A Travel Price Comparison for China Beijing vs. Harbin for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Beijing or Harbin?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Beijing and Harbin can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Beijing or Harbin?


Beijing is the capital of China and, with 21.5 million people, it is the second most populated city in the world after Shanghai. It is a city that keeps pockets of its history hidden in old neighborhoods or back alleys, despite the constant change and modernization that goes on around it. As the capital city of China, there is plenty of history and culture. You can still get yourself lost in one of the last remaining hutongs, which are old neighborhoods that remain untouched by the city's modernization. The alleys that weave between the old homes are lined with drying clothes, corner markets, and people going about their daily lives the way they have for centuries. Surrounding these hutongs you'll find modern buildings and a booming economy, all threatening to destroying these last bits of Beijing's history. Beijing offers a glimpse into a microcosm that represents the entire country of China. Make sure you give yourself enough time in China to truly experience Beijing. You can pass a lot of time soaking up life in the city, which remains as diverse as the country it resides within.


Harbin, China is the northernmost major city in the country, with a population of over 10 million. Harbin was founded in 1897 by Russia, which has resulted in a lot of Russian influence throughout the city and many Russian citizens. The city is most famous for their annual International Snow and Ice Festival, a two-month-long festival running from January through February of each year.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from Beijing, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to China, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in China, and The Best Historical Tours in China.

Which place is cheaper, Harbin or Beijing?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Beijing is $75, while the average daily cost in Harbin is $54. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Beijing and Harbin in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Beijing $39
    Harbin $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Beijing $78
    Harbin $42
Compare Hotels in Beijing and Harbin

Looking for a hotel in Beijing or Harbin? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Beijing

Hotels in Harbin

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Beijing $7.69
    Harbin $1.49
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Beijing

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Beijing:

  • Taxi
  • Train from Airport for Two
  • Taxi to Hotel
  • 2 Metro Passes
  • Metro

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Beijing

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Beijing:

  • [Airport Transfer] Beijing Capital Airport ⇔ Beijing City Transfer (one way) ☆ High reputation for service! <Charter charter>: $30
  • Ultimate Forbidden City and Mutianyu Great Wall Discovery with Airport Transfer: $177
  • Tianjin International Cruise Port to Beijing Capital Airport by private transfer: $148
  • Tianjin International Cruise Port Transfer from Beijing: $130
  • Tianjin Binhai Airport to Beijing - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $160
  • Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City Private Tour With Airport Transfer: $205
  • The Great Wall Jinshanling PRIVATE TRANSFER From Beijing : $105
  • Tank Driving Experience (hotel pickup & Roundtrip Transfer): $450
  • Round-Trip to International Horticultural Expo Garden by Private Transfer: $80
  • Round-Trip Private Transfer from Your hotel in Beijing to Great wall at Mutianyu: $80
  • Round Trip Transfer Service to Fragrance Hill by Private Driver with Car: $98
  • Red Theatre Beijing Acrobatics Show with Hotel Transfer: $99

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Harbin

Also for Harbin, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Harbin Airport (HRB) : Private Arrival Transfer with Meet & Greet Service: $32
  • Harbin Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer: $27
  • Harbin Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer: $40
  • Harbin City Car Transfer Service with Driver: $168
  • Harbin Taiping Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer, Pick up.: $59
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Harbin Railway Station to Harbin City Hotel: $55
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Harbin West Railway Station to Harbin City Hotel: $65
  • Private Departure Transfer to Harbin Railway Station from Harbin City Hotel: $50
  • Private Full Day Transfer Service to Harbin Top Winter Attractions: $168
  • Private HRB Airport Arrival Transfer to Harbin City Hotel: $70
  • Private HRB Airport Departure Transfer from Harbin City Hotel: $70
  • Private Transfer to China's Snow Town from Yabuli Ski Resort: $107

Is it cheaper to fly into Beijing or Harbin?

