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

Should you visit Nanjing or Harbin?

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

Should I visit Nanjing or Harbin? 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 Harbin?

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.

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 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, Harbin 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 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 Nanjing and Harbin in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nanjing $46
    Harbin $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nanjing $92
    Harbin $42
Compare Hotels in Nanjing and Harbin

Looking for a hotel in Nanjing 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 Nanjing


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.
    Nanjing $38
    Harbin $1.49

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Harbin

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

  • Harbin Airport (HRB) : Private Arrival Transfer with Meet & Greet Service: $32
  • Harbin Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer: $27
  • Harbin Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer: $40
  • Harbin City Car Transfer Service with Driver: $168
  • Harbin Taiping Airport Chauffeur Service, Harbin Airport Transfer, Pick up.: $59
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Harbin Railway Station to Harbin City Hotel: $55
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Harbin West Railway Station to Harbin City Hotel: $65
  • Private Departure Transfer to Harbin Railway Station from Harbin City Hotel: $50
  • Private Full Day Transfer Service to Harbin Top Winter Attractions: $168
  • Private HRB Airport Arrival Transfer to Harbin City Hotel: $70
  • Private HRB Airport Departure Transfer from Harbin City Hotel: $70
  • Private Transfer to China's Snow Town from Yabuli Ski Resort: $107

Is it cheaper to fly into Nanjing or Harbin?

Prices for flights to both Harbin 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
    Harbin $14

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

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.
    Nanjing $9.24
    Harbin $52

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 Harbin

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

  • 1-Day Harbin Private Tour: $130
  • 4-Hour Private Tour of the Largest Indoor Ice and Snow Paradise: $136
  • Private Half Day City Tour including Russian Town and Harbin Ropeway Ride: $150
  • Private Half Day Tour Harbin ConfucianTemple and Temple of Bliss (Jile Si): $157
  • Harbin City Walking Sightseeing : $198
  • Small Group Night Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow World: $198
  • Harbin Ice Festival New Year Eve Countdown Group Tour on December 31: $200
  • Harbin City Private Day Tour in Your Way in Winter Season: $200
  • Private Harbin Ice Festival Night Tour: $209
  • Private Half Day Tour to Unit 731 Museum in Harbin: $209
  • Full Day Private Tour to Harbin Ice and Snow Festival: $250
  • Revolving Restaurant Dining Experience at Harbin Dragon Tower: $250

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nanjing $9.44
    Harbin $7.81


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Nanjing and Harbin, we can see that Nanjing is more expensive. And not only is Harbin much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Harbin would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Harbin 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 Harbin.

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


Which is Bigger, Nanjing or Harbin?

Harbin has a larger population, and is about 5% larger than the population of Nanjing. When comparing the sizes of Nanjing 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.


When is the best time to visit Nanjing or Harbin?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Nanjing or Harbin in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Nanjing as well as Harbin.

Nanjing is a little warmer than Harbin in the summer. The daily temperature in Nanjing averages around 28°C (83°F) in July, and Harbin fluctuates around 24°C (75°F).

It's quite rainy in Harbin. Nanjing receives a lot of rain in the summer. Nanjing usually gets more rain in July than Harbin. Nanjing gets 174 mm (6.9 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 153 mm (6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Nanjing 28°C (83°F) 
    Harbin 24°C (75°F)

Should I visit Nanjing or Harbin in the Autumn?

Both Harbin and Nanjing are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities.

In the autumn, Nanjing is much warmer than Harbin. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Nanjing in October average around 17°C (63°F), and Harbin averages at about 7°C (44°F).

In October, Nanjing usually receives more rain than Harbin. Nanjing gets 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 23 mm (0.9 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Nanjing 17°C (63°F) 
    Harbin 7°C (44°F)

Should I visit Nanjing or Harbin in the Winter?

Both Harbin and Nanjing during the winter are popular places to visit.

Harbin can be very cold during winter. Nanjing can get quite cold in the winter. In January, Nanjing is generally much warmer than Harbin. Daily temperatures in Nanjing average around 3°C (37°F), and Harbin fluctuates around -18°C (-0°F).

Nanjing usually gets more rain in January than Harbin. Nanjing gets 27 mm (1.1 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Nanjing 3°C (37°F) 
    Harbin -18°C (-0°F)

Should I visit Nanjing or Harbin in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Nanjing and Harbin.

Nanjing is much warmer than Harbin in the spring. The daily temperature in Nanjing averages around 15°C (60°F) in April, and Harbin fluctuates around 8°C (46°F).

Nanjing gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Nanjing usually receives more rain than Harbin. Nanjing gets 101 mm (4 in) of rain, while Harbin receives 21 mm (0.8 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Nanjing 15°C (60°F) 
    Harbin 8°C (46°F)

Typical Weather for Harbin and Nanjing

Nanjing Harbin
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 27 mm (1.1 in) -18°C (-0°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Feb 4°C (40°F) 52 mm (2 in) -14°C (7°F) 6 mm (0.2 in)
Mar 9°C (48°F) 69 mm (2.7 in) -3°C (26°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
Apr 15°C (60°F) 101 mm (4 in) 8°C (46°F) 21 mm (0.8 in)
May 21°C (69°F) 88 mm (3.5 in) 15°C (60°F) 37 mm (1.5 in)
Jun 25°C (77°F) 114 mm (4.5 in) 21°C (70°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Jul 28°C (83°F) 174 mm (6.9 in) 24°C (75°F) 153 mm (6 in)
Aug 28°C (83°F) 158 mm (6.2 in) 22°C (72°F) 116 mm (4.6 in)
Sep 23°C (74°F) 105 mm (4.1 in) 16°C (60°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Oct 17°C (63°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) 7°C (44°F) 23 mm (0.9 in)
Nov 11°C (52°F) 64 mm (2.5 in) -4°C (24°F) 8 mm (0.3 in)
Dec 5°C (41°F) 25 mm (1 in) -14°C (7°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)