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

Should you visit Lhasa or Harbin?

Should I visit Lhasa or Harbin? 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.

Harbin

Harbin, China is the northernmost major city in the country, with a population of over 10 million. Harbin was founded in 1897 by Russia, which has resulted in a lot of Russian influence throughout the city and many Russian citizens. The city is most famous for their annual International Snow and Ice Festival, a two-month-long festival running from January through February of each year.

Which city is cheaper, Harbin 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 Harbin is $49. 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 Harbin 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 $36 in Harbin For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lhasa $35
    Harbin $18
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lhasa $70
    Harbin $36

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.

On average, meal and food prices in Harbin cost around $12 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $4.80.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Lhasa $23
    Harbin $12

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: $592

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Harbin

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

  • 3-hour Private Food Tour in Harbin: $100
  • Half-Day Private Harbin Beer Museum and Food Tour Including Harbin Beer1900: $150
  • Harbin Dumpling Cooking Class: $150
  • Hot Spring Experience with Hot Pot Dinner in Harbin: $160
  • 4-Hour Private Night Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow World with Dinner Options: $250
  • Private Full Day Tour to Harbin Beifang Forest Zoo and Optional Seafood Dinner: $250

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 $2.29 on transportation in Lhasa on average per day.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Harbin than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $1.34 on transportation in Harbin on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lhasa $2.29
    Harbin $1.34

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lhasa

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

  • Lhasa Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Railway Station: $89
  • Lhasa Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Airport: $89
  • Lhasa Private Arrival Transfer: Railway Station to Hotel: $89
  • Lhasa Kongga Airport Chauffeur Service, Lhasa Airport Transfer, Pickup: $260

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Harbin

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

  • Shared Transfer Service to Ice and Snow World, Sun Island Snow Festival: $89
  • Shared Night Transfer Service to Harbin Ice and Snow World: $80
  • Private Transfer to Yabuli Ski Resort from Harbin City: $350
  • Private Transfer to China's Snow Town from Harbin City: $400
  • Private Round-Trip Transfer:Harbin Taiping International Airport(HRB): $56
  • Private HRB Airport Departure Transfer from Harbin City Hotel: $69
  • Private HRB Airport Arrival Transfer to Harbin City Hotel: $69
  • Private Full Day Transfer Service to Harbin Top Winter Attractions: $120
  • Private Departure Transfer:Hotel to Harbin Taiping International Airport(HRB): $28
  • Private Departure Transfer:City Hotel to Any Harbin Railway Station: $23
  • Private Departure Transfer to Harbin West Railway Station from Harbin City Hotel: $59
  • Private Departure Transfer to Harbin South Railway Station from Harbin City Hotel: $55

Is it cheaper to fly into Lhasa or Harbin?

Prices for flights to both Harbin 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 expenses in Harbin, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $47 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lhasa $15
    Harbin $47

Tours and Activities in Lhasa

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

  • 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-Day Gyantse and Shigatse Tour from Lhasa: $359
  • 2-Day Lake Namtso Experience Small-Group Tour from Lhasa: $353
  • 3-Day Private Tour: Lhasa, Gyangtse, and Shigatse: $936
  • 3-Night Essential Lhasa Tour: $474

Tours and Activities in Harbin

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

  • "Harbin Planning Exhibition Hall" A guide tour.: $120
  • "Visit 5 Museums in Harbin" A guide tour.: $500
  • "Visit 5 universities in Harbin" A guide tour.: $400
  • "Visit Museum of Heilongjiang" - a guide tour.: $100
  • 1-Day Harbin Private Tour: $70
  • 2 Days Private Tour to Chagan Lake Winter Fishing from Harbin: $1,500
  • 2-Day Group City Tour Package with Harbin Ice and Snow Festival: $399
  • 2-Day Harbin City Private Tour in Your Way in Winter Season: $210
  • 2-Day Harbin City Private Tour with Ice and Snow Festival with Lunch: $340
  • 2-Day Leisure Private Tour Combo Package of Harbin Including Lunch: $627
  • 2-Day Private Tour to Volcanic Vent in Wudalianchi from Harbin: $1,000
  • 2-Day Private Trip to China Snow Town and Yabuli Ski Experience from Harbin: $1,150

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Lhasa spend on average $6.17 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

Typically, people visiting Harbin spend on average $7.01 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lhasa $6.17
    Harbin $7.01


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

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Lhasa vs. Harbin Travel Comparison

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