A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Shanghai vs. Singapore for Attractions, Food, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Shanghai or Singapore?

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 Singapore. 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 diverse, bustling, and trendy port city. Visitors will also find so much to do here because it's a large city with many sights and attractions. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and shopping.

Singapore

Singapore is a diverse, colorful, and glitzy 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. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Shanghai and Singapore: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Bund
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • 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 Singapore?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Singapore than Shanghai. While Shanghai is larger than Singapore, Singapore has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Singapore is more popular for its music, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, and beaches, while Shanghai is known for its museums. Shanghai is popular for its historical landmarks, local street food, vibrant markets, and waterfront promenade. Singapore is popular for its blend of cultures, its lush gardens, and its clean streets. It is also home to Merlion Park Waterfront.

How is Shanghai different from Singapore?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Singapore 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 Singapore?

Shanghai
Singapore

Shanghai is a must-visit destination for its sights and museums. Also, Singapore is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

You'll find many recognizable landmarks that put Shanghai on the map. 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.

Many visitors head to Singapore specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. The mix of cultures and unique history have led to museums and landmarks that mix historic and modern. The Merlion statue in Merlion Park has become a symbol of the city. For an educational experience, head to the Asian Civilizations Museum, and to see colonial architecture check out Fort Canning Park.


Is the Food Better in Shanghai or Singapore? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Shanghai
Singapore

Foodies will find both Shanghai and Singapore both to be amazing 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, Singapore is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. From local dives to five star restaurants, the city's food scene is all about diversity. Make sure you try Hainanese chicken rice, chili crab, and Hokkien prawn mee.

Is Shanghai or Singapore Better for Nightlife?

Shanghai
Singapore

Evening events are good in both Shanghai and Singapore.

There's a variety of activities in the evening 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.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Singapore. It's all about the glitzy nightclubs and exclusive cocktail bars. Head to Clarke Quay, Marina Bay Sands, or one of the many rooftop bars to experience the best of Singapore's nightlife. Do keep in mind that the city has a high alcohol tax, and strict rules around drinking in public places during certain hours.

Is Shanghai or Singapore Better for Music?

Shanghai
Singapore

Singapore is a world-class destination for its live music scene. However, Shanghai is not a live music destination.

Live music, and music in many other forms, is everyone in Singapore As a globalized city, you'll find almost any type of music here. Popular music venues include Timbre, Zouk, and the Crazy Elephant.

Shanghai is not a live music destination.


Is Shanghai or Singapore Better for Resorts?

Shanghai
Singapore

Singapore is a world-class destination for its resorts. However, Shanghai is not a resort destination.

Vacationers flock to Singapore for its luxury resorts. From sleek high rises with rooftop pools to family-friendly resorts with kid oriented activities, this city has it all. Popular resorts include Oasia Resort Sentosa, Dusit Thani Laguna, and The Ritz-Carlton.

Shanghai is not a resort destination.

Is Shanghai or Singapore Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Shanghai
Singapore

Singapore is not a good place to visit for its diving and snorkeling. However, Shanghai is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Singapore isn't the best spot for snorkeling. The best place to snorkel in the area is Pulau Hantu.

Shanghai is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Shanghai or Singapore Better for Beaches?

Shanghai
Singapore

Singapore is a good destination for the beache. However, Shanghai is not a beach destination.

Singapore offers a nice beach destination. You'll find most of the area's best beaches on Sentosa Island. There's a 2 kilometer long artificial beach that is split into Palawan Beach, Siloso Beach, and Tanjong Beach.

Shanghai is not a beach destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Shanghai or Singapore?

Shanghai
Singapore

Both Shanghai and Singapore are amazing 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 