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

Should you visit Lhasa or Dali?

Should I visit Lhasa or Dali? 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

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.

Dali

Dali is a city in southern China with a long and glorious history dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Xiaguan neighborhood of the city is the modern industrial center where most public transportation arrives; however, the Old Town of Dali is the place that draws the most visitors. Being one of China's ancient cities, Dali is said to have been a gateway to the Silk Road, and still attracts attention with its traditional architecture, beautiful scenery, ethnic cultures, and nightlife.

Which city is cheaper, Dali 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 Dali is $43. 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 Dali in more detail.



Accommodation

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.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $30 in Dali For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lhasa $35
    Dali $15
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lhasa $70
    Dali $30

Food

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.

The average traveler spends about $16 per day in Dali 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
    Lhasa $23
    Dali $16

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lhasa

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

  • Chengdu Private Food Tour (With Visit to Kuanzhai Alley and Hotpot Experience): $32
  • Chengdu Jinsha Site Museum and Sanxingdui Museum Private Day Tour with Hotpot Dinner: $76
  • Dim Sum Cooking Class and Wet Market Visit in Shanghai: $78
  • Beijing Hutong Evening Food Tour by Tuk Tuk: $80
  • Chengdu Panda Base Private Day Tour and Sichuan Cooking Class: $83
  • Beijing Food Culture & Cooking Class: $137
  • 4-Day Lhasa City Essential Group Tour including Hotel and Welcome Dinner: $592

Typical Food prices in Dali

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


  • Lunch
    $4.96
  • Breakfast
    $3.88

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Dali

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

  • Chengdu Private Food Tour (With Visit to Kuanzhai Alley and Hotpot Experience): $32
  • Chengdu Jinsha Site Museum and Sanxingdui Museum Private Day Tour with Hotpot Dinner: $76
  • Dim Sum Cooking Class and Wet Market Visit in Shanghai: $78
  • Beijing Hutong Evening Food Tour by Tuk Tuk: $80
  • Chengdu Panda Base Private Day Tour and Sichuan Cooking Class: $83
  • Beijing Food Culture & Cooking Class: $137
  • 1-Day Dali Baba Cooking and Cruise Tour: $150

Local Transportation

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.

Dali's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $8.27 per person, per day on transportation in Dali.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lhasa $2.30
    Dali $8.27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lhasa

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

  • [Up to 20% Off] Private City Transfers for Mutianyu Great Wall in Beijing : $23
  • [Up to 15% Off for Round Trip Transfers] Private Beijing Capital Airport Transfers (PEK) for Beijing : $37
  • Yangshuo and Li River Highlights Day Tour with Transfers: $111
  • Shared Shenzhen Airport (SZX) Coach Transfers for Hong Kong (Trans-Island): $12
  • Shared Hong Kong International Airport Transfers (HKG) for Shenzhen: $15
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Shunde and Hong Kong: $14
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Shenzhen Bay Port and Hong Kong (Trans-island): $6.45
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Panyu and Hong Kong by Eternal East Bus: $11
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Hong Kong and Huadu by Eternal East Bus: $13
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Foshan and Hong Kong by Eternal East Bus: $13
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Foshan and Hong Kong: $14
  • Shared Coach Transfers Between Hong Kong and Zhaoqing by EE Bus: $12

Typical Local Transportation prices in Dali

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Dali:


  • Local Bus
    $0.47

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dali

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

  • [Up to 20% Off] Private City Transfers for Mutianyu Great Wall in Beijing : $23
  • [Up to 15% Off for Round Trip Transfers] Private Beijing Capital Airport Transfers (PEK) for Beijing : $37
  • Yangshuo and Li River Highlights Day Tour with Transfers: $111
  • Shared Shenzhen Airport (SZX) Coach Transfers for Hong Kong (Trans-Island): $12
  • Shared Hong Kong International Airport Transfers (HKG) for Shenzhen: $15
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Shunde and Hong Kong: $14
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Shenzhen Bay Port and Hong Kong (Trans-island): $6.45
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Panyu and Hong Kong by Eternal East Bus: $11
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Hong Kong and Huadu by Eternal East Bus: $13
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Foshan and Hong Kong by Eternal East Bus: $13
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Foshan and Hong Kong: $14
  • Shared Coach Transfers Between Hong Kong and Zhaoqing by EE Bus: $12

Is it cheaper to fly into Lhasa or Dali?

Prices for flights to both Dali 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.





Entertainment

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.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Dali can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $16 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lhasa $15
    Dali $16

Tours and Activities in Lhasa

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

  • Lionsgate Entertainment World Ticket in Henqin Zhuhai : $31
  • 10 Days Lhasa Mt. Everest Namtso Lake Group Tour: $1,274
  • 13 Days Lhasa Mt.EBC Mt. Kailash Kathmandu Group Tour: $2,368
  • 14 Days Lhasa and Mt Kalaish Pilgrimage Trek Group Tour: $1,830
  • 15 Days Mt Everest and Mt Kailash kora pilgrimage group tour: $2,221
  • 15 Days Mt Kailash Trek Group Tour: $2,053
  • 15 Days Mt. Kailash and Manasarova Pilgrimage Group Tour: $2,368
  • 15-Day Small-Group Best of Tibet Tour: $3,636
  • 16-Day Saga Dawa Festival Tour at Kailash (Fullmoon): $2,895
  • 2 Days Shanghai Private Tour: $178
  • 2-Day Gyantse and Shigatse Tour from Lhasa: $359
  • 2-Day Lake Namtso Experience Small-Group Tour from Lhasa: $353

Tours and Activities in Dali

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

  • Lionsgate Entertainment World Ticket in Henqin Zhuhai : $31
  • 1 Day Dali Tour to Weishan Old Town and Weibaoshan Mountain: $200
  • 1 Day Dali-Shaxi Ancient Town Tour: $253
  • 1 Day Golf Tour at Dali Stone Mountain Golf Club with Sightseeing: $345
  • 1 Day Weishan Old Town Tour: $195
  • 1-Day Dali Cuisine and Cruise Tour: $203
  • 1-Day Dali Mountain and Cuisine Tour: $150
  • 1-Day Dali tour with the Daili old town, Xizhou Village and Three Pagodas: $195
  • 1-Day Electric Bike Tour in Dali: $160
  • 1-Day Erhai Sightseeing in Dali: $129
  • 1-Day Liming Tour in Lijiang: $252
  • 1-Day Tie Dye Experience Tour in Dali: $160

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Lhasa spend on average $6.20 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

Typically, people visiting Dali spend on average $9.93 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lhasa $6.20
    Dali $9.93


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Lhasa and Dali, we can see that Lhasa is more expensive. And not only is Dali much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Dali would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Dali 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 Dali.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

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Lhasa vs. Dali Travel Comparison

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