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

Should you visit Nanjing or Lijiang?

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

Should I visit Nanjing 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: Nanjing or Lijiang?

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.

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 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, Lijiang or Nanjing?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Nanjing is $96, 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 Nanjing and Lijiang in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nanjing $46
    Lijiang $15
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nanjing $92
    Lijiang $30
Compare Hotels in Nanjing and Lijiang

Looking for a hotel in Nanjing 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 Nanjing


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.
    Nanjing $38
    Lijiang $5.58

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 Resorts Private Transfer from Nanjing Railway Station: $44
  • Private Transfer to Zhenjiang from Nanjing City Center: $94
  • Private Transfer to Yangzhou from Nanjing City Center: $89
  • 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 Transfer between Nanjing Olympic Stadium and City Hotel: $33
  • Private Transfer between Nanjing Jinniuhu Wild Animal Park and City Hotels: $62
  • Private Round Trip Transfer to Zhenjiang from Nanjing: $94
  • Private Round Trip Transfer to Yangzhou Attractions from Nanjing: $89

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Nanjing or Lijiang?

Prices for flights to both Lijiang 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
    Lijiang $17

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

Typical Food Prices in Lijiang

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


  • Lunch for Two
    $4.14

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.
    Nanjing $9.26
    Lijiang $20

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 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
  • Flexible Private Nanjing Layover Tour: $171
  • Flexible Suzhou Private Day Tour from Nanjing by Bullet Train: $245

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
  • Private Half-Day Tour: Old Town of Lijiang and Black Dragon Pond Park: $98
  • Half-Day Private Tour Tiger Leaping Gorge in Lijiang : $106
  • 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 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
  • Private Jade Dragon Snow Mountains and Naxi Village Tour: $187
  • 2 Days Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking Tour by public coach: $189
  • Private Day Tour Tiger Leaping Gorge and Black Dragon Pond from Lijiang: $207
  • 1-Day Lijiang tour with Lijiang Old Town,Black Dragon Pool,Baisha Village,Shuhe: $207

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nanjing $9.46
    Lijiang $7.86


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

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


Which is Bigger, Nanjing or Lijiang?

Nanjing has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Lijiang. When comparing the sizes of Nanjing and Lijiang, 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.