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 shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Shanghai and Hong Kong: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Bund
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Shanghai or Hong Kong?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Hong Kong than Shanghai. While Shanghai is larger than Hong Kong, Hong Kong has more sights and attractions for tourists. Hong Kong is better known for its nightlife, beaches, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Shanghai is more popular for its museums. Shanghai is well known for its historical landmarks, local street food, vibrant markets, and waterfront promenade. Hong Kong is well known for its modern skyscrapers, colorful waterfront, lush parks, and amazing dim sum. Also, Hong Kong is famous for Victoria Peak.

How is Shanghai different from Hong Kong?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Hong Kong and Shanghai. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Shanghai or Hong Kong?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Shanghai is an unbeatable place for its museums and history. Also, Hong Kong is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

The museums and tourist attractions in Shanghai are world-renowned. 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.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Hong Kong. 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 the Food Better in Shanghai or Hong Kong? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Foodies will find both Shanghai and Hong Kong both to be world-class 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.

For foodies, Hong Kong is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. 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?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Hong Kong is notable for nightlife and partying. Also, Shanghai is not as famous, but is still a good port city to visit for its evening party scene.

Hong Kong has plenty to do after the sun goes down. The city lights up after the sun sets. You'll find a diverse range of activities in the evening with everything from night markets to concerts and parties. There's a wonderful mix of traditional and contemporary activities, particularly around Lan Kwai Fong. Many of the most popular venues are found around Central and, like everything else in Hong Kong, the venues are full of energy.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe 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.

Is Shanghai or Hong Kong Better for Beaches?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Hong Kong is notable for the beache. However, Shanghai is not a beach destination.

Many people visit Hong Kong for it's beautiful beaches. You actually don't have to travel far from the city center to find a relatively quiet, sandy beach. The different beaches on Hong Kong Island are relatively close to each other, and each has its own atmosphere. If you need a break from the heat and the crowds, then a beach day is a fun option. Hong Kong's natural coastline give way to popular beaches including Repulse Bay Beach and Shek O Beach. Each offers a number of amenities and dining options.

Shanghai is not a beach destination.


Is Shanghai or Hong Kong Better for Hiking?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Hong Kong is notable for the nearby hiking options. However, Shanghai is not a hiking destination.

Hong Kong is a popular spot for hiking. The city is surrounded by dramatic mountains and beautiful viewpoints, making it easy to enjoy a day in nature. The hikes will offer impressive views and dramatic rock formations. Popular hikes in the area include The Peak, Dragon's Back, and the Violet Hill and Twin Peak hike.

Shanghai is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Shanghai or Hong Kong?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Both Shanghai and Hong Kong are world-class 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.

Many people travel to Hong Kong specifically to go shopping. 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?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a world-class destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Shanghai is not as famous, but is still a good port city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Hong Kong is very family-friendly. 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.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Shanghai. 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.


Is Shanghai or Hong Kong Better for Couples?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Shanghai and Hong Kong both world-class 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 makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. 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?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Shanghai is a very popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Hong Kong is not quite as popular, but is fairly good 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.

Hong Kong is a good port city to visit for backpackers. 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 Students?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Shanghai is a very popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Hong Kong is not popular with students.

Shanghai is a great port city to visit as a student. The city attracts international and study abroad students who enjoy its long history and fascinating culture. It's a world financial capital with many businesses headquartered here, so employment opportunities are abundant.

Hong Kong is not popular with students.


Is Shanghai or Hong Kong Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a world-class destination for its public transit. Also, Shanghai is not as famous, but is still a good port city to visit for times when you don't have a car.

With a huge network, the transit system in Hong Kong can get you around easily. Land transportation includes the MTR (Mass Transit Railway), buses, minibuses, and tramways. There are also ferries that connect the different parts of the city.

The public transit in Shanghai can get you to most places easily. There is a metro system as well as buses and taxis which are relatively affordable.

