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Cost of living in China

So what is it really going to cost you to live in China?

Here’s our whistle stop tour of everything you need to know about the real cost of living in China. Sit back, read carefully and be amazed at what you can get for your money.

In China you will be able to afford a lifestyle you are unlikely to be able to enjoy in home country; you can get a housekeeper, travel every month, eat our whenever you like, enjoy massages, nights out and pick up a new outfit regularly.


Eating local food and buying produce from the Chinese markets gives you a sense of really being in China and allows you to fully immerse yourself in the culture. It will also leave you with plenty of money left over to save up for your travels. Here are some of the basic things you may buy below:

  • Milk (1L) : 7 RMB

  • Eggs (12) : 7 RMB

  • Carrots (1kg) : 5 RMB

  • Chicken breast (1kg) : 15 RMB

  • Rice (1kg) : 8 RMB

  • Bottle of water (1.5L) : 3 RMB

  • Bottle of Chinese beer (.5L) : 4 RMB

THE FUN STUFF China has a wide range of regional cuisines and eating out is best way to experience them. Whether you’re enjoying a meal with friends, working out at the fitness club, or getting a massage, you’ll find that leisure activities are often very affordable in China.

  • Three course mid-range restaurant dinner : 80 RMB

  • Quick restaurant meal of rice or noodles : 25 RMB

  • Large steamed dumplings, a common street food : 3 RMB

  • Housekeeper (2 hours) : 30 RMB

  • Massage (30 min) : 40 RMB

  • 1 month fitness club membership : 150 RMB

  • Movie ticket, international release : 65 RMB


China has excellent, yet inexpensive public transport and even taxi rides are quite reasonably-priced and the most convenient way to get around. The metro is super efficient and is great for long journeys.

  • Metro Ride : 3 RMB

  • Taxi rate per km : 2.2 RMB (start fare ~ 10RMB)

  • 20-min taxi ride across town : 25 RMB

  • City bus : 2 RMB

  • 3-hour bicycle rental : 8 RMB (plus 100RMB deposit, returned)

  • Ferry crossing : 2 RMB

LONG DISTANCE TRAVEL Travelling is what this whole experience is all about, so you'll be pleased to see how cheap trains and flights are! There is some seasonal variation and prices rise during national holidays like Chinese New Year, but if you book far enough in advance you can find yourself a bargain.

  • 1 night in a mid-range hotel : 350 RMB

  • High speed train - Shanghai to Beijing (4 hours): 550 RMB

  • Slow train, Guangzhou to Wuhan (10 hours) : 120 RMB

  • Flight, Guangzhou to Beijing (2 hours) : 800 RMB

  • Flight, Shanghai to Bangkok (3 hours) : 1200 RMB

We hope you enjoyed reading some of the examples about the real cost of living in China!


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