A Travel Price Comparison for India Varanasi vs. Dharamsala for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Varanasi or Dharamsala?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Varanasi and Dharamsala can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Varanasi

Known to be one of India's holiest cities, many come to Varanasi on a spiritual pilgrimage looking to bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganges River. Dating back to the 11th Century BC, it is also one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Centuries old temples make up the backdrop, as many come and come again to perform their holy rights at the edge of the historic river.

Dharamsala

With a name that literally means "a spiritual dwelling," Dharamsala roughly translates as a shelter or rest house for pilgrims and travelers. Home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile, Dharamsala is today a popular destination for foreigners on vacation, backpackers seeking the surrounding mountains, as well as students of Buddhism.

Which city is cheaper, Dharamsala or Varanasi?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Varanasi is $27, while the average daily cost in Dharamsala is $32. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Varanasi and Dharamsala in more detail.



Accommodation

Travelers usually pay around $30 for a double occupancy room in Varanasi If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $21. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Dharamsala the cost is $42 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Varanasi $15
    Dharamsala $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Varanasi $30
    Dharamsala $42

Food

On average, meal and food prices in Varanasi cost around $6.41 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $2.56.

The average traveler spends about $7.49 per day in Dharamsala for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Varanasi $6.41
    Dharamsala $7.49
Typical Food prices in Varanasi

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


  • Dinner In Town
    $4.63

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Varanasi

For Varanasi, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Food Tour of Benares - the Food Specialties of Kashi / Varanasi / the Ghats: $36
  • Indian Cooking Classes with Local Chef in Varanasi: $37
  • From Street food tour with Evening Ganga Aarti: $40
  • Street food tour with Evening Ganga Aarti: $43
  • 3-hour Home Cooking Food tour with a local Family: $43
  • Afternoon tour of Varanasi with Evening Boat ride & Dinner: $43
  • From Varanasi:3-hour home cooking tour with a local family: $43
  • 3-hour Shopping and Street Food Tour on a tuk-tuk ride: $43
  • 3-hour Shopping and Street Food Tour on a tuk-tuk ride: $44
  • 5:hours Private Evening Aarti With Rooftop Dinner: $62
  • Enchanting Cooking temple & village tour: $82

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Dharamsala

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

  • Private Full Day McleodGanj City Sightseeing & Cooking Class: $74

Local Transportation

Varanasi's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $4.44 per person, per day on transportation in Varanasi.

The average price of local transportation around Dharamsala is $4.60 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Varanasi $4.44
    Dharamsala $4.60
Typical Local Transportation prices in Varanasi

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Varanasi:


  • Tuk Tuk Through Town
    $1.07
  • Rickshaw Ride
    $0.67

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Varanasi

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

  • Airport Transfer - Lal Bahadur Shastri Intl Airport, Varanasi to Varanasi Hotels: $11
  • Airport Transfer - Varanasi Hotels to Varanasi International Airport, Varanasi: $11
  • Private Transfer: Varanasi Station to Hotel: $13
  • Varanasi Airport Transfer: $14
  • Private Transfer: Varanasi Airport to Varanasi Hotel: $15
  • Airport Transfers by Sedan: $28
  • Smooth transfer from Varanasi Airport to Hotel: $28
  • Private Departure Transfer from Varanasi Hotel to Airport: $28
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Varanasi Airport to Hotel: $29
  • Delhi Private Arrival Transfer From New Delhi Airport To Hotel In Delhi: $32
  • Private Departure Transfer to Airport from Hotel in Delhi By Car: $32
  • 3-hours Temple hopping with transfers: $33

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dharamsala

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Dharamsala:

  • Dharamsala- Transfers+Hotel+Sightseeing (3 Days): $304
  • Affordable Dharamshala Airport Transfer: $35

Is it cheaper to fly into Varanasi or Dharamsala?

Prices for flights to both Dharamsala and Varanasi 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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Varanasi can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $9.42 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Dharamsala's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $4.99 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Varanasi $9.42
    Dharamsala $4.99
Typical Entertainment prices in Varanasi

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Varanasi's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Boat Ride
    $0.94

Tours and Activities in Varanasi

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

  • Audio Guided Walking Tours of Banaras Gullys & Ghats, Varanasi: $5.13
  • Heritage Walking Tours: $5.22
  • Audio Guided Walking Tour of Banaras Ghats, Varanasi: $5.89
  • Varanasi Walking Tour - Pay as you wish: $7.20
  • Sarnath Audio Guided Tour – The Land of Buddha's First Sermon, Varanasi: $7.36
  • Varanasi Cultural and Heritage Tour - A Guided Walk Tour: $8.42
  • Kashi Photography and Heritage Tour - A Guided Walk Tour: $8.52
  • Walking Tour By Aman: $10
  • Varanasi Day Tour: $10
  • Cultural & Spiritual Trails of Old Town Varanasi Guided Walking Tour: $11
  • Varanasi Temple Tour: $11
  • Relish Food in Varanasi - A Guided Food Walk Tour: $12

Tours and Activities in Dharamsala

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Dharamsala are as follows:

  • Dharamsala Half Day Sightseeing Tour: $50
  • Half-Day Private Kangra Valley Cycling Tour from Dharamshala: $69
  • Hiking Day Tour to Triund from Dharamshala: $72

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Varanasi spend on average $7.05 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

The average person spends about $4.99 on alcoholic beverages in Dharamsala per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Varanasi $7.05
    Dharamsala $4.99


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

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Varanasi vs. Dharamsala Travel Comparison

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