A Travel Price Comparison for China Shanghai vs. Guangzhou for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Shanghai or Guangzhou?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Shanghai and Guangzhou. 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.

Where Should I go: Shanghai or Guangzhou?

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".

Guangzhou

With a population of more than 12 million, Guangzhou is the third largest city in China after Beijing and Shanghai. Though it has a long history, founded in 214 BC, the city has also many modern attractions, a mix of the old and new with temples and parks as well as skyscrapers and shopping centers. Its location on the Pearl River has contributed to this growth, making Guangzhou a major port and commercial hub.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from Beijing, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to China, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in China, and The Best Historical Tours in China.


Which place is cheaper, Guangzhou or Shanghai?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Shanghai is $115, while the average daily cost in Guangzhou is $89. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Shanghai and Guangzhou in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $81
    Guangzhou $57
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $162
    Guangzhou $114
Compare Hotels in Shanghai and Guangzhou

Looking for a hotel in Shanghai or Guangzhou? 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.

Hotels in Shanghai


Hotels in Guangzhou


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.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Shanghai $3.88
    Guangzhou $14
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Shanghai

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.60
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.83

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • Mount Mogan Self-Guided Tour from Shanghai by Private Transfer: $108
  • Private Transfer between Shanghai Pudong Int'l Airport & Hongqiao Airport : $45
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Pudong Airport : $43
  • Tongli and Xitang Self-Guided Tour from Shanghai by Private Transfer: $114
  • 1 Day-Pass for Disneyland Shanghai and Private Transfer Package: $245
  • 3-hour Private Transfer to Shanghai ERA Acrobatic Show from City Center: $53
  • Arrival Private Transfer Pudong Airport PVG to Shanghai City by Standard Sedan: $74
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Pudong Airport PVG to Shanghai in Business Car : $113
  • Arrival Transfer by High-Speed Maglev Train: Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Hotel: $79
  • Departure Private Transfer: Shanghai to Pudong Airport PVG in Business Car: $113
  • Departure Transfer by High-Speed Maglev Train: Hotel to Shanghai Pudong International Airport: $79
  • Flexible Hours of Private Shanghai Layover or Transfer Tour: $129

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Guangzhou

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Guangzhou:

  • Canton Fair Private Transfer between Guangzhou City Center and Pazhou Complex : $32
  • Guangzhou Downtown Hotel - Baiyun Airport OneWay Private Transfer: $35
  • Private Departure Transfer:Hotel to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport(CAN): $35
  • Private Transfer between Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park and City Center: $38
  • Guangzhou Chimelong International Circus Private Transfer Service: $38
  • Private Transfer between Guangzhou Baiyun Mountain and City Area: $44
  • Private Transfer from Guangzhou South Railway Station to City Center : $49
  • Private Transfer from Guangzhou City Center to South Railway Station: $49
  • Private Baiyun Airport Arrival Transfer to Canton Fair Pazhou Complex: $49
  • Guangzhou Baiyun Airport Chauffeur Service , To Guangzhou Transfer,Pickup: $59
  • Private Transfer from Guangzhou city hotels to Shekou Cruise Port: $62
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer in Guangzhou HTL-APT (CAN): $62

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Guangzhou?

Prices for flights to both Guangzhou 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Shanghai $21
    Guangzhou $19
Typical Food Prices in Shanghai

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


  • Dumpling Breakfast
    $1.38
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
    $20
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
    $7.19
  • Cantelope
    $1.66
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.07
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.15
  • Pastries
    $2.90
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $8.85

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Shanghai

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

  • Online Cooking Class Fried Rice by Sunflower Li : $20
  • Online Cooking Class General Tso's Chicken by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Handmade Noodles by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Sesame Chicken by Sunflower Li: $20
  • 3-Hour Biking and Local Food Tour: $71
  • Authentic Local Food Tour in Central Shanghai: $79
  • Late night food tour in Shanghai's French Concession: $88
  • Late Night Food Tour in the Shanghai's French Concession: $89
  • Eat Like A Local: Shanghai Night Food Tour: $90
  • Shanghai's Koreatown Food Tour: $91
  • 2.5hrs Chinese Kitchen Cooking Class: Xiaolongbao Soup Dumplings: $99
  • 3-Hour Flexible Private Shanghai Night Tour with Local Dinner Option: $100

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Guangzhou

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

  • Guangzhou Evening Food Tour Through Local Neighborhood: $65
  • Guangzhou walking tour with dimsum dinner&Zhujiang river cruise: $100
  • Private Guangzhou Night Tour VIP Cruise and Dim-Sum Dinner Option: $146
  • Private Guangzhou Night Tour with Canton Tower and Dim-Sum Dinner: $176
  • Private Guangzhou Food Tour Michelin Restaurant&Local Food Market: $180
  • Private Guangzhou Food Tour Yumcha and Local Food Market Explore: $180
  • Guangzhou Pearl River Night Cruise and Din Tai Feng Dinner: $199
  • Guangzhou Private Night Tour: Lychee Bay, Beijing Road, Cruise, Dinner: $204
  • Private Cooking Canton Cuisine Cooking Class in Guangzhou : $266

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $8.44
    Guangzhou $18
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
    $28
  • Zoo for Two
    $14

Tours and Activities in Shanghai

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

  • The History of the French Concession: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Ticket Booking: $14
  • Hop-on Hop-off Bus Ticket and Optional Attractions: $14
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Tour´╝ÜHarmony & Spirituality in Garden Art: $20
  • Shanghai French Concession Walking Tour: $29
  • Shanghai Highlights Walking Tour: $29
  • Like a Local Customized Guided Tour: $35
  • Shanghai Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $35
  • 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
  • Fudan University Student Guide Tour: $38
  • Fudan University Student Guide Tour: $42

