A Travel Price Comparison for China Dalian vs. Harbin for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Dalian or Harbin?

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

Should I visit Dalian or Harbin? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Dalian or Harbin?

Dalian

Dalian, China is a very large peninsula city located in the southernmost part of the Liaoning Province in northeast China. The area has a wealth of history, with roots in Russian and Japanese rule, resulting in unique architecture and many universities that attract foreign students and teachers. Dalian is also known for their beautiful green spaces and relaxing beaches which juxtapose a lot of the more industrial cities found throughout other areas of northern China.

Harbin

Harbin, China is the northernmost major city in the country, with a population of over 10 million. Harbin was founded in 1897 by Russia, which has resulted in a lot of Russian influence throughout the city and many Russian citizens. The city is most famous for their annual International Snow and Ice Festival, a two-month-long festival running from January through February of each year.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to China, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in China, The Best Historical Tours in China, and The Best 10-Day Tours in China.


Which place is cheaper, Harbin or Dalian?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Dalian is $103, while the average daily cost in Harbin is $54. 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 Dalian and Harbin in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Dalian $54
    Harbin $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Dalian $108
    Harbin $42
Compare Hotels in Dalian and Harbin

Looking for a hotel in Dalian or Harbin? 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 Dalian


Hotels in Harbin


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.
    Dalian $41
    Harbin $1.50

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dalian

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

  • Private Departure Transfer: City Hotel to Any Guiyang Railway Station: $38
  • Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport Chauffeur Service , to Dalian Transfer: $27
  • Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport Chauffeur Service , to Dalian Transfer: $40
  • Dalian Private Departure Transfer:City Hotel to Railway Station: $32
  • Dalian Private Arrival Transfer: Railway Station to City Hotel: $33

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Harbin

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

  • Harbin City Car Transfer Service with Driver: $168
  • Private Full Day Transfer Service to Harbin Top Winter Attractions: $168
  • Private Arrival Transfer to China's Snow Town from Harbin HRB Airport: $149
  • Harbin Private Transfer from Harbin Airport (HRB) to central Harbin: $116
  • Harbin Private Transfer from Harbin central to Harbin Taiping Airport (HRB): $116
  • Private HRB Airport Departure Transfer from Harbin City Hotel: $70
  • Private HRB Airport Arrival Transfer to Harbin City Hotel: $70
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Harbin West Railway Station to Harbin City Hotel: $65
  • Private Departure Transfer to Harbin Railway Station from Harbin City Hotel: $50
  • Harbin Airport (HRB) : Private Arrival Transfer with Meet & Greet Service: $32
  • Private Arrival Transfer:Any Harbin Railway Station to City Hotel: $29
  • Harbin Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer: $27

Is it cheaper to fly into Dalian or Harbin?

Prices for flights to both Harbin and Dalian 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
    Dalian $27
    Harbin $14

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Harbin

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

  • 4-Hour Private Night Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow World with Dinner Options: $261

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Dalian $4.79
    Harbin $53

Tours and Activities in Dalian

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

  • Dalian City Private Day Tour in Your Way: $159

Tours and Activities in Harbin

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

  • 1-Day Harbin Private Tour: $130
  • 2-Day Harbin City Private Tour in Your Way in Winter Season: $280
  • 4-Hour Private Tour of the Largest Indoor Ice and Snow Paradise: $136
  • All-Inclusive Harbin Jewish Culture Private Day Tour: $300
  • From Amazing Day Trip Including tickets: $400
  • Full Day Private Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow Festival: $250
  • Group Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow World plus Sun Island Snow Sculpture Festival: $298
  • Harbin City Private Day Tour in Your Way in Winter Season: $200
  • Private City Tour of Harbin: $360
  • Private Customized Harbin City Day Tour by Public Transportation: $220
  • Private Half Day City Tour including Russian Town and Harbin Ropeway Ride: $150
  • Private Half Day Tour Harbin ConfucianTemple and Temple of Bliss (Jile Si): $157

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Dalian $6.32
    Harbin $7.85


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

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


Which is Bigger, Dalian or Harbin?

Harbin has a larger population, and is about 59% larger than the population of Dalian. When comparing the sizes of Dalian and Harbin, 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.


When is the best time to visit Dalian or Harbin?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Dalian or Harbin in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Dalian and Harbin.

In July, Dalian is generally around the same temperature as Harbin. Daily temperatures in Dalian average around 24°C (75°F), and Harbin fluctuates around 24°C (75°F).

Harbin receives a lot of rain in the summer. Dalian gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Dalian usually receives more rain than Harbin. Dalian gets 202 mm (8 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 153 mm (6 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Dalian 24°C (75°F) 
    Harbin 24°C (75°F)

Should I visit Dalian or Harbin in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Dalian as well as Harbin.

Dalian is much warmer than Harbin in the autumn. The daily temperature in Dalian averages around 15°C (58°F) in October, and Harbin fluctuates around 7°C (44°F).

Dalian usually gets more rain in October than Harbin. Dalian gets 30 mm (1.2 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 23 mm (0.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Dalian 15°C (58°F) 
    Harbin 7°C (44°F)

Should I visit Dalian or Harbin in the Winter?

Both Harbin and Dalian are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities.

Harbin can be very cold during winter. Dalian can get quite cold in the winter. In the winter, Dalian is much warmer than Harbin. Typically, the winter temperatures in Dalian in January average around -4°C (25°F), and Harbin averages at about -18°C (-0°F).

In January, Dalian usually receives more rain than Harbin. Dalian gets 9 mm (0.4 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Dalian -4°C (25°F) 
    Harbin -18°C (-0°F)

Should I visit Dalian or Harbin in the Spring?

Both Harbin and Dalian during the spring are popular places to visit.

In April, Dalian is generally a little warmer than Harbin. Daily temperatures in Dalian average around 11°C (51°F), and Harbin fluctuates around 8°C (46°F).

Dalian usually gets more rain in April than Harbin. Dalian gets 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 21 mm (0.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Dalian 11°C (51°F) 
    Harbin 8°C (46°F)

Typical Weather for Harbin and Dalian

Dalian Harbin
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -4°C (25°F) 9 mm (0.4 in) -18°C (-0°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Feb -2°C (28°F) 12 mm (0.5 in) -14°C (7°F) 6 mm (0.2 in)
Mar 4°C (38°F) 14 mm (0.6 in) -3°C (26°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
Apr 11°C (51°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) 8°C (46°F) 21 mm (0.8 in)
May 17°C (62°F) 46 mm (1.8 in) 15°C (60°F) 37 mm (1.5 in)
Jun 21°C (69°F) 83 mm (3.3 in) 21°C (70°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Jul 24°C (75°F) 202 mm (8 in) 24°C (75°F) 153 mm (6 in)
Aug 25°C (77°F) 132 mm (5.2 in) 22°C (72°F) 116 mm (4.6 in)
Sep 21°C (70°F) 56 mm (2.2 in) 16°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Oct 15°C (58°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 7°C (44°F) 23 mm (0.9 in)
Nov 7°C (44°F) 26 mm (1 in) -4°C (24°F) 8 mm (0.3 in)
Dec -0°C (32°F) 6 mm (0.2 in) -14°C (7°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)