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

Should you visit Kunming 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 Kunming 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: Kunming or Lijiang?

Kunming

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.

Lijiang

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 Budget Tours to China, The Best Tours for Seniors to China, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Beijing, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Lhasa.


Which place is cheaper, Lijiang 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 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 Kunming and Lijiang in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kunming $33
    Lijiang $15
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kunming $66
    Lijiang $30
Compare Hotels in Kunming and Lijiang

Looking for a hotel in Kunming 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 Kunming


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.
    Kunming $13
    Lijiang $5.56
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Kunming

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $1.51

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kunming

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

  • Private Transfer from Kunming hotel to Guizhou Xingyi hotel: $240
  • One way Kunming airport to hotel private transfer: $41
  • Kunming Private Round Trip Transfer to Fuxianhu Lake: $90
  • Kunming Changshui Airport Chauffeur Service, Kunming Airport Transfer, Pickup: $83
  • Kunming Changshui Airport Chauffeur Service, Kunming Airport Transfer, Pick up: $71

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lijiang

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

  • Private Transfer from Dali to Lijiang and Stops at Shaxi: $161
  • Private Transfer from Lijiang to Dali and Stops at Shaxi: $161
  • Private Transfer from Lijiang to Shangri-La and Stops at Tiger Leaping Gorge: $159
  • Private Transfer from Lijiang/Shuhe hotel to Shangri-la(Diqing) hotel: $149
  • Lijiang Sanyi International Airport Chauffeur Service,Lijiang Airport Transfer: $57

Is it cheaper to fly into Kunming or Lijiang?

Prices for flights to both Lijiang 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Kunming $22
    Lijiang $17

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
  • Private Kunming Night Tour with Dinner: $78
  • Half Day Private Tour of Kunming Flower Market and Flower Pastry Cooking Class: $165

Typical Food Prices in Lijiang

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


  • Lunch for Two
    $4.13

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
  • Lijiang Naxi Cuisine Cooking Class & Market Visit: $65

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kunming $18
    Lijiang $19

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 Civil Culture Tour in Kunming: $112
  • 1-Day Dinosaur Tour in Kunming: $144
  • 1-Day Kunming Temple and Market Tour: $122
  • 1-Day Panorama Tour in Kunming: $122
  • 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 Lijiang

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

  • 1 Day Private Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Lijiang or Dali: $165
  • 1 Day Tiger Teaping Gorge Private Tour from Lijiang or Shangri-La: $170
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Lijiang Highlights: $297
  • 2 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour by public coach: $189
  • 2-Days Self-Guided tour from Lijiang to Dali and overnight in Shaxi old town: $212
  • All Inclusive Private Day Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Lijiang: $221
  • Beautiful Country road Biking tour to Xinhua village Heqing start from Lijiang: $173
  • Biking tour&guide visit Lijiang baisha village market park: $160
  • Flexible Lijiang City Highlights Private Day Tour with Lunch: $208
  • Flexible Lijiang City Highlights Private Day Tour with Lunch: $218
  • Lijiang Private Essentials Tour to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain including Cable Car: $258
  • Lijiang Sanyi airport (LJG) Pick up and Tiger Teaping Gorge Private Tour : $186

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kunming $17
    Lijiang $7.83


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Kunming and Lijiang, we can see that Kunming 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 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 Lijiang.

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


Which is Bigger, Kunming or Lijiang?

Lijiang has a larger population, and is about 11% larger than the population of Kunming. When comparing the sizes of Kunming 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.