Tours and Activities in Guangzhou

Here are a few actual costs in Guangzhou for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Foshan Classic Old Town Tour : $15
  • Guangzhou Pearl River Night Cruise Ticket (Redemption Required): $21
  • Original Martial Arts Tour : $40
  • Discovery more Guangzhou evening foodie tour with locals : $65
  • 5-Hour Sai Kwan Walking Tour with Unique Food Tasting: $72
  • Guangzhou Self-Guided Tour with Private Car and Driver Service: $75
  • Guided Cycle Tour of Guangzhou: $76
  • Foodie Tour with a Guide: $88
  • Guangzhou Walking Tour To Explore The Old Xiguan Area: $89
  • Walking Tour of Xiguan Ancient Town: $89
  • 4-Hour Private Flexible Guangzhou City Tour with Dim-Sum Option: $95
  • Private Half-Day Guangzhou City Tour with Pickup: $98

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $7.36
    Guangzhou $14

Sample the Local Flavors in Shanghai

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

  • Shanghai Pub Crawl - Bar-hopping/Night life tour: $28
  • Shanghai Luxury Bar Crawl in 5-star Hotel or Boutique Hotel: $255


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Shanghai and Guangzhou, we can see that Shanghai is more expensive. And not only is Guangzhou much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Guangzhou would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Guangzhou 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 Guangzhou.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Shanghai Expensive? and Is Guangzhou Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Shanghai or Guangzhou?

Shanghai has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Guangzhou. When comparing the sizes of Shanghai and Guangzhou, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Shanghai or Guangzhou?

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.

Should I visit Shanghai or Guangzhou in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Shanghai and Guangzhou. Many travelers come to Shanghai for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Shanghai is generally around the same temperature as Guangzhou. Daily temperatures in Shanghai average around 28°C (83°F), and Guangzhou fluctuates around 29°C (84°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Guangzhou 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 Guangzhou during summer. Shanghai gets 232 hours of sunny skies, while Guangzhou receives 220 hours of full sun in the summer.

Guangzhou 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 Guangzhou. Shanghai gets 128 mm (5 in) of rain, while Guangzhou receives 228 mm (9 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Shanghai 28°C (83°F) 
    Guangzhou 29°C (84°F)

Should I visit Shanghai or Guangzhou in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Shanghai as well as Guangzhou. Many visitors come to Shanghai in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Shanghai is cooler than Guangzhou in the autumn. The daily temperature in Shanghai averages around 19°C (65°F) in October, and Guangzhou fluctuates around 25°C (76°F).

In the autumn, Shanghai often gets less sunshine than Guangzhou. Shanghai gets 162 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Guangzhou receives 192 hours of full sun.

Shanghai usually gets less rain in October than Guangzhou. Shanghai gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Guangzhou receives 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Shanghai 19°C (65°F) 
    Guangzhou 25°C (76°F)

Should I visit Shanghai or Guangzhou in the Winter?

Both Guangzhou and Shanghai are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Shanghai for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Shanghai can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Shanghai is much colder than Guangzhou. Typically, the winter temperatures in Shanghai in January average around 4°C (39°F), and Guangzhou averages at about 14°C (58°F).

Shanghai usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Guangzhou during winter. Shanghai gets 135 hours of sunny skies, while Guangzhou receives 133 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Shanghai usually receives less rain than Guangzhou. Shanghai gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Guangzhou receives 43 mm (1.7 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Shanghai 4°C (39°F) 
    Guangzhou 14°C (58°F)

Should I visit Shanghai or Guangzhou in the Spring?

Both Guangzhou and Shanghai during the spring are popular places to visit. The spring months attract visitors to Shanghai because of the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

In April, Shanghai is generally much colder than Guangzhou. Daily temperatures in Shanghai average around 15°C (58°F), and Guangzhou fluctuates around 22°C (72°F).

In the spring, Shanghai often gets more sunshine than Guangzhou. Shanghai gets 153 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Guangzhou receives 78 hours of full sun.

Guangzhou gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Shanghai. Shanghai usually gets less rain in April than Guangzhou. Shanghai gets 102 mm (4 in) of rain, while Guangzhou receives 182 mm (7.2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Shanghai 15°C (58°F) 
    Guangzhou 22°C (72°F)

Typical Weather for Guangzhou and Shanghai

Shanghai Guangzhou
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (39°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 14°C (58°F) 43 mm (1.7 in)
Feb 5°C (41°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 15°C (59°F) 65 mm (2.6 in)
Mar 9°C (48°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 18°C (65°F) 85 mm (3.4 in)
Apr 15°C (58°F) 102 mm (4 in) 22°C (72°F) 182 mm (7.2 in)
May 20°C (67°F) 113 mm (4.5 in) 26°C (79°F) 284 mm (11.2 in)
Jun 24°C (75°F) 152 mm (6 in) 28°C (82°F) 258 mm (10.1 in)
Jul 28°C (83°F) 128 mm (5 in) 29°C (84°F) 228 mm (9 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 133 mm (5.2 in) 29°C (84°F) 221 mm (8.7 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 156 mm (6.1 in) 28°C (82°F) 172 mm (6.8 in)
Oct 19°C (65°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 25°C (76°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Nov 13°C (55°F) 52 mm (2 in) 20°C (68°F) 42 mm (1.7 in)
Dec 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 16°C (61°F) 24 mm (0.9 in)