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

Should you visit Shanghai or Kunming?

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 Kunming. 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 Kunming?

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".

Kunming

Kunming, located in southern China, is the modern capital city of the Yunnan province. It is a transportation hub for visitors entering the region, and good transfer point to just about everywhere else in the province by train or bus. Within the city itself there are many things to see and do with a full range of parks and zoos, museums, temples, theatres, and scenic areas.

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, Kunming or Shanghai?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Shanghai is $114, while the average daily cost in Kunming is $67. 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 Kunming in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $81
    Kunming $33
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $162
    Kunming $66
Compare Hotels in Shanghai and Kunming

Looking for a hotel in Shanghai or Kunming? 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 Kunming


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 $3.86
    Kunming $13
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Shanghai

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.58
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.83

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • Private Layover Transfer with Attractions Tickets: $516
  • 1 Day-Pass for Disneyland Shanghai and Private Transfer Package: $245
  • Shanghai to Xi’an Bullet Train Ticket with Local Hotel Private Transfers : $245
  • Shanghai private higlights city tour with guide and transfer: $220
  • Shanghai To Beijing Bullet Train Ticket with Local Private Transfer : $211
  • World 5th Tallest Giant Buddha (Ticket & Roundtrip transfer): $199
  • Shanghai to Suzhou and Tongli Water Town Self-Guide Tour Private Round Transfer: $171
  • Shanghai to Hangzhou Private Transfer with Stop at Wuzhen : $166
  • Shanghai to Hangzhou Private Transfer with Stop at Xitang Water Town: $157
  • Shanghai to Beijing Bullet Train Ticket with Hongqiao Station Transfer: $150
  • Shanghai Era Theatre Acrobatics Show with Hotel Transfer: $149
  • Shanghai Airport to Ningbo City Private Arrival Transfer: $149

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Kunming

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $1.51

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kunming

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

  • [Airport Transfer] Kunming Changshui Airport ⇔ Kunming City Transfer ☆ High reputation for service! <Charter charter>: $36
  • Kunming Changshui Airport Chauffeur Service, Kunming Airport Transfer, Pick up: $71
  • Kunming Changshui Airport Chauffeur Service, Kunming Airport Transfer, Pickup: $83
  • Kunming Private Round Trip Transfer to Fuxianhu Lake: $90
  • Private Transfer from Kunming hotel to Guizhou Xingyi hotel: $240

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Kunming?

Prices for flights to both Kunming 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
    Kunming $22
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
    $7.15
  • Cantelope
    $1.65
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.06
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.13
  • Pastries
    $2.89
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $8.81

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Shanghai

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

  • Online Cooking Class Sesame Chicken by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Dim Sum by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Evening Walking Food Tour: $69
  • 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
  • 4-Hour Food Tour in Qibao Water Town from Shanghai by Subway: $95
  • 2.5hrs Chinese Kitchen Cooking Class: Xiaolongbao Soup Dumplings: $99
  • 3-Hour Flexible Private Shanghai Night Tour with Local Dinner Option: $100

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kunming

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

  • Kunming evening food tour with locals: $65
  • Half Day Private Tour of Kunming Flower Market and Flower Pastry Cooking Class: $165

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $8.40
    Kunming $18
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 Full Day City Tour with Old and New Highlights: $108
  • Yiwu International Trade City Private Day Tour from Shanghai by Bullet Train: $183
  • water village of shagnhai tour: $248
  • 1 Day Shanghai Airport Layover Private Tour for City Highlights: $202
  • 1 Day Shanghai Highlight Small Group Tour: $124
  • 1 Days Shanghai Quality Group Tour: $110
  • 1 day Shanghai City Mini Group tour: $92
  • 1 day Shanghai to Hangzhou Mini Group Tour: $131
  • 1 day Shanghai to Suzhou Garden Mini Group tour: $116
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai City Tour to See Its Past, Present and Future: $229
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Shanghai Museum,Yu Garden, the Bund and Nanjing Road: $190

Tours and Activities in Kunming

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Kunming.

  • One day tour to eastern coast region of Daichi Lake: $69
  • One day Kunming leisure city tour: $70
  • Half Day Kunming History Tour: $80
  • Half-Day History Tour in Kunming: $82
  • Private Night Tour to Enjoy Dynamic Yunnan Show: $86
  • Half Day Flower Tour in Kunming: $91
  • 1-Day Self-Guided Stone Forest Geological Park Tour from Kunming: $106
  • Private Day Tour of Jiuxiang Cave from Yunnan: $109
  • 4-Hour Tea-tasting and Cha Guo Zi (茶果子)Experience Tour: $112
  • 1-Day Kunming Scenery Tour: $122
  • 1-Day Panorama Tour in Kunming: $122
  • Private Kunming Night Tour with Dynamic Yunnan Show: $125

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $7.32
    Kunming $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 Pub Crawl - 4 Hour Bar-hopping: $22
  • Shanghai Luxury Bar Crawl in 5-star Hotel or Boutique Hotel: $255


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

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


Which is Bigger, Shanghai or Kunming?

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