Here’s exactly how much it costs to backpack in Xinjiang, China

A detailed budget report about how much it costs to backpack in Xinjiang, China. Includes a city-by-city breakdown, average costs for common expenses, and recommendations for budget accommodations.

Fact: financial planning is boring and annoying. Figuring out exactly how much cash you need for your trip is a pain, so to save the world of a few unnecessary headaches, we tracked our expenses over 22 days. Now you can see exactly how much it costs to backpack in Xinjiang, China!

Note that this report only covers Xinjiang, the far western province of China. If you’re curious about the costs of travel in mainland China, check out this China cost report from Creative Travel Guide.

Uyghur shop keeper in Xinjiang, China

Despite our well documented reservations, we did meet some lovely people.

Exchange rate used for this trip: €1 = 7.30 RMB

Magic at work: a woman making noodles by hand in Kashgar, China - Lost With Purpose

Magic at work: a woman making noodles by hand in Kashgar’s food market.

How much it costs to backpack in Xinjiang, China

Total cost of backpacking for 22 days

  • For two people: 6,737 RMB / €923 / $978
  • Per person: 3,369 RMB / €461 / $489

Average cost per person

  • Total per day: 153 RMB / €21 / $22.25
  • Food and drinks per day: 50 – 80 RMB / €6.85 – 10.95 / $7.25 – 11.60
  • Accommodation per day: 50 – 70 Rs / €6.85 – 9.60 / $7.25 – 10.20

Note: backpackers are most likely to stay in hostels. Prices mentioned are for one bed in a dorm.

Sampling some of that delicious, and cheap. Chinese cuisine.

Sampling some of that delicious—and cheap!—Chinese cuisine. One of the highlights of any visit to China.

  • Long distance bus: 100 – 200 RMB / €13.70 – 27.40 / $14.55 – 29
  • Long distance train, hard seat: 100 – 200 RMB / €13.70 – 27.40 / $14.55 – 29
  • Taxi around town: 10 – 50 RMB / €1.40 – 6.85 / $1.50 – 7.50
  • Historical and natural sights: 30 – 75 RMB / €4.10 – 10.30 / $4.35 – 10.90

Note: Many sights, most notably Heavenly Lake, require you to take a mandatory shuttle bus. The price for these buses is around 100 – 150 RMB.

Traveling to Xinjiang or other regions of China? Don’t forget to use a VPN. Check out this article for the best VPNs for China!

The Id Kah mosque is the biggest in Xinjiang. Unfortunately it costs 45 RMB to get in.

The Id Kah mosque in Kashgar is the largest mosque in China. Unfortunately it costs 45 RMB to get in.

City-by-city breakdown

  • Tashkargan: 134 RMB / €18.30 / $19.40
    • We recommend K2 Hostel – 160 RMB for a double room
  • Karakul Lake: 87 RMB / €11.90 / $12.60
    • We camped!
  • Kashgar: 229.50 RMB / €31.44 / $33.30
  • Kuche: 144.50 RMB / €19.80 / $21
    • We stayed at Kuche Hotel – 120 RMB for a double room
  • Urumqi: 137.60 RMB / €18.85 / $20
    • We recommend Maitain Hostel – 45 RMB for a dorm bed
  • Turpan: 180.60 RMB / €24.75 / $26.25
  • Yining: 131 RMB / €18 / $19.10

Hitchhiking from Karakul lake, China - Lost With Purpose

Hitching a ride with a trucker from Karakul lake.

A couple of things to consider:

  • We only included costs we think are relevant to the average traveler.
  • Due to some personal reasons, we had to stay in Urumqi for more than a week. This lowered our average costs since we were stationary for most of this time.
  • We skipped many sights because we found them too expensive. If you have a serious case of FOMO, you’ll have to spend more.

Context/how we roll

We’re your typical wanderin’ backpacker duo:

  • Always walk or take public transport… unless there is none. (Or we’re reeeally lost…)
  • Usually eat cheap meals and fast food for at least 2 meals a day.
  • Sleep in the cheapest accommodation we can find that isn’t crawling with bedbugs or covered with old vomit. Usually opt for a private double rather than dorms.
  • We don’t like museums.



Planning a backpacking trip through Xinjiang, China? Here's exactly how much it costs to go backpacking in Xinjiang, China. Includes a city-by-city breakdown, transportation costs, food costs, etc.


Yay transparency! Some links in this post are affiliate links. That means that if you book a stay there via the link, we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. These kinds of links are how we make up for the maintenance costs of running the blog–and we’ll love you forever if you use them! Never fear, we actually stayed at these places ourselves, and would never recommend anything wretched.

Alex Reynolds profile picture

Alex Reynolds

American by birth, British by passport, Filipina by appearance. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.

More about Alex

5 thoughts on “Here’s exactly how much it costs to backpack in Xinjiang, China

    joyce says:

    How much it cost to backpacking in Philippines

    Sebastiaan says:

    I have removed the link you added, as it’s just as relevant to this article as your comment.

    Jack says:

    How many days and nights did you spend camping out and trekking around the deserts and mountains vs. exploring the cities of the region?

    Sebastiaan says:

    I think we mention it in the report, but we only camped at Karakul Lake.

    Ian Roth says:

    Hey Sebastiaan, how readily available are backpacking foods such as nuts, cheeses, dehydrated fruits, cured meats, etc… in Urumqi, Ili, and Kashgar? I have prepared itineraries for a few long distance trekking routes through the Tian Shan and Tajik Pamir ranges this upcoming summer. I prefer to travel without a stove due to the weight saving benefits – would the stove be a necessary item for travelling through this region of the world? If so, are white gas canisters sold anywhere within the two cities aforementioned? And could it be possible to transport them across the China-Tajikistan border, or would they likely be confiscated?

    Cheers, Ian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *