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

Should you visit Dali or Shangri-La?

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.

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 city 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 $20, 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 Dali and Shangri-La in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $13 in Dali For nicer amenities and a premiere location, 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 $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
    Dali $6.66
    Shangri-La $3.95
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Dali $13
    Shangri-La $7.90

Food

The average traveler spends about $7.50 per day in Dali 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.

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
    Dali $7.50
    Shangri-La $11
Typical Food prices in Dali

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


  • Lunch
    $5.02
  • Breakfast
    $3.93

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Dali

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

  • 1-Day Dali Baba Cooking and Cruise Tour: $150

Local Transportation

Dali's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $0.66 per person, per day on transportation in Dali.

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.
    Dali $0.66
    Shangri-La $0.16
Typical Local Transportation prices in Dali

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


  • Local Bus
    $0.47

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 Round-Trip Transfer Service to Shaxi Ancient Town from Dali: $88
  • Private One Way Transfer to Lijiang from Dali: $96
  • Private Transfer from Dali to Lijiang/Shuhe hotel: $140
  • Private Transfer from Dali to Lijiang/Shuhe hotel and Stops at Shaxi Old Town: $150

Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Dali can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $4.71 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

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.
    Dali $4.71
    Shangri-La $9.03

Tours and Activities in Dali

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

  • Half-Day Shangri-La Thangka Tour: $88
  • 1-Day Erhai Sightseeing in Dali: $129
  • One day tour to Rehai Hot Sea and Heshun Old Town in Tengchong: $149
  • 1-Day Dali Mountain and Cuisine Tour: $150
  • 1-Day Electric Bike Tour in Dali: $160
  • 1-Day Tie Dye Experience Tour in Dali: $160
  • Private Tour: Explore the Ancient City of Dali: $171
  • Private Day Tour of Dali Explore the Ancient City: $171
  • 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

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Dali spend on average $2.53 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

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
    Dali $2.53
    Shangri-La $15


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.

Budget Your Trip

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Dali vs. Shangri-La Travel Comparison

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