A Travel Price Comparison for China Lhasa vs. Shangri-La for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Lhasa or Shangri-La?

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

Should I visit Lhasa or Shangri-La? 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 Shangri-La?

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.

Shangri-La

The original Shangri-La existed in the fictional world of James Hilton's novel "The Lost Horizon." It was a hidden paradise, a place so beautiful that it couldn't possibly exist on earth. The Shangri-La that exists in Yunnan, China today was renamed from its former title Zhongdian in 2001 in order to associate the place with the mystical allure created in Hilton's novel. Visitors come to admire the traditional monasteries and temples set against a backdrop of mountain preserves and pristine lakes.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Sightseeing Tours in China, The Best Cultural Tours in China, The Best Luxury Tours to China, and The Best Budget Tours to China.


Which place is cheaper, Shangri-La or Lhasa?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Lhasa is $71, while the average daily cost in Shangri-La is $46. 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 Shangri-La in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lhasa $39
    Shangri-La $19
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lhasa $78
    Shangri-La $38
Compare Hotels in Lhasa and Shangri-La

Looking for a hotel in Lhasa or Shangri-La? 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 Shangri-La


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 $2.57
    Shangri-La $10

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: $260

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shangri-La

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shangri-La:

  • Private Transfer from Shangri-la(Diqing) hotel to Lijiang/Shuhe hotel : $149
  • Private Transfer from Shangri-La to Lijiang and Stops at Tiger Leaping Gorge: $160

Is it cheaper to fly into Lhasa or Shangri-La?

Prices for flights to both Shangri-La 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
    Shangri-La $19

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lhasa $17
    Shangri-La $16

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: $745
  • 4 Days Lhasa City Tibet Tour included Permit issued: $760
  • Private Full-Day Tour w/ Lunch: $800
  • 5 Days Classic Lhasa Tour with Yamdrok Lake in Tibet: $999
  • Nepal Tibet Tour 8 Days: $2,736

Tours and Activities in Shangri-La

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Shangri-La are as follows:

  • 1 Day Shangri-la City Tour with Pudacuo National Park: $209
  • 1 day Shangri-La Highlights Mini Private Tour: $117
  • 1-Day Shangri-La Private Tour: Potatso National Park and Baiji Temple: $169
  • 1-Day Shangri-La Tour to Ganden Monastery, Nixi Pottery Village and Tibetan Town: $185
  • 1-Day Shangri-La tour with Ganden Monastery, Napahai Lake and Tibetan Town: $190
  • Private tour Songzanlin Monastry & Tibetan lunch from Zhongdian: $199

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lhasa $6.92
    Shangri-La $13


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

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


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