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

Should you visit Shanghai or Seoul?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Shanghai and Seoul. 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".

Seoul

With a population of more than 11 million, Seoul is easily the largest city in South Korea. It is also the financial, political, and cultural capital of the country and has much to offer open minded travelers. It is often overlooked by travelers who instead head to Tokyo or Shanghai, but Seoul has a wide range of cultural experiences, food options, and historical sights. Seoul is a city of contrasts with ancient traditions, flashy technology, religious temples and a modern youth culture. It is also more affordable than many of the other Asian metropolis' to which it is often compared. If you're looking for an interesting and different experience that is a little off the tourist trail, Seoul can definitely offer that opportunity.

Which city is cheaper, Seoul 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 Seoul is $100. 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 Seoul 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.

Seoul's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $102. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $51.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $73
    Seoul $51
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $146
    Seoul $102

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.

While meal prices in Seoul can vary, the average travelers spends about $28 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Seoul should cost around $11 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Seoul is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Shanghai $19
    Seoul $28
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
    $4.65
  • 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 Seoul

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


  • Rice with Kimchi & Bacon
    $5.08
  • Waffle
    $0.85
  • Dippin' Dots
    $1.69
  • Chicken Fried Rice
    $4.65
  • Chicken Stick
    $1.69
  • Drinking Yoghurt & Mi Chew
    $1.61
  • Lunch Buffet
    $5.08
  • Donut
    $0.85
  • Mushroom Burger
    $4.40
  • Green Tea Ice Cream
    $2.79
  • Udon & Sushi
    $5.92
  • Fresh Burger
    $4.06
  • Soba Noodles Lunch
    $3.81
  • Bibimbap Lunch
    $4.23
  • Fried Rice
    $4.65
  • Vietnamese Dinner
    $8.04
  • Breakfast and Coffee for 2
    $8.04
  • Donut
    $2.12

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Seoul

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

  • Jeonju Virtual Tour and Online Cooking Class with Kimchi Chef: $13
  • Mokpo Virtual Tour and Online Cooking Class with Kimchi Chef: $13
  • Gangneung Virtual Tour and Online Cooking Class with Kimchi Chef: $13
  • Andong Virtual Tour and Online Cooking Class with Kimchi Chef: $13
  • Yeot-gangjeong Making Cooking Class in Gangnam: $17
  • Incheon Sunset and Seafood Tour: $22
  • Night Market Food Tour: $48
  • Busan Jagalchi Market Tour and Korean Daily Special Dish Cooking Class: $49
  • Traditional Korean Cooking Class (Kimchi) & market tour with chef Joungy: $51
  • Korean Full-Course Meal Cooking Class at Local Home with Local Market Experience in Seoul: $52
  • Private Traditional Korean Cooking Class and Dongdaemun Market Food Tour by Janet's Cooking Studio: $52
  • Korean Cooking Class with Full-Course Meal & Local Market Tour: $56

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.

The average price of local transportation around Seoul is $14 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Shanghai $3.48
    Seoul $14
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:

  • Shared Coach Transfers between Shenzhen Bay Port and Hong Kong (Trans-island): $6.45
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Panyu and Hong Kong by Eternal East Bus: $11
  • Private Transfer To/From Pudong Airport - Shanghai Hotels: $12
  • Shared Shenzhen Airport (SZX) Coach Transfers for Hong Kong (Trans-Island): $12
  • Shared Coach Transfers Between Hong Kong and Zhaoqing by EE Bus: $12
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Foshan and Hong Kong by Eternal East Bus: $13
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Hong Kong and Huadu by Eternal East Bus: $13
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Foshan and Hong Kong: $14
  • Shared Coach Transfers Between Guangzhou and Hong Kong: $14
  • Shared Coach Transfers between Shunde and Hong Kong: $14
  • Shared Coach Transfers Between Heyuan and Hong Kong by EE Bus: $15
  • Shared Hong Kong International Airport Transfers (HKG) for Shenzhen: $15

