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

Should you visit Shanghai or Hongcun?

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 Hongcun. 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 Hongcun?


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".


When you picture ancient China, you likely picture old cobblestone streets, white homes with pointed black roofs and a slight air of mysticism in the surroundings. This is Hongcun.

The backdrop for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is not usually on the top of many traveler's lists. This isn't a bustling tourist town with guides offering to show you the sights or carts peddling the latest tacky souvenir. It's a quiet village where you'll see the real Chinese culture. The homes along the complex water canals air their fish in their windows to preserve it for their family dinners. There is no bowing to tourism here.

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, Hongcun 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 Hongcun is $52. 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 Hongcun in more detail.

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

Looking for a hotel in Shanghai or Hongcun? 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 Hongcun

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
    Hongcun $12
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:

  • Yiwu Railway Station Private Arrival Transfer to City Area: $18
  • Yiwu Railway Station Private Departure Transfer from City Area : $18
  • Shanghai Hongqiao Airport Private Departure Transfers: $18
  • Shanghai Hongqiao Airport Private Arrival Transfers: $18
  • Shared Transfer: from Hotel in Shanghai to Shanghai Wusongkou Cruise Port: $20
  • Shanghai Pudong Airport Private Departure Transfers: $20
  • Private Transfer to ERA Acrobats Show at Shanghai Circus World: $22
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Hotels to Shanghai Cruise Port: $24
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Cruise Port to Shanghai Hotels: $24
  • Private Transfer to Huangpu River Cruise Terminal: $24
  • Shanghai Hongqiao Airport Chauffeur Service, Shanghai Airport Transfer: $25
  • Shanghai Maglev Train Station Private Transfer from City Area : $25

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Hongcun?

Prices for flights to both Hongcun 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
    Hongcun $19
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 Handmade Noodles by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Dim Sum by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Fried Rice by Sunflower Li : $20
  • Online Cooking Class Sesame Chicken by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class General Tso's Chicken by Sunflower Li: $20
  • 3-Hour Biking and Local Food Tour: $69
  • Authentic Local Food Tour in Central Shanghai: $79
  • Late night food tour in Shanghai's French Concession: $85
  • 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
  • 3-Hour Flexible Private Shanghai Night Tour with Local Dinner Option: $100

Typical Food Prices in Hongcun

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

  • Lunch for Two
  • Breakfast of Dumplings

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $8.44
    Hongcun $17
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:

  • The History of the French Concession: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Yuyuan Garden Entrance Ticket: $9.00
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Ticket Booking: $14
  • Hop-on Hop-off Bus Ticket and Optional Attractions: $14
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Tour:Harmony & Spirituality in Garden Art: $20
  • Shanghai French Concession Walking Tour: $29
  • Shanghai Highlights Walking Tour: $29
  • Like a Local Customized Guided Tour: $35
  • Shanghai Downtown Hotel to Baoshan Cruise Port:Private with Meet & Greet service: $38
  • Shanghai Hotels to Wusongkou Cruise Port:Private with Meet & Great service: $38
  • Fudan University Student Guide Tour: $42
  • Haipai Culture Tour|Shanghai's Past, Present & Future On One Road: $43

Typical Entertainment Prices in Hongcun

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Hongcun are as follows:

  • Two Entrance Tickets

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $7.36
    Hongcun $14

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: unique bar-hopping tour 2024: $18
  • Shanghai Luxury Bar Crawl in 5-star Hotel or Boutique Hotel: $255

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

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

When is the best time to visit Shanghai or Hongcun?

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 Hongcun in the Summer?

Both Hongcun and Shanghai are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Shanghai for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In the summer, Shanghai is around the same temperature as Hongcun. Typically, the summer temperatures in Shanghai in July average around 28°C (83°F), and Hongcun averages at about 29°C (85°F).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Hongcun. It's quite rainy in Shanghai. In July, Shanghai usually receives less rain than Hongcun. Shanghai gets 128 mm (5 in) of rain, while Hongcun receives 185 mm (7.3 in) of rain each month for the summer.

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

Should I visit Shanghai or Hongcun in the Autumn?

Both Hongcun and Shanghai during the autumn are popular places to visit. The autumn months attract visitors to Shanghai because of the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Shanghai is generally around the same temperature as Hongcun. Daily temperatures in Shanghai average around 19°C (65°F), and Hongcun fluctuates around 19°C (65°F).

Shanghai usually gets less rain in October than Hongcun. Shanghai gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Hongcun receives 74 mm (2.9 in) of rain this time of the year.

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

Should I visit Shanghai or Hongcun in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Shanghai and Hongcun. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Shanghai this time of year.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Hongcun. It's quite cold in Shanghai in the winter. Shanghai is around the same temperature as Hongcun in the winter. The daily temperature in Shanghai averages around 4°C (39°F) in January, and Hongcun fluctuates around 4°C (40°F).

In January, Shanghai usually receives around the same amount of rain as Hongcun. Shanghai gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Hongcun receives 38 mm (1.5 in) of rain each month for the winter.

  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Shanghai 4°C (39°F) 
    Hongcun 4°C (40°F)

Should I visit Shanghai or Hongcun in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Shanghai as well as Hongcun. Many travelers come to Shanghai for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Shanghai is cooler than Hongcun. Typically, the spring temperatures in Shanghai in April average around 15°C (58°F), and Hongcun averages at about 17°C (62°F).

It's quite rainy in Hongcun. Shanghai receives a lot of rain in the spring. Shanghai usually gets less rain in April than Hongcun. Shanghai gets 102 mm (4 in) of rain, while Hongcun receives 170 mm (6.7 in) of rain this time of the year.

  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Shanghai 15°C (58°F) 
    Hongcun 17°C (62°F)

Typical Weather for Hongcun and Shanghai

Shanghai Hongcun
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (39°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 4°C (40°F) 38 mm (1.5 in)
Feb 5°C (41°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 6°C (42°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
Mar 9°C (48°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 10°C (51°F) 117 mm (4.6 in)
Apr 15°C (58°F) 102 mm (4 in) 17°C (62°F) 170 mm (6.7 in)
May 20°C (67°F) 113 mm (4.5 in) 22°C (71°F) 189 mm (7.4 in)
Jun 24°C (75°F) 152 mm (6 in) 26°C (78°F) 235 mm (9.2 in)
Jul 28°C (83°F) 128 mm (5 in) 29°C (85°F) 185 mm (7.3 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 133 mm (5.2 in) 29°C (84°F) 121 mm (4.7 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 156 mm (6.1 in) 24°C (75°F) 95 mm (3.7 in)
Oct 19°C (65°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 19°C (65°F) 74 mm (2.9 in)
Nov 13°C (55°F) 52 mm (2 in) 13°C (55°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Dec 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 7°C (44°F) 36 mm (1.4 in)