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

Should you visit Kunming or Harbin?

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 Kunming and Harbin. 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: Kunming or Harbin?


Kunming, located in southern China, is the modern capital city of the Yunnan province. It is a transportation hub for visitors entering the region, and good transfer point to just about everywhere else in the province by train or bus. Within the city itself there are many things to see and do with a full range of parks and zoos, museums, temples, theatres, and scenic areas.


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 2-Week Tours from Beijing, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to China, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in China, and The Best Historical Tours in China.

Which place is cheaper, Harbin or Kunming?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Kunming is $67, 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 Kunming and Harbin in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kunming $33
    Harbin $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kunming $66
    Harbin $42
Compare Hotels in Kunming and Harbin

Looking for a hotel in Kunming 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 Kunming

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.
    Kunming $13
    Harbin $1.49
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Kunming

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

  • Taxi Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kunming

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

  • [Airport Transfer] Kunming Changshui Airport ⇔ Kunming City Transfer ☆ High reputation for service! <Charter charter>: $36
  • One way Kunming airport to hotel private transfer: $41
  • Kunming Private Round Trip Transfer to Fuxianhu Lake: $90
  • Kunming Private Arrival Transfer:Railway Station to City Hotel: $22
  • Kunming Changshui Airport Chauffeur Service, Kunming Airport Transfer, Pickup: $83
  • Kunming Airport Private Transfer - Charge by Vehicle: $48

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Harbin

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

  • Shared Transfer Service to Ice and Snow World, Sun Island Snow Festival: $250
  • 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: $114
  • Harbin Private Transfer from Harbin central to Harbin Taiping Airport (HRB): $114
  • Private Transfer to China's Snow Town from Yabuli Ski Resort: $107
  • Shared Night Transfer Service to Harbin Ice and Snow World: $85
  • 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 West Railway Station from Harbin City Hotel: $60

Is it cheaper to fly into Kunming or Harbin?

Prices for flights to both Harbin and Kunming 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
    Kunming $22
    Harbin $14

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kunming

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

  • Kunming evening food tour with locals: $64

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Harbin

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

  • Harbin Dumpling Cooking Class: $154
  • Half-Day Private Harbin Beer Museum and Food Tour Including Harbin Beer1900: $157
  • 4-Hour Private Night Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow World with Dinner Options: $261
  • Private Full Day Tour to Harbin Beifang Forest Zoo and Optional Seafood Dinner: $261

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kunming $18
    Harbin $52

Tours and Activities in Kunming

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

  • 1-Day Self-Guided Stone Forest Geological Park Tour from Kunming: $106
  • 1-Day Stone Forest Geological Park Private Tour with the Lunch from Kunming: $201
  • Kunming Private Day Tour to Jiuxiang Cave with Boat Ride : $209
  • 1 Day Stone Forest & Jiuxiang Cave Tour: $196
  • 1- Day Kunming Short Hiking Tour: $122
  • 1-Day Dongchuan Red Land Photography Private Tour from Kunming: $269
  • 1-Day Kunming Culture Tour: $156
  • 1-Day Kunming Temple and Market Tour: $122
  • 1-Day Kunming tour with the Green Lake,Bird & Flower market and Yuantong Temple: $201
  • 1-Day Private Tour:Stone Forest and Western Hill(Dragon Gate) from Kunming: $245
  • 4-Hour Tea-tasting and Cha Guo Zi (茶果子)Experience Tour: $112
  • Classical Yunnan 8days highlights tour start from Kunming: $1,395

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
  • 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 Guided Tour to Zhongyang Street and Sophia Church: $180
  • Harbin City Private Day Tour in Your Way in Winter Season: $200
  • Harbin Ice Festival New Year Eve Countdown Group Tour on December 31: $200
  • Private City Tour of Harbin: $360
  • 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 Drinks for one day
    Kunming $17
    Harbin $7.83

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Kunming and Harbin, we can see that Kunming 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 Kunming would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Kunming 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 Kunming Expensive? and Is Harbin Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Kunming or Harbin?

Harbin has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Kunming. When comparing the sizes of Kunming 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.