A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Shanghai vs. Hong Kong for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Shanghai or Hong Kong?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare 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. So, let's dig into it.

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".

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong you will find a predominantly Cantonese population that has long been influenced by British occupation. Most residents speak English and you can see the obvious effects of years of capitalism. Shopping malls are everywhere and most are thriving. Along the waterfront every night the buildings light up in a dramatic and festive light show that highlights such businesses as Sony and Canon, which are fixtures in the city. The city is a major financial hub, and is very international in nature. The city itself is very densely packed and there are narrow high rises that look vulnerable due to their height. There are two main areas to the city, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Hong Kong Island is the location of the original British settlement. Today it is where you will find the highest skyscrapers, the most modern buildings, and the most popular shopping areas. Kowloon is located on a peninsula that is to the north of Hong Kong Island. The tip of the peninsula is a popular destination for backpackers as it has many of the city's hostels. This area is referred to as Tsim Sha Tsui. There are also a few high end hotels in the area. It is possible to head outside of the city so that you can escape into some rural regions where you can take a break from the crowds.

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 $103, while the average daily cost in Hong Kong is $128. 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. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Shanghai and Hong Kong in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $146 for a double occupancy room in Shanghai.

The prices for places to stay in Hong Kong can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $60, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $120.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $73
    Hong Kong $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $146
    Hong Kong $120

Food

The average traveler spends about $19 per day in Shanghai for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

In Hong Kong travelers spend around $26 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Shanghai $19
    Hong Kong $26
Typical Food prices in Shanghai

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


  • Dumpling Breakfast
    $1.55
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
    $23
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
    $8.07
  • Cantelope
    $1.86
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.33
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.66
  • Pastries
    $3.26
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $9.93

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
  • Chengdu Private Food Tour (With Visit to Kuanzhai Alley and Hotpot Experience): $32
  • Old Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour: $52
  • Cooking Class of Dumplings and Chinese Buns: $56
  • 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
  • Chinese Cooking Class in a Family Home: $75
  • Chengdu Jinsha Site Museum and Sanxingdui Museum Private Day Tour with Hotpot Dinner: $76
  • Dim Sum Cooking Class and Wet Market Visit in Shanghai: $78

Typical Food prices in Hong Kong

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


  • Dinner for 2
    $12

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:

  • Exclusive: Noah's Ark Hotel & Resort Seaside Staycation with Buddies Builder Workshop + Dinner at Harvest Restaurant and Seaview Breakfast: $16
  • Noah's Ark Tickets in Hong Kong (Optional Afternoon Tea, Beverage Voucher, or Dinner): $16
  • Foodcation@Lamma Island (Private Food Tour): $28
  • Ms Lo Soup Family - Soup Mix Cooking Pack (Delivery Charge Inclusive): $36
  • The Butchers Club Ultimate Burger Cooking Pack Grab & Go: $42
  • E-Ticket: Symphony of Lights Dinner Cruise and Free Transfer: $64
  • Fever Food Steak Home Cooking Pack (Delivery Charge Inclusive): $81
  • 2-Hour Dinner & Shows on Victoria Harbour Night Cruise: $81
  • Klook Exclusive: Fresh go Seafood Home Cooking Pack (Delivery Charge Inclusive): $87
  • Kowloon Mong Kok Food Tour: $89
  • Hong Kong Island North Point Food Tour: $89
  • Central and Sheung Wan Food Tour: $95

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Shanghai is $3.48 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Hong Kong than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $7.02 on transportation in Hong Kong on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Shanghai $3.48
    Hong Kong $7.02
Typical Local Transportation prices in Shanghai

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $4.03
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.93

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • [Up to 20% Off] Private City Transfers for Mutianyu Great Wall in Beijing : $23
  • [Up to 15% Off for Round Trip Transfers] Private Beijing Capital Airport Transfers (PEK) for Beijing : $37
  • 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
  • Yangshuo and Li River Highlights Day Tour with Transfers: $111
  • 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

Typical Local Transportation prices in Hong Kong

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


  • MTR (for 2)
    $2.83
  • Local Bus
    $2.83
  • Ferry Ticket
    $0.26
  • Hong Kong Airport Express Train Ticket
    $15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Hong Kong

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

  • Shared Coach Transfers between Hong Kong and Shenzhen Bay Port (Trans-Island): $6.45
  • Hong Kong Disneyland Transfers for Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), Tung Chung, and West Kowloon: $6.85
  • Shared Coach Transfers Between Hong Kong and Shenzhen by EE Bus: $7.75
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Hong Kong and Zhongshan: $8.75
  • Shared Coach Transfers from HKG Airport to Hong Kong Hotels: $8.75
  • Hong Kong Shared Bus Transfers (Macau Departure by Chinalink/Eternal East/One Bus): $10
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Hong Kong and Panyu by Eternal East Bus: $11
  • Shared Coach Transfers Between Hong Kong and Zhaoqing by EE Bus: $12
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Hong Kong and Shenzhen Airport (Trans-Island): $12
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Hong Kong and Foshan by Eternal East Bus: $13
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Huadu and Hong Kong by Eternal East Bus: $13
  • Shared Coach Transfers Between Hong Kong and Heyuan by EE Bus: $15

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.





Entertainment

Shanghai's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $7.58 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

Sightseeing expenses in Hong Kong, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $76 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $7.58
    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
    $31
  • Zoo for Two
    $16

Tours and Activities in Shanghai

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

  • Lionsgate Entertainment World Ticket in Henqin Zhuhai : $31
  • 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

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
    $7.71
  • 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
  • 18 Challenge Karting Experience in Hong Kong: $4.89
  • MTR Tourist Day Pass: $8.25
  • Starferry Sunset Cruise : $11
  • Peak Tram Sky Pass: Tram Ticket, Hong Kong Sky Tour and Sky Terrace 428 Entry: $13
  • Hidden Side of Hong Kong Adventure Walking Tour: $14
  • Hong Kong Historic Adventure Walking Tour: $14
  • Sense Beauty & Spa Experience in Hong Kong (4 Locations for Selection): $16
  • E-Ticket: Peak Tram Round Trip and Sky Terrace: $17
  • Hong Kong Secret Garden and Coastline Discovery Eco Tour: $18
  • VAR LIVE: D2 Place VR Experience in Lai Chi Kok: $18
  • [Exclusive Lane] Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car Ticket (Advance Roundtrip Standard with FREE snack or Discovery Centre admission): $19

Alcohol

The average person spends about $6.61 on alcoholic beverages in Shanghai per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Typically, people visiting Hong Kong spend on average $17 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $6.61
    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

Sample the Local Flavors in Hong Kong

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

  • Amber Coffee Brewery in Central: $8.10


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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