A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Shanghai vs. Hong Kong for Attractions, Food, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Shanghai or Hong Kong?

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 Hong Kong. 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

Shanghai is a professional, diverse, and bustling port city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a dense, cosmopolitan, and glamorous city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the food, hiking, and shopping.

How is Shanghai different from Hong Kong?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is Shanghai or Hong Kong better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Plenty of people visit the sights and museums in both Shanghai and Hong Kong.

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 a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Hong Kong can be an interesting and educational experience. The city's skyline is one of the most famous "landmarks", but you'll also want to visit Victoria Peak, the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, Wong Tai Sin Temple, and Avenue of Stars.


Is Shanghai or Hong Kong better for Food?

Foodies will find both Shanghai and Hong Kong 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.

Known for it's food scene, Hong Kong is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. The city's population is famous for its frequency of dining out, and the prolific diversity of restaurants is obvious from the moment you arrive. There are street food stalls and night markets, as well as luxury award winning restaurants. The city holds tight to its culinary traditions, but fusion restaurants are creeping in as well. Some of the most famous Hong Kong foods include dim sum, sweet and sour pork, and roast goose.

Is Shanghai or Hong Kong better for Nightlife?

Evening events are similar in both Shanghai and Hong Kong.

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.

Hong Kong has a large number of nightlife venues. The city lights up after the sun sets. You'll find a diverse range of activities in the evening ranging from night markets to concerts and parties. Many of the most popular venues are found around Central and, like everything else in Hong Kong, the venues are often compact and crowded.

Is Shanghai or Hong Kong better for Shopping?

Both Shanghai and Hong Kong 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.

Known for shopping, Hong Kong draws large crowds to its stores. There is a high concentration of shopping malls in the city, and you'll likely find yourself cutting through malls to access different parts of town. The city is arguably one of the best shopping cities in the world. Popular items to purchase in the city include designer clothes, handbags, electronics, jewelry, watches, and tailor-made suits.

Is Shanghai or Hong Kong better for Families?

Both Shanghai and Hong Kong 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.

Hong Kong is an amazing family-friendly port city to visit. In addition to its many fascinating cultural experiences like visiting the markets and historical landmarks, this city also has a diversity of kid-friendly entertainment options. The most obvious is Disneyland, but there are also other amusement parks and aquariums like Ocean Park. Make sure you check out the Symphony of Lights in the evening and head to The Peak Tower during the day.


Is Shanghai or Hong Kong better for Couples?

Shanghai and Hong Kong both fun destinations for a couple.

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.

Hong Kong has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. This city is filled with luxury hotels, beautiful parks, and impressive restaurants. For a romantic evening, check out the Symphony of Lights over Victoria Harbour after the sun sets.

Is Shanghai or Hong Kong better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Both Shanghai and Hong Kong are popular destinations for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Shanghai. 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 backpackers visit Hong Kong. The city is more expensive than many places, but cheap eateries and free activities are abundant. Many backpackers stay in the Tsim Sha Shui area of Kowloon. This is where you'll find the frequently talked about Chungking Mansions. Times are changing though, and you'll find more hostels on Hong Kong Island these days as well.

Is Shanghai or Hong Kong better for Public Transit?

Both Shanghai and Hong Kong 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.

Visitors in Hong Kong can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. Land transportation includes the MTR (Mass Transit Railway), buses, minibuses, and tramways. There are also ferries that connect the different parts of the city.

Is Shanghai or Hong Kong a more walkable city?

Shanghai and Hong Kong both are comparable when exploring on foot.

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.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Hong Kong. The city has many parks and walking paths that connect different areas.


Shanghai and Hong Kong: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty


Should I spend more time in Hong Kong or Shanghai?

How long in Shanghai or Hong Kong?

Both Shanghai and Hong Kong have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Hong Kong 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 Hong Kong is 3-7 days.


  • How many days in Shanghai or Hong Kong? Ideal Length of Stay
    Shanghai 2-5 
    Hong Kong 3-7

One day in Shanghai or Hong Kong?

People visit Shanghai because there is so much to do. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

The beautiful city of Hong Kong 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.

A weekend in Shanghai or Hong Kong?

People visit Shanghai because there is so much to do. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this port city has to offer. This port city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Hong Kong 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 around the area.

Five days in Shanghai or Hong Kong?

People visit Shanghai because there is so much to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this port city makes for a great vacation. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this port city has to offer.

Hong Kong is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Hong Kong, five days is sufficent for most. The entire area has lots to do.

A week in Shanghai or Hong Kong?

Shanghai is a popular choice for travelers. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Hong Kong 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 Hong Kong has to offer. This city offers something for everyone.

