Price & Income Comparison

When we first arrived in Beijing, everything seemed a bargain. Then we traveled to rural China and realized that the Chinese must think the capital expensive in comparison to what they pay elsewhere. By the time we reached Hong Kong, we too thought $2.25 seemed an exorbitant price to pay for a beer in a restaurant and Beijing seemed cheap again. We began to become interested in compiling a list of items available in all the countries we will visit and comparing the prices we paid for them. Add to this the country's average income and one can get some idea of relative prices and values.

In some categories, we paid a range of prices and have listed them so as to reflect this e.g. hotel and meal categories. With other entries the prices fluctuate less or we were in an area too short a time to collect a range of figures so only one price is shown. All values are converted to US dollars.

    USA   China   Hong Kong   Macau
Date Taken   Sept 2001   Oct 2001   Nov 2001   Nov 2001
Gross National Income per Capita in 2000*   $34,260   $840   $25,950   $14,200
McDonalds Value Meal - Big Mac, Fries and Soda   $4-5   $2-$2.25   $3   $2.25-2.50
Coke - 12 ounce can   $.50-.75   $.36-.60   $.50-.85   sorry
Bottled water - 16 ounces   $.50-1   $.24   $.50   $.15-.40
Bottle of cheap local beer - 20 ounces   $.75-1.00   $.36-.73   $1-1.50   $.46-.50
Gasoline low grade - 1 US gallon (3.79 US gallons = 1 litre)   $1.60 -2.00   $1.20-1.30   $5.11   sorry
Private double room with bath, two star hotel   $40-60   $5-30   $30-40   $13.75
Casual dinner and drinks for two   $20-45   $6-12   $15-30   $12-20
Internet - 1 hour   sorry   $.24-2.42   $.64   $.88
Local cinema - 1 evening ticket   $5.50-9   $1-2   $8-10   $3.75

continued ...

    Vietnam   Cambodia   Myanmar   Thailand
Date Taken   Dec 2001   Jan 2002   Feb 2002   March 2002
Gross National Income per Capita in 2000*   $390   $260   n/a from the World Bank but we guess it is around $250 per year.   $2010
McDonalds Value Meal - Big Mac, Fries and Soda   no Mc Donalds here but KFC was $1.93   no Mc Donalds here but Lucky Burger was $2.50   no McDonalds here but Tokyo Fried Chicken was $.60   $1.97-2.21
Coke - 12 ounce can   $.33   $.40   $.39   $.30
Bottled water - 16 ounces   $.20-.30   $.12   $.12   $.12
Bottle of cheap local beer - 20 ounces   $.40 -.53   $1.23   $.46-.85   $.90 - 1.86
Gasoline low grade - 1 US gallon (3.79 US gallons = 1 litre)   $1.29   $1.66-1.85   sorry   $1.25
Private double room with bath, two star hotel   $6-$10   $4-8   $6-10   $4-10
Casual dinner and drinks for two   $4-11   $7-$12   $1.50-3   $3-8
Internet - 1 hour   $.25-1.25   $1-$1.50   still no internet here! to send one email message out costs $1-3 and takes 3-5 days to arrive after being reviewed by the government.   $.50-3 (cheapest in the North, pricieston the islands, around $1 per hour in Bangkok)
Local cinema - 1 evening ticket   $1   $.73   $.09-.39   $2.30-3.50

continued ...

    Laos   Malaysia   Singapore   Egypt
Date Taken   Feb 2001   April 2002   April 2002   May 2002
Gross National Income per Capita in 2000*   $290   $3380        
McDonalds Value Meal - Big Mac, Fries and Soda   nothing even close to fast food here   $1.68   $3.11   $2
Coke - 12 ounce can   $.32   $.34   $.56   $.45
Bottled water - 16 ounces   $.21   $.26   $.56   $.22
Bottle of local beer - 20 ounces   $.68   $2.40   $2.50-3   $1.30-2.20
Gasoline low grade - 1 US gallon (3.79 US gallons = 1 litre)   $1.08   sorry   $2.74   $.84
Private double room with bathroom at a basic guesthouse   $1-5   $5-12   $20-25   $5.50-13
Casual dinner and drinks for two   $3-5   $5-10   $10-30   $2.50-9
Internet - 1 hour   $1-4.50   $.75-1.25   $1-2   $.90-2.20
Local cinema - 1 evening ticket   sorry   sorry   $3.5-5   $1.56

These are the prices as we could best determine them and for the great percentage we believe them to be accurate. In places like China and Vietnam foreigners can expect to pay far more than a local for the same goods and services. In fact we've seen a lot of the same thing in certain tourist towns in the US but no names here. Also a factor in the price in many countries is a travelers skill at the art of the haggle.

*Gross National Income data taken from World Bank National accounts data at www.worldbank.org.

 

   
 
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