A Travel Price Comparison for China Dali vs. Chengdu for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Dali or Chengdu?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Dali and Chengdu can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Dali or Chengdu?

Dali

Dali is a city in southern China with a long and glorious history dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Xiaguan neighborhood of the city is the modern industrial center where most public transportation arrives; however, the Old Town of Dali is the place that draws the most visitors. Being one of China's ancient cities, Dali is said to have been a gateway to the Silk Road, and still attracts attention with its traditional architecture, beautiful scenery, ethnic cultures, and nightlife.

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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Beijing, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Lhasa, The Best 2-Week Tours from Beijing, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to China.


Which place is cheaper, Chengdu or Dali?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Dali is $48, while the average daily cost in Chengdu is $50. 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 Dali and Chengdu in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Dali $17
    Chengdu $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Dali $34
    Chengdu $42
Compare Hotels in Dali and Chengdu

Looking for a hotel in Dali or Chengdu? 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 Dali


Hotels in Chengdu


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.
    Dali $9.16
    Chengdu $5.91
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Dali

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


  • Local Bus
    $0.41

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dali

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

  • Dali Airport Chauffeur Service,Dali Airport Transfer: $40
  • Private Transfer from Dali to Lijiang/Shuhe hotel: $149
  • Private Transfer from Dali to Lijiang/Shuhe hotel and Stops at Shaxi Old Town: $160

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chengdu

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chengdu:

  • [Airport Transfer] Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport Kosheng City Transfer High reputation for service! : $22
  • Sichuan Face Changing Opera With Door to Door Private Transfer: $52
  • Round-Trip Private Transfer between Emei Shan and Chengdu City: $113
  • Private Transfer to Leshan Giant Buddha: $100
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu to TFU or CTU Airport: $180
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu to Mount Emei and Stops at Leshan Giant Buddha: $160
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu hotel to Chengdu Train Station: $27
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu Shuangliu Airport to Chengdu Hotel: $52
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu Hotel to Chengdu Shuangliu Airport: $52
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu Hotel to Chengdu Shuangliu Airport: $52
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu Downtown to Airport: $140
  • Private Round-Trip Transfer:Chengdu Shuangliu Airport or Chengdu Tianfu Airport : $67

Is it cheaper to fly into Dali or Chengdu?

Prices for flights to both Chengdu and Dali 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Dali $18
    Chengdu $22
Typical Food Prices in Dali

For Dali, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Lunch
    $4.40
  • Breakfast
    $3.44

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chengdu

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

  • Half-Day Chinese Bun Cooking Class with Local Spice Market Visit: $56
  • Private Sichuan Cooking Class including Local Wet Market Visit: $59
  • Chengdu evening food tour by local guide: $60
  • Half day Chengdu Dumpling making Cooking Class: Make from Scratch: $62
  • Discovery more Chengdu evening food tour with locals : $65
  • Half-Day Chengdu Cooking Class with Local Market Visit: $69
  • Tuktuk Food Tour Through Chengdu's Local Eats: $69
  • Half-Day Professional Mapo Tofu Cooking Class with Local Spice Market Visit: $69
  • Sichuan Opera Show VIP Seat Tickets w/ Transfer or Dinner: $71
  • Chengdu Evening Food Tour: $76
  • Cooking Class with Fresh Market Half Day Experience: $79
  • Tuk Tuk Food Tour with Unlimited Beer and Soda: $79

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Dali $18
    Chengdu $16

Tours and Activities in Dali

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

  • 1-Day Erhai Sightseeing in Dali: $129
  • 1-Day Tie Dye Experience Tour in Dali: $160
  • Private hiking tour to Cangshan Mountain from Dali: $175
  • Private tour to Xizhou old town local market Erhai lake three Pagodas from Dali: $184
  • Dali Private Tour to Xizhou Ancient Town and Erhai Lake : $186
  • 1-Day Dali tour with the Daili old town, Xizhou Village and Three Pagodas: $195
  • 2-Days Self-Guided tour from Dali to Lijiang and overnight in Shaxi old town: $205
  • All inclusive Dali Erhai cruise three pagoda xizhou market: $210
  • Private Customized Tour: Dali City Highlights in One Day: $213
  • All Inclusive Private Day Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Dali: $213
  • Dali Yunnan Local Market + Pottery Making Eco Tour: $220
  • Private Day Tour of Dali Explore the Ancient City: $274

Tours and Activities in Chengdu

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

  • Chengdu Private Day Tour to the Leshan Giant Buddha and Huanglongxi Old Town: $248
  • Chinese Traditional Massage Experience In Chengdu: $90
  • Private Chengdu day Tour of panda base with Leshan giant Buddha: $298
  • Private Full Day Chengdu Panda Base and Jinsha Site Museum Tour: $136
  • Private Leshan Buddha Day Tour with Local Market visiting: $160
  • 1 day Chengdu City Highlights Mini Group tour: $102
  • 1-Day Chengdu Ancient History and Culture City Tour: $179
  • 1-Day Chengdu Cultural Discovery:Jinsha,Shu Brocade Museum & Dufu Cottage Tour : $189
  • 1-Day Chengdu Leshan Giant Buddha Private Tour With the Lunch and Boat tour: $242
  • 1-Day Chengdu Panda Base and Leshan Giant Buddha GROUP Tour: $144
  • 1-Day Chengdu Panda Research Base and Sanxingdui Archeological Museum Tour : $256
  • 1-Day Chengdu Private Tour: Dujiangyan Ancient River Irrigation and Temple Site : $213

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Dali $11
    Chengdu $3.91


When comparing the travel costs between Dali and Chengdu, we can see that Chengdu is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Asia, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Dali or Chengdu?

Chengdu has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Dali. When comparing the sizes of Dali and Chengdu, 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.