A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Istanbul vs. Shanghai for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Istanbul or Shanghai?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Istanbul or Shanghai, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Istanbul

Istanbul is strategically located on the Bosphorus and is split between Europe and Asia. It truly is a city where east meets west. Istanbul is the cultural and financial hub of Turkey, and also the most populous city. The sites are countless and there's something for everybody, whether you're interested in art, music, food, or adventure. You can pass many days exploring both the residential and commercial pockets of this city. Much of the appeal is hidden away along back alleys or within corner shops.

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 Istanbul?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Istanbul is $91, 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 Istanbul and Shanghai in more detail.



Accommodation

A hotel room in Istanbul is about $112 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

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
    Istanbul $56
    Shanghai $73
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Istanbul $112
    Shanghai $146

Food

On average, meal and food prices in Istanbul cost around $23 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 $9.20.

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
    Istanbul $23
    Shanghai $19
Typical Food prices in Istanbul

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


  • Juice
    $0.23
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.07
  • Dessert
    $0.96
  • Pastries
    $0.17

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

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

  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $29
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise Show: $30
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Inc. Dinner and Belly Dance Show with Hotel Transfer: $34
  • Alaturca Ottoman Dramatic Stage Show & Dinner Cruise ( Non - Alcoholic ): $35
  • Bosphorus Dinner Show Cruise With Non Alcoholic Menu ISTANBUL Dinner cruise: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner & Show Cruise (All Inclusive): $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise An Unforgettable Experience in Istanbul: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Night Show from Istanbul: $37
  • Istanbul Cruise&Show with Dinner: $37
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $39
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Soft Drinks: $40
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise&Show: $40

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
    $4.65
  • 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

The cost of a taxi ride in Istanbul is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $5.31 per person, per day, on local transportation in Istanbul.

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.
    Istanbul $5.31
    Shanghai $3.48
Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Ferry
    $0.32
  • Local Bus
    $0.34

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • Istanbul Airport Transfer / Private Airport Transfer: $3.73
  • Private Istanbul New Airport Transfer Service: $4.36
  • Istanbul Airports Transfer: $6.22
  • istanbul airport cheapest vip transfer by private car: $14
  • Safe Airport transfer service in istanbul: $16
  • Private Airport Transfer Arrival or Departure in Istanbul: $17
  • Sabiha Airport Arrival Or Departure Hotel Transfer: $17
  • PRIVATE DEPARTURE TRANSFER - Istanbul European Side To Istanbul New Airport: $18
  • Istanbul New Airport Private Transfer: $18
  • New Istanbul Airport Private Transfer: $18
  • Istanbul Airport Arrival Or Departure Hotel Transfer: $19
  • İstanbul Private Airport Transfer: $19

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:

  • Shared Coach Transfers between Shenzhen Bay Port and Hong Kong (Trans-island): $6.45
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Panyu and Hong Kong by Eternal East Bus: $11
  • Private Transfer To/From Pudong Airport - Shanghai Hotels: $12
  • Shared Shenzhen Airport (SZX) Coach Transfers for Hong Kong (Trans-Island): $12
  • Shared Coach Transfers Between Hong Kong and Zhaoqing by EE Bus: $12
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Foshan and Hong Kong by Eternal East Bus: $13
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Hong Kong and Huadu by Eternal East Bus: $13
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Foshan and Hong Kong: $14
  • Shared Coach Transfers Between Guangzhou and Hong Kong: $14
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Shunde and Hong Kong: $14
  • Shared Coach Transfers Between Heyuan and Hong Kong by EE Bus: $15
  • Shared Hong Kong International Airport Transfers (HKG) for Shenzhen: $15

Is it cheaper to fly into Istanbul or Shanghai?

Prices for flights to both Shanghai and Istanbul 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

Entertainment and activities in Istanbul typically cost an average of $33 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Shanghai's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $7.57 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.
    Istanbul $33
    Shanghai $7.57
Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

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


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $2.26
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $2.26
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $1.13
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $3.39

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

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

  • Just Hagia Sophia Tour /Skip The Lines: $8.71
  • VR Dervish Experience: $10
  • Museum of Illusions Istanbul Ticket: $11
  • Piri Self-Guided Audio Tour: Istanbul, Historical Peninsula: $11
  • Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Guided Tour: $12
  • Bosphorus Cruise from Eminonu Pier with Audio App: $12
  • Basilica Cistern VIP Tickets: $12
  • Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque&Hippodrome Guided Tours Everyday /No que / No line!: $12
  • Vip Ticket For Hagi̇a Sophi̇a: $12
  • SEA LIFE Istanbul Entry Ticket: $14
  • Istanbul LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Admission Ticket: $15
  • Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour: $16

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:

  • Hupao Park Ticket in Hangzhou (For Mainland China ID Holders): $2.35
  • China Red Sandalwood Museum Ticket in Beijing : $2.79
  • Simatai Great Wall Admission with Cable Car Ticket in Beijing: $3.09
  • Giant Panda Breeding Research Base Ticket Chengdu - ID Card Direct Entry: $4.19
  • half day tour of shanghai: $5.34
  • Evergreen Resort Ticket in Shenzhen: $6.19
  • Jinxi Ancient Town Attractions Combo Ticket: $6.99
  • Gulangyu Seashell Museum Ticket: $7.45
  • Ferry Round Trip Ticket between Xiamen City and Gulangyu Sanqiutian Pier: $8.55
  • Wuyishan Xiamei Ancient Village Admission Ticket: $8.55
  • Ferry Round Trip Ticket between Xiamen City and Gulangyu Neicuoao Pier: $8.55
  • Shanghai Joy City Rooftop Ferris Wheel - Sky Ring Ticket: $9.29

Alcohol

The average person spends about $8.13 on alcoholic beverages in Istanbul per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

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
    Istanbul $8.13
    Shanghai $6.61

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Daily Tekirdag Wine Tasting Tour from Istanbul: $427

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 comparing the travel costs between Istanbul and Shanghai, we can see that Shanghai is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Even though Istanbul is in Europe and Shanghai is in Asia, both of these destinations have relatively similar prices of travel. Generally, the levels of luxury and expenses are the same for these cities even though they are geographically far apart.

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Istanbul vs. Shanghai Travel Comparison

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