Typical Local Transportation prices in Seoul

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


  • Subway Card
    $4.23
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $5.92
  • Metro Ride
    $1.14
  • Seoul City Pass Plus
    $8.46

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Seoul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Seoul:

  • Shared Transfers between Myeongdong and N Seoul Tower: $5.19
  • Shared One Way Transfer from Seoul to Nami Island or Gangchon Rail Bike: $6.59
  • Round Trip Everland Shuttle Bus Transfers from Seoul by World Travel: $8.25
  • Round Trip Shuttle Bus Transfers to Everland by World Travel: $8.65
  • Shuttle Bus Transfers between Seoul and Everland by Daesung Tour: $9.35
  • Round Trip Shuttle Bus Transfers to Everland from Seoul by JINA International Travel: $9.35
  • Incheon International Airport (ICN) Limousine Bus Transfers for Seoul (Gangnam District): $12
  • Everland Theme Park Private Transfer: $16
  • Round Trip DMZ Shuttle Bus Transfers from Seoul: $22
  • Shared Airport Transfers (ICN/GMP) for Seoul: $25
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Seoul to Gimpo International Airport (GMP): $31
  • Private Airport Transfer: Gimpo International Airport (GMP) to Seoul: $31

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Seoul?

Prices for flights to both Seoul 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 $7.57 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.

Seoul's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $25 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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $7.57
    Seoul $25
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:

  • Hupao Park Ticket in Hangzhou (For Mainland China ID Holders): $2.35
  • China Red Sandalwood Museum Ticket in Beijing : $2.79
  • Simatai Great Wall Admission with Cable Car Ticket in Beijing: $3.09
  • Giant Panda Breeding Research Base Ticket Chengdu - ID Card Direct Entry: $4.19
  • half day tour of shanghai: $5.34
  • Evergreen Resort Ticket in Shenzhen: $6.19
  • Jinxi Ancient Town Attractions Combo Ticket: $6.99
  • Gulangyu Seashell Museum Ticket: $7.45
  • Ferry Round Trip Ticket between Xiamen City and Gulangyu Sanqiutian Pier: $8.55
  • Wuyishan Xiamei Ancient Village Admission Ticket: $8.55
  • Ferry Round Trip Ticket between Xiamen City and Gulangyu Neicuoao Pier: $8.55
  • Shanghai Joy City Rooftop Ferris Wheel - Sky Ring Ticket: $9.29

Typical Entertainment prices in Seoul

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


  • Palace Tickets
    $6.77
  • Movie Ticket
    $6.77
  • Kimchi Museum
    $2.54

Tours and Activities in Seoul

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

  • Jeju Samseonghyeol Shrine Admission Ticket: $0.69
  • Mobile KOREA TOUR CARD (Tmoney): $2.19
  • Cart Riding, Horse Riding, and Maze Park Experience in Jeju Seri World : $3.45
  • Norimae Park Ticket in Jeju: $3.45
  • Jeju Camellia Hill Admission Ticket: $3.65
  • Royal Seoul Private Tour: Zombie City Exploration Game: $3.72
  • National Museum of Korea Private Tour: Seoul Exploration Game: $3.72
  • Alice in Wonderland Ticket in Jeju: $4.09
  • Alternative Uncover the city's alternative culture on an audio tour: $5.00
  • Soingook Theme Park Admission Ticket: $5.05
  • Jeju Marine Animal Museum Admission Ticket: $5.10
  • Spirited Garden Ticket in Jeju: $5.19

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.

The average person spends about $11 on alcoholic beverages in Seoul per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $6.61
    Seoul $11

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 Seoul

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

  • Absolute Busan Pub Crawl Experience in Seomyeon and Haeundae: $11
  • Absolute Seoul Pub Crawl Experience in Hongdae and Itaewon: $19
  • Seoul Pub Crawl and Party with Free Shots: $24
  • 3-Hour Small Group Korean Pub Crawl + Food Tasting in Hongdae: $86


When comparing the travel costs between Shanghai and Seoul, we can see that Shanghai is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Asia, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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Shanghai vs. Seoul Travel Comparison

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