Which city is cheaper, Beijing or Shanghai?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Shanghai and Beijing. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.
Shanghai is a diverse, bustling, and trendy port city. Visitors will also find so much to do here because it's a large city with many sights and attractions. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.
Beijing is a massive, jam-packed, and cultural city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.
Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Beijing and Shanghai. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.
Plenty of people visit the sights and museums in both Shanghai and Beijing.
The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Shanghai are among the most recognizable in the world. The city's sights mix culture with modern innovation. From the futuristic skyline and the iconic waterfront area known as the Bund, to the classic Yu Garden, there are a diversity of sights around the city. There are also museums like the Shanghai Museum, which educate visitors on Chinese culture.
With plenty of landmarks, attractions, and museums, Beijing has many famous sights for visitors. The city is filled with iconic landmarks including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and The Temple of Heaven. It's also essential that you plan a trip outside of town to the world renowned Great Wall of China. The trip takes about an hour and you can organize a tour through almost any hotel or tour company.
Foodies will find both Shanghai and Beijing both to be unique destinations.
Eat your way through Shanghai, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. The city's cuisine has a long history with many distinct traditional dishes. The foods incorporate a lot of soy sauce and sugar and you'll find most dishes are rice based as opposed to using wheat products. Popular local dishes include the famous Shanghai soup dumplings, steamed crab, and braised pork. The city is also famous for its snacks, which can be purchased at one of the many snack houses or street stalls.
For foodies, Beijing is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. The city has a number of iconic dishes that have put it on the culinary map. The most notable dish is Peking Duck, which is a delectable crispy roast duck that is usually served with cucumber, scallions, sweet bean sauce and pancakes or other steamed buns. Hot pots are another must-try experience in the city, and, of course, you have to experience the dumplings. A huge part of a visit to Beijing is experiencing its long running culinary history.
Evening events are similar in both Shanghai and Beijing.
There's a variety of activities in the evening in Shanghai. A night out can quickly become very expensive. Many of the venues are spread out so you'll likely spend at least some of the time in a taxi. The Bund is one of the most popular areas for nightlife, but this area also has the most expensive bars and clubs. They often offer impressive views of Pudong and the Huangpu River though.
Beijing has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. Live performances are popular in the city, and range from concerts to magic shows and acrobatics. There is also an active bar scene around town. Some of the most popular nightlife areas include Sanlitun and Houhai.
Both Shanghai and Beijing are good shopping destinations.
The abundance of shops in Shanghai make it a world-class shopping destination. The city has many large shopping malls with department stores, name brand fashion, and trendy shops. It is also known for its cheap electronics and tailor-made clothes.
Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Beijing. There are many unique handicrafts that you can purchase around town. Popular souvenirs include silk, pearls, and snuff bottles with pictures inside. The city has many shopping streets as well as markets and shopping malls that are worth visiting.
Both Shanghai and Beijing are family-friendly destinations.
Shanghai is a very kid-friendly port city. Of course there's Disneyland, but kids will also enjoy soaking up the city's culture, trying fun new snacks, and exploring the many science and kid-friendly museums. There are also parks and outdoor spaces as well as skyscrapers and towers that offer incredible views of the city.
Beijing is a family-friendly port city. The city offers a unique cultural immersion that kids and adults can enjoy. Wander through the Forbidden City or watch your kids be mesmerized by a Chinese acrobatics show. It's also fun to get lost in the Hutongs or test their culinary palates by visiting a snack street.
While Beijing and Shanghai are both popular destinations, overall Shanghai is considered to be a more popular choice.
Shanghai is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. With its east meets west personality, couples will be able to enjoy an amazing culinary experience, beautiful gardens, and luxury hotels and spas. There are many romantic areas around this bustling city, making it the perfect place for a romantic city getaway.
Beijing is a good port city for couples to visit. The culture, history, and food all make this a stunning place to visit. While romance doesn't immediately spring to mind when you think of Beijing, there are shows and fine dining restaurants that couples will enjoy. There are also many luxury hotels with spas and other amenities.
Both Shanghai and Beijing are popular destinations for backpackers.
Shanghai is a great port city to visit for backpackers. The city is expensive, but there are hostels and cheap eateries that make it accessible even for the budget conscious. Business travelers and local workers give the city a more professional vibe during the day, but if you find the right place to stay you'll quickly be able to meet likeminded travelers.
Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Beijing. The city has many hostels and budget-friendly options. There isn't the backpacker community vibe that you may get in other Asian cities, but if you organize an excursion through your hostel, you're sure to make a few friends along the way.
Shanghai and Beijing are both good destinations for students and younger travelers.
Many students visit Shanghai. The city attracts international and study abroad students who enjoy its long history and fascinating culture. It's a world financial capital with many businesses headquartered here, so employment opportunities are abundant.
Beijing is a very popular port city for students and younger travelers. Students will enjoy the culture, food, and academic opportunities that the universities offer. There is also a decent nightlife scene and affordable places where students can live.
Both Shanghai and Beijing offer public transit options.
Shanghai has some very good public transit options. There is a metro system as well as buses and taxis which are relatively affordable.
The public transit in Beijing can get you to most places easily. The system can be crowded and confusing at first, but it's one of the most convenient and affordable ways to get around town. There's a subway system as well as buses, trolleybuses, and suburban rail.
Shanghai is considered more walkable than Beijing.
Shanghai is a very walkable port city. It's possible to explore the major tourist areas on foot but it can be very hot and humid during the summer months.
