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

Should you visit Shanghai or Hangzhou?

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 Hangzhou. 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 Hangzhou?

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".

Hangzhou

Hangzhou is a city in Eastern China, about an hour by train from Shanghai, renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty. Each year it attracts more than 20 million tourists who come to see what the city has to offer. Set amongst the natural scenery of lakes and mountains, Hangzhou is modern city that coexists with the old. Historic pagodas and cultural sites built around the central lake sit like they belong amidst the skyscrapers and bustling markets of today.

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, Hangzhou or Shanghai?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Shanghai is $114, while the average daily cost in Hangzhou is $65. 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 Hangzhou in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $81
    Hangzhou $23
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $162
    Hangzhou $46
Compare Hotels in Shanghai and Hangzhou

Looking for a hotel in Shanghai or Hangzhou? 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 Hangzhou


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 $3.85
    Hangzhou $8.08
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Shanghai

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.58
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.83

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • 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
  • Amazing Shanghai Night Lights:River Cruise &Private Transfer: $125
  • Arrival Private Transfer Pudong Airport PVG to Shanghai City by Standard Sedan: $74
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Pudong Airport PVG to Shanghai in Business Car : $115
  • Arrival Transfer by High-Speed Maglev Train: Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Hotel: $79
  • Flexible Hours of Private Shanghai Layover or Transfer Tour: $129
  • Flexible Hours of Shanghai Layover and Transfer Tour with Driver Only: $119
  • Guangzhou Airport Transfer by 5 seat standard car: $53

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Hangzhou

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


  • Local Bus for Two
    $0.55

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Hangzhou

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Hangzhou:

  • Private Transfer to Impression West Lake show in Hangzhou: $27
  • Hangzhou Private Transfer: City Hotels to Railway Station: $28
  • Hangzhou Railway Station Private Departure Transfer from City Area : $29
  • Hangzhou Railway Station Private Arrival Transfer to City Area : $29
  • Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport Private Arrival Transfer to City Area : $29
  • Hangzhou Xiaoshan Int'l Airport Private Departure Transfer from City Area : $29
  • Hangzhou East Railway Station Transfer To Hangzhou Downtown City: $32
  • Hangzhou Private Transfer: Railway Station to City Hotels: $33
  • Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport To Hangzhou downtown city one way private transfer: $35
  • Private Hangzhou Airport Transfer from Xixi Wetland Resorts and Hotels: $43
  • Hangzhou to Shanghai Bullet Train Ticket with Train Station Transfer: $45
  • Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport Chauffeur Service, HangzhouAirport Transfer, Pickup: $59

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Hangzhou?

Prices for flights to both Hangzhou 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
    Hangzhou $18
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
    $7.15
  • Cantelope
    $1.65
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.06
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.13
  • Pastries
    $2.89
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $8.80

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Shanghai

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

  • Online Cooking Class General Tso's Chicken by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Dim Sum by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Handmade Noodles by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Sesame Chicken by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Aunthentic Local Food Tour in Downtown Shanghai : $23
  • Evening Walking Food Tour: $69
  • 3-Hour Biking and Local Food Tour: $71
  • Authentic Local Food Tour in Central Shanghai: $79
  • Private Cooking Class: Make Your Own Dim Sum In Shanghai: $88
  • 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

Typical Food Prices in Hangzhou

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Hangzhou:


  • Breakfast Pastries
    $2.34
  • Pizza Hut Lunch
    $11

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Hangzhou

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

  • All Inclusive Night Tour with Impression West Lake Show VIP Ticket and Dinner: $117
  • Private Amazing Hangzhou Airport Layover Tour with Lunch or Dinner Option : $170
  • Xitang Water Town Private Night Tour from Hangzhou with Dinner: $203
  • Hangzhou Private Tour to Wuzhen Water Town with Lunch or Dinner: $213

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $8.39
    Hangzhou $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
    $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: $9.99
  • Yu Garden Shanghai Entry Tickets Booking: $14
  • Hop-on Hop-off Bus Ticket and Optional Attractions: $14
  • Yu Garden (Artistic Courtyard) E-ticket: $17
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Tour´╝ÜHarmony & Spirituality in Garden Art: $20
  • Shanghai French Concession Walking Tour: $29
  • Shanghai Highlights Walking Tour: $29
  • Shanghai Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $35
  • Like a Local Customized Guided Tour: $35
  • 7 Days Shared Tour Visit to China with Meals Included: $36
  • Fudan University Student Guide Tour: $37
  • Shanghai Hotels to Wusongkou Cruise Port:Private with Meet & Great service: $38

