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Anonymous
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*Posted: Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 2005-07-25 09:59. | Subject: Travel Costs

Hi,
Sorry if it is an obvious question, but I am wondering about the rough estimate for travel costs in China. Realize it varies a bit depending on location. I am thinking Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu, Xinjiang, Qinghai. Food, accomodation, transport. Just a rough estimate on a small budget is $15 U.S. a day possible or is it over 20. Also is there still the policy of charging foriegners a higher rate for buses and trains etc.
Thanks,
Shanti

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Joined: 2005-04-24
Points: 648
*Posted: Mon, 2005-07-25 17:55 | Subject: Re:Travel Costs

Trains are fixed price. Inter-city busses are fixed price.
In both cases, just buy a ticket from your departure station ticket window.

With inter-city busses, you can sometimes get a discount by getting the ticket from the driver of the bus you're riding on, but in theory the driver could charge you more than the ticket price as well.

With mianbao che (bread cars/mini-minivan) or jeep hires, the driver is probably the private owner of the vehicle, and you could get charged anything they like. There are some honest drivers and some fairly mercenary ones. Those are the ones you have to be more cautious with if you seem like a rich foreigner or rich east-coast chinese of some kind.

I'm mainly familiar with Yunnan province costs, but the other provinces you mentioned should be similar, outside of the big cities. If you're willing to go with dorm accommodations, you'll pay around 25 yuan (~$3.10) per night, sometimes less in small villages or touristy towns with too many guesthouses. You can skip that cost, of course, if you use overnight transportation.

Food, if you only ever eat the same really cheap things every single day, will cost less than 20 yuan (~$2.50) per day.

The big budget items will be transportation and admission costs to attractions, which makes it difficult to predict a per-day budget. Attractions cost anywhere from 10 (~$1.25) yuan to over several hundred yuan including local transportation costs ($12+). If you absolutely must stick to such a tight budget, you might miss out on some of the sights.

Long Distance transportation (rough rough rough estimate) costs about 30 yuan (~$3.70) per 100km, based on the distance I think it is by road between Zhongdian and Kunming (500ish km) and the price of the ticket (140ish yuan)

As you probably know, China just floated its currency, making US dollars less valuable in China by 2%. All the above conversions were based on the 1:8.11 exchange rate right after the float. While China seems to still be keeping a tight rein on the exchange rate, the yuan may become more expensive by the time you travel, which would mean you'd need to budget slightly more US dollars to compensate.

Anyway, hope that helps.

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