A Travel Price Comparison for China Lhasa vs. Xi'an for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Lhasa or Xi'an?

Should I visit Lhasa or Xi'an? 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.

Xi'an

Xi'an is an ancient city in the Shaanxi Province in China. Today it is most notable as the location of the Terracotta Warriors, but for visitors who choose to linger, there is so much more to see and do in the area. The city itself is more than 3,000 years old and for about one thousand years, through 13 dynasties and 73 emperors, it was the capital. Because of its rich history there are many historical ruins and a strong culture in the city. Today the city is a pleasant place to visit, although much of it's influence and power has dwindled. The city has both cosmopolitan and modern areas as well as historic and culturally rich areas. The neighborhoods are diverse and by exploring the city in depth you can learn a little more about what China really has to offer.

Which city is cheaper, Xi'an 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 Xi'an is $85. 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 Xi'an 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.

The average price for accommodation for two people in Xi'an is $108. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lhasa $35
    Xi'an $54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lhasa $70
    Xi'an $108

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.

In Xi'an travelers spend around $11 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Lhasa $23
    Xi'an $11

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

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Xi'an

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Xi'an.

  • 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

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 $2.31 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 Xi'an.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lhasa $2.31
    Xi'an $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lhasa

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

  • Airport Transfers (SHA/PVG) for Shanghai (Multiple Car Models): $38
  • Badaling Great Wall in Beijing Private Transfer: $43
  • Lhasa Kongga Airport Chauffeur Service, Lhasa Airport Transfer, Pickup: $260
  • Lhasa Private Arrival Transfer: Railway Station to Hotel: $89
  • Lhasa Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Airport: $89
  • Lhasa Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Railway Station: $89
  • Longji Rice Terraced Fields and Minority Villages Tour with Transfer from Guilin or Yangshuo: $108
  • Luxury Private Shanghai Pudong International Airport Transfers (PVG) for Downtown Shanghai: $118
  • Luxury private Baiyun International Airport Transfers (CAN) for Guangzhou : $74
  • Luxury private Bao'an International Airport Transfers (SZX) for Downtown Shenzhen: $67
  • Luxury private Beijing Capital International Airport Transfers (PEK) for Downtown Beijing: $74
  • Luxury private Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport Transfers (SHA) for Downtown Shanghai: $59

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Xi'an

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Xi'an:

  • [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 Xi'an?

Prices for flights to both Xi'an 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.

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $32 per person, per day in Xi'an. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lhasa $15
    Xi'an $32

Tours and Activities in Lhasa

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

  • Hupao Park Ticket in Hangzhou (For Mainland China ID Holders): $2.35
  • China Red Sandalwood Museum Ticket in Beijing : $2.79
  • Simatai Great Wall Admission with Cable Car Ticket in Beijing: $3.09
  • Giant Panda Breeding Research Base Ticket Chengdu - ID Card Direct Entry: $4.19
  • Evergreen Resort Ticket in Shenzhen: $6.19
  • Jinxi Ancient Town Attractions Combo Ticket: $6.99
  • Gulangyu Seashell Museum Ticket: $7.45
  • Ferry Round Trip Ticket between Xiamen City and Gulangyu Sanqiutian Pier: $8.55
  • Wuyishan Xiamei Ancient Village Admission Ticket: $8.55
  • Ferry Round Trip Ticket between Xiamen City and Gulangyu Neicuoao Pier: $8.55
  • Guangdong First Peak Ticket: $9.29
  • Beijing Palace Museum Ticket (The Forbidden City): $9.29

Tours and Activities in Xi'an

Here are a few actual costs in Xi'an for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Lionsgate Entertainment World Ticket in Henqin Zhuhai : $31
  • 2 Days Shanghai Private Tour: $178
  • 2D1N Mount Emei Monastery Cultural Tour: $51
  • 2D1N Mount Emei Tour from Chengdu: $199
  • 2D1N Mount Emei and the Leshan Giant Buddha Tour from Chengdu: $216
  • 3 Day Essential Hangzhou Private Tour: $297
  • 3 Day Guilin Highlights & Rice Terraces Private Tour: $222
  • 4 Day Guilin and Yangshuo Private Tour: $348
  • Anchang Ancient Town and Yangshan Stone Quarry Day Private Tour from Hangzhou: $61
  • Baofeng Lake Admission Ticket in Zhangjiajie (with Boat Ride) : $16
  • Barca Experience Ticket in Haikou: $20
  • Beijing Alleys, Beihai Park, and Prince Gong's Mansion Private Day Tour: $76

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Lhasa spend on average $6.21 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Xi'an may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $6.50 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lhasa $6.21
    Xi'an $6.50


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Lhasa and Xi'an, we can see that Xi'an is more expensive. And not only is Lhasa much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Lhasa would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Lhasa 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 Xi'an would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Xi'an than you might in Lhasa.

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Lhasa vs. Xi'an Travel Comparison

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