Cost of Living in Tianjin. Prices Updated Dec 2020.

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Morning guys!

I just landed in Beijing few days ago and a bit freak with my gmail and social media channels, apparently the Google product is blocked (I didn’t know it forehead) so does others- Facebook, Twitter or other product.

My friend told me to use Zenmate but again, I couldn’t enter it.

By now while I’m typing I have tried all sorts of solutions which others recommended to me and so far, it doesn’t work… :(…

I hope you guys could help me with some tips and tricks…

Thanks a lot!!!

Hi Leona,

When I lived in Beijing I used WiTopia. It was pretty good and they have a 30 days money back policy. So you can subscribe and cancel if you are staying for a short period. Astrill was an alternative and quite popular among the expat community in Beijing. Honestly, I was the only one using WiTopia among my friends there.

PS: you can also drop fb and twitter and use their version renren and weibo heheheheh

Hi Leona,

If you need to use the Internet extensively in China, especially for getting work done, then the best solution would be getting a reliable paid VPN account. I use VPN every day in China and a lot of people I know do the same thing. The price would be around $10 per month, but in my opinion it’s definitely worth it (Just think about how much time you would waste on struggling with the Internet otherwise).

Please note that although there’re a number of VPN providers to choose from, not all of them work well in China. Some of them are completely blocked as well. To find out which VPNs work well in China, I’d recommend this website:

It’s a VPN testing site based in China. They test VPN from China and recommend reliable ones to be used in China. Here’s a list of VPNs recommended by VPNDada:

A rather good forum site for foreigners in China

The admins are a bit cautious in weird ways. Auto text replacement gets rid of various phrases that might be searched for or might provoke the Great Firewall. Any mention of “VPN” or “virtual private network” becomes “very passable nicety”. Search for that to find the posts relevant to your problem

You have to use a VPN, which unfortunately, is very hard to download once you are already on the ground in China.

I recommend VyprVPN from about 6 months of personal experience. You can’t access their main website from China, but you can access to download the installer.

Daily/hourly pass needed.

Can’t work in normal café because having client’s laptop for security reasons, can’t use open networks. Working for R&D. Also laptop is so huge it doesn’t fit normal cafe environment because it’s far from discreet.

My hotel is charging like 500RMB ($7USD) for a t-shirt, haha. So I need to find a cheap laundry place a la Thailand, here in Shanghai. I’m in the Jing’an area. Anyone knows?

Try Laundrytown. They offer free pickup and delivery. I think the rate for “wash & fold” is 25RMB per kg. They operate in several cities in Asia including Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok, Tokyo, Singapore and KL.

Ah you may find that a bit tough at Jing’an hotel I’m afraid, it’s an upmarket part of town and as you’ve definitely noticed Shanghai’s a different world than Thailand.

There are lots of hole in the wall dry cleaners scattered around the place who should do you a load of laundry for around 50 yuan or less. Ask a local to help you find a 洗衣服店 xǐ yīfú diàn literally ‘clothes wash shop’ not sure if that’s the perfect Chinese but it’ll work.

Otherwise the classic traveler’s trick of washing ’em in the sink then leaving them to dry.

Good luck, and welcome to the the Hai!

Thanks Nathan! That’s awesome, I’ll use that text to ask

Are you in Shanghai now too? I love this city

Cheers! Yeah been based here for exactly 1 year. I’m in the French concession. Are you around for long?

Yes! Until the 17th, just extended cause it’s too fun here

I’ll message you.

Very useful site this is, aye

Absolutely – whoever founded this site must be a genius

Hi Team,

I’m totally new here so forgive me if I’ve made some horrible faux pas by asking a question so soon

I’m a kiwi but have been a digital nomad for over three years now, and have spent the last year or so in China, currently in Shanghai.

Are there many other digital nomads in this part of the world? Most of the international friends I’ve made locally are students or corpo expats, I’ve not come across that many entrepreneurial / nomadic types here – the visa and internet issues certainly make this understandable, though the country very much rewards long term travel.

Would be curious to see if there are many other like minded folk here?



Hi Nathan,

From experience, Shenzhen and Guangzhou have a lot of expat/DN entrepreneurs manufacturing or sourcing locally. I’ve met a lot of people through Enter China.

I’ve visited both cities a fair amount over the past few years. Shenzhen seems more livable and diverse. If I had to pick one for a longer-term stay, I’d go with Shenzhen.

Hope that helps. I’ll be back in China in mid-November.