Prices for flights to both Harbin and Beijing change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Beijing $19
    Harbin $14
Typical Food Prices in Beijing

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Beijing:

  • Popcorn
  • Hot Pot Dinner
  • Dumpling Breakfast for Two
  • Watermelon
  • Peking Duck Dinner for 2
  • Two Popsicles

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Beijing

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Beijing.

  • Online Cooking Class Beijing Dumplings and Cuisine by Sunflowerli Renowned Chef : $20
  • Online Cooking Class Kungpao Chicken: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Handmade Noodles by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Beijing Acrobatic Show Tickets w/ Optional Dinner or Transfer: $48
  • Beijing Hutong Breakfast Food Tour: $55
  • Temple of Heaven Private Tour w/Option Show &Dinner: $60
  • Beijing Gulou Night Market Food Tour: $75
  • Hidden Gems Guided Food Tour with Beer and Tastings: $75
  • discovery more Beijing back street evening food tour with locals : $79
  • Authentic Lunch or Dinner Tour in Beijing's Best Hidden Spots: $80
  • Old Beijing Dinner Tour: $80
  • Acrobatic Show with Peking Duck Dinner Private Tour: $80

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Harbin

For Harbin, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • 4-Hour Private Night Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow World with Dinner Options: $261
  • Private Full Day Tour to Harbin Beifang Forest Zoo and Optional Seafood Dinner: $261

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Beijing $24
    Harbin $52
Typical Entertainment Prices in Beijing

Here are a few typical costs in Beijing for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:

  • Entry to Summer Palace for Two
  • Two Opera Tickets
  • Temple of Heaven Park Entrance (for 2)
  • Forbidden City (for 2)
  • Forbidden City Tickets
  • Audio Guides at Forbidden City

Tours and Activities in Beijing

Here are a few actual costs in Beijing for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • All Inclusive Mutianyu Great Wall & Summer Palace Private Tour: $188
  • All Inclusive Private Tour: Juyongguan Greatwall, Sacred Road, MingTombs : $176
  • Beijing Art Tour: Seeing Fantastic Ming Murals at Fa Hai Temple : $220
  • Beijing Layover Tour: Mutianyu Great Wall with English Driver : $121
  • Beijing Private Tour of Ming Tombs, Summer Palace, Bird's Nest and Water Cube: $297
  • China National Museum Ticket Pre-booking and Tiananmen Square : $50
  • Mutianyu Great Wall and Ming Tomb Private Tour: $190
  • Private Day to T-Square, Forbidden city, Temple of heaven, Summer palace Tour : $177
  •  Wonderful Night tour: Acrobatics Show, Peking roast Duck: $175
  • 1-Day Beijing Emperor’s Tour of Forbidden City, Beihai Park, Jingshan and Hutong: $160
  • 1-Day Beijing Private Tour to Forbidden City and Mutianyu Great Wall : $150
  • 1-Day Beijing Private Tour to Lama Temple,Summer Palace and Hutong Rickshaw : $120

Tours and Activities in Harbin

For Harbin, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 1-Day Harbin Private Tour: $130
  • 4-Hour Private Tour of the Largest Indoor Ice and Snow Paradise: $136
  • Private Half Day City Tour including Russian Town and Harbin Ropeway Ride: $150
  • Private Half Day Tour Harbin ConfucianTemple and Temple of Bliss (Jile Si): $157
  • Harbin City Walking Sightseeing : $198
  • Small Group Night Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow World: $198
  • Harbin Ice Festival New Year Eve Countdown Group Tour on December 31: $200
  • Harbin City Private Day Tour in Your Way in Winter Season: $200
  • Private Harbin Ice Festival Night Tour: $209
  • Private Half Day Tour to Unit 731 Museum in Harbin: $209
  • Full Day Private Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow Festival: $250
  • Revolving Restaurant Dining Experience at Harbin Dragon Tower: $250

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Beijing $11
    Harbin $7.81

Sample the Local Flavors in Beijing

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Beijing:

  • Evening Food Private Tour with Brewery Taproom Hopping at Slow Boat in Beijing: $110
  • Full Day Private Chateau Changyu Wine Tour from Beijing: $165
  • Private Changyu Chateau Wine Tasting Tour and Mutianyu Great Wall Visit: $238

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Beijing and Harbin, we can see that Beijing is more expensive. And not only is Harbin much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Harbin would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Harbin and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Beijing would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Beijing than you might in Harbin.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Beijing Expensive? and Is Harbin Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Beijing or Harbin?

