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

Should you visit Lijiang or Dali?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Lijiang and Dali can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Lijiang or Dali?

Lijiang

Lijiang is a city in Southwestern China with a history of rule under the Mu family during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It played a key role along the Ancient Southern Silk Road, which started from Burma, crossed Lijiang, Shangri-La County, Tibet, journeyed through Iran, the Fertile Crescent, and ultimately to the Mediterranean Sea. The area was once a center for trade, politics, culture, and education, which is still evident in the rich culture seen today. Lijiang has also been the home of centuries to the Naxi people who still inhabit the area.

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 2-Week Tours from Beijing, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to China, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in China, and The Best Historical Tours in China.


Which place is cheaper, Dali or Lijiang?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Lijiang is $41, 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 Lijiang and Dali in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lijiang $15
    Dali $17
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lijiang $30
    Dali $34
Compare Hotels in Lijiang and Dali

Looking for a hotel in Lijiang 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 Lijiang


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.
    Lijiang $5.56
    Dali $9.17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lijiang

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

  • Private Transfer from Lijiang/Shuhe hotel to Shangri-la(Diqing) hotel: $149
  • Private Transfer from Lijiang/Shuhe hotel to Dali and Stops at Shaxi Old Town: $160
  • Private Transfer from Lijiang to Shangri-La and Stops at Tiger Leaping Gorge: $159
  • Lijiang Sanyi International Airport Chauffeur Service,Lijiang Airport Transfer: $57

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 Lijiang or Dali?

Prices for flights to both Dali and Lijiang 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
    Lijiang $17
    Dali $18
Typical Food Prices in Lijiang

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


  • Lunch for Two
    $4.13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lijiang

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

  • Lijiang Naxi Cuisine Cooking Class & Market Visit: $59
  • Lijiang Naxi Cuisine Cooking Class & Market Visit: $65

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.
    Lijiang $19
    Dali $18

Tours and Activities in Lijiang

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

  • 1 Day Private Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Lijiang or Dali: $165
  • 1 Day Tiger Teaping Gorge Private Tour from Lijiang or Shangri-La: $170
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Lijiang Highlights: $297
  • 2 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour by public coach: $189
  • 4 Hour Private Lijiang City Highlights Walking Tour: $72
  • All Inclusive Private Day Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Lijiang: $221
  • Beautiful Country road Biking tour to Xinhua village Heqing start from Lijiang: $173
  • Biking tour&guide visit Lijiang baisha village market park: $160
  • Country Biking tour to lashi lake Lamaism temple baisha village from Lijiang: $180
  • Flexible Lijiang City Highlights Private Day Tour with Lunch: $218
  • Flexible Lijiang City Highlights Private Day Tour with Lunch: $208
  • Lijiang Private Essentials Tour to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain including Cable Car: $258

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
    Lijiang $7.83
    Dali $11


When comparing the travel costs between Lijiang and Dali, we can see that Dali is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Asia, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Lijiang or Dali?

Lijiang has a larger population, and is about 8 times larger than the population of Dali. When comparing the sizes of Lijiang 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.