I am considering paying the hefty visa price as an American traveling to China. However, I'm not sure how expensive it is to travel around China? I have been traveling SE Asia now for 6 months and am used to a cheap budget. Anyone have any input?
China isn't as low cost as it once was and is a very rapidly developing country. However for an idea of costs try http://adventures.worldnomads.com/destination/45/travelguide/3/China/Money-and-costs.aspx about 10 years ago
The main problem with backpacking is not so much the cost, but getting around. If you can't speak the language, it's difficult to get around. So, most people are stuck with going on the tours, which can get pretty expensive. If you're really ready for an adventure, you can go it alone and there are always cheap options outside of the major cities.
But, they can be hard to find, and if you can't speak well, even if you find them you may get the "laowai" price without some good bargaining. I've been living there off and on for 8 years and just wrote a blog article about bargaining that may be helpful: http://www.berkeleysg.com/blog/. It's pretty general, but a lot of my experience has come from China.
Food can always be cheap. Even in Shenzhen you can find places to eat for $2 with some searching, and outside the major cities you should be able to find a bowl of noodles for less than a buck. Hotels are a little harder, but $10 is doable in the smaller cities. The hostels are called guest houses in China if you're looking on the internet, but there aren't many compared to other Asian countries. almost 10 years ago
You can totally backpack around China!
And not knowing the language is the amazing part of it!
There are many hostels for backpackers, if you are willing to stay in dorm then you can go really cheap, otherwise you're looking at about 10$/night per person for accommodation.
Keep in mind that the further West you go (generally speaking), the cheaper things get. We've never had any problems getting around, although sometimes things can be a little bit challenging at big city train stations. The nice thing, is in fact that you DONT get "tourist prices" if you go by public transport, the tickets are printed out, with the prices on them. Again, you just have to be a bit patient about figuring out how to get them. But the guidebooks are helpful, and usually the hostels have young helpful local staff to help you out.
I highly recommend China, its really easy to get off the beaten-track AND I forgot to mention how amazing the food is! Cheap and BEST!
If you have any questions you can e-mail me at email@example.com. I love to give advice :) over 9 years agoAnswered by Emilie (ye-travels) via WorldNomads.com
Food is really cheap and so is hostel accommodation. Bus is cheaper than train sometimes, trains you have to book, but there are pricing options (seat/1st class seat+bed/1st class bed). In most tourist areas it isnt too hard to book trains with the help of hostel staff, and people are generally friendly (even if they dont seem so in the more rural areas) I was able to get by on $25 per day traveling small distances and eating and sleeping cheap. over 9 years ago