A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Chengdu vs. Shangri-La

Should you visit Chengdu or Shangri-La?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Chengdu and Shangri-La. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.

Chengdu

Chengdu is in China's Sichuan Provence and is in what is known as the Red Basin. It is a particularly fertile region in China that is known for its agriculture. For this reason it is sometimes referred to as the "Land of Milk and Honey". The Funan River cuts through the city but has almost no boat traffic anymore. The city itself has a wonderful relaxed vibe compared to the rest of China and is filled with green parks and places to relax. It is considered one of the most livable cities in China.

Shangri-La

The original Shangri-La existed in the fictional world of James Hilton's novel "The Lost Horizon." It was a hidden paradise, a place so beautiful that it couldn't possibly exist on earth. The Shangri-La that exists in Yunnan, China today was renamed from its former title Zhongdian in 2001 in order to associate the place with the mystical allure created in Hilton's novel. Visitors come to admire the traditional monasteries and temples set against a backdrop of mountain preserves and pristine lakes.

Which city is cheaper, Shangri-La or Chengdu?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Chengdu is $46, while the average daily cost in Shangri-La is $17. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Chengdu and Shangri-La in more detail.




Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $38 for a double occupancy room in Chengdu.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $3.95. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Shangri-La the cost is $7.90 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chengdu $19
    Shangri-La $3.95
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chengdu $38
    Shangri-La $7.90


Food

Food in Chengdu costs travelers about $20 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

The average traveler spends about $11 per day in Shangri-La for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Chengdu $20
    Shangri-La $11

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chengdu

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

  • Food and Cooking experiences in Chengdu: $51
  • Half Day Tour Chengdu Courtyard Cooking Class and Local Spice Market: $56
  • Sichuan cooking class half day tour: $56
  • Half-Day Chinese Bun Cooking Class with Local Spice Market Visit: $56
  • Private Sichuan Cooking Class including Local Wet Market Visit: $59
  • Half-Day Small Group Sichuan Cuisine Museum Tour with Cooking Class: $64
  • Half Day Chengdu Tofu Making Class with Mapo Tofu Cooking: $70
  • Authentic Chengdu Local Food Tour: $73
  • Half-Day Private Sichuan Hot-Pot Cooking Class with Local Spice Market Visit: $78
  • Half-Day Sichuan Cooking Class Experience in Chengdu: $87
  • Half day Sichuan Cuisine Cooking Class Tour: $96
  • Private tour to Panda Base and Cooking class in Chengdu: $98


Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Chengdu is $5.40 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

The average price of local transportation around Shangri-La is $0.16 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chengdu $5.40
    Shangri-La $0.16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chengdu

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chengdu:

  • Private Airport Transfer: Chengdu Shuangliu Int. Airport (CTU) to Chengdu: $18
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Chengdu to Chengdu Shuangliu Int. Airport (CTU): $18
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Chengdu Airport (CTU) to Chengdu City Center: $19
  • Private Departure Transfer from Chengdu City Center to Chengdu Airport (CTU): $19
  • Private airport transfer to or from Chengdu International Airport Max 5 persons: $19
  • Private airport transfer to or from Chengdu International Airport Max 5 person: $19
  • Private Departure Transfer:City Hotel to Any Railway Station in Chengdu: $21
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Chengdu Train Stations to Hotel: $23
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Chengdu International Airport (CTU) to Hotel: $23
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Chengdu International Airport (CTU): $23
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Chengdu Train Stations: $23
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu hotel to Chengdu Train Station: $25


Entertainment

Chengdu's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $15 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

Shangri-La's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $9.03 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chengdu $15
    Shangri-La $9.03

Tours and Activities in Chengdu

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

  • Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base Admission Ticket: $11
  • Chengdu Jinsha Archaeological Site and Museum Ticket: $14
  • Sichuan Opera Night show Tickets: $16
  • Skip the Line: Ticket to Face Changing Sichuan Opera: $19
  • Skip the Line: Sichuan Opera Chengdu Ticket: $21
  • Panda Breeding Center (Panda Base) & Taoism temple tour: $32
  • Sichuan Opera Tickets Booking: $32
  • Shufeng Yayun Teahouse Sichuan Opera Ticket: $34
  • 3-Hour Walking Tour in Chengdu People's Park and Learning Mahjong: $34
  • Half Day tour Chengdu Mahjong course in Local Tea House: $36
  • Half-day Walking Tour with Local Market Trip and Vegetarian Lunch in Nunnery: $36
  • Flexible Private Chengdu Layover Tour: $43


Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Chengdu may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $3.58 per day on alcoholic beverages.

The average person spends about $15 on alcoholic beverages in Shangri-La per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chengdu $3.58
    Shangri-La $15

Sample the Local Flavors in Chengdu

Also in Chengdu, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Half Day Explore Chinese White Wine Distillery in Chengdu: $128



When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Chengdu and Shangri-La, we can see that Chengdu is more expensive. And not only is Shangri-La much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Shangri-La would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Shangri-La 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 Chengdu would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Chengdu than you might in Shangri-La.

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Chengdu vs. Shangri-La Travel Comparison

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