A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Chennai vs. Dharamsala

Should you visit Chennai or Dharamsala?

Should I visit Chennai or Dharamsala? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Chennai

Formerly known as Madras from its colonial history, Chennai today is one of India's largest cities and capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on the Bay of Bengal in southeastern India with an extensive stretch of sandy beaches, plenty of dining and shopping, a number of historic temples, monuments, and churches, plus amusement parks and more.

Dharamsala

With a name that literally means "a spiritual dwelling," Dharamsala roughly translates as a shelter or rest house for pilgrims and travelers. Home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile, Dharamsala is today a popular destination for foreigners on vacation, backpackers seeking the surrounding mountains, as well as students of Buddhism.

Which city is cheaper, Dharamsala or Chennai?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Chennai is $27, while the average daily cost in Dharamsala is $32. 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 Chennai and Dharamsala in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $28 in Chennai For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $21. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Dharamsala the cost is $42 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chennai $14
    Dharamsala $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chennai $28
    Dharamsala $42

Food

The price of a meal in Chennai can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $5.77 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $2.31 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

The average traveler spends about $7.52 per day in Dharamsala 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
    Chennai $5.77
    Dharamsala $7.52

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chennai

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

  • Private In-Home Vegetarian Cooking Class and Meal in Chennai: $35
  • Private Authentic Indian Cooking Class in Chennai with a Local: $49
  • Authentic South Indian Cooking Class and Vegetarian Meal with a Local in Chennai: $50
  • Private Market Tour and South Indian Cooking Class in Chennai with Srividya: $53
  • South Indian Vegetarian Cooking Class Near the Chennai airport: $59
  • Private South Indian Cooking Class and Market Visit in Chennai: $70

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Dharamsala

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

  • Private Full Day McleodGanj City Sightseeing & Cooking Class: $74

Local Transportation

To get around in Chennai, the average visitor spends $2.35 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.

The average price of local transportation around Dharamsala is $4.62 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.
    Chennai $2.35
    Dharamsala $4.62

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chennai

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

  • Chennai Airport Transfers : Budget Sedan and SUV Cabs: $15
  • Departure Private Transfer Chennai City to Chennai MAA Airport by Sedan Car: $23
  • Private Transfer from Chennai (MAA) Airport to Chennai City: $42
  • Private Transfer from Chennai City to Chennai (MAA) Airport: $42
  • Chennai to Vellore Transfer by Private Vehicle: $93

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dharamsala

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Dharamsala:

  • Dharamsala- Transfers+Hotel+Sightseeing (3 Days): $304
  • Affordable Dharamshala Airport Transfer: $35

Entertainment

In Chennai, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $2.50 per person, per day.

Dharamsala's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $5.01 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.
    Chennai $2.50
    Dharamsala $5.01

Tours and Activities in Chennai

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Chennai.

  • Marina Beach: Stroll along India's longest beach on an audio tour: $5.00
  • Night walk tour Chennai: $13
  • Night Walking Tour of Chennai: $15
  • Temple Walking Tour of Chennai: $15
  • Magical Chennai Markets Tour: $19
  • Food Walk Tour Chennai: $19
  • Chennai Street Food Walking Tour: $19
  • Mylapore Walking tour with Breakfast by Wonder tours: $24
  • The Georgetown Bazaar Walk by Wonder tours: $24
  • The Georgetown Bazaar Walking tour by Wonder tours: $24
  • Bazaar Trail Walking Tour in George Town: $25
  • Peacock Trail Walking Tour in Mylapore: $25

Tours and Activities in Dharamsala

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Dharamsala are as follows:

  • Dharamsala Half Day Sightseeing Tour: $50
  • Half-Day Private Kangra Valley Cycling Tour from Dharamshala: $69
  • Hiking Day Tour to Triund from Dharamshala: $72

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Chennai, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $2.77.

The average person spends about $5.01 on alcoholic beverages in Dharamsala per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chennai $2.77
    Dharamsala $5.01


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

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Chennai vs. Dharamsala Travel Comparison

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