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Here is a breakdown of how much travelers can expect to pay per day in China for traveling top end, middle level, or budget style. Prices for hotels, meals, transport, sights, and snacks for a person traveling in China are covered.
Single-person travel: We have based prices on a single traveler. As two of the largest expenses are hotels and transport, these costs can be up to 30% less if shared by two traveling together.
Our representative price per day is based on the idea of price bands for China's cities.
Trip Advisor includes price information for hotels, restaurants, and sights, so travelers can readily get an idea of the costs in a China city. Using Trip Advisor's' top 10 5-star hotels [Feb. 2018] for various cities and taking a mean for the same date...
Cities changing tier ranking: Chengdu's mean for 5-star hotels was about 140 USD or second tier rank, and Harbin's was 100 USD or third tier. Chengdu is a city moving up to the second tier, but other prices in Chengdu are lower than second tier ranking making Chengdu a third tier city. Harbin is moving up from fourth-tier ranking.
Enjoying some luxury in China doesn't cost as much as in developed countries.
We assume that a person enjoying top end travel might spend most of his/her time in second-tier cities of China. They would stay in 5-star hotels, eat in 5-star restaurants (if available), take private or first class transport, enjoy expensive attractions or sightseeing, and eat expensive snacks.
"Middle level" expenditure in China may seem more like lower middle class in the West.
We assume that travelers in the mid-range of spending would spend about equal amounts of time in third-tier and second-tier cities. They would probably eat at middle-budget restaurants, take taxis, pay middle budget for sights and activities, and middle budget snacks.
If traveling like a local in China, you can benefit from the huge infrastructure of hotels, local restaurants, and transportation designed to serve China's working class population who earn about 2 dollars an hour.
We assume that travelers looking for a local expereince would visit the second-tier cities, but spend more time in the attractive third and fourth-tier areas, such as scenic areas and places with ethnic minority culture. We have priced for staying at local hotels or hostels, indigenous dining, taking public transport, paying the local rate for attractions, and eating the most native street snacks.
(This is for a relatively comfortable local experience in highly-rated local hotels and restaurants and two highly-rated attractions in Guilin, but you can certainly enjoy traveling in China for much less. See e.g. how to tour Guilin on a Shoestring for 20 USD a day.)
The other major expenses of touring China are getting there (international flights) and inter-city transport (domestic flights, trains, etc.). The following are ballpark figures.
International return flights from the US or the UK can be bought at their cheapest for around 1,000 USD, and business class roundtrip flights may cost 5,000 USD or more.
Traveling between Chinese cities can be done for 50 to 100 USD on trains, or traveling business class for 500 to 1,000 USD on domestic flights or high-speed trains.
The cost of travel in China is generally less due to lower wages than in the West, which affects everything in the supply chain from tour guide costs to the cost of washing or disposable chopsticks at restaurants.
Tickets for most of China's famous attractions cost 20 dollars USD or less. The Reed Flute cave in Guilin, for example, is rated #2 of all the Things to Do in Guilin and is very popular with foreign tourists receiving a Certificate of Excellence, but tickets cost 20 USD.
Once again, due to lower service costs in China, traveling with a private tour company can actually mean you enjoy excellent service for a fraction of the price.
Our journeys are consistently ranked among the best in China, but they are more moderately priced than foreign tour companies of similar ranking.
We care about you! China Highlights is the choice of discerning travelers: excellent for families, small groups, and individual tourists who want flexibility, local expertise, close personal service, and to be in control of their tour.
Tell us your interests and requirements, and we will tailor-make your China tour.