Hi there. Currently in Beijing visiting from New Zealand. Generally very cheap but there are some tricks to know. A coke is 40yuan (nz$8) in Hotel reception, and 3yuan (nz.60c) from shop across road.
Was at touristy Great Wall yesterday, local bottle water was 8yuan, imported Evian was 25yuan.
Found a lovely restaurant with mostly locals eating. Had 2 large dishes (beef and chicken) plus rice and 2 big bottles of local beer for 80yuan. (nz$16) Fed both of us and delicious. Friendly service, lots of smiles and hand signals when ordering.
If you get a good guide, they can arrange things cheaper than through the hotels who make big markups. I was measured up in room yesterday for full cashmere wool suit with silk lining, being made as i type and delivered for fitting tonight... 1800yuan (nz$360). Guide also arrange 90min in-room massage for 170yuan (nz$34) which was awesome. Hotel prices for these services started at double those rates.
Personal tour guides are great value for money at big attractions because so much history to learn and absorb. Being on a bus with 50 others would suck big time.
Its a great place!
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