China isn’t quite the bargain it once was. The main cities like Shanghai and Beijing are about 80% the cost of a major North American City. In most of the major Chinese cities, you’ll pay close to $100+ for a respectable 4 star hotel. In some of the smaller cities, things get pretty cheap- in Dongying I stay at a 5-star hotel for about $60. Taxis are extremely well regulated throughout the country, very safe, and very cheap (about $3-4 for a 2 or 3 mile trip).
CTrip.com Is Your Best Friend
CTrip.com is the Travelocity of China, but better (and it is in English). Most major international hotels are listed on CTrip and the prices are better than you can get by just showing up to the hotel. For domestic airplane tickets it’s respectable. At the time of this writing, it has little to no support for other transportation like bus and train travel.
Foreigners Get Lots of Help
The Chinese are eager to help most foreigners (lots of smiles help!). They’ll have lots of patience for you as you’re ordering food. If you’re looking for something, they might come with you for the next hour trying to find it. On a downside, many Chinese, despite their best intentions, they often have no idea what you’re looking for.
The Further West You Go, The Wilder Things Get
On the East Coast of China, the major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Ningbo etc. are all shining examples of the rapidly developing China we all see on TV. Traveling here is a lot let traveling through the local Chinatown in your city. The further East you go, the more and more it begins to look like the Chairman Mao’s China, i.e. very rustic! Thankfully, most Suppliers will be located near the Eastcoast.