A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Ho Chi Minh City vs. Shanghai for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Ho Chi Minh City or Shanghai?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Ho Chi Minh City and Shanghai can help you decide which place is right for you.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam. It previously served as the capital of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The metropolitan area, including Ho Chi Minh City, Thu Dau Mot, Di An, Bien Hoa, and other surrounding towns, has a population of more than 9 million people and continues to grow.

Shanghai

Shanghai is the largest and most modern city in China. With a population of over 23 million, it is the economic and financial hub of the country. It also continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in China with regular changes to the city's layout and skyline. It is not uncommon for buildings to be torn down, rebuilt and then torn down and rebuilt again. The city also has skyscrapers that rank among the tallest in the world. It has an ever changing downtown and street scape. In Shanghai, the general mantra remains "out with the old, in with the new".

Which city is cheaper, Shanghai or Ho Chi Minh City?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Ho Chi Minh City is $71, while the average daily cost in Shanghai is $103. 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 Ho Chi Minh City and Shanghai in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $86 in Ho Chi Minh City For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $146 for a double occupancy room in Shanghai.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ho Chi Minh City $43
    Shanghai $73
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ho Chi Minh City $86
    Shanghai $146

Food

The average traveler spends about $13 per day in Ho Chi Minh City 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.

The average traveler spends about $19 per day in Shanghai 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
    Ho Chi Minh City $13
    Shanghai $19
Typical Food prices in Ho Chi Minh City

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Ho Chi Minh City:


  • Street Food Dinner (for Two)
    $4.70
  • Pizza
    $5.71
  • Sweet Rice
    $1.32
  • Pork Sandwich
    $0.66
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $7.46
  • Western Lunch (for Two)
    $13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Ho Chi Minh City

For Ho Chi Minh City, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Seafood Dinner in Altitude Rooftop Bar at Sheraton Nha Trang : $15
  • Ho Chi Minh Private Half Day Street Food Tour with Local Students: $18
  • The Home Pizza Phu Quoc Cash Voucher 500.000VND : $19
  • SaiGon Street Food Tour By Scooter With Student: $22
  • Tra Que Vegetable Village and Cooking Class Experience in Hoi An: $24
  • Tam Giang Lagoon Private Half Day Tour with Seafood Dinner: $26
  • Half-Day Tam Giang Sunset Tour with Dinner on Floating Restaurant: $26
  • Walking Food Tour With Local Student: $26
  • Private Street Food Tour on Motorbikes: $28
  • Hoi An City and Food Tour with Foot Massage: $28
  • Vegetarian Cooking Class in Hanoi: $28
  • Private Half-Day Ho Chi Minh Food Tour with Local Students: $28

Typical Food prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of dining costs in Shanghai are as follows:


  • Dumpling Breakfast
    $1.55
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
    $23
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
    $8.07
  • Cantelope
    $1.86
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.33
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.66
  • Pastries
    $3.26
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $9.93

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Shanghai

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

  • Online Chinese Cooking Class: $22
  • Chengdu Private Food Tour (With Visit to Kuanzhai Alley and Hotpot Experience): $32
  • Old Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour: $52
  • Cooking Class of Dumplings and Chinese Buns: $56
  • 3-Hour Shanghai Summer Night Local Dinner and Shopping Private Tour: $65
  • Private Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with Vegetarian Option: $69
  • Private Authentic Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with a Lovely Local: $70
  • 3-Hour Shanghai City Walking Tour with Dinner: $74
  • Shanghai yummy food tour: $75
  • Chinese Cooking Class in a Family Home: $75
  • Chengdu Jinsha Site Museum and Sanxingdui Museum Private Day Tour with Hotpot Dinner: $76
  • Dim Sum Cooking Class and Wet Market Visit in Shanghai: $78

Local Transportation

Ho Chi Minh City'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 $13 per person, per day on transportation in Ho Chi Minh City.

The average price of local transportation around Shanghai is $3.48 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.
    Ho Chi Minh City $13
    Shanghai $3.48
Typical Local Transportation prices in Ho Chi Minh City

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Ho Chi Minh City:


  • Short Taxi Ride
    $1.54
  • Taxi From Airport
    $8.79
  • Cyclo Ride (One Hour)
    $1.76

