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

Should you visit Lijiang or Shangri-La?

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 Shangri-La can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Lijiang or Shangri-La?

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.

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 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, Shangri-La 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 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 Lijiang and Shangri-La in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lijiang $15
    Shangri-La $18
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lijiang $30
    Shangri-La $36
Compare Hotels in Lijiang and Shangri-La

Looking for a hotel in Lijiang 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 Lijiang


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.
    Lijiang $5.56
    Shangri-La $10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lijiang

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

  • Lijiang Sanyi International Airport Chauffeur Service,Lijiang Airport Transfer: $57
  • Private Transfer from Lijiang/Shuhe hotel to Shangri-la(Diqing) hotel: $149
  • Private Transfer from Lijiang to Shangri-La and Stops at Tiger Leaping Gorge: $159
  • Private Transfer from Dali to Lijiang and Stops at Shaxi: $161
  • Private Transfer from Lijiang to Dali and Stops at Shaxi: $161

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 Lijiang or Shangri-La?

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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lijiang $19
    Shangri-La $16

Tours and Activities in Lijiang

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

  • Land of wilderness (Howl's Moving Castle )Ticket: $26
  • Via Ferrata with Zipline Experience in Lijiang: $42
  • Private Half-Day Tour: Old Town of Lijiang and Black Dragon Pond Park: $98
  • Private Tour: Jade Dragon Village and Baisha Village via Bicycle: $158
  • One day Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Tour in From Lijiang: $160
  • Biking tour&guide visit Lijiang baisha village market park: $160
  • 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
  • Beautiful Country road Biking tour to Xinhua village Heqing start from Lijiang: $173
  • Private trekking tour to Wenhai lake from Lijiang half day service: $175
  • Lijiang Sanyi airport (LJG) Pick up and Tiger Teaping Gorge Private Tour : $186
  • Private Jade Dragon Snow Mountains and Naxi Village Tour: $187

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 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
    Lijiang $7.83
    Shangri-La $13


When comparing the travel costs between Lijiang and Shangri-La, we can see that Shangri-La 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 Shangri-La Expensive?.