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Guidelines for Guides & Tipping

    Will a guide pick us up at the airport (or railway station)? How will I know where to find the guide when I arrive?
    Yes. Our guide will meet you in each as you arrive. At the airport, the guide meets you at the airport exit once you go through luggage claim.   The guide will be holding a sign with your name on it or sometimes Lotus Travel if it is a larger group. If you at a train station, the guide will be on the platform right outside your railway car and be holding a sign. There are a few railway stations, such as in Guangzhou, that the guide is not permitted to meet you on the platform and in that case, you will find them as you follow the exit path.

    Will we have a guide that takes us to the airport (or railway station)?
    Yes, the guide will accompany you to the airport and will help you check your luggage and also obtain the boarding pass. Of course, with current security, the guide is not allowed to go through the security checkpoint, but will often walk right up the security checkpoint to see you get cleared and on your way to your gate. If you are take the train, the guide will usually see you off on the platform but there are exceptions when at the railway station in a border area, like Guangzhou.

    What is the protocol for tipping?
    Over the last decade or so, tipping tour guides who lead groups and the accompanying driver has become part of the compensation structure, similar to waiter/waitressing staff in N. America. In recognition of the good service, tipping waiters and maids in high-level western restaurants, guides and drivers from an organized tour group, as well as bellhops who take your luggage to the room has become gradually accepted as common practice in China as elsewhere in the world. But it is still unnecessary to tip when taking a taxi, hiring a car or dining in Chinese restaurants.  Lotus does not include tipping when quoting the tour price, so you can decide to reward good service as you decide. The basic tipping recommendation below is based on 1$ = 6.5 yuan. For the current exchange rate search under ‘exchange rate US dollar to yuan’.

    EscortPer person per day

    Yuan (RMB)

    Driver Per person per day

    Yuan (RMB)

    $6 - $10

    39 – 65

    $3 - $5

    20 - 33

    Anyone who has received a tip will recognize that his services have been appreciated. For convenience, we suggest you tip the guide and driver when they see you off at the airport or rail station at the end of each city tour. As for when to give the tip, often you'll find that your guide will see you right into the lobby or into the airport. If this makes you uncomfortable just say directly that you're fine to go inside on your own. Sometimes guides are obligated by company rules to see you walk through security. It's best to tip the driver as you leave the vehicle. If you can let your guide know specifically what you liked about his/her style, it will help them in the future. In the following cities please tip toward the high end of the range as the cost of living is higher than elsewhere in China: Beijing; Chongqing; Guangzhou, Guangdong; Nanjing, Jiangsu; Shanghai; Tianjin; and Hangzhou, Zhejiang.


    Per  Person

    $ USD

    Ride to hotel from airport & returns



    Hotel bell staff


    $1 per bag

    Transfers to and from adoption processing



    Below is a list of miscellaneous excursions which often occur, and related tipping suggestions for those shorter trips.  Please do not feel obligated for a certain amount, and tip as you prefer based on the service experience you receive.  These are simply general guidelines to assist you.   Of course, if you feel there is some extraordinary service you would like to recognize, feel free to exceed the guidelines.

    How to tip? Should I always tip in cash? 
    Yes, cash is usually the best way to tip, and preferably in RMB. Another way, in which you can express your appreciation of service from your tour guide or driver, is the small gifts such as books, music tapes and personal items, candies, hats, T-shirts, wine, foreign cigarettes etc.

    Non-tipping sectors in China
    Though tipping has become more and more popular in China, there are still places where you don’t need to give a tip.
    1. Taxi (taxi drivers might be insulted by a tip, but they do “round up” for convenience)
    2. Street side restaurants
    3. Normal Chinese restaurants
    4. Restaurant chains like Pizza Hut, McDonald’s…
    5. Pubs and bars
    6. Massage studios


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