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

Should you visit Nanjing or Dali?

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

Should I visit Nanjing 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: Nanjing or Dali?

Nanjing

Nanjing is the capital city of the Jiangsu Province on the central eastern coast of China, just north of Shanghai. This historically and culturally rich city lies at the lower end of the Yangtze river, resulting in lush and scenic landscapes. Nanjing is well-known for having many popular historical sites, some of which have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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 Historical Tours in China, The Best 10-Day Tours in China, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in China, and The Best 2-Week Tours in China.


Which place is cheaper, Dali or Nanjing?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nanjing is $95, 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 Nanjing and Dali in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nanjing $46
    Dali $17
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nanjing $92
    Dali $34
Compare Hotels in Nanjing and Dali

Looking for a hotel in Nanjing 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 Nanjing


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.
    Nanjing $38
    Dali $9.17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nanjing

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Nanjing:

  • [Airport transfer] Nanjing Lukou International Airport ⇔ Nanjing city transfer ☆ High reputation for service! <Charter charter>: $27
  • Tangshan Hot Spring Spa Resorts Private Transfer from Nanjing City : $44
  • Tangshan Hot Spring Resorts Private Transfer from Nanjing Railway Station: $44
  • Private Transfer to Zhenjiang from Nanjing City Center: $94
  • Private Transfer to Yangzhou City from Nanjing Lukou Airport : $109
  • Private Transfer to Nanjing Railway Station from Lukou Airport : $45
  • Private Transfer to Nanjing Railway Station from City Hotels: $33
  • Private Transfer to Gaochun City from Nanjing : $88
  • Private Round Trip Transfer to Zhenjiang from Nanjing: $94
  • Private Round Trip Transfer to Yangzhou Attractions from Nanjing: $89
  • Private Nanjing Airport Transfer to Zhenjiang City: $110
  • Private Nanjing Airport Transfer from City Hotels or Tangshan Hot Spring Resorts: $45

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 Nanjing or Dali?

Prices for flights to both Dali and Nanjing 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
    Nanjing $28
    Dali $18

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Nanjing

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Nanjing.

  • 3-Hour Nanjing Authentic Local Food Tour by Public Transportation: $93
  • Flexible Private Nanjing City Night Tour with Dinner Option : $112
  • Nanjing City Private Night Tour with Qinghuai River Cruise and Dinner Option: $114
  • Nanjing Tangshan Mountain Hot Spring Experience and Hot Pot Dinner: $175
  • Private Amazing Nanjing Airport Layover Tour with Lunch or Dinner: $181

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.
    Nanjing $9.24
    Dali $18

Tours and Activities in Nanjing

Here are a few actual costs in Nanjing for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Half-Day Nanjing City Private Flexible Tour : $109
  • 2-Day Unlimited Nanjing Private Flexible Tour with Lunch Option : $295
  • 4-Hour Nanjing City Private Tailor-Made Tour in Your Way : $109
  • 4-Hour Nanjing Private Tour with Xiaoling Tomb and Sun Yatsen Mausoleum : $124
  • 4-Hour Nanjing Private Tour: Nanjing Jiming Temple, Ming City Wall, Xuanwu Lake: $147
  • 4-Hour Nanjing Private Tour: Xiaoling Tomb, Ming City Wall and Memorial Hall : $115
  • All Inclusive Amazing Nanjing City Highlights Private Day Tour: $193
  • All Inclusive Nanjing City Private Day Tour with Tailor-Made Highlights: $213
  • All-inclusive Customized Nanjing Layover Tour: $201
  • By round way bullet train from Shanghai to Nanjing city tour: $650
  • Flexible Private Nanjing City Highlights Day Tour: $164
  • Flexible Private Nanjing Independent Tour : $63

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 Tie Dye Experience Tour in Dali: $160
  • 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 market: $210
  • Private Customized Tour: Dali City Highlights in One Day: $213
  • All Inclusive Private Day Tour to Shaxi Ancient Town from Dali: $213
  • Dali Yunnan Local Market + Pottery Making Eco Tour: $220
  • Private Day Tour of Dali Explore the Ancient City: $274

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nanjing $9.44
    Dali $11


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Nanjing and Dali, we can see that Nanjing 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 Nanjing would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Nanjing 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 Nanjing Expensive? and Is Dali Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Nanjing or Dali?

Nanjing has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Dali. When comparing the sizes of Nanjing 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.