Beijing is generally not a very walkable port city. While parts of the city are fun to explore on foot, the city itself is very large with long blocks that aren't pedestrian-friendly.
Both Shanghai and Beijing have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Beijing than Shanghai.
The ideal length of time for a trip to Shanghai is 2-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Beijing is 3-7 days.
Because Shanghai is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. This port city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.
The city of Beijing offers food and shopping. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.
Because Shanghai is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Shanghai has to offer.
Beijing is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.
Shanghai is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Shanghai has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.
Beijing is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Beijing, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Shanghai. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Shanghai. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.
Beijing is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Beijing has to offer. This city offers something for everyone.
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Shanghai is $93, while the average daily cost in Beijing is $62. 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 Shanghai and Beijing in more detail.
Looking for a hotel in Shanghai or Beijing? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.
Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Shanghai:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:
Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Beijing:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Beijing:
Prices for flights to both Beijing and Shanghai 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.
Some typical examples of dining costs in Shanghai are as follows:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Shanghai.
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Beijing:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Beijing.
Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Shanghai are as follows:
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Shanghai are as follows:
Here are a few typical costs in Beijing for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:
Here are a few actual costs in Beijing for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
Also in Shanghai, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Beijing:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Shanghai and Beijing, we can see that Shanghai is more expensive. And not only is Beijing much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Beijing would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Beijing 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 Beijing.
Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.
The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Shanghai and Beijing. Most visitors come to Shanghai for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Beijing because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.
In the summer, Shanghai is around the same temperature as Beijing. Typically, the summer temperatures in Shanghai in July are around 28°C (83°F), and Beijing is about 27°C (80°F).
People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Beijing this time of the year. In Shanghai, it's very sunny this time of the year. Shanghai usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Beijing during summer. Shanghai gets 232 hours of sunny skies, while Beijing receives 224 hours of full sun in the summer.
Beijing receives a lot of rain in the summer. Shanghai gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Shanghai usually receives less rain than Beijing. Shanghai gets 128 mm (5 in) of rain, while Beijing receives 176 mm (6.9 in) of rain each month for the summer.
The autumn brings many poeple to Shanghai as well as Beijing. The autumn months attract visitors to Shanghai because of the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Beijing this time of year.
In October, Shanghai is generally a little warmer than Beijing. Temperatures in Shanghai average around 19°C (65°F), and Beijing stays around 14°C (56°F).
The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Beijing. In the autumn, Shanghai often gets less sunshine than Beijing. Shanghai gets 162 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Beijing receives 227 hours of full sun.
Shanghai usually gets more rain in October than Beijing. Shanghai gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Beijing receives 19 mm (0.7 in) of rain this time of the year.
Both Beijing and Shanghai are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Shanghai this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Beijing for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.
Be prepared for some very cold days in Beijing. It's quite cold in Shanghai in the winter. Shanghai is much warmer than Beijing in the winter. The temperature in Shanghai is usually 4°C (39°F) in January, and Beijing stays around -4°C (26°F).
It's quite sunny in Beijing. Shanghai usually receives less sunshine than Beijing during winter. Shanghai gets 135 hours of sunny skies, while Beijing receives 201 hours of full sun in the winter.
In January, Shanghai usually receives more rain than Beijing. Shanghai gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Beijing receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain each month for the winter.
Both Beijing and Shanghai during the spring are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Shanghai for the activities around the city and the natural beauty. Furthermore, many visitors come to Beijing in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.
In the spring, Shanghai is around the same temperature as Beijing. Typically, the spring temperatures in Shanghai in April are around 15°C (58°F), and Beijing is about 14°C (57°F).
In Beijing, it's very sunny this time of the year. In the spring, Shanghai often gets less sunshine than Beijing. Shanghai gets 153 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Beijing receives 247 hours of full sun.
It rains a lot this time of the year in Shanghai. Shanghai usually gets more rain in April than Beijing. Shanghai gets 102 mm (4 in) of rain, while Beijing receives 26 mm (1 in) of rain this time of the year.
|Temp (°C)||Rain (mm)||Temp (°C)||Rain (mm)|
|Jan||4°C (39°F)||39 mm (1.5 in)||-4°C (26°F)||3 mm (0.1 in)|
|Feb||5°C (41°F)||59 mm (2.3 in)||-1°C (30°F)||6 mm (0.2 in)|
|Mar||9°C (48°F)||82 mm (3.2 in)||6°C (42°F)||9 mm (0.4 in)|
|Apr||15°C (58°F)||102 mm (4 in)||14°C (57°F)||26 mm (1 in)|
|May||20°C (67°F)||113 mm (4.5 in)||20°C (68°F)||29 mm (1.1 in)|
|Jun||24°C (75°F)||152 mm (6 in)||25°C (76°F)||71 mm (2.8 in)|
|Jul||28°C (83°F)||128 mm (5 in)||27°C (80°F)||176 mm (6.9 in)|
|Aug||28°C (82°F)||133 mm (5.2 in)||25°C (78°F)||182 mm (7.2 in)|
|Sep||24°C (75°F)||156 mm (6.1 in)||20°C (69°F)||49 mm (1.9 in)|
|Oct||19°C (65°F)||61 mm (2.4 in)||14°C (56°F)||19 mm (0.7 in)|
|Nov||13°C (55°F)||52 mm (2 in)||5°C (41°F)||6 mm (0.2 in)|
|Dec||7°C (44°F)||35 mm (1.4 in)||-1°C (29°F)||2 mm (0.1 in)|
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