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ben boyd

Travelled to 10 countries / regions

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From LA, living in Hong Kong, go to China a lot

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Asia > China > Useful Info
Updated on Dec 02, 2018 Useful Info

How much does it cost to travel to China

  • The challenge with budgeting for China is that the country is massive and is effectively 2 countries: developed cities along the coast and poor cities inland. The cost will vary a lot depending on how much of each you want to see and how many places you want to visit
  • That being said, my rule of thumb for traveling in China is to budget $80-120 USD per person per day, excluding your return flights. This budget should give you a comfortable, though not luxurious, trip to China
  • Here's ballpark range of costs for different expense categories:
  • Food - international fast food: ¥50-¥100 ($7-$15) per meal
  • Food - Chinese fast food: ¥10-¥30 ($1.5-$4.5) per meal
  • Food - average restaurant/food court: ¥80-¥160 per meal on the coast, ¥50-¥100 in the interior
  • Taxi: most of your taxi trips within a city limit should cost you between ¥25-¥50 ($3.5-$7) per trip. Taxis to airports will generally cost you between ¥100-¥200 ($15-$30) per trip
  • Metro: all major cities and many second tier cities have metro and they're usually extremely cheap. In most parts of China you can take the metro anywhere in the city for ¥2-¥5 (30-80 cents) per trip
  • VPN: $12 USD per month
  • Domestic flight: a one-way flight between major cities in China typically costs between ¥700-¥1200 ($100-$170). However, when seats are tight they can get over ¥2000 ($280)
  • Domestic high speed train: high speed trains pretty much connect all the major cities and many of the smaller cities. The cost varies, from less than ¥70-¥150 ($10-$20) for 1-3 hour trips, to ¥500-¥700 ($70-$100) for trips taking 5 or more hours
  • Hotel: ¥300-¥500 ($40-$70) per night in tier-1 cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen), and ¥100-¥300 ($15-$40) per night in non tier-1 cities (all other cities). This is for a 3-star hotel. Add 30%-40% to this range for 4-star hotels.
  • Airbnb: ¥200-¥600 ($30-$90) per night in tier-1 cities. ¥100-¥350 ($15-$50) per night for non tier-1 cities.
  • SIM card: depends on how much data you need, but ¥50-¥150 ($7-$21) will get you a few gigabytes of 4G data, which should be enough for most travelers
  • Tickets to attractions: public urban attractions like museums cost between ¥50-¥150 ($7-$20) per person. Public non-urban attractions like national parks (e.g. Huangshan) will cost between ¥200-¥350 ($30-$50) per person. Major private attractions will cost a lot more, usually over $50 USD