Which city is cheaper, Hong Kong or Shanghai?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Shanghai is $99, while the average daily cost in Hong Kong is $127. 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 Hong Kong in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $69
    Hong Kong $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $138
    Hong Kong $120

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Shanghai $3.32
    Hong Kong $6.96
Typical Local Transportation prices in Shanghai

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.85
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.89

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • Zhujiajiao Water Town and Shanghai City Self-Guide 10-Hour Private Transfer Tour: $129
  • Zhujiajiao Water Town Self-Guided Tour with Private Transfer from Shanghai: $64
  • Zhouzhuang and Tongli Water Town Private Transfer Service from Shanghai: $93
  • Xitang Water Town Self-Guided Tour from Shanghai with Private Transfer: $88
  • Wuzhen and Xitang Water Town Private Transfer from Shanghai: $132
  • Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal-Pudong Airport One Way Private Transfer: $34
  • Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal-Downtown Hotel Private One Way Transfer: $32
  • Wusongkou Cruise Terminal to Hongqiao Airport Chauffeur Service, Port Transfer: $87
  • Wusongkou Cruise Terminal Share Transfer Service, Baoshan Port Pick up Service: $29
  • Transfer in private minivan from Shanghai City to Hongqiao Airport: $57
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Shanghai City to Hongqiao Airport: $33
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Shanghai City to Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG): $57

Typical Local Transportation prices in Hong Kong

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


  • MTR (for 2)
    $2.80
  • Local Bus
    $2.80
  • Ferry Ticket
    $0.25
  • Hong Kong Airport Express Train Ticket
    $14

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Hong Kong

Also for Hong Kong, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Hong Kong Shared Departure Transfer: Hotel to Airport: $30
  • Hong Kong Shared Arrival Transfer: Airport to Hotel: $30
  • Private Airport Transfer: Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) to Hong Kong: $32
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Hong Kong to Hong Kong Int. Airport (HKG): $32
  • HongKong airport Private transfer to Tsim Sha Tsui or Kowlong City maxi 9 person: $35
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Hong Kong Airport to Hong Kong Island or City Center: $38
  • Private Departure Transfer from Hong Kong Island or City to Hong Kong Airport: $38
  • HongKong airport Private transfer to or from HongKong Island maximum 9 person: $39
  • HKG Private Arrival Transfer from Hong Kong Airport to Hotel: $48
  • HKG Private Departure Transfer from Hong Kong/Kowloon Hotel to Hong Kong Airport: $48
  • Hong Kong City to Cruise Port Hong Kong - Private Car Transfer: $49
  • Hong Kong City to Hong Kong Airport (HKG) - Departure Private Transfer: $62

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Hong Kong?

Prices for flights to both Hong Kong 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 $18
    Hong Kong $26
Typical Food prices in Shanghai

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


  • Dumpling Breakfast
    $1.48
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
    $22
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
    $7.70
  • Cantelope
    $1.78
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.22
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.44
  • Pastries
    $3.11
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $9.48

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

Typical Food prices in Hong Kong

For Hong Kong, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Dinner for 2
    $11

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Hong Kong

For Hong Kong, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • E-Ticket: Symphony of Lights Dinner Cruise and Free Transfer: $64
  • 2-Hour Dinner & Shows on Victoria Harbour Night Cruise: $81
  • Hong Kong Market Tour and Cantonese Cooking Class with a Local Chef: $154
  • Private Food Tour: The Best Bites of Mongkok: $204
  • Private Food Tour: The Best Bites of Hong Kong Island: $204
  • Private Romantic Dinner for 2 on Luxury Yacht: $1,549

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $7.23
    Hong Kong $76
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:

  • 1 Day Bus Tour in Amazing Shanghai Highlights: $113
  • 1 Day Hangzhou Private Tour: $312
  • 1 Day Shanghai Airport Layover Private Tour for City Highlights: $202
  • 1 Day Shanghai Highlight Small Group Tour: $124
  • 1 Day of Shanghai Premiere Experience: $730
  • 1 day Nanjing tour from Shanghai by train: $400
  • 1 day Shanghai City Mini Group tour: $92
  • 1-Day Authentic Shanghai Tour by Walking & Metro: $193
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai City Tour to See Its Past, Present and Future: $204
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai to Wuzhen Tour to Admire the Classical Water Town: $271
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Hangzhou by car from Shanghai: $305
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Shanghai Museum,Yu Garden, the Bund and Nanjing Road: $178

Typical Entertainment prices in Hong Kong

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Hong Kong's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Peak Tram
    $7.65
  • Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
    $24

Tours and Activities in Hong Kong

For Hong Kong, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • A Food Adventure in Hong Kong with a Local Foodie: $2.64
  • Peak Tram Sky Pass: Tram Ticket, Hong Kong Sky Tour and Sky Terrace 428 Entry: $13
  • E-Ticket: Peak Tram Round Trip and Sky Terrace: $17
  • sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck Admission Ticket: $19
  • Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car Ticket on Lantau Island: $21
  • Skip the line: E-Tickets in Macau: $23
  • Victoria Peak Hong Kong (Tai Ping Shan) Ticket: $24
  • Hong Kong Sky100 Admission Ticket: $24
  • Victoria Harbour Cruise by Aqua Luna: $28
  • Central Street Art Walking Tour: $28
  • sky100 Admission Ticket for Two Person with One Free Café 100 Dining Voucher: $31
  • Skip The Line: Ngong Ping Cable Car Round Trip Voucher: $31

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $6.31
    Hong Kong $17

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 Shanghai and Hong Kong, we can see that Hong Kong is more expensive. And not only is Shanghai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Shanghai would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Shanghai 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 Hong Kong would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Hong Kong than you might in Shanghai.

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Shanghai vs. Hong Kong Travel Comparison

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