• Sri Lanka
  • Travel Guides
  • Tipping in Sri Lanka

Tipping in Sri Lanka

Different countries means different cultures and this is part of what makes travelling and seeing the world so interesting and exciting. And with its beautiful white-sand beaches, tropical rainforest and rich culture, it’s little wonder that the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka has been drawing in travellers for years. 

Nestled in the northern Indian Ocean, the country offers much to see. Over the years, the country has been home to a wide range of different religions and cultures with certain established custom.

Sri Lankans are used to a tipping culture and would expect to receive a tip in normal circumstances but don’t feel obliged to tip if you receive bad service. With wages being low in comparison to Western standards, a tip can go a long way and this is reflected in the high level of service that is usually carried out. And the same level of tip is applicable across a whole of professions and experiences.


When you are using taxis in Sri Lanka, be sure to tip your taxi driver. Transport like taxis is inexpensive so you might even consider hiring a taxi for the day to do your touring. Tips should be reflective of the journey so if you decide to hire a taxi for the day agree on the price first then adjust any tip accordingly on the experience you have throughout the day.

Tour guides

If you are going on guided tours, it is best not to tip your tour guide, as it is usually included in the fees you pay before taking your tour. If however, your tour guide offers to take you to additional places above those listed on the tour, you should consider a tip if you feel it’s deserved. And don’t be afraid to take a tour through Sri Lanka, there is a lot to be seen. Visit some of the beautiful Buddhist temples that are scattered throughout the region. Typically temples are free to visit but it is considered respectful to leave a donation in the donation box.

Spa & ayurveda treatments

What is a holiday without going to a spa? Never be shy to tip your therapist if they have delivered a good treatment. If there’s a box that you can put your tip in, you can place 10 percent of your bill in the box. There are many spas in this beautiful country, so why not make your holiday a relaxing time, and treat yourself to a massage.


You need to sample Sri Lanka’s great restaurants where you will experience a fusion of South India and Far East influences alongside excellent service. Curries and spices feature heavily which is not surprising given that Sri Lanka was a stop off on the ancient spice route. After your meal and as you are paying your bill, typically give 10 percent of your total bill as a cash tip. You can always pay a different amount based on your experience from the waitress or waiter.

Waiting staff

Tourists usually stay in hotels while visiting Sri Lanka. It is recommended that you tip 50-100 rupees for the hotel’s services as provided by bar staff, waiting staff and cleaners. You can give them the same amount of tip.

Sri Lanka is an extraordinary world filled with a wide diversity of culture and culinary delights. Whilst you are there be sure to soak up the splendid geography, history and nature. The people are friendly and helpful so tip accordingly and have a fantastic time.

Popular hotels in Sri Lanka

Kalutara, West Coast Sri LankaTuryaa Kalutara
Wed, 3rd Nov
7 nights
All Inclusive
from £780.33pp
TripAdvisor rating