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

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 $5.82 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $2.33 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 $7.59 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 $5.82
    Dharamsala $7.59

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chennai

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

  • Local Uttrakhand Cuisine Cooking Class in Rishikesh: $9.89
  • Udaipur Food Tour: $12
  • Authentic Indian Tea Brewing and Paratha Cooking Private Online Class: $15
  • Hyderabad Street Food Tour: $16
  • Wagah Beating Retreat Border Ceremony (with Dinner) in Amritsar: $16
  • Authentic Maharashtrian Cuisine Private Virtual Cooking Class from Mumbai: $18
  • Mandovi River Dinner Cruise in Goa: $19
  • Cooking Class And Dining Experience In Varanasi: $20
  • North Kerala Culinary Food Tour in Thalassery: $24
  • Mumbai Walking Food Tour: $25
  • Cooking and Dining Experience in Agra: $27
  • Private In-Home Vegetarian Cooking Class and Meal in Chennai: $35

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Dharamsala

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

  • Local Uttrakhand Cuisine Cooking Class in Rishikesh: $9.89
  • Udaipur Food Tour: $12
  • Authentic Indian Tea Brewing and Paratha Cooking Private Online Class: $15
  • Hyderabad Street Food Tour: $16
  • Wagah Beating Retreat Border Ceremony (with Dinner) in Amritsar: $16
  • Authentic Maharashtrian Cuisine Private Virtual Cooking Class from Mumbai: $18
  • Mandovi River Dinner Cruise in Goa: $19
  • Cooking Class And Dining Experience In Varanasi: $20
  • North Kerala Culinary Food Tour in Thalassery: $24
  • Mumbai Walking Food Tour: $25
  • Cooking and Dining Experience in Agra: $27
  • Cooking Class with a Local Family in Mumbai: $36

Local Transportation

To get around in Chennai, the average visitor spends $2.37 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 $4.66 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 $2.37
    Dharamsala $4.66

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chennai

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

  • Private Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport Transfers (BOM) for Mumbai: $12
  • Private Amritsar International Airport Transfers (ATQ) for Amritsar : $13
  • Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport Private Transfers (SXR) for Srinagar: $14
  • Private Jaipur International Airport Transfers (JAI) for Downtown Jaipur: $14
  • Private Jaisalmer Airport Transfers (JSA) for Jaisalmer: $14
  • Chennai Airport Transfers : Budget Sedan and SUV Cabs: $15
  • Private Rajkot Airport (RAJ) Transfers for Rajkot: $15
  • Private Surat International Airport (STV) Transfers for Surat: $15
  • Private Vadodara Airport (BDQ) Transfers for Vadodara: $15
  • Private Kanpur Airport (KNU) Transfers for Kanpur: $15
  • Private Chandigarh International Airport (IXC) Transfers for Chandigarh: $15
  • Private Civil Enclave Jamnagar Airport (JGA) Transfers for Jamnagar: $15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dharamsala

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Dharamsala:

  • Dharamsala- Transfers+Hotel+Sightseeing (3 Days): $304
  • Private City Transfers between Manali and Leh: $267
  • Private City Transfers between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, Daman & Diu: $96
  • Private City Transfers from Mumbai to Gokarna, Kolhapur & Aurangabad: $74
  • Private City Transfers between Bangalore and Hampi: $69
  • Private City Transfers between Amritsar and Dalhousie, Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala or Bir: $59
  • Private Transfers From Delhi To Jim Corbett National Park: $59
  • Private City Transfers between Ahmedabad and Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh: $58
  • Private City Transfers between Agra and Meerut, Kanpur and Jhansi: $58
  • Private City Transfers for Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Jodhpur & More: $57
  • Private City Transfers from Lonavala to Mumbai and Pune: $56
  • Private City Transfers for Jodhpur, Bikaner, Udaipur & More: $55

Is it cheaper to fly into Chennai or Dharamsala?

Prices for flights to both Dharamsala and Chennai 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.





Entertainment

In Chennai, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $2.52 per person, per day.

Dharamsala's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $5.05 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 $2.52
    Dharamsala $5.05

Tours and Activities in Chennai

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

  • Shaniwar Wada Fort Skip-the-Line Admission Ticket: $0.35
  • Palace of Tipu Sultan Skip-the-Line Admission Ticket: $0.39
  • Akbar's Tomb Entry Ticket in Agra: $0.39
  • Bekal Fort Entry Ticket: $0.50
  • Mehtab Bagh Fast-Track Ticket: $0.55
  • Deeg Palace Ticket in Bharatpur: $0.55
  • Bibi Ka Maqbara Fast-Track Ticket in Aurangabad: $0.55
  • ¬†Gingee Fort Entry Ticket: $0.55
  • Tughlaqabad Fort Entry Ticket: $0.55
  • Dindigul Fort Entry Ticket: $0.55
  • Bellary Fort Entry Ticket: $0.55
  • Feroz Shah Kotla Fort Entry Ticket: $0.55

Tours and Activities in Dharamsala

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

  • Explore Old City of Hyderabad with Experienced Storyteller Online Experience: $19
  • Instagram Tour in Delhi: $101
  • Lamadug Trekking Day Tour from Manali: $21
  • Mathura Vrindavan, Taj Mahal and Agra City Private Day Tour from Delhi: $118
  • 11D10N Golden Triangle and Holy City Private Tour from Delhi: $863
  • 2D Delhi and Agra Combo Private Tour: $110
  • 2D1N Adventure Camping in Jaipur: $33
  • 2D1N Bhandardara Lakeside Camping Experience : $20
  • 2D1N Bhandardara Lakeside Camping Experience from Mumbai: $20
  • 2D1N Gir National Park Tour from Ahmedabad: $69
  • 2D1N Golden Triangle Tour from Delhi: $158
  • 2D1N Hampi Private Sightseeing Tour from Bangalore: $164

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 $2.80.

The average person spends about $5.05 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 $2.80
    Dharamsala $5.05

Sample the Local Flavors in Chennai

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Chennai:

  • Pub Crawl in Delhi: $18
  • Pub Crawl in Pune: $18
  • Pub Crawl in Mumbai: $18
  • Pub Crawl in Jaipur: $18
  • Udaipur Pub Crawl: $19
  • South Mumbai Pub Crawl: $19
  • Pub Crawl In Bangalore: $19
  • Pub Crawl in Goa: $20
  • Sula Vineyards with Wine Tasting Day Tour from Mumbai: $49

Sample the Local Flavors in Dharamsala

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

  • Pub Crawl in Delhi: $18
  • Pub Crawl in Pune: $18
  • Pub Crawl in Mumbai: $18
  • Pub Crawl in Jaipur: $18
  • Udaipur Pub Crawl: $19
  • South Mumbai Pub Crawl: $19
  • Pub Crawl In Bangalore: $19
  • Pub Crawl in Goa: $20
  • Sula Vineyards with Wine Tasting Day Tour from Mumbai: $49


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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