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

Should you visit Mount Kailash or Lijiang?

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

Should I visit Mount Kailash or Lijiang? 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 Lijiang?

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.

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.

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, Lijiang 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 Lijiang is $41. 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 Lijiang in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Mount Kailash $27
    Lijiang $16
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Mount Kailash $54
    Lijiang $32
Compare Hotels in Mount Kailash and Lijiang

Looking for a hotel in Mount Kailash or Lijiang? 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 Lijiang


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
    Lijiang $5.59

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lijiang

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

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Mount Kailash or Lijiang?

Prices for flights to both Lijiang 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
    Lijiang $17

Typical Food Prices in Lijiang

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


  • Lunch for Two
    $4.15

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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Mount Kailash $16
    Lijiang $20

Tours and Activities in Lijiang

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

  • Via Ferrata with Zipline Experience in Lijiang: $42
  • Half-Day Private Tour Tiger Leaping Gorge in Lijiang : $106
  • Private Tour: Jade Dragon Village and Baisha Village via Bicycle: $158
  • One day Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Tour in From Lijiang: $160
  • 1 Day Private Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Lijiang or Dali: $165
  • 1-Day Old Town Tour in Lijiang: $166
  • Lijiang Train Station Pick up and Tiger Teaping Gorge Private Tour : $170
  • 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
  • Lijiang Sanyi airport (LJG) Pick up and Tiger Teaping Gorge Private Tour : $186
  • Private Jade Dragon Snow Mountains and Naxi Village Tour: $187
  • 2 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour by public coach: $189

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Mount Kailash $2.77
    Lijiang $7.87


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Mount Kailash and Lijiang, we can see that Mount Kailash 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 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 Lijiang.

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 Lijiang Expensive?.