A Travel Price Comparison for China Hangzhou vs. Lijiang for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Hangzhou or Lijiang?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Hangzhou and Lijiang. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Hangzhou or Lijiang?


Hangzhou is a city in Eastern China, about an hour by train from Shanghai, renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty. Each year it attracts more than 20 million tourists who come to see what the city has to offer. Set amongst the natural scenery of lakes and mountains, Hangzhou is modern city that coexists with the old. Historic pagodas and cultural sites built around the central lake sit like they belong amidst the skyscrapers and bustling markets of today.


Lijiang is a city in Southwestern China with a history of rule under the Mu family during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It played a key role along the Ancient Southern Silk Road, which started from Burma, crossed Lijiang, Shangri-La County, Tibet, journeyed through Iran, the Fertile Crescent, and ultimately to the Mediterranean Sea. The area was once a center for trade, politics, culture, and education, which is still evident in the rich culture seen today. Lijiang has also been the home of centuries to the Naxi people who still inhabit the area.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Adventure Tours to China, The Best Sightseeing Tours in China, The Best Cultural Tours in China, and The Best Luxury Tours to China.

Which place is cheaper, Lijiang or Hangzhou?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Hangzhou is $65, while the average daily cost in Lijiang is $41. 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 Hangzhou and Lijiang in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Hangzhou $23
    Lijiang $16
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Hangzhou $46
    Lijiang $32
Compare Hotels in Hangzhou and Lijiang

Looking for a hotel in Hangzhou or Lijiang? 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 Hangzhou

Hotels in Lijiang

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.
    Hangzhou $8.13
    Lijiang $5.59
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Hangzhou

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Hangzhou:

  • Local Bus for Two

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Hangzhou

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Hangzhou:

  • Wuzhen Water Town Self-Guided Tour with Private Transfer from Hangzhou : $87
  • Wuzhen & Xitang Water Town Self-Guided Tour with Private Transfer from Hangzhou: $97
  • Water Town and West Lake Sightseeing with Hangzhou Hotel or Railway Station Transfer: $217
  • VIP Seated Enduring Memories of Hangzhou Show with Private Transfer: $83
  • Transfer from Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport to City Center: $55
  • Skip the Line: Impression West Lake Show VIP Seat Ticket with Pick-up Transfer: $82
  • Skip the Line: Impression West Lake Show Ticket with Pick-up Transfer: $72
  • Private Transfer to Wuzhen Water Town from Hangzhou: $88
  • Private Transfer to Suzhou City from Hangzhou: $113
  • Private Transfer to Shanghai Pudong Airport from Hangzhou: $129
  • Private Transfer to Putuo Mountain from Hangzhou: $165
  • Private Transfer to Mogan Mountian from Hangzhou: $85

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lijiang

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

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Hangzhou or Lijiang?

Prices for flights to both Lijiang and Hangzhou 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 Meals for one day
    Hangzhou $18
    Lijiang $17
Typical Food Prices in Hangzhou

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Hangzhou:

  • Breakfast Pastries
  • Pizza Hut Lunch

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Hangzhou

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

  • All Inclusive Night Tour with Impression West Lake Show VIP Ticket and Dinner: $117
  • VIP Seated Enduring Memories of Hangzhou Show Tour with Authentic Dinner: $127
  • Private Amazing Hangzhou Airport Layover Tour with Lunch or Dinner Option : $170
  • Enduring Memories of Hangzhou West Lake Show VIP Ticket with Authentic Dinner: $191
  • Xitang Water Town Private Night Tour from Hangzhou with Dinner: $203
  • Hangzhou Private Tour to Wuzhen Water Town with Lunch or Dinner: $213
  • Hangzhou Private Tour to Wuzhen and Xitang Water Town with Dinner and Boat Ride: $282

Typical Food Prices in Lijiang

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

  • Lunch for Two

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lijiang

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

  • Lijiang Naxi Cuisine Cooking Class & Market Visit: $59

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Hangzhou $20
    Lijiang $20

Tours and Activities in Hangzhou

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

  • Hangzhou Private Day Tour of West Lake, Lingyin Temple and Tea Village: $199
  • West Lake Private Tour with Boat Ride and Enduring Memories Night Show VIP Seat: $242
  • 1-day Village Tea Picking, Roasting & Serving Guided Private Tour from Hangzhou : $244
  • 4-Hour Hangzhou City Private Customized Tour with Options: $112
  • 4-Hour Hangzhou Summit and Former Residence of Xueyan Hu Private Tour: $141
  • A Depth-Tour to Explore Xixi Wetland Park including Fishing experience: $205
  • All Inclusive Tour of Lingyin Temple and Pagoda of Six Harmonies: $199
  • All-inclusive Customized Hangzhou Layover Tour: $190
  • Amazing Landmarks Hangzhou Private Day Tour: $225
  • Best Price: Impression West Lake Show Ticket: $59
  • Best of A Comprehensive Tour of the City's Top Sights: $153
  • Cirque Du Soleil Ticket : $120

Tours and Activities in Lijiang

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

  • 4 Hour Private Lijiang City Highlights Walking Tour: $72
  • One day Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Tour in From Lijiang: $160
  • 1 Day Private Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Lijiang or Dali: $165
  • 1-Day Old Town Tour in Lijiang: $166
  • Lijiang Train Station Pick up and Tiger Teaping Gorge Private Tour : $170
  • 1 Day Tiger Teaping Gorge Private Tour from Lijiang or Shangri-La: $170
  • Beautiful Country road Biking tour to Xinhua village Heqing start from Lijiang: $173
  • Private trekking tour to Wenhai lake from Lijiang half day service: $175
  • Country Biking tour to lashi lake Lamaism temple baisha village from Lijiang: $176
  • Private Jade Dragon Snow Mountains and Naxi Village Tour: $187
  • 2 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour by public coach: $189
  • Private Day Tour Tiger Leaping Gorge and Black Dragon Pond from Lijiang: $207

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Hangzhou $10
    Lijiang $7.87

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

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

Which is Bigger, Hangzhou or Lijiang?

Hangzhou has a larger population, and is about 65% larger than the population of Lijiang. When comparing the sizes of Hangzhou and Lijiang, 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.