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

Should you visit Dali or Shangri-La?

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 Shangri-La can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Dali or Shangri-La?

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.

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 place is cheaper, Shangri-La 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 Shangri-La is $47. 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 Shangri-La in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Dali $17
    Shangri-La $19
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Dali $34
    Shangri-La $38
Compare Hotels in Dali and Shangri-La

Looking for a hotel in Dali or Shangri-La? 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 Shangri-La


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 $9.26
    Shangri-La $10
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Dali

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


  • Local Bus
    $0.42

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 Shangri-La

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shangri-La:

  • Private Transfer from Shangri-la(Diqing) hotel to Lijiang/Shuhe hotel : $149
  • Private Transfer from Shangri-La to Lijiang and Stops at Tiger Leaping Gorge: $160

Is it cheaper to fly into Dali or Shangri-La?

Prices for flights to both Shangri-La 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
    Shangri-La $19
Typical Food Prices in Dali

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


  • Lunch
    $4.45
  • Breakfast
    $3.47

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Dali

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

  • Yunnan specialty cooking class : $50

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Dali $18
    Shangri-La $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 Dali Highlights Mini Group Tour: $140
  • 1-Day Tie Dye Experience Tour in Dali: $160
  • Private Day Tour of Dali Explore the Ancient City: $175
  • Private hiking and trekking 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
  • Private Customized Tour: Dali City Highlights in One Day: $213
  • All Inclusive Private Day Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Dali: $213
  • Private Day Tour: Erhai Lake, Three Pagodas, Dali Ancient Town: $217

Tours and Activities in Shangri-La

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Shangri-La are as follows:

  • 1 Day Shangri-la City Tour with Pudacuo National Park: $209
  • 1 day Shangri-La Highlights Mini Private Tour: $117
  • 1-Day Shangri-La Private Tour: Potatso National Park and Baiji Temple: $169
  • 1-Day Shangri-La Tour to Ganden Monastery, Nixi Pottery Village and Tibetan Town: $185
  • 1-Day Shangri-La tour with Ganden Monastery, Napahai Lake and Tibetan Town: $190

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Dali $11
    Shangri-La $13


When comparing the travel costs between Dali and Shangri-La, we can see that Dali 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 Shangri-La Expensive?.