Tours and Activities in Hangzhou

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

  • Fei Lai Peak (Lingyin Temple) E-Ticket: $12
  • Authentic Hangzhou Longjing Tea Culture Experience Tour : $53
  • Hangzhou Longjing Tea Plantation Culture Experience Tour: $53
  • Best Price: Impression West Lake Show Ticket: $59
  • Skip the Line: Impression West Lake Show Ticket: $65
  • Zuiyi Hangzhou Impression West Lake Show Ticket: $75
  • Half-Day Hangzhou Tianzhu Buddhist Mountain Hiking Tour with Green Tea Village : $89
  • Enduring Memories of Hangzhou Show Ticket with Private Transport: $89
  • Independent Tour to Shaoxing City from Hangzhou: $94
  • Night Tour with Impression West Lake Show VIP Ticket and Hefang Heritage Street : $95
  • 4-Hour Hangzhou Highlights Tour of Lingyin Temple and West Lake: $99
  • Songcheng Park & Lengend of Song Dynasty Show Ticket: $100

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $7.32
    Hangzhou $10

Sample the Local Flavors in Shanghai

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

  • Guided Bar Crawl with Shots and Club Entry: $19
  • Shanghai Luxury Bar Crawl in 5-star Hotel or Boutique Hotel: $255


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

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


Which is Bigger, Shanghai or Hangzhou?

Shanghai has a larger population, and is about 8 times larger than the population of Hangzhou. When comparing the sizes of Shanghai and Hangzhou, 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 Hangzhou?

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 Hangzhou in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Shanghai and Hangzhou. The summer months attract visitors to Shanghai because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

Shanghai is around the same temperature as Hangzhou in the summer. The daily temperature in Shanghai averages around 28°C (83°F) in July, and Hangzhou fluctuates around 29°C (85°F).

Hangzhou receives a lot of rain in the summer. Shanghai gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Shanghai usually receives around the same amount of rain as Hangzhou. Shanghai gets 128 mm (5 in) of rain, while Hangzhou receives 129 mm (5.1 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Shanghai 28°C (83°F) 
    Hangzhou 29°C (85°F)

Should I visit Shanghai or Hangzhou in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Shanghai as well as Hangzhou. The city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Shanghai this time of year.

In the autumn, Shanghai is around the same temperature as Hangzhou. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Shanghai in October average around 19°C (65°F), and Hangzhou averages at about 19°C (66°F).

Shanghai usually gets less rain in October than Hangzhou. Shanghai gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Hangzhou receives 90 mm (3.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Shanghai 19°C (65°F) 
    Hangzhou 19°C (66°F)

Should I visit Shanghai or Hangzhou in the Winter?

Both Hangzhou and Shanghai are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Shanghai for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Hangzhou can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Shanghai. In January, Shanghai is generally cooler than Hangzhou. Daily temperatures in Shanghai average around 4°C (39°F), and Hangzhou fluctuates around 5°C (41°F).

In January, Shanghai usually receives less rain than Hangzhou. Shanghai gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Hangzhou receives 59 mm (2.3 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Shanghai 4°C (39°F) 
    Hangzhou 5°C (41°F)

Should I visit Shanghai or Hangzhou in the Spring?

Both Hangzhou and Shanghai during the spring are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Shanghai in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

Shanghai is cooler than Hangzhou in the spring. The daily temperature in Shanghai averages around 15°C (58°F) in April, and Hangzhou fluctuates around 16°C (61°F).

Hangzhou 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 Hangzhou. Shanghai gets 102 mm (4 in) of rain, while Hangzhou receives 130 mm (5.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Shanghai 15°C (58°F) 
    Hangzhou 16°C (61°F)

Typical Weather for Hangzhou and Shanghai

Shanghai Hangzhou
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (39°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 5°C (41°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Feb 5°C (41°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 6°C (42°F) 88 mm (3.4 in)
Mar 9°C (48°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 10°C (50°F) 115 mm (4.5 in)
Apr 15°C (58°F) 102 mm (4 in) 16°C (61°F) 130 mm (5.1 in)
May 20°C (67°F) 113 mm (4.5 in) 21°C (70°F) 159 mm (6.3 in)
Jun 24°C (75°F) 152 mm (6 in) 25°C (77°F) 185 mm (7.3 in)
Jul 28°C (83°F) 128 mm (5 in) 29°C (85°F) 129 mm (5.1 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 133 mm (5.2 in) 29°C (84°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 156 mm (6.1 in) 24°C (76°F) 171 mm (6.7 in)
Oct 19°C (65°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 19°C (66°F) 90 mm (3.5 in)
Nov 13°C (55°F) 52 mm (2 in) 13°C (56°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)
Dec 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 7°C (45°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)