Cost of Living in Dalian



One expat stated that living in Dalian, China is like ‘living in a small garden in a large garden city’, much like Vancouver, but with a lower cost of living.

With Dalian's well-maintained parks, clean streets, beautiful coastline, and fresh air, Dalian definitely spells a magical land for expats with its ‘idyllic living' for a lower cost. 

Food and Housing

Delectable seafood cuisine such as stir-fried prawn, steamed scallops, and a variety of seafood prepared in different ways in numerous restaurants are available throughout the city. A seafood meal for two in a mid-range restaurant would cost about 99.00 RMB (Chinese Yuan/Renminbi) or 14.47 USD (US Dollar), these prices are comparable to that of bigger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Cooking a seafood meal at home is also an option. The Cost for seafood, though on the rise, remains quite affordable. For example, a catty (around 500 to 600 grams) of crab ranges from 25 to 50 RMB or 3.66 to 7.32 USD. Other food implements also remain within an expat's standard budget. Average costs for a liter of milk is 10 RMB (1.48 USD), for a loaf of fresh bread it's 8 RMB or 1.17 USD, while a dozen eggs cost about 10.50 RMB or 1.56 USD. 1 Daily menu in business district costs 元 55 while a dinner out for two in Italian restaurant with wine and dessert costs 元336. One Big Mac Meal costs 元 25 to 元 30.

Housing or accommodation prices are also easier on the pocket if it is a shared cost. Rent for an apartment in Dalian costs about 546 RMB or 80 USD. This price is definitely lower in comparison to China's bigger cities like Shanghai, where rent can go as high as about 700 USD. However, the rate for rented housing in Dalian would still depend on your preferences.

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom in flatshare (with attached bathroom) costs 元 4,344 – 200, while monthly rent for 2 bedrooms furnished flat costs 元 30788.24 - 4,000. Monthly rent for 3 bedrooms furnished flat costs 元 40782.23 - 4562.61. Housing for expats is also generally provided by an expat's employer.

Monthly rent for 3 bedrooms furnished flat costs 元 40782.23 - 4562.61. Housing for expats is also generally provided by an expat's employer. 

Transportation and Utilities

Dalian, being an industrialized city with a growing population, has shunned its bicycles and opened its roads to mass public transport. The city has a highly developed public bus transport system. It has over 150 bus routes and the operating time starts at 4:30 in the morning and ends at midnight. The average price of a one way ticket is about 0.42 USD or somewhere around 3 RMB. A monthly ticket for public transport costs 元 58 while one inner city bus ticket costs 元 1. For expats with cars, the cost of 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas is 元 7.39 – 8.

Another popular means of getting around the city is through trams. These trams cruise the lanes and corners of the city and the ticket price is about 2 RMB or 0.29 USD. If you have an established route, it is best if you get a monthly pass instead for around 206.50 or 30.28 USD.

Dalian also has a light-rail transit which starts from the downtown commercial center that goes through five administrative districts of the city, and then northward to the Golden Pebble Beach. A single trip costs about 8 RMB or 1.17 USD.

Getting around in a taxi is also an option, the flag-down rate is 8 RMB or 1.17 USD and 1.8 RMB (0.26 USD) in addition per kilometer.

Basic utilities such as water, electricity, and garbage collection cost 101.50 RMB (14.86 USD) at the most. The cost of electricity may increase depending on your comfort level, as summer months can get really humid and you may want to turn up the AC most of the day. Internet or DSL service is also available for about 元100 - 120 monthly.

Clothing and Recreation

Dalian has numerous shopping centers that offer both low-end and high-end clothing options. If you're planning to get something to wear on an everyday basis, like shirts or cotton pants then they definitely come inexpensive. One can visit Tianjin Street area, Victory Plaza which is a five story underground mall, Dalian Department Store ("Dashang" in Chinese), and the Friendship ("Youyi" in Chinese) Store.

The abundance of street shopping is a paradise for the cheapskate. Here you can bargain and haggle all you want. Bei Tuan Jie Street is popular to expats and locals because of the variety of products and the great bargaining opportunity.

Dining expenses are relatively affordable; an ‘all-you-can-eat' buffet for just 150-200 RMB or 21.97 USD to 29.30 USD. The cost of beer is about 5-10RMB (0.73 to 1.46 USD), while other imported beers can be 15-25 RMB (2.20 to 3.66 USD) per bottle. 

So, now it's up to you to discover the wonders of an expat life in this not-so-‘secret' garden called Dalian.



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