Beijing has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Harbin. When comparing the sizes of Beijing and Harbin, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.

When is the best time to visit Beijing or Harbin?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Beijing or Harbin in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Beijing as well as Harbin. Many visitors come to Beijing in the summer for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Beijing is generally a little warmer than Harbin. Daily temperatures in Beijing average around 27°C (80°F), and Harbin fluctuates around 24°C (75°F).

It's quite rainy in Harbin. Beijing receives a lot of rain in the summer. Beijing usually gets more rain in July than Harbin. Beijing gets 176 mm (6.9 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 153 mm (6 in) of rain this time of the year.

  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Beijing 27°C (80°F) 
    Harbin 24°C (75°F)

Should I visit Beijing or Harbin in the Autumn?

Both Harbin and Beijing are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Beijing for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

Beijing is much warmer than Harbin in the autumn. The daily temperature in Beijing averages around 14°C (56°F) in October, and Harbin fluctuates around 7°C (44°F).

In October, Beijing usually receives less rain than Harbin. Beijing gets 19 mm (0.7 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 23 mm (0.9 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Beijing 14°C (56°F) 
    Harbin 7°C (44°F)

Should I visit Beijing or Harbin in the Winter?

Both Harbin and Beijing during the winter are popular places to visit. The winter months attract visitors to Beijing because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

It's quite cold in Harbin in the winter. The weather in Beijing can be very cold. In the winter, Beijing is much warmer than Harbin. Typically, the winter temperatures in Beijing in January average around -4°C (26°F), and Harbin averages at about -18°C (-0°F).

Beijing usually gets less rain in January than Harbin. Beijing gets 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain this time of the year.

  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Beijing -4°C (26°F) 
    Harbin -18°C (-0°F)

Should I visit Beijing or Harbin in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Beijing and Harbin. The activities around the city and the natural beauty are the main draw to Beijing this time of year.

In April, Beijing is generally much warmer than Harbin. Daily temperatures in Beijing average around 14°C (57°F), and Harbin fluctuates around 8°C (46°F).

In April, Beijing usually receives more rain than Harbin. Beijing gets 26 mm (1 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 21 mm (0.8 in) of rain each month for the spring.

  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Beijing 14°C (57°F) 
    Harbin 8°C (46°F)

Typical Weather for Harbin and Beijing

Beijing Harbin
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -4°C (26°F) 3 mm (0.1 in) -18°C (-0°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Feb -1°C (30°F) 6 mm (0.2 in) -14°C (7°F) 6 mm (0.2 in)
Mar 6°C (42°F) 9 mm (0.4 in) -3°C (26°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
Apr 14°C (57°F) 26 mm (1 in) 8°C (46°F) 21 mm (0.8 in)
May 20°C (68°F) 29 mm (1.1 in) 15°C (60°F) 37 mm (1.5 in)
Jun 25°C (76°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 21°C (70°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Jul 27°C (80°F) 176 mm (6.9 in) 24°C (75°F) 153 mm (6 in)
Aug 25°C (78°F) 182 mm (7.2 in) 22°C (72°F) 116 mm (4.6 in)
Sep 20°C (69°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 16°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Oct 14°C (56°F) 19 mm (0.7 in) 7°C (44°F) 23 mm (0.9 in)
Nov 5°C (41°F) 6 mm (0.2 in) -4°C (24°F) 8 mm (0.3 in)
Dec -1°C (29°F) 2 mm (0.1 in) -14°C (7°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)