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 $54, while the average daily cost in Shanghai is $101. 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 $66 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $142 for a double occupancy room in Shanghai.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Istanbul $33
    Shanghai $71
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Istanbul $66
    Shanghai $142

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Istanbul is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $3.17 per person, per day, on local transportation in Istanbul.

The average price of local transportation around Shanghai is $3.39 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 $3.17
    Shanghai $3.39
Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

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


  • Ferry
    $0.19
  • Local Bus
    $0.20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • Istanbul Airport Transfer / Private Airport Transfer: $3.73
  • 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
  • İstanbul Private Airport Transfer: $19
  • Istanbul Airport Arrival Or Departure Hotel Transfer: $19
  • One Way Istanbul Airport Transfer to SultanAhmet: $22

Typical Local Transportation prices in Shanghai

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.93
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.91

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station: $20
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport (SHA): $20
  • Private Transfer: Hotel to Shanghai Stadium (Football Match, League of Legends): $20
  • Hongqiao Airport(SHA)-Hotel Downtown One way Private Transfer: $21
  • Private Transfer to Shanghai Railway Station from City Hotels or Outskirts: $21
  • Panda Transfer: Private Shanghai Airport/Hotel Transfer: $22
  • Private Transfer to Huangpu River Cruise Terminal: $22
  • Private Transfer to ERA Acrobats Show at Shanghai Circus World: $22
  • Private Transfer between Qibao Ancient Water Town and Shanghai City Area: $24
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Maglev Train Station to City Area: $24
  • Private Transfer between Shanghai Pudong New Int’l Expo Centre and City Area: $24
  • Shanghai Maglev Train Station Private Transfer from City Area: $24

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.





Food

On average, meal and food prices in Istanbul cost around $14 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 $5.60.

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 $14
    Shanghai $19
Typical Food prices in Istanbul

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


  • Juice
    $0.13
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.04
  • Dessert
    $0.57
  • Pastries
    $0.10

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 (All Inclusive): $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Show Cruise With Non Alcoholic Menu ISTANBUL Dinner cruise: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise An Unforgettable Experience in Istanbul: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Night Show from Istanbul: $37
  • Istanbul Cruise&Show with Dinner: $37
  • Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus: $38
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $39
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise with Sema Ceremony: $40

Typical Food prices in Shanghai

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


  • Dumpling Breakfast
    $1.51
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
    $22
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
    $7.87
  • Cantelope
    $1.82
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.27
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.54
  • Pastries
    $3.18
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $9.68

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 and activities in Istanbul typically cost an average of $20 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 $7.39 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 $20
    Shanghai $7.39
Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

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


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $1.35
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $1.35
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $0.67
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $2.02

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
  • Old City Insider Walking Tour: $11
  • Bosphorus Cruise with Audio App: $11
  • Basilica Cistern VIP Tickets: $12
  • Vip Ticket For Hagi̇a Sophi̇a: $12
  • Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque&Hippodrome Guided Tours Everyday /No que / No line!: $12
  • Istanbul LEGOLAND Discovery Center Entrance Ticket: $14
  • SEA LIFE Istanbul Entry Ticket: $14
  • Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour: $14

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:

  • half day tour of shanghai: $5.34
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Ticket Booking: $10
  • Shanghai Zhujiajiao Ancient Town Admission Ticket: $11
  • Shanghai Maglev Train Ticket and Metro Pass(Pick Up in Shanghai): $12
  • Day Tour of Zhujiajiao and Huangpu River with Night Cruise: $16
  • Shanghai Jinmao Tower Observation Desk Admission Ticket: $18
  • Buddhist Art Tour at LWH Gallery in Shanghai: $23
  • Shanghai Bus Tour Hop-on Hop-off Premium Ticket including City Top Attraction Admissions: $30
  • Like a Local Customized Guided Tour: $30
  • Shanghai Tower Observation Deck Admission Ticket: $31
  • Shanghai Downtown Hotel to Baoshan Cruise Port:Private with Meet & Greet service: $38
  • Shanghai Hotels to Wusongkou Cruise Port:Private with Meet & Great service: $38

Alcohol

The average person spends about $4.85 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 $6.44 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 $4.85
    Shanghai $6.44

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 we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Istanbul and Shanghai, we can see that Shanghai is more expensive. And not only is Istanbul much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Istanbul is in Europe and Shanghai is in Asia, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. So, traveling to Istanbul would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Istanbul 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 Istanbul.

Budget Your Trip

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Istanbul vs. Shanghai Travel Comparison

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