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

Should you visit Lijiang or Harbin?

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 Harbin can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Lijiang or Harbin?

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.

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.

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, Harbin 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 Harbin is $54. 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 Harbin in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lijiang $15
    Harbin $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lijiang $30
    Harbin $42
Compare Hotels in Lijiang and Harbin

Looking for a hotel in Lijiang or Harbin? 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 Harbin


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 $5.58
    Harbin $1.49

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 Dali : $149
  • Private Transfer from Lijiang to Shangri-La and Stops at Tiger Leaping Gorge: $159
  • Lijiang Sanyi International Airport Chauffeur Service,Lijiang Airport Transfer: $57

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Harbin

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

  • Private HRB Airport Departure Transfer from Harbin City Hotel: $70
  • Private HRB Airport Arrival Transfer to Harbin City Hotel: $70
  • Private Full Day Transfer Service to Harbin Top Winter Attractions: $168
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Harbin West Railway Station to Harbin City Hotel: $65
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Harbin Railway Station to Harbin City Hotel: $55
  • Harbin Taiping Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer, Pick up.: $59
  • Harbin Taiping Airport Chauffeur Service , Harbin Airport Transfer,Pick up: $78
  • Harbin Private Transfer from Harbin Airport (HRB) to central Harbin: $115
  • Harbin City Car Transfer Service with Driver: $168
  • Harbin Catholic Church Car Transfer Service: $80
  • Harbin Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer: $27
  • Harbin Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer: $40

Is it cheaper to fly into Lijiang or Harbin?

Prices for flights to both Harbin 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
    Harbin $14
Typical Food Prices in Lijiang

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


  • Lunch for Two
    $4.14

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

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Harbin

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

  • 4-Hour Private Night Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow World with Dinner Options: $261
  • Private Full Day Tour to Harbin Beifang Forest Zoo and Optional Seafood Dinner: $261

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lijiang $20
    Harbin $52

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 Old Town Tour in Lijiang: $166
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Lijiang Highlights: $297
  • 2 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour by public coach: $189
  • 2-Days Self-Guided tour from Lijiang to Dali and overnight in Shaxi old town: $212
  • All Inclusive Private Day Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Lijiang: $221
  • Biking tour&guide visit Lijiang baisha village market park: $50
  • Flexible Lijiang City Highlights Private Day Tour with Lunch: $208
  • Flexible Lijiang City Highlights Private Day Tour with Lunch: $218
  • Lijiang Private Essentials Tour to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain including Cable Car: $258
  • Lijiang Tour to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain w/Cable Car & Show: $348

Tours and Activities in Harbin

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

  • 1-Day Harbin Private Tour: $130
  • 2-Day Harbin City Private Tour in Your Way in Winter Season: $280
  • 4-Hour Private Tour of the Largest Indoor Ice and Snow Paradise: $136
  • From Amazing Day Trip Including tickets: $400
  • Full Day Private Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow Festival: $250
  • Group Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow World plus Sun Island Snow Sculpture Festival: $298
  • Harbin City Group Tour including Crossing Songhua River by Ropeway and Ice Swimming Show: $290
  • Harbin City Private Day Tour in Your Way in Winter Season: $200
  • Harbin City Walking Sightseeing : $198
  • Harbin Ice Festival New Year Eve Countdown Group Tour on December 31: $200
  • Private City Tour of Harbin: $360
  • Private Half Day City Tour including Russian Town and Harbin Ropeway Ride: $150

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lijiang $7.86
    Harbin $7.83


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

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


Which is Bigger, Lijiang or Harbin?

Harbin has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Lijiang. When comparing the sizes of Lijiang and Harbin, 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.