I'm now researching my next trip (possibly HK and S. China enroute to Vietnam) and am having difficulty in comparing daily expenses. I travel flashpacker style and am spoiled by the very low costs in Vietnam. All I know is that HK is rather expensive, and that several cities in China (Beijing and Shanghai among them) are also costly. What's the real deal in 2009?
Well I have just got back from HK so I can tell you a few prices (in UK £). A budget room costs about £20, you will get a tiny room with bathroom and tv for this. Travelling around HK is very cheap. Use the underground as it is very efficient and easy to navigate and fast and clean etc. To get from Kowloon to HK Island it is about 0.20p. A beer in a bar in Lan Kwai Fong is pretty expensive at around £2.50. If you eat with the locals it is cheap but if you go say for a pizza it is expensive. A trip on the Star Ferry to HK island and back (or visa versa) is about 0.20p return. HK is pretty compact though so if you like walking you can walk to most places.
It is a great city so I would definitely recommend you go there. It is best that you book your room well in advance if you want to make sure you get a decent one as the good hostels do get booked up quickly. HK is small but full to the brim with people everywhere so all accomodation is tiny and expensive but worth it.
I just spend 7 days in Shanghai and it was my second time. Its only expensive,if you are there to go clubbing and bar hopping. Which is practically the only thing that makes Shanghai interesting.
But the clubs are good and certainly something you cant find in Vietnam.
I think Shanghai and Beijing are not expensive. HK is expensive, coz your cheapest option for accommodation is Chungking and Mirador mansion.
The hostels in Shang and Beijing are fantastic. Food, it aint that expensive, you'll have lots of options.
I spent 3 weeks in Vietnam and I thought it was hell expensive, considering the fact that it is not as CORPORATE OR MODERN as the cities of China.
btw,Shanghai has so many construction sites this month. Its worth 3 days though.... I'd rather go to Hangzhou and other chic places. Well,like I said, if you wanna check out some clubs and bars.... you'll find those bars in other cities. Shang is a bit over rated. HK is definitely more beautiful. But Shang is like a designer label, you simply had to own a piece of it.