Should you visit Lhasa or Chengdu?
Should I visit Lhasa or Chengdu? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
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 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.
Which city 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 $63, while the average daily cost in Chengdu is $45. 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 Lhasa and Chengdu in more detail.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $70 in Lhasa For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $38 for a double occupancy room in Chengdu.
Lhasa food costs typically run travelers around $23 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
Food in Chengdu costs travelers about $19 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.
Meals for one day
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lhasa
For Lhasa, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
4-Day Lhasa City Essential Group Tour including Hotel and Welcome Dinner:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chengdu
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Chengdu.
Food and Cooking experiences in Chengdu:
Half Day Tour Chengdu Courtyard Cooking Class and Local Spice Market:
Sichuan cooking class half day tour:
Half-Day Chinese Bun Cooking Class with Local Spice Market Visit:
Private Sichuan Cooking Class including Local Wet Market Visit:
Half-Day Small Group Sichuan Cuisine Museum Tour with Cooking Class:
Half Day Chengdu Tofu Making Class with Mapo Tofu Cooking:
Authentic Chengdu Local Food Tour:
Half-Day Private Sichuan Hot-Pot Cooking Class with Local Spice Market Visit:
Half-Day Sichuan Cooking Class Experience in Chengdu:
Half day Sichuan Cuisine Cooking Class Tour:
Private tour to Panda Base and Cooking class in Chengdu:
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Lhasa than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $2.30 on transportation in Lhasa on average per day.
The average price of local transportation around Chengdu is $5.32 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.
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:
Lhasa Private Arrival Transfer: Railway Station to Hotel:
Lhasa Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Airport:
Lhasa Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Railway Station:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chengdu
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chengdu:
Skip The Line: Chengdu to Xi'an/Chongqing Bullet Train Ticket with Transfer:
Sichuan Face Changing Opera With Door to Door Private Transfer and Guide:
Round-Trip Private Transfer between Emei Shan and Chengdu City:
Round Trip Chengdu Shuangliu Airport (CTU) Transfer to Chengdu City Center:
Private airport transfer to or from Chengdu International Airport Max 5 persons:
Private airport transfer to or from Chengdu International Airport Max 5 person:
Private Transfer from Chengdu to Mount Emei and Stops at Leshan Giant Buddha:
Private Transfer from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou Valley hotel:
Private Transfer from Chengdu hotel to Chengdu Train Station:
Private Transfer from Chengdu Railway Station to City Hotel:
Private Transfer from Chengdu City Hotels to Airport:
Private Transfer from Chengdu Airport to City Hotels:
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.
Sightseeing expenses in Lhasa, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $15 per day, per person.
Chengdu's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $14 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.
Tours and Activities in Lhasa
For Lhasa, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
4 Days Top Lhasa Group Tour:
Highlight Tibet Potala Palace Tour with Tibet Travel Expert Guide:
Day Tour: Tibet Ganden Monastery:
Day Tour: Tibet Drepung and Sera Monasteries:
Day Tour: Tibet Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple:
Tibet Entry Permit Plus Jokhang Temple & Barkhor Streets and Sera Monastery Tour:
Half- Day Potala Palace Tour from Lhasa:
2-Day Lake Namtso Experience Small-Group Tour from Lhasa:
2-Day Gyantse and Shigatse Tour from Lhasa:
Lhasa overview tour - 2 days:
The Best Bet 4 Days Lhasa Tour with Local Tibet Travel Expert:
3-Night Essential Lhasa Tour:
Tours and Activities in Chengdu
Here are a few actual costs in Chengdu for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
1 Day Chengdu Private Tour to Chengdu Panda Base & City Highlights Visiting:
1 Day Leshan Giant Buddha and Tea Terrace in Lost Town Tour:
1 Day Wolong Panda Nature Reserve Tour:
1-Day Chengdu Ancient History and Culture City Tour:
1-Day Chengdu Cultural Discovery:Jinsha,Shu Brocade Museum & Dufu Cottage Tour:
1-Day Chengdu Cultural Tour: Ancient Poets and Temples:
1-Day Chengdu Leshan Giant Buddha Private Tour With the Lunch and Boat tour:
1-Day Chengdu Panda Base and Leshan Giant Buddha GROUP Tour:
1-Day Chengdu Panda Base and Leshan Giant Buddha Private Tour with the Lunch:
1-Day Chengdu Panda Research Base and Sanxingdui Archeological Museum Tour:
1-Day Chengdu Private Tour: Dujiangyan Ancient River Irrigation and Temple Site:
1-Day Chengdu tour with Panda Base, Renmin Park,Wenshu Temple and Hot Pot Lunch:
Typically, people visiting Lhasa spend on average $6.19 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Chengdu may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $3.53 per day on alcoholic beverages.
Sample the Local Flavors in Chengdu
Also in Chengdu, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Half Day Explore Chinese White Wine Distillery in Chengdu:
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.
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