Beijing Budget Travel Guide: Top Ten Tips

Top Ten Tips to Save Money in Beijing

skyline and great wall

A trip to Beijing doesn’t have to be full of expensive activities. There’s plenty to do that doesn’t involve too much money. The following tips are aimed at those who wish to experience the delights of Chinese culture without spending a fortune doing so.

1, Hire a Personal Driver to the Great Wall

When visiting the Great Wall of China, get a private car, and avoid the crowded people and traffic. If you are traveling with 3 or 4 friends, this way is much more cost-efficient.

The scenery provides a fascinating contrast between urban and rural China. Be aware most cab drivers in Beijing speak very little English. Alternatively, you can pre-book a private car tour to Mutianyu through travel agents or specialist operators.

2, Eat on the Street

If your priority is to fill your belly at dinnertime, then dumplings and skewered kebabs are cheap. The quality ranges from adequate to superb, and you can afford to experiment.

Another delicious and economical treat is rou Jia mou, a mixture of chicken, onions, and lettuce available in most supermarkets.

3,  Take the Underground/Subway

The quality of restaurants is not always reflected in the price. If money is more of an issue than time, take the Underground/Subway out to the suburbs.

The trains are so inexpensive that it is worth the fare. Outside the city center, restaurants are noticeably cheaper and of a similar standard.

Beijing Budget Travel Guide Top Ten Tips Beijing

4, Be Wary of Market Stalls

Unless you can speak at least some Chinese,  be wary of market stalls. Many traders will overcharge, while others refuse to sell produce in small quantities, i.e., two bananas. It seems a shame to favor large companies over independent retailers, but supermarkets are more convenient and affordable. In large shops, the prices are marked.

5, Under No Circumstances, Join a Gym.

There are hundreds of outdoor exercise areas in Beijing, providing citizens with the opportunity to exercise free of charge. They are also a great way to connect with the locals. Perhaps the finest example is in Beibinhe Park, north of Tianmen Square.

6, Avoid the Large Indoor Markets

Avoid the large tourist-oriented indoor markets such as the Silk Market and Yashow. Haggling in China can be an unrewarding experience, especially for those unfamiliar with the language. Most of the goods sold are counterfeit, so if you do buy, make sure you get a low price.

7, Get Cheap Drinks in Beijing

Beijing certainly caters to those fond of a tipple. The bars have no set closing time, so the evenings don’t get underway until midnight. The most cost-effective approach is to have a few drinks before going out. Or why not walk with a beer in hand to your destination rather than getting a taxi?

Beer is much cheaper than in Europe or North America. However, in western-style venues, the markup can be astronomical. Finding a modestly-priced bar will save you money and probably win you friends. If you’re the only foreigner in a pub, you’ll be treated as the most valued customer.

Beijing Budget Travel Guide Top Ten Tips in Beijing

8, Avoid Foreign Food Shops For Eating

Beijing has several foreign food shops, the most famous chains being April Gourmets and Jenny Lou’s. If you’re short of cash, staying well away from these is advisable. However, if you spend some time in China, you may begin to crave western cuisine. Set yourself a strict budget. In such circumstances, don’t get carried away with impromptu buys.

9, Never Get a Taxi.

During rush hour, it is quicker walking, and you won’t be contributing to the high levels of pollution. Remember, Beijing is a highly safe city. Random attacks on foreigners are sporadic, and single women can walk at night in perfect safety.

10, Rent a Bicycle

Even if you’re only in Beijing for a couple of weeks, consider renting a bicycle. Cycling around Beijing is a joy. So take advantage of the myriad cycle paths that traverse a very flat city. There are plenty of exciting districts to view for free, such as the Russian Quarter of Yabao Lu.

Beijing Budget Travel Guide Top Ten Tips China


Beijing is an enthralling place to visit, and whether you seek history, culture, or nightlife, it can all be found here. You’ll also find it easy to make new acquaintances since many locals are keen to meet foreigners and practice English. With Chinese friends to advise you, significant savings can be made even more!

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