Monkey Abroad

Videos and stories of the life abroad – food, culture, travel & work

Travel Shanghai
Travel Shanghai

SHANGHAI: Traveling for 20 Dollars a Day – Episode 1 (VIDEO)


Is it possible to travel Shanghai for 20 dollars a day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, accommodation, transportation, and everything in between? Watch this video and I’ll show you how far you can go with only 20 bucks (130 RMB)!

[Update 5/16/16]: This video went viral on Chinese social media in April and the Chinese, as well as foreigners, had a lot to say about it. Most people enjoyed the video and were encouraging and enjoyed the travel aspect of the video. But a few folks insisted that they could do it better than me (I wouldn’t be surprised if they could), and others tried to shame me, saying things like, “some people live off that much for a month.” Maybe they’re right, but I think those people missed the point; it’s about budget traveling, not living.

Here’s one way to travel Shanghai for 20 bucks:

Well folks, here it is. As promised, this is the type of video I’ll be making when I travel the world for as long as possible using only $20/day, starting this summer. I figured Shanghai (my home away from home) was the perfect place to produce the first video of this travel series. Here’s a brief breakdown of all my costs for one whole day in China’s most expensive city:


Breakfast: I bought two baozi buns for 3 RMB (1.5 RMB apiece). A pineapple on a stick from a roadside vendor cost me 5 RMB. Lunch: I ate at Yang’s, a famous fried dumpling chain that serves up amazing Sheng Jian Bao. That meal cost me 8 RMB. Dinner: I ate YangZhou fried rice at a local restaurant (18 RMB) with a refreshing beer (12 RMB), which totaled out to 30 RMB.


As far as transportation goes, the underground public transit system (the Metro) is connected to virtually every part of the city and you can travel from one end of the city to another for less than a dollar. Throughout the day, I only spent 6 RMB ($1) on transportation!


This is definitely going to be the most expensive part of my plan to travel the world for $20/day. A standard dormitory room bed at the Shanghai City Central Youth Hostel cost me 70 RMB, which was more than half of my daily budget.

Total cost: 123 RMB ($19)


Shanghai City Central Youth Hostel (Address: China, Shanghai, Putuo, 武宁路300弄50号 邮政编码: 200235)

Yang’s Fried Dumplings (Address: 269 Wujiang Road, Shanghai, China; 吴江路269号)

All music by: The Passion HiFi (

Thanks for watching this video! Be sure to subscribe to my blog and my YouTube channel. More 20-Dollar Travel videos coming your way, starting this summer!

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Author: Kevin Cook

I want to inspire you to pursue your own dream of traveling and/or living overseas!


  1. I enjoy your videos I would like to see Thailand

  2. As long as you’re in the videos, any place will be interesting! So glad you’re back at this!

  3. Sure enjoyed your video and would love to see you do this in Paris, Rome, London or other european cities.

  4. Thank you. Great to see the city through your eyes.

  5. Well done video…and editing. Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, to name just a few interesting places…but cities without street food vendors may be a challenge? But like the “mission” you are on!

  6. Actually, if you just walked from Nanjing road To the Bund, you could save 3 Kuai cause it is really really not a long way. But you ate so little food(even I could eat 8 Fried Dumplings!!!!) and definitely missed so much delicious Shanghai local dim sum and cuisine.BTW, you wasted so much juice of ShengJianBao(Fried Dumplings), what a pity~~~~~anyway good AD for my sweet hometown.

  7. You can’t play well……ShengjJianBao for lunch is not enough for you

  8. will you come to shenzhen and take it as your next station?

  9. It’s a totally different life style for local person but i have to say it’s interesting.
    I think you should reminder those person who like follow your style to travel around because to me which i’m live in Shanghai. It’s EXTREME shut cut!
    I even can image there’s strange smell in that room…: P

  10. Thailand is not really a challange for 20 dollar a day, Maybe you should go to Dubai. Man~! It is a place can’t find place to stay night, seriously.

  11. Dude! Try doing that in Singapore!

  12. You totally wasted money on dinner. Street food and 6 kuai beers at 7 eleven!

  13. Hah! $20 Shanghai, easy! Try Copenhagen, Denmark, hard mode challenge:-p

  14. Wherever u go, don’t go to Hong Kong. It’s impossible to spend less than 20 USD for a day there. But if u r truly confident, it’s a good place to challenge yourself. lol
    BTW, love these random profile pics!

  15. Do you have a list of the roof you went to in Shanghai?:)

  16. Would be cool if you could send it to me, me and a friend really want to check out the spots since we are here:)

Let me know what you think


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