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

Should you visit Shanghai or Hefei?

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 Hefei. 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 Hefei?


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".


While most would consider the city of Hefei a pass-through destination, there are plenty of things to see in the capital city of China's Anhui province.

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, Hefei 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 Hefei 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Shanghai and Hefei in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $81
    Hefei $28
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $162
    Hefei $56
Compare Hotels in Shanghai and Hefei

Looking for a hotel in Shanghai or Hefei? 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 Hefei

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 $3.87
    Hefei $17
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Shanghai

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

  • Taxi Ride
  • Two Subway Tickets

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 City Center : $30
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Pudong Airport : $43
  • 3-hour Private Transfer to Shanghai ERA Acrobatic Show from City Center: $53
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Pudong Airport PVG to Shanghai in Business Car : $113
  • Chauffeur service, Limousine airport transfer in Shanghai-English speaking: $51
  • Departure Transfer by High-Speed Maglev Train: Hotel to Shanghai Pudong International Airport: $79
  • Flexible Hours of Shanghai Layover and Transfer Tour with Driver Only: $119
  • Hongqiao Airport (SHA)private transfer to downtown hotel Shanghai: $24
  • Hongqiao Airport(SHA)-Hotel Downtown One way Private Transfer: $25
  • Nanxun Ancient Water Town Self-Guided Tour with Private Transfer from Shanghai: $123
  • Oneway Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG) Private Transfer: $21

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Hefei?

Prices for flights to both Hefei 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 Meals for one day
    Shanghai $21
    Hefei $21
Typical Food Prices in Shanghai

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

  • Dumpling Breakfast
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
  • Cantelope
  • Dumplings and Soup
  • Duck Dinner
  • Pastries
  • Barbeque Dinner

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Shanghai

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

  • Online Cooking Class Dim Sum by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Fried Rice by Sunflower Li : $20
  • Private Cooking Class: Make Your Own Dim Sum In Shanghai: $67
  • Evening Walking Food Tour: $69
  • 3-Hour Biking and Local Food Tour: $70
  • 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
  • 2.5hrs Chinese Kitchen Cooking Class: Xiaolongbao Soup Dumplings: $99
  • 3-Hour Flexible Private Shanghai Night Tour with Local Dinner Option: $100
  • 2.5hrs Chinese Kitchen Cooking Class: Art Steamed Dumplings: $110

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $8.42
    Hefei $19
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
  • Zoo for Two

Tours and Activities in Shanghai

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

  • 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
  • Shanghai Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $35
  • Like a Local Customized Guided Tour: $35
  • Fudan University Student Guide Tour: $37
  • Shanghai Downtown Hotel to Baoshan Cruise Port:Private with Meet & Greet service: $38
  • Shanghai Wusongkou Cruise Port to Hongqiao Airport:Private with Meet service: $40
  • Shanghai Tower Tickets Booking: $42
  • 4-Hour Nightlife Adventure & Tasting Bike Tour: $45
  • Shanghai Tower Observation Deck 118 floor Tickets Pre-booking.: $45

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $7.34
    Hefei $11

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: $22

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

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

Which is Bigger, Shanghai or Hefei?

Shanghai has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Hefei. When comparing the sizes of Shanghai and Hefei, 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 Hefei?

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 Hefei in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Shanghai and Hefei. The city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Shanghai this time of year.

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

Hefei 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 Hefei. Shanghai gets 128 mm (5 in) of rain, while Hefei receives 171 mm (6.7 in) of rain each month for the summer.

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

Should I visit Shanghai or Hefei in the Autumn?

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

In the autumn, Shanghai is around the same temperature as Hefei. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Shanghai in October average around 19°C (65°F), and Hefei averages at about 18°C (64°F).

Shanghai usually gets less rain in October than Hefei. Shanghai gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Hefei receives 66 mm (2.6 in) of rain this time of the year.

  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Shanghai 19°C (65°F) 
    Hefei 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Shanghai or Hefei in the Winter?

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

Hefei can be very cold during winter. Shanghai can get quite cold in the winter. In January, Shanghai is generally a little warmer than Hefei. Daily temperatures in Shanghai average around 4°C (39°F), and Hefei fluctuates around 3°C (38°F).

In January, Shanghai usually receives more rain than Hefei. Shanghai gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Hefei receives 30 mm (1.2 in) of rain each month for the winter.

  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Shanghai 4°C (39°F) 
    Hefei 3°C (38°F)

Should I visit Shanghai or Hefei in the Spring?

Both Hefei and Shanghai during the spring are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Shanghai for the activities around the city and the natural beauty during these months.

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

It rains a lot this time of the year in Shanghai. Shanghai usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Hefei. Shanghai gets 102 mm (4 in) of rain, while Hefei receives 95 mm (3.7 in) of rain this time of the year.

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

Typical Weather for Hefei and Shanghai

Shanghai Hefei
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (39°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 3°C (38°F) 30 mm (1.2 in)
Feb 5°C (41°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 5°C (40°F) 51 mm (2 in)
Mar 9°C (48°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 10°C (50°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
Apr 15°C (58°F) 102 mm (4 in) 16°C (61°F) 95 mm (3.7 in)
May 20°C (67°F) 113 mm (4.5 in) 22°C (71°F) 97 mm (3.8 in)
Jun 24°C (75°F) 152 mm (6 in) 25°C (78°F) 121 mm (4.8 in)
Jul 28°C (83°F) 128 mm (5 in) 29°C (83°F) 171 mm (6.7 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 133 mm (5.2 in) 29°C (83°F) 111 mm (4.4 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 156 mm (6.1 in) 23°C (74°F) 86 mm (3.4 in)
Oct 19°C (65°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 18°C (64°F) 66 mm (2.6 in)
Nov 13°C (55°F) 52 mm (2 in) 11°C (53°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)
Dec 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 5°C (42°F) 25 mm (1 in)