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

Should you visit Harbin 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 Harbin and Shangri-La can help you decide which place is right for you.

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.

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 Harbin?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Harbin is $49, 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 Harbin and Shangri-La in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $38 in Harbin 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
    Harbin $19
    Shangri-La $3.95
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Harbin $38
    Shangri-La $7.90

Food

On average, meal and food prices in Harbin cost around $13 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $5.20.

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
    Harbin $13
    Shangri-La $11

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Harbin

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

  • 3-hour Private Food Tour in Harbin: $100
  • Half-Day Private Harbin Beer Museum and Food Tour Including Harbin Beer1900: $150
  • Harbin Dumpling Cooking Class: $150
  • Hot Spring Experience with Hot Pot Dinner in Harbin: $160
  • 4-Hour Private Night Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow World with Dinner Options: $250
  • Private Full Day Tour to Harbin Beifang Forest Zoo and Optional Seafood Dinner: $250

Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Harbin than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $1.36 on transportation in Harbin on average per day.

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.
    Harbin $1.36
    Shangri-La $0.16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Harbin

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

  • Private Departure Transfer:City Hotel to Any Harbin Railway Station: $23
  • Harbin Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer: $27
  • Private Departure Transfer:Hotel to Harbin Taiping International Airport(HRB): $28
  • Harbin Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer: $40
  • Private Departure Transfer to Harbin Railway Station from Harbin City Hotel: $49
  • Private Departure Transfer to Harbin South Railway Station from Harbin City Hotel: $55
  • Harbin Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Railway Station: $56
  • Private Round-Trip Transfer:Harbin Taiping International Airport(HRB): $56
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Harbin West Railway Station to Harbin City Hotel: $59
  • Private Departure Transfer to Harbin West Railway Station from Harbin City Hotel: $59
  • Harbin Taiping Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer, Pick up.: $59
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Harbin East Railway Station to Harbin City Hotel: $59

Entertainment

Sightseeing expenses in Harbin, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $48 per day, per person.

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.
    Harbin $48
    Shangri-La $9.03

Tours and Activities in Harbin

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

  • Hagia Sophia TOURS /Skip The Lines: $12
  • 2-Hour Harbin City Tour: $50
  • 1-Day Harbin Private Tour: $70
  • Half-Day Private Harbin City Walking Tour to Zhongyang Street and Sophia Church: $80
  • Private Half Day City Tour including Russian Town and Harbin Ropeway Ride: $90
  • Private Customized Harbin City Day Tour by Public Transportation: $96
  • Private 2-hour Winter Local Culture Experience Tour with Ice Swimming Show, Songhua River Ropeway and Walking on Songhua River: $100
  • "Visit Museum of Heilongjiang" - a guide tour.: $100
  • Harbin Ethnic Museum Guided Tour.: $100
  • 80-Minute Foot Massage Private Tour in Harbin City: $100
  • 4-Hour Tour to Harbin Church,Gogol Street,Hongbo Square and Heilongjiang Museum: $100
  • Half Day Tour for Harbin Guandong Ancient Lane and Wood Sculpture Museum: $100

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Harbin spend on average $7.13 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
    Harbin $7.13
    Shangri-La $15


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

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Harbin vs. Shangri-La Travel Comparison

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