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ho Chi Minh City

Also for Ho Chi Minh City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Shared City Transfer between Hanoi and Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu, Tam Coc and more by Limousine: $6.39
  • Shared City Transfers between Da Lat and Mui Ne via Shuttle Bus: $6.50
  • Shared Bus Transfers between Hoi An and Ba Na Hills: $6.50
  • Private Phu Quoc International Airport Transfers (PQC) for Phu Quoc: $7.00
  • Private Da Nang International Airport Transfers (DAD) for Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An, & Select Areas: $8.79
  • Private Noi Bai Airport Transfers (HAN) for Hanoi City or Halong Bay: $9.00
  • Private Night Transfers between Phu Quoc International Airport (PQC) and Phu Quoc: $9.25
  • Private Noi Bai Airport (HAN) Transfers for Hanoi City: $9.45
  • Private Da Nang International Airport (DAD) Transfers for Da Nang, Ba Na Hills, and More: $9.59
  • Private Airport Transfer: Ho Chi Minh City to Tan Son Nhat Int. Airport (SGN): $10
  • Private Cam Ranh International Airport (CXR) Transfers for Nha Trang, Hon Chong & Selected Areas: $11
  • Private Da Nang International Airport Night Transfers (DAD) for Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An, & Select Areas: $11

Typical Local Transportation prices in Shanghai

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Shanghai:


  • Taxi Ride
    $4.03
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.93

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • Private Day tour of Xi'an From Shanghai Including Transfer Service: $1,100
  • Private Mutianyu Great Wall Tour From Shanghai's Hotel Including Transfer: $1,100
  • Private Beijing One Day Tour From Shanghai 's Hotel Including Transfer Service: $1,036
  • Private Day Tour Of Beijing From Shanghai's Hotel Including Flight And Transfer: $1,000
  • Private Day Trip Of Xi'an From Your Shanghai's hotel Including Transfer Service: $1,000
  • 2-Day Huangshan Tour by Cable Car with Private Transfer and Lunch from Shanghai: $653
  • 3 Days Shanghai Suzhou Tour Package with Airport Transfer: $555
  • 1-way Transfer Between Shanghai Pudong Airport and Yiwu Per Vehicle Price: $388
  • Shanghai Luxury Airport Transfer: $332
  • Private City Transfers between Zhongshan and Hong Kong: $313
  • Private City Transfers between Foshan and Hong Kong: $296
  • Private City Transfers between Guangzhou and Hong Kong: $283

Is it cheaper to fly into Ho Chi Minh City or Shanghai?

Prices for flights to both Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City 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 Ho Chi Minh City can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $18 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Shanghai's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $7.58 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.
    Ho Chi Minh City $18
    Shanghai $7.58
Typical Entertainment prices in Ho Chi Minh City

For Ho Chi Minh City, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Massage
    $6.15

Tours and Activities in Ho Chi Minh City

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Do Quyen Spa Private Experience in Sapa: $1.75
  • Hi Spa Experience in Ho Chi Minh City : $1.99
  • L'Belle Beauty Spa Experience in Ho Chi Minh: $1.99
  • Lasenta Spa Experience in Ho Chi Minh City: $2.39
  • World Coffee Museum Ticket in Central Highland: $2.65
  • [SALE 50%] Art in Paradise 3D Museum Ticket in Da Nang: $3.09
  • The Bachelorette Full Day Private Tour with Pickup: $3.24
  • LVES Spa in Saigon - VND88.000 for 60-minute Experience: $3.89
  • Upside Down World Ticket in Da Nang: $4.05
  • Traditional Singing Performance on Huong River Ticket in Hue: $4.19
  • Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs Ticket in Hue City: $4.19
  • Ngo Spa & Massage Experience in Ho Chi Minh City: $4.39

Typical Entertainment prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Shanghai are as follows:


  • 30 Minute River Cruise for Two
    $31
  • Zoo for Two
    $16

Tours and Activities in Shanghai

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

  • Lionsgate Entertainment World Ticket in Henqin Zhuhai : $31
  • 1 Day Bus Tour in Amazing Shanghai Highlights: $113
  • 1 Day Hangzhou Private Tour: $312
  • 1 Day Shanghai Airport Layover Private Tour for City Highlights: $202
  • 1 Day Shanghai Highlight Small Group Tour: $124
  • 1 Day of Shanghai Premiere Experience: $730
  • 1 day Nanjing tour from Shanghai by train: $400
  • 1 day Shanghai City Mini Group tour: $92
  • 1-Day Authentic Shanghai Tour by Walking & Metro: $193
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai City Tour to See Its Past, Present and Future: $204
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai to Wuzhen Tour to Admire the Classical Water Town: $271
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Hangzhou by car from Shanghai: $305

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Ho Chi Minh City, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.02.

The average person spends about $6.61 on alcoholic beverages in Shanghai per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ho Chi Minh City $7.02
    Shanghai $6.61
Typical Alcohol prices in Ho Chi Minh City

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Ho Chi Minh City:


  • Beer
    $0.44

Sample the Local Flavors in Shanghai

Also in Shanghai, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Shanghai Luxury Bar Crawl in 5-star Hotel or Boutique Hotel: $255
  • 3 Hour Local Craft Beer Crawl with Brewery Tour: $350


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

Budget Your Trip

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Ho Chi Minh City vs. Shanghai Travel Comparison

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