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

Should you visit Mount Kailash or Dali?

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

Should I visit Mount Kailash or Dali? 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: Mount Kailash or Dali?

Mount Kailash

The main point of entry to Mount Kailash is a small village called Darchen. Once an important sheep station for nomads and their flocks, the village has now grown to provide for the pilgrims wishing to embark towards Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. It contains a number of guest houses and restaurants as well as a hotel where pilgrims must get permission from the Public Security Bureau to make the trek around the mountain. Also in the village are a handful of small stores and kiosks, as well as some grounds for camping. It is about 330 km (a one-day bus drive) from the town of Shiquanhe to the northeast, where Gunsa Airport is located, offering flights twice a week to Lhasa and Chengdu.

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 Family-Friendly Tours to China, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in China, The Best Historical Tours in China, and The Best 10-Day Tours in China.


Which place is cheaper, Dali or Mount Kailash?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Mount Kailash is $71, 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 Mount Kailash and Dali in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Mount Kailash $27
    Dali $17
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Mount Kailash $54
    Dali $34
Compare Hotels in Mount Kailash and Dali

Looking for a hotel in Mount Kailash 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 Mount Kailash


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.
    Mount Kailash $31
    Dali $9.21

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:

  • Dali Airport Chauffeur Service,Dali Airport Transfer: $40
  • Private Transfer from Dali to Lijiang/Shuhe hotel: $149
  • Private Transfer from Dali to Lijiang/Shuhe hotel and Stops at Shaxi Old Town: $160

Is it cheaper to fly into Mount Kailash or Dali?

Prices for flights to both Dali and Mount Kailash 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
    Mount Kailash $25
    Dali $18

Typical Food Prices in Dali

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


  • Lunch
    $4.43
  • Breakfast
    $3.46

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Mount Kailash $16
    Dali $18

Tours and Activities in Dali

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

  • 1-Day Erhai Sightseeing in Dali: $129
  • 1 day Dali Highlights Mini Group Tour: $140
  • 1-Day Tie Dye Experience Tour in Dali: $160
  • Private Day Tour of Dali Explore the Ancient City: $175
  • Private hiking tour to Cangshan Mountain from Dali: $175
  • Private tour to Xizhou old town local market Erhai lake three Pagodas from Dali: $184
  • Dali Private Tour to Xizhou Ancient Town and Erhai Lake : $186
  • 1-Day Dali tour with the Daili old town, Xizhou Village and Three Pagodas: $195
  • 2-Days Self-Guided tour from Dali to Lijiang and overnight in Shaxi old town: $205
  • All inclusive Dali Erhai cruise three pagoda xizhou towntour: $210
  • Private Customized Tour: Dali City Highlights in One Day: $213
  • All Inclusive Private Day Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Dali: $213

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Mount Kailash $2.77
    Dali $11


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

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