For the most part, gratuity is not accepted in China. Our tour guide explained to us that she had seen Americans leave a tip at the lunch table, and the waiter chased them down the street to give back their money. It is not culturally acceptable to give a tip for service. If you had amazing service, you might tell your server that you would like to give him or her something extra, but don’t be surprised if they refuse it. During our trip, we arranged a massage. The price of the massage had already included a generous tip. I also noticed that when taking taxis, the drivers did not give me back the correct change. Therefore, I just took that “mistake” as their tip. I did not have the language skills to make sure I got the correct change, and it was usually an amount that I would have considered a good tip.
If you are going on one of the VIPKid Field Trips, you will have a tip that you will need to budget for the tour guides and the bus driver. You will get information about this before you leave. (Ours was about 450 CNY which is around $65 US.) We had one person that was chosen to collect all the tips from the travelers and divide them out to the tour guides and the drivers. Just be prepared as this is an “extra” budget item you will need.