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

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 $69, while the average daily cost in Shanghai is $99. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Ho Chi Minh City and Shanghai in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ho Chi Minh City $42
    Shanghai $70
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ho Chi Minh City $84
    Shanghai $140

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ho Chi Minh City $13
    Shanghai $3.33
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
    $1.50
  • Taxi From Airport
    $8.55
  • Cyclo Ride (One Hour)
    $1.71

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ho Chi Minh City

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

  • Private Airport Transfer: Ho Chi Minh City to Tan Son Nhat Int. Airport (SGN): $10
  • Ho Chi Minh Private Transfer Tan Son Nhat Airport To Hotel: $13
  • Private Departure Transfer: Ho Chi Minh City Hotels to Tan Son Nhat Airport: $13
  • Ho Chi Minh City Shared Arrival Transfer: Tan Son Nhat International Airport to Hotel: $14
  • Ho Chi Minh City Shared Departure Transfer: Hotel to Tan Son Nhat International Airport: $14
  • Private Transfer: Tan Son Nhat Airport to Ho Chi Minh City Hotels: $17
  • Saigon Private Airport Transfer: $17
  • Private Airport Transfers To Or From Ho Chi Minh City: $18
  • Ho Chi Minh City Private Airport Arrival Transfer: $19
  • Ho Chi Minh City Private Airport Departure Transfer: $19
  • Private Arrival or Departure Transfer: Ho Chi Minh Airport: $20
  • Saigon Airport to Ho Chi Minh City Center Private Transfer: $20

Typical Local Transportation prices in Shanghai

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.86
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.89

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 Trip Of Xi'an From Your Shanghai's hotel Including Transfer Service: $1,000
  • Private Day Tour Of Beijing From Shanghai's Hotel Including Flight And Transfer: $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
  • Transfer from Shanghai Pudong Airport to Nantong Downtown Per Vehicle Price: $265
  • Shanghai Disneyland with Transfers Plus 2-Night Accommodation in 4-Star Hotels: $264
  • Super High-End Luxury Private Transfers Between City and Shanghai Airports: $240

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Ho Chi Minh City $12
    Shanghai $18
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)
    $4.57
  • Pizza
    $5.56
  • Sweet Rice
    $1.28
  • Pork Sandwich
    $0.64
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $7.25
  • 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:

  • Ho Chi Minh Private Half Day Street Food Tour with Local Students: $18
  • SaiGon Street Food Tour By Scooter With Student: $22
  • Walking Food Tour With Local Student: $26
  • Private Street Food Tour on Motorbikes: $28
  • Private Half-Day Ho Chi Minh Food Tour with Local Students: $28
  • Saigon Food Tour by Motorbike with Local Students: $30
  • Walking market food tour by night in Ho Chi Minh city - private groups: $32
  • Street food Tours: $35
  • Small Floating Market & Mekong Delta Tour with Kayak, Boat, Bike, Cooking Class: $35
  • Private Street Food Tour by Scooter in Ho Chi Minh City: $35
  • Half-Day Ho Chi Minh City Street Food Tour By Motorbike: $36
  • Private Walking Saigon Food Tour with Ao Dai Girl by Night: $38

Typical Food prices in Shanghai

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


  • Dumpling Breakfast
    $1.48
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
    $22
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
    $7.71
  • Cantelope
    $1.78
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.22
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.45
  • Pastries
    $3.11
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $9.49

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
  • Old Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour: $52
  • 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
  • A Bite of Shanghai Small-Group Food Tour: $80
  • Shanghai Hairy Crab Dinner: $85
  • Shanghai Evening Food Tour/Shanghai tour gastronomico nocturno: $85
  • Night Market & Street Food Tour in Shanghai: $95
  • 3-Hour Flexible Private Shanghai Night Tour with Local Dinner Option: $100

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ho Chi Minh City $17
    Shanghai $7.24
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
    $5.98

Tours and Activities in Ho Chi Minh City

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

  • The Bachelorette Full Day Private Tour with Pickup: $3.24
  • Bitexco Financial Tower: Saigon Skydeck General Admission Ticket: $9.00
  • Small-Group Half-Day Cu Chi Tunnels Tour from Ho Chi Minh City: $9.24
  • The Insider's Saigon - Private and Custom Motorbike Tour: $12
  • Exploring Cu Chi Tunnel with Pioneer Travel Tour Guide: $12
  • Water Puppet Show Ticket in Ho Chi Minh City with Hotel Delivery: $15
  • Skip the Line: Golden Dragon Water Puppet Tickets: $17
  • Skip the Line: Golden Dragon Water Puppet Tickets: $17
  • Golden Dragon Water Puppet Entrance Tickets: $17
  • Private Ho Chi Minh Sightseeing by Motorbike with Local Students: $19
  • Private City Tour Half Day By Scooter: $19
  • Cu Chi Ben Duoc Tunnel Tour: $20

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
    $30
  • Zoo for Two
    $15

Tours and Activities in Shanghai

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

  • 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
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Shanghai Museum,Yu Garden, the Bund and Nanjing Road: $178

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ho Chi Minh City $6.83
    Shanghai $6.31
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
    $0.43

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

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

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Ho Chi Minh City vs. Shanghai Travel Comparison

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