I was in China – Shanghai and Shenzhen this year just for a few weeks for a business thing. I’m not aware of any specific DN scene in China. However, in Shanghai there are many expats so I would suggest looking up expat groups and teachers. I met up with a friend whilst there who’s a teacher and she gave me the lowdown on expat scene there. I think it would be easy enough to integrate so long as you were planning to stay a few months as opposed to a few weeks.

Thanks Phil! I definitely agree with your comments on Shanghai and actually have the same plan re moving to South East Asia next year and getting a bit more nomadic (ie changing home every couple of months rather than every year). Thanks for the tip re meetup!

Hi Natahan,

I was such a corpo expat in Shanghai for two years before leaving to South East Asia and becoming a DN a year ago. I must say I found the (international) internet too weak to stay there and work online. Besides that, I also wasn’t that happy there (air pollution was one of the biggest issues for me). But that wasn’t your question. Just wanted to suggest checking related groups on I found some entrepreneur meetups and attended one or two. Was quite interesting, although not many of the members were nomads as such (there might be some though and it comes the closest to the nomad scene that I find in SEA).

Good luck,



I’m a DN in Beijing, though I run an all-remote startup rather than lifestyle business. I do like the city life here, and I’m just starting to connect with the local startup scene. I haven’t run into other DNs, but I don’t use coworking places. I just know students (since I studied Chinese for a semester here). I’m aware of the corpo-expat types, but don’t know any.

If it exists, there’s a wechat group for it! So keep asking around

One good web resource for foreigners in China is Raoul’s China Expat Saloon. Nothing specifically for nomads, but lots of long-term residents & some good advice. I’ve left China and am no longer a regular, but you may see the odd post from me, user name ‘Pashley’.

Thanks Pashley, I’ll check it out

Hi Nathan!

I’m Chinese and I grew up in a city near Shanghai. I recently left the US after living there for 5 years. I’m back visiting my family for a couple of months. I’m a newbie digital nomad, still exploring different options. I’m curious to know if there are other DNs in the area as well



你好 Meiyi!

Great to hear from you and welcome back to China.

Although Shanghai is a thriving expat city, I haven’t gotten a sense of it as much of a digital nomad hub. Cost of living is pretty high compared to other Asian cities, internet is not great and the visa issues can be complex… despite this though I’ve found it more than worth it! As @nickdanforth mentioned above I feel that there are more DN types around Beijing, certainly most other freelance writers I know in the country are based there.

You must have an interesting perspective on this as a local, having grown up here but spent many years in the US.



你好 Nathan!

I’m glad you’ve found the DN experience in Shanghai rewarding despite all the challenges! It’s interesting to hear that there are more DNs in Beijing. I wonder if it’s mainly because they’re drawn to the long history of the city?

Indeed, coming back to China has been an interesting experience. Over the years my Chinese got a bit rusty, now it’s coming back quickly, but after having lived here for 2 months, English is still my primary language, it’s still the language that will jump out of my mouth if I react to things subconsciously. I have experienced quite some counter-cultural shocks but I’m finding the balance between cultures now. Jumping the line, fine; lack of personal space, fine; chaos, that’s fine too. I am awestruck by the progress this country has made in infrastructure and technology, but I’m also deeply concerned about its rising nationalism and racism and its lack of diversity. It’s been an interesting experience



Thanks for the reply Nick! How did you find Beijing as base?

Almost every foreigner I know who lives there seems to love the place, but again that’s mostly expats / students instead of ‘nomads.’

Daily life here is pretty good for ‘digital nomad’ style work compared to other Chinese cities I’ve visited, great cafes (and let’s be honest, bars) to work and write from, and finding a tolerable wifi connection is normally possible. Certainly an expensive place though, so my next destination will probably be somewhere cheaper

Hey Nathan!

My wife and I aren’t currently in China but we’ve spent about 6 months in Beijing on-and-off over the last couple years.

Would love to check out Shanghai, just haven’t gotten around to it yet! Hear there’s a decent co-working scene there and it looks like a sweet city for daily life.

Might try to come scope it out for a couple weeks later this year!

✅ Affordable to live

✅ Very safe

✅ Warm in the spring

✅ Perfect humidity now

✅ Good air quality today

✅ Easy to do business

✅ Great hospitals

✅ Very safe for women

❌ Very slow internet

❌ Pretty slow internet

❌ Not much to do

❌ Cold now

❌ Gets very cold in the winter

❌ Too hot in the summer

❌ Bad air quality year round

❌ Feels crowded

❌ Difficult to make friends

❌ Quality of education is low

❌ Roads can be dangerous

❌ Freedom of speech is weak

❌ Not very democratic

❌ People don’t speak English well

❌ Not family friendly

❌ Hostile towards LGBTQ+

❌ People smoking tobacco a lot

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