Tipping in India
In India, as in the Moslem world, giving alms to the needed is seen as receiving credit from the Gods, essential in the after-life. Therefore, the prevalent use of baksheesh is rooted into the Indian culture, not just as an equivalent of the western “tip” but somehow as a sign of gratitude for being given the chance to earn some merit.
With this in mind, the main difference between a tip and baksheesh is really the lack of arrogance in the giver, who should consider the taker with respect, even if confronted with a beggar.
How much should we give?
In restaurants, if the service charge is included, you don’t need to leave anything. Otherwise, anything from 5% to 10%.
In hotels, again, if you want to leave something consider around 5% of the total room rate to be put into a tip box for all the staff. If someone gave you exceptional service, you might leave something for the individual, but it is a personal choice.
In taxis and tuk-tuks when the fare has been agreed there is no need for tips. If it is a metered fare, 10% to 12% is adequate, and round up the fare to the next Rp 10.
Tourist guides and drivers expect anything up to Rp300 per day. Tip according to how happy you are with their service.
For porters at airport, and hotel allow Rp 20 per bag, and for small jobs from bellboys or others, keep a wad of small notes (Rp 10 and Rp 20) and use them to tip as a gesture of gratitude for the service.
Finally, if you need something difficult to be done quickly (or at all...), pay baksheesh, It works wonders and opens most closed doors!