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Is China Expensive??

Travel Forums Asia Is China Expensive??

1. Posted by ErolGirl (Budding Member 78 posts) 7y

I have this preconception that China is going to be quite expensive. Is this true?

I will be travelling mainly by overnight trains, staying in hostels or budget hotels and doing the usual travellers things!! What would help make it a cheaper stay? And what would make it way mor expensive so I can avoid it!!!

thanks guuuuys

2. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 7y

Southwest China (Yunnan, Guilin, etc...) was very cheap when I was there a few years ago. I found it only slightly more expensive than Southeast Asia and probably one of the better value places I've been. Hong Kong is fairly expensive. I haven't been anywhere else in China, but from what I understand the major cities along the coast (Beijing, Shainghai etc..) are more expensive.

3. Posted by supersuk (Budding Member 14 posts) 7y

Went to Hong Kong, Shang Hai, Beijing and Xian. They're all pretty expensive for foreiners, probably comparable to any developed country. However, there are alot of cheap options in those cities, its just kinda hard to find good deals unless you know a local or speak the language.

Haggle for your tours and souvenir, avoid eating and drinking at nice bars and restaraunts, use public transit over taxis and eat street food.

4. Posted by dnicholson (Full Member 146 posts) 7y

well, the same as any other countries, if you make your stay expensive then it would be expensive. there are a lot of options like eating in good yet affordable place or eating out in a fancy place. what I do in picking out a good place to eat at is I try to see all the available options and compare their prices. in a place where the kioske or restaurants are close to each other, I would go to the one where the most people are... surely the food is great..

5. Posted by citybell (Full Member 419 posts) 7y

How did you get the preconception that China would be quite expensive? If you can explain it would be easy to answer.

Nevertheless, these are some hints:

East side is more expensive than west or south west.

Unless urgent, don't use taxi. Use public transport as they are cheap.Example in shanghai, i have used buses in which you can travel until the farthest point of destination for just 1 yuan for non air conditioned or for Yuan2 for air-con buses. Not sure if ticket fare has increased. Remember to keep small coins to use in public transport(otherwise they don't give you change).

Entry tickets to most of the sight seeing places like museum are expensive. So choose the ones which you want to see.

There are restaurants where common people dine which will will be quite evident as you walk along the street.These restaurants not only cheap but also tasty and good food.

If you wish to buy some gifts/souvenirs , you need to bargain which is quite common in China. Even in some hostels/guest houses, this works!! No matter even if you don't Chinese language.They do it with calculator in hand!!

Hostels/hotels in Shanghai, Beijing, Hongkong and Macau and such big cities, are expensive in around city centre.

6. Posted by fussy (Inactive 208 posts) 7y

In a word yes. We went Nov 08. Soft sleeper trains not cheap and entry to everywhere (sights) is expensive. Also many of the must see sights are not close to where you are staying eg Xi'an to entombed ones, Beijing to the great wall. We found it cheaper to book day trips, plenty local agents to choose from. A word of warning, the cheaper the trip, the more emporiums you will visit, this seems ok price wise but you get less time at the sights in the rush to get you to the shops.

On the trip we selected for the entombed warriors, although there was no mention in the literature, we were deposited in a room with some chinese 'doctors' the idea being you take turms to tell them your troubles (all the rest of the group hearing every word) and then being prescribed some chinese medicine to effect a cure.

Whislt it is easy not to buy, it is still annoying, and frankly, unpleasant.

7. Posted by ngrick (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

I just came back from Sichuan and Xi'an a month ago. So can give you some info.

Generally, entrance fees to major attractions are expensive. Some big attractions do provide transport such as battery cars, buses and cable way and they are charged separately.

Traveling by overnight train is highly recommended as you save on accommodation. Personally, I find hard sleepers to be adequate for me. Soft sleepers are much more expensive. Don't be misled by the term "hard sleeper", a soft mattress of about 1.5-inch thick is provided with blanket.

Food is cheap about anywhere. Just keep away from restaurants. Anyway, if traveling by yourself, you won't walk into a restaurant.

As for accommodation, some local hotels that cater for local tourists are very cheap but the living conditions may not be what you expect. If you are not choosy, this is one option for you. As for hostels, staying in the dormitory is cheap but the rooms may be slightly more expensive than the local hotels. Some hostels that provide a lot of facilities for foreigners tend to be slightly highly priced but their services are good too.

For day tour to any attraction, try to sound out the hostel/hotel that you stay in for more details first. They usually will be more honest with you as you are staying with them.

I can't say much about cities. Generally, depends on what you do. This recent trip to Sichuan and Xi'an for 2 weeks cost me S$2,000. Yet, a 1-month trip in 2006 to Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Huangshan cost me a total of S$1,800 only.

Post 8 was removed by a moderator
9. Posted by Gartt (Full Member 31 posts) 7y

Quoting ngrick

I can't say much about cities. Generally, depends on what you do. This recent trip to Sichuan and Xi'an for 2 weeks cost me S$2,000. Yet, a 1-month trip in 2006 to Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Huangshan cost me a total of S$1,800 only.

But that 2006 price was before the "Economic Crisis", Due to the pound crashing in 2008 and the Yuan remaining strong China became a lot more expensive in a very short amount of time. When I starting planning my trip to china it was around 17-18CNY to a pound. By the time I went it had dropped to under 12CNY to the pound and it added a great chunk of expense to my trip.

So to the OP As has been said, use hard sleepers if you can, they are mch much cheaper than a soft sleeper. They can be very claustrophobic though, so try not to wind up on the top bunk if you can.

Do your research if you plan on taking a tour anywhere, its easy enough to get to anywhere. There is a very good transport system in China that will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go. So tours arent really necessary, but sometimes they can work out good value if they include travel and entrance costs.

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Dec-2009, at 02:26 by Gartt ]