Is Shanghai or Hong Kong a more walkable city?

Shanghai
Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a world-class destination for its high level of walkability. Also, Shanghai is not as famous, but is still a good port city to visit for its ease of walking around.

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

Shanghai is a very walkable destination. It's possible to explore the major tourist areas on foot but it can be very hot and humid during the summer months.

For even more information, also check out Is Shanghai Worth Visiting? and Is Hong Kong Worth Visiting?.

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 in Shanghai. Usually, 2-5 days is a good amount of time for Shanghai, and 3-7 days is enough time in Hong Kong.

Families should spend more time in Hong Kong than Shanghai. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Hong Kong, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Hong Kong than Shanghai. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Hong Kong that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Shanghai than Hong Kong if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Shanghai.


  • 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. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. 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. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. 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 here.

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 region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

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. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. 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.


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


Which place 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 $115, while the average daily cost in Hong Kong is $160. 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 Hong Kong in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $81
    Hong Kong $75
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $162
    Hong Kong $150
Compare Hotels in Shanghai and Hong Kong

Looking for a hotel in Shanghai or Hong Kong? 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 Hong Kong


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.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Hong Kong Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Shanghai $3.88
    Hong Kong $8.73
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:

  • [Airport Transfer] Shanghai Pudong Airport / Hongqiao Airport ⇔ Shanghai City Transfer ☆ High reputation for service! <Charter charter>: $27
  • Zhujiajiao Water Town and Shanghai City Self-Guide 10-Hour Private Transfer Tour: $138
  • Yiwu Airport Private Departure Transfer from City Area : $20
  • Yiwu Airport Private Arrival Transfer to City Area : $20
  • Xitang Water Town Self-Guided Tour from Shanghai with Private Transfer: $100
  • Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal-Pudong Airport One Way Private Transfer: $35
  • Wusongkou Cruise Terminal to Pudong Airport Chauffeur Service, Port Transfer: $95
  • Wusongkou Cruise Terminal to Hongqiao Airport Chauffeur Service, Port Transfer: $87
  • Wusongkou Cruise Terminal Share Transfer Service, Baoshan Port Pick up Service: $29
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer in Shanghai APT-HTL (PVG,SHA): $51
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer in ShangHai HTL-APT (PVG,SHA): $51
  • Transfer From City to Shanghai Pudong Airport (English Driver): $68

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Hong Kong

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


  • MTR (for 2)
    $2.82
  • Local Bus
    $2.82
  • Ferry Ticket
    $0.26
  • Hong Kong Airport Express Train Ticket
    $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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Shanghai $21
    Hong Kong $33
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

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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $8.44
    Hong Kong $95
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:

  • Half-Day Private Tour of Shanghai Bund with River Cruise or Tower View: $90
  • Private Shanghai Flexible City Highlight Tour with Night Cruise: $221
  • Private Shanghai Full Day City Tour with Old and New Highlights: $108
  • Shanghai Layover Tour to Xinchang Water Town with City Highlights Option : $135
  • Yiwu International Trade City Private Day Tour from Shanghai by Bullet Train: $183
  • Yuyuan Garden and Shanghai Museum Private Shanghai Day Tour: $175
  • Zhouzhuang Water Town Self-Guided Day Tour from Shanghai: $88
  • water village of shagnhai tour: $248
  • 1 Day Shanghai Private Tour: $180
  • 1 Days Shanghai Quality Group Tour: $110
  • 1 day Shanghai City Mini Group tour: $92
  • 1 day Shanghai to Hangzhou Mini Group Tour: $131

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
    $7.68
  • 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:

  • Plover Cove Bicycling and Hiking Adventure: $110
  • Ma On Shan Climbing Adventure: $115

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $7.36
    Hong Kong $21

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 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.

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


Which is Bigger, Shanghai or Hong Kong?

Shanghai has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Hong Kong. When comparing the sizes of Shanghai and Hong Kong, 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.