Should you visit Lhasa or Hongcun?
Should I visit Lhasa or Hongcun? 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.
When you picture ancient China, you likely picture old cobblestone streets, white homes with pointed black roofs and a slight air of mysticism in the surroundings. This is Hongcun.
The backdrop for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is not usually on the top of many traveler's lists. This isn't a bustling tourist town with guides offering to show you the sights or carts peddling the latest tacky souvenir. It's a quiet village where you'll see the real Chinese culture. The homes along the complex water canals air their fish in their windows to preserve it for their family dinners. There is no bowing to tourism here.
Which city is cheaper, Hongcun 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 Hongcun is $47. 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 Hongcun 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.
The average price for accommodation for two people in Hongcun is $40. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.
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 Hongcun costs travelers about $17 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:
Typical Food prices in Hongcun
Some typical examples of dining costs in Hongcun are as follows:
Lunch for Two
Breakfast of Dumplings
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.
While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $11 per day to get around in Hongcun.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lhasa
Also for Lhasa, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Lhasa Private Arrival Transfer: Railway Station to Hotel:
Lhasa Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Railway Station:
Lhasa Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Airport:
Lhasa Kongga Airport Chauffeur Service, Lhasa Airport Transfer, Pickup:
Is it cheaper to fly into Lhasa or Hongcun?
Prices for flights to both Hongcun 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.
Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $15 per person, per day in Hongcun. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.
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:
Typical Entertainment prices in Hongcun
Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Hongcun are as follows:
Typically, people visiting Lhasa spend on average $6.17 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
The average person spends about $13 on alcoholic beverages in Hongcun per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Lhasa and Hongcun, we can see that Lhasa is more expensive. And not only is Hongcun much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Hongcun would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Hongcun 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 Hongcun.
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