Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cost of Living in Xiamen

One of the most astounding things about living in Xiamen is just how ridiculously inexpensive it is to live here. Maybe it the economist in me, but I would like to dive into this subject a little bit more.

When I was trying to make my decision about whether or not to come to Xiamen, I spent some time surfing the web trying to get an accurate picture of what my budget would need to be like in order live comfortably.

It turns out this information is harder to find then I thought, so I figured I would start keeping a weekly record of it myself and make it available on the blog so that it would be accessible to anyone else that wanted to travel or live here. It certainly would have saved me some stress had it been available to me!

I should summarize my trip getting here, then I will start with weekly updates about living.

Getting too Xiamen

1 Way Flight: $636
Arranged Pick up from the Airport: $22
4 Nights in Bed and Breakfast in HK: $260
6 Months Travelers Insurance: $390
Chinese 1 Month Double Entry Travel Visa: $300
Sight Seeing in HK and Eating: $100
Flight to Xiamen: $216
Virtual Private Network (for getting around Chinese firewall): $29.50
Total (with a few small international transaction fees and bottles of water to round it off): $2,000

Many of the costs could easily now be avoided in a variety of ways. Getting the right visa in the US for starters would eliminate the need to fly to HK all together and all the costs associated with it. (Very much depends on the purpose of your visit) For my arrangement and F visa works nicely.

The first 2 1/2 months will have to be one crude summary since I didn't keep very good records.

Moving in and Living
(based on 6.8 to 1 Exchange rate)

Monthly rent for a 1 bed room one bath apartment in Huli Area: $191.17

Included in the apartment were:
  • Refrigerator
  • Bed
  • Washing Machine
  • Couch
  • Dresser
  • Table
  • TV
Monthly Internet, Electricity, Cell Phone and Water Bills: $29.41
Hot Plate and Toaster Oven: $100
Christmas Presents for coming home: $250
Other stuff including dishes, transportation, food, and cleaning stuff, and going out: about $800
Total: about $1600

This is pretty vague, but the total is accurate because I know my monthly Salary is $800 (quite a good salary by Xiamen standards, English teachers here make about $730. I also read somewhere that $800 is about what a law school grad can expect to make starting salary here) and by the time I left to come home for break a had not taken any money out of my US account since my trip to HK. Of course I will be more specific from here on out since that is the point of this section of the blog.

Grand total of living and traveling for 3 months: $3600
(Note this does not include my flight home which was paid for by the company but would have cost me $600 had I not been coming back)

Any suggestions on a format would be great. I hope someone somewhere out there find all this helpful or at least interesting.

EDIT 06/08/2012:  I have discovered that this post is still regularly read and searched for in google.  Thank you everyone for your comments.  Sorry to those who I didn't contact.  Blogger seems to have stopped alerting me of comments. I'll be sure to fix this.

I think I will do a follow up to this post soon now that I have a better idea of what my year in XM and traveling cost.  Also if you would like another reference for cost of living in XM (since I didn't do a good job of regular updates), you can check out this post about the cost of produce and eating in XM or this one that about my first run of the mill shopping excursion. If you are interested in my living arrangements while there,  you can have a look at this post, about my apartment while living there. Thanks all for reading! 


  1. hey man! anyway of contacting you and ask a little about xiamen since I am considering a move there for a job... lemme know ;)

  2. Thanks for this. My husband has received a job offer from a company in Xiamen and we are considering relocating from the US. Would you recommend the move for a couple of years? May we email you to ask further questions?

  3. Hi there could you please post some pictures of what Xiamen looks like.Is the beach nice and is it easy to get around the city or is it difficult and is it very built up ?

    thanks so much

    from Ms Rose

  4. Hi there!

    I am considering moving to Xiamen for a few months to see what it's like. I'd be really interested to know what sort of apartment you were renting and how you organized it/where you found it?

    Because I am only looking at going for about 2 months to start off with, I'd love to know about the rent and what their leases are like- month to month or 6 months/1 year leases?

    Love to hear from you :)


  5. Hello!

    Would you please be so kind to tell a little bit more about other monthly expenses like food and activities like gym?

    How much money would one person need if the accommodation is offered for free?

    Thank you in advance!


  6. Hi!
    I might be going to Xiamen for one year to do an internship. I would like to ask you a few questions. If you have some time to talk, please write me on this mail: 3dom4pam@gmail.com

  7. Hey! I am looking into teaching in Xiamen come Sept. 2012. Any chance I can contact you and get some info on the market and the city? Thank you!

    1. Hello!

      So sorry for taking so long to respond! I had no idea people were still looking up this post!

      If you are still thinking about teaching in XM you are more than welcome to contact me. Please see the post below for my email.

  8. Hey--

    Am considering a move to Xiamen as well...may I contact you about questions? Thanks!

    1. Hi there.

      Sorry for never responding! See my post below if you are still thinking about moving and would like to ask questions!

  9. My husband had a job offer in Xiamen. I am wondering how our children would enjoy leaving the US for a while. I would love to hear about your experiences.
    thanks, katiemaew@hotmail.com

  10. Well, I had no idea this post had gotten this many replies! Sorry to all the people that asked for advice ages ago! Google never notified me.

    To anyone in the future, feel free to contact me at bkswain87(at)gmail(dot)com.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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