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China is a country steeped in ancient culture and religion. Its numerous monuments stand in testimony to the country’s rich past. Museums are stocked full of artifacts that leave visitors spellbound and hungry for more. Traces of bygone civilizations lie scattered across the country. A travel through this wealth of history can take a while and make a dent in one’s finances. Though China is not a ‘cheap’ holiday by any stretch of imagination, it is definitely cheaper than traveling to most European countries. But there are ways to make any holiday inexpensive, and in China all you have to do is follow a few golden rules.


It is best to spend more time in off the path provinces like Hunan rather than expensive money guzzlers like Shanghai and Beijing. A visitor can actually pay local prices in smaller cities and not be the victim of the classic tourist rip off syndrome. Larger cities have their own allure, but for budgeted travelers it is wise to stick to the provinces which also offer you an up close and personal experience of life in the country. If you decide to spend a considerable amount of time, then a great idea is to get yourself a job teaching English as a language. There is a huge demand for instructors in English now that the country and its economy have opened up to the West. This is a great way to finance your trip and get one on one experience of the people.


Next to traveling by bus, hopping on to a train is possibly the cheapest mode of transport in China. Check with the China tour & travel guide and get acquainted with what all is on offer. Buy your train berth accordingly. There’s the standing ticket, hard seat, soft seat and the hard sleeper ticket to choose from and as you go a class down, tickets get cheaper. Hot tip – book long distance train tickets in advance. Buses are more affordable and longer routes now offer modern sleeper buses.


Local delicacies in China are the way to go for a traveler on a budget. Though dining in Chinese restaurants doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket, street food is obviously more affordable. Plus point – Fuel up as you walk along, you will manage to experience a whole array of authentic Chinese cuisine. Everything from a bowl of fried noodles with vegetables to roasted insects can be had off the street. Vendors are omnipresent.


The biggest chunk of one’s travel budget is usually earmarked for accommodation. In China, trimming this expense should not be very difficult. Visitors have the option of staying in backpacker accommodation, dormitories, hostels and cheap guesthouses. Very often in smaller provinces, making friends with the locals usually results in an invitation to dinner and to spend the night.


Learning the local language has its benefits. Not only does it make your travels streamlined, it also earns a visitor respect. Chinese is not a walk in the park but it is not impossible to get a hang of either. Once you pick up a few basics, notice how people treat you differently – smiles appear, lunches and dinners will be taken care of and houses will open for overnight stay offers. It works like magic! Like any country, a trip to China can be as expensive or as affordable as you want it to be. Just keep these simple points in mind and you’ll breeze through China without too much trouble.


CHINA ON A BUDGET