Traveling China on Budget – Tips and Tricks

Dan Rang - Dec 29, 2014
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As compared to most destinations in Southeast Asia, China is quite expensive to travel, especially when it comes to long train journeys and entrance tickets to major tourist attractions. However, you can still manage to travel in China on a budget of $50 a day. Moreover, you will be still able to allow yourself some luxuries, such as single rooms in hostels and good seats on trains. Here are some tips for traveling in China on your own. 

Stay in Hostels 

It’s worth mentioning that budget hostels in China are luxurious and world class. In fact, often they are nicer than many hotels. Contrary to hotels in China, the staff members in hostels speak good English. Moreover, they’re willing to help you with any problems you experience. This way, you can ask your way around the place. You can even ask the staff members to book a train or some other ticket on your behalf. There’s no doubt that your accommodation can break or make the trip. Hostels in China definitely make it worth every penny.

Most hostels are located in central locations. Thus, they are easier to find. If you’re a nature lover, you can even look for hostels right in the middle of exceptional rice terraces. Since hostels are conveniently located, they help you save a lot of money on travel. Most hostels in China also feature bars, cafes, washing facilities, beautifully designed single rooms and common rooms. Food at most hostels is also less expensive than in hotels. 

Take the Bus or Train, Not the Plane 

In case the length of your train ride is under 5 hours, you should choose hard seats. Though they might feel uncomfortable and crowded, they are very cheap. Similarly, when you’re going on an overnight journey, you should choose a hard sleeper. They are cheaper than soft sleepers. However, the quality of beds is almost the same. The only major difference is that hard sleeper compartments don’t have a door, and 6 people share them instead of 4. ¨

It’s also less expensive to choose a slow train. It will not only help you buy a cheaper seat, but also save a night in the hostel. When you’re travelling cross country, you should check some train prices before booking a plane ticket. Moreover, if you book a plane ticket a few weeks in advance, you can save a lot of money. While travelling within the city, you should choose subways and buses over taxis. The bus system is well connected, and takes you anywhere. 

Eat Local 

The average street places and small restaurants charge anything between $1-3 for a decent meal. In fact, you can save even more money when you try a wide range of foods with other people. The custom in China is for many people to share a few dishes. 

It’s quite obvious that you’ll have to stay away from luxury, fine dine and high end restaurants. Even hostel restaurants can prove to be quite expensive. It’s easy to spot high end Chinese restaurants from a mile away. High end and expensive restaurants feature a fancy interior design, and keep a hostess to welcome you at the door. 

Consider Tourist Attractions Worth Seeing 

Last but not least, when you’re travelling in China, it’s important to consider ticket prices of some major tourist attractions. In most cases, the entrance fees may range between $10-20. However, some famous parks charge more than $30-40. Therefore, it’s important to figure out which attractions you really want to see and visit. It’s important to understand that most pagodas and temples look the same from the inside. Thus, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. 

Sometimes, an entrance ticket is also made up of different tickets to a lot of attractions. For instance, when you visit the Western part of the Great Wall, the ticket includes the entry for the wall, museum, adjoining fort and some tombs. You can even purchase a massive ticket at a discounted price for a wide range of tourist attractions. Thus, it’s important to figure out everything you want to see, and don’t want to see.

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