared bath (we opted for the former).

As far as currency: the plan is to grab enough rupees from an ATM to get me out of the airport and handle the first 24 hours (I suspect I'm going to have to deal with a "was this you?" txt message from my bank - USAA no longer does 'travel notifications' where you tell them where you are going to be in advance), and then the area where we are staying should have plenty of ATM options.

In Jakarta we are staying at Mercure Jakarta Batavia - for a couple nights
In Sorong we are staying at Rylich Panorama - for a couple nights

It seems like ATM are easily available near either hotel, so I'm only planning on pulling out enough at the airport to get me to the next hop....in case the ATM have a relatively low "amount of withdraw per swipe" - I'm not going to sit there for 30 minutes while I'm wiped out from flights.

thanks for any info or tips on tips. :)
 
I would politely suggest Americans to stop exporting and imposing their crap and unjust "tipping culture" to other countries.
In many places in Asia tipping is quite offensive, and should be entirely avoided!
In most places it is expected that you contract for paying LESS than the initial request, not that you add a tip...
So it is good to ask in advance, it is wrong to assume that tipping is expected everywhere, being so only in US and in touristic places where a lot of American tourists imposed this bad habit.
"Politely suggest" and then call our tipping culture "crap" - how polite of you. Op was doing the right thing here and researching the norms on tipping for his destination - but thanks for your useless commentary...
 
As far as currency: the plan is to grab enough rupees from an ATM to get me out of the airport and handle the first 24 hours (I suspect I'm going to have to deal with a "was this you?" txt message from my bank - USAA no longer does 'travel notifications' where you tell them where you are going to be in advance), and then the area where we are staying should have plenty of ATM options.

In Jakarta we are staying at Mercure Jakarta Batavia - for a couple nights
In Sorong we are staying at Rylich Panorama - for a couple nights

It seems like ATM are easily available near either hotel, so I'm only planning on pulling out enough at the airport to get me to the next hop....in case the ATM have a relatively low "amount of withdraw per swipe" - I'm not going to sit there for 30 minutes while I'm wiped out from flights.

thanks for any info or tips on tips. :)
I think, given what others have written and my own experience a few days ago, your odds are likely that you will have a problem getting money from an ATM and may have to try a few different machines. Even though you may be exhausted from the long travel, you may find it worth the few extra minutes to get it done and over while you're still in the Jakarta airport. I didn't want to do a person-to-person money exchange because there's scammers that will miscount and try to cheat you, and the task might be harder with no sleep for 36 hours and you may not have the brain power to process it. In the Jakarta airport, there are many different ATMs to choose from. That may not be the case once you're out of the airport. And just going to any ATM on the street does not give you a guarantee that your card will not be scammed if it has a skimmer device on it. The Mandiri and BNI banks are legitimate, but those didn't even work with my Charles Schwab Visa-branded debit card.

There's no way to get around the low withdrawal limits. I found that 500,000 or 1,000,000 IDR is the limit per withdrawal, which is roughly $30 and $60, respectively. I got a total of $196 USD, and I have not spent even close to that yet, so I'll be using whatever is left for tips on the liveaboard and Sorido Bay Resort. Credit cards are widely accepted for purchases, even for small amounts, so you probably could get by with $50 worth of IDR. I got the IDR dispensed in 50,000 and 100,000 notes, which is roughly $3 and $6, respectively.

Sorong is a tiny airport and there are no ATMs there.
 
"Politely suggest" and then call our tipping culture "crap" - how polite of you.

Ok then, a good percentage get paid crap hoping for great tips

So it's a crap employer employee culture

Sorry for Ange
 
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