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

Should you visit Lhasa or Dali?

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

Should I visit Lhasa or Dali? 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 Dali?

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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in China, The Best Historical Tours in China, The Best 10-Day Tours in China, and The Best 2-Week Tours in China.


Which place 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 $70, while the average daily cost in Dali is $48. 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 Dali in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lhasa $39
    Dali $17
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lhasa $78
    Dali $34
Compare Hotels in Lhasa and Dali

Looking for a hotel in Lhasa or Dali? 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 Dali


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 $2.56
    Dali $9.17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lhasa

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

  • [Airport Transfer] Lhasa Kunga Airport ⇔ Lhasa City Transfer ☆ High reputation for service! <Charter charter>: $89

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Dali

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


  • Local Bus
    $0.41

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dali

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

  • Private Transfer from Dali to Lijiang/Shuhe hotel and Stops at Shaxi Old Town: $160
  • Private Transfer from Dali to Lijiang/Shuhe hotel: $149
  • Dali Airport Chauffeur Service,Dali Airport Transfer: $40

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Lhasa $26
    Dali $18

Typical Food Prices in Dali

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


  • Lunch
    $4.40
  • Breakfast
    $3.44

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lhasa $17
    Dali $18

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: $644
  • 4 Days Lhasa City Tibet Tour included Permit issued: $760
  • 5 Days Classic Lhasa Tour with Yamdrok Lake in Tibet: $999
  • 6 days Classical Tibet Private Tour to Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse.: $84
  • Private Full-Day Tour w/ Lunch: $800
  • Nepal Tibet Tour 8 Days: $2,180
  • Tibet Overland Tour - 08 Days: $1,442

Tours and Activities in Dali

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

  • 1-Day Dali tour with the Daili old town, Xizhou Village and Three Pagodas: $195
  • 1-Day Erhai Sightseeing in Dali: $129
  • 1-Day Tie Dye Experience Tour in Dali: $160
  • 2-Days Self-Guided tour from Dali to Lijiang and overnight in Shaxi old town: $205
  • All Inclusive Private Day Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Dali: $213
  • All inclusive Dali Erhai cruise three pagoda xizhou market: $210
  • Dali Private Tour to Xizhou Ancient Town and Erhai Lake : $186
  • Dali Yunnan Local Market + Pottery Making Eco Tour: $220
  • Private Customized Tour: Dali City Highlights in One Day: $213
  • Private Day Tour of Dali Explore the Ancient City: $274
  • Private hiking tour to Cangshan Mountain from Dali: $175
  • Private tour to Xizhou old town local market Erhai lake three Pagodas from Dali: $184

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lhasa $6.88
    Dali $11


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.

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


Which is Bigger, Lhasa or Dali?

Dali has a larger population, and is about 13% larger than the population of Lhasa. When comparing the sizes of Lhasa and Dali, 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.