Hello, I'm thinking of coming to Kunming to study for 6 months.
Excluding study fees, how much money would I need to have saved per month?
If it's possible I would probably try to find a room in a share apartment to save money. I'm not very fussy (and also could survive without western toilets) but it would be good if it was reasonably clean and had a washing machine).
I probably wouldn't cook very much and would buy food at relatively cheap Chinese restaurants about once per day, or maybe dumplings at lunch. I don't really drink except for a lot of western tea.
Sorry if this is a repeat of another thread, if so please could you send me a link to the other one.
Keep an eye out for rooms here. Some are advertised in advance. I have seen prices for a room vary, between 700 (couple or years back) to 1500/m.
It also depends on where your training is. Some parts of the city are more expensive.
Rooms don't come up too often, but more so at the beginning of the academic year. Most rooms I see advertised are looking for female room mates.
Some of the private schools do have campus accommodation, or can help you find somewhere to live. All unis have campus accommodation.
Eating out, can cost from about 10rmb for a simple bowl of noodles. Then it jumps to 10-20 per dish, plus 2-5 for a bowl of rice.
You may also do pizza and beer when you need it. Pizza from about 30, beer from about 10 (eat out prices) for local beer.
Toilettes seem to be a similar price to UK.
Unless you're also from a third world nation AND you have a cast iron stomach - I highly suggest you consider buying groceries and cooking for yourself - street vendors and restaurants are absolutely NOT the cleanest most hygienic places in the world. Most of the cooks smoke - which means they've probably lost a significant ability to detect salty food - so you should expect any food you buy outside to be excessively salty.
Also - this is Yunnan - they LOVE their spicy food. If you tell the waiter you don't want any spice - they'll just add a little as opposed to a lot. Most noodle dishes come with spicy sauces - so hope you like spicy...When I first arrived - I'd swear they were adding chile to the bottled water...
It's less expensive AND more "authentic" in that you'll be rubbing (aka pushing, shoving, etc) the locals as you wander around looking for fresh produce that you can recognize.
Just beware - the meat markets actually sell dead animals - some still have the head or tail of the animal - most are non-refrigerated.
HOWEVER - wet markets (local farmers' markets) are considerably less expensive than chain grocery stores, such as Walmart et al. Also - in this case, it's expedient to "follow the crowds", when selecting meat vendors. Beware - some vendors add food coloring to aging meat - to give it that "freshly slaughtered blood red" look. Beef without fat striations has been fed hormones and other chemicals/drugs to accelerate growth and weight - beware.
You'll want to have both a paper map and an e-map on your iPhone, iPad, or android device - and the bus pass is (last time we checked) ¥30 deposit for the card and you'll want to top it off in units of ¥100 - HFCAMPO and other gokm bloggers can provide more details on that - as he's a prolific bus traveler. I hate buses, so I RARELY take them - but you can't argue that ¥1k (generally) per bus is a fantastic deal - just plan ahead, so you arrive on time (or not).
As for that bus pass - it's also good on the subway (paid by distance of course). ¥1 per ride is really cheap, but the prepaid pass get's you a 10% discount so that ¥30 deposit pays for itself really quickly.
I definitely agree about cooking yourself if you want to save money and eat healthy. It's the difference between 2-4 rmb for a simple vegetable-rice combination and 10 rmb for noodles + oil, seasoning and a sprinkling of vegetables and meat. One is healthy and filling, the other isn't.
A shared room you can find between 600-900 rmb a month. Here or on km.58.com/zufang/
>>>HOWEVER - wet markets (local farmers' markets) are considerably less expensive than chain grocery stores, such as Walmart et al.<<<
Really? I've been buying my vegetables at Walmart and a Chinese grocery store. I like the prices of Walmart although the produce doesn't look that fresh It's 2.5-3 rmb/kilo for pumpkin for example, while I got quoted 4-5 rmb at the wet market I once visited... My Chinese is okay and 少一点儿吧没有用了。
The cheapest way is to live in dorm provided by Uni. And eat food in local canteen coz cooking is not allowed there. But still most of the short term students shoose this way. Semester is only 4months then u probably go travel anyway. In Yunnan uni ( old one ) dorm is in same building with classes and its quite shit. New campus is pretty cool but I guess much more expencive. Speaking o food, it is spicy, so if u are not fan of hot food, u better cook your self. Local market is the best place to buy cheap and good stuff. I buy veg for 20-50y for a week,depends what exactly I buy ( some rare mushrooms or bamboo shoots etc. are expencive compare to the other stuff ) . Most of veg is 1-2y per bunch ( 10pc ).