Like with all countries the larger cities tend to see higher prices that the smaller, less touristy destinations. Having spent time in Shanghai, Yangzhou, Nanjing and Beijing this difference is noticeable, with Beijing and Shanghai being much more pricey. Here is my quick guide to Prices in China, from food and drink to your accommodation options.

1 Chinese Yuan Equals 0.14 Dollars or 0.11 British Pounds
Conversions are correct as of 12/12/2016.

Food and Drink Prices in China

  • Noodles and Meat in a local Café/Diner: 25 RMB
  • REALLY local Noodles and Meat: 12 RMB
  • MacDonalds Meal: 50 RMD
  • Sausage on a stick / Hot Snack from local shop: 5 RMB
  • Pot Noodle style food (Big): 5 RMB
  • Breakfast at your Hotel: 40-80 RMB (eat out)
  • Upmarket Restaurant – 3 Course + drinks: 150 RMD – 350 RMB (difference between large and small city)
  • Large bag of local crisps or chocolate bar: 5-6 RMB
  • Western Brand Crisps or chocolate bar: 15-20 RMB
  • 500ml Bottle of Water: 3 RMB ()
  • Coffee: Locally 15 RMB, Starbucks 30 RMB
  • Pint of Local Beer: 15 RMB
  • Pint of imported beer: 50 RMB
  • Cola: 8-15 RMB
  • Spirits: 15-20 RMB (imported, branded and ‘popular’ drinks may be more. For things like Jäger Bomb etc prices can be as high as 40 RMB in Shanghai or Beijing.

Hotel Prices in China

  • In central Shanghai you can book the [eafl id=”1663″ name=”China Majest Plaza Shagnhai” text=”Five Star Majesty Plaza”] from around £60 per night in the winter and prices vary seasonally. ([eafl id=”1664″ name=”Hotels in Shanghai” text=”More hotels in Shanghai here >”])
  • In Beijing centrally located hotels such as the [eafl id=”1667″ name=”Pentahotel Beijing” text=”Four Star Pentahotel Beijing”] start from around £47 per night in the winter and £54 in the summer. ([eafl id=”1665″ name=”Hotels in Beijing” text=”More hotels in Beijing here >”])
  • Out of the larger cities in places such as Nanjing you can book a comfortable Four Star Hotel such as the Novotel from around £63 . ([eafl id=”1666″ name=”Hotels in Nanjing” text=”More hotels in Nanjing here >”])

Hostel Prices in China

Hostels in China are very, very cheap. During my 16 day visit I paid for private rooms in hostels for a bit of extra security and since I was travelling with my friend. When traveling solo I normally opt for a 4-6 bed dorm.

Our private room cost 140 RMB per night. Between us, that worked out at something like £8 each per night!

The dorms are of course even less. From around 40 RMB £5 per night. [eafl id=”1635″ name=”Booking.com Genera;” text=”Booking.com”] is a good place to look for hostels but I think for many they only sell the private rooms. No upfront costs and free cancellation is a great perk though. Otherwise I’d recommend http://www.booking.com/index.html?aid=1175594Hostelworld.com but they do charge an upfront fee.

In the winter you’d be pretty fine to walk into most hostels and find some space!

Entrance to the Sanlitun Hostel in Beijing
Sanlitun Hostel – right in the heart of the bars and clubs district of Beijing

Prices in China: Your Daily Budget

Shoestring: 150 RMB / £xx / $xx per day

  • 2 x 2 litre bottles of water: 10 RMB
  • Chinese porridge with meant: 15 RMB
  • Snack (not imported): 5 RMB
  • Sightseeing: 50 RMB
  • Chinese burger / street food / sandwich: 15 RMB
  • Noodles with meat: 25 RMB
  • 8 Bed Dorm: 30 RMB

Medium Spend: 400 RMB / £12 / $25 per day

  • 2 x 2 litre bottles of water: 10 RMB
  • Pankcake English Breakfast. 35 RMB
  • Snacks (not imported): 10 RMB
  • Noodle Bar: 30 RMB
  • Sightseeing and tours (entry fees): 100 RMB
  • Variety of foods: 80 RMB
  • Beers in the evening: 65 RMB
  • Twin Room: 70 RMB

High Spend: 1260 RMB / £12 / $25 per day

  • 2 x 2 litre bottles of water: 10 RMB
  • Hotel Breakfast. 70 RMB
  • Snacks ( imported): 50 RMB
  • Restaurant style: 150 RMB
  • Sightseeing and tours (entry fees plus guides): 300 RMB
  • Variety of foods, posh: 250 RMB
  • Cocktails in the evening: 180 RMB
  • Posh Twin Room: 250 RMB

So with the prices in China as they are, how much should you spend?

With just 15 days in China for my first visit I really need to pack in as much as possible. China is huge and every region is different, so you’ll either need to plan a good couple of months (dipping out and in to get a new visa) or plan to return like me.

My budget was around 400 RMB per day, including high-speed trains between destinations (Nanjing to Beijing being around 430 RMB). A slightly higher budget is needed across your time to cover things like getting on a tour to see the wall (300-500 RMB for a day trip), entry into templates and attractions such as Beijing’s Forbidden City for example, and of course Nik-Naish and beer.

Dumplin making in Saga Hostel Beijing
Dumplin making in Saga Hostel Beijing