A Travel Price Comparison for China Lhasa vs. Chengdu for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Lhasa or Chengdu?

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

Should I visit Lhasa or Chengdu? 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: Lhasa or Chengdu?

Lhasa

Lhasa is the famed capital of Tibet, and is one of the most fascinating cities in the world to visit. It's name means "Land of the Gods" and the city dates back more than 1,300 years. It's elevation is 3,650 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest cities in the world. It sits on the northern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains by the Lhasa River and is the second largest city on the Tibetan Plateau after Xining.

Chengdu

Chengdu is in China's Sichuan Provence and is in what is known as the Red Basin. It is a particularly fertile region in China that is known for its agriculture. For this reason it is sometimes referred to as the "Land of Milk and Honey". The Funan River cuts through the city but has almost no boat traffic anymore. The city itself has a wonderful relaxed vibe compared to the rest of China and is filled with green parks and places to relax. It is considered one of the most livable cities in China.

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


Which place is cheaper, Chengdu or Lhasa?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Lhasa is $71, while the average daily cost in Chengdu is $50. 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 Lhasa and Chengdu in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lhasa $39
    Chengdu $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lhasa $78
    Chengdu $42
Compare Hotels in Lhasa and Chengdu

Looking for a hotel in Lhasa or Chengdu? 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 Lhasa


Hotels in Chengdu


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.
    Lhasa $2.57
    Chengdu $5.94

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lhasa

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

  • Lhasa Kongga Airport Chauffeur Service, Lhasa Airport Transfer, Pickup: $170
  • Lhasa Kongga Airport Chauffeur Service, Lhasa Airport Transfer, Pickup: $260

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chengdu

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chengdu:

  • Roundtrip Transfer: Chengdu to Giant Buddha/Panda/Dujiangyan: $55
  • Round-Trip Private Transfer between Emei Shan and Chengdu City: $113
  • Private Transfer to Leshan Giant Buddha: $110
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu to Mount Emei and Stops at Leshan Giant Buddha: $160
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu Shuangliu Airport to Chengdu Hotel: $52
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu Hotel to Chengdu Shuangliu Airport: $52
  • Private Transfer from Chengdu City Hotels to Airport: $35
  • Private Transfer Chengdu (TFU & CTU) Airport Pickup Service: $29
  • Private Round-Trip Transfer:Chengdu Shuangliu Airport or Chengdu Tianfu Airport : $67
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Chengdu Train Stations: $23
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Chengdu International Airport (CTU): $23
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Chengdu Airport (CTU or TFU): $34

Is it cheaper to fly into Lhasa or Chengdu?

Prices for flights to both Chengdu and Lhasa 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
    Lhasa $26
    Chengdu $22

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chengdu

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

  • Sichuan Opera Face-Changing Show And Hotpot Dinner Evening Tour: $40
  • Half-Day Chinese Bun Cooking Class with Local Spice Market Visit: $56
  • Private Sichuan Cooking Class including Local Wet Market Visit: $59
  • Sichuan cooking class half day tour: $60
  • Chengdu evening food tour by local guide: $60
  • Discovery more Chengdu evening food tour with locals : $65
  • Tuktuk Food Tour Through Chengdu's Local Eats: $69
  • Half-Day Dandan Noodles Cooking Class with Local Spice Market Visit: $70
  • Sichuan Opera Show VIP Seat Tickets w/ Transfer or Dinner: $72
  • Half Day Chengdu Tofu Making Class with Mapo Tofu Cooking: $72
  • Half-Day Chengdu Farm Cooking Class & Spice Market Exploration: $75
  • Half-Day Private Sichuan Hot-Pot Cooking Class with Local Spice Market Visit: $80

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lhasa $17
    Chengdu $16

Tours and Activities in Lhasa

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

  • 4 Days Lhasa City Essence Tour: $745
  • 4 Days Lhasa City Tibet Tour included Permit issued: $760
  • Private Full-Day Tour w/ Lunch: $800
  • 5 Days Classic Lhasa Tour with Yamdrok Lake in Tibet: $999
  • Nepal Tibet Tour 8 Days: $2,722

Tours and Activities in Chengdu

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

  • Chengdu Private Day Tour to the Leshan Giant Buddha and Huanglongxi Old Town: $248
  • Private Chengdu Panda Base and Sichuan Cuisine Museum Day Tour: $120
  • Private Full Day Chengdu Panda Base and Jinsha Site Museum Tour: $136
  • Private Leshan Buddha Day Tour with Local Market visiting: $160
  • 1 Day Wolong Panda Nature Reserve Tour: $218
  • 1 day Chengdu City Highlights Mini Group tour: $102
  • 1 day Dujiangyan + Jiezi Old town Mini Group tour: $83
  • 1-Day Chengdu Ancient History and Culture City Tour: $179
  • 1-Day Chengdu Cultural Discovery:Jinsha,Shu Brocade Museum & Dufu Cottage Tour : $189
  • 1-Day Chengdu Cultural Tour: Ancient Poets and Temples: $189
  • 1-Day Chengdu Panda Base and Leshan Giant Buddha GROUP Tour: $144
  • 1-Day Chengdu Panda Base and Leshan Giant Buddha Private Tour with the Lunch: $246

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lhasa $6.91
    Chengdu $3.94


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

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


Which is Bigger, Lhasa or Chengdu?

Chengdu has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Lhasa. When comparing the sizes of Lhasa and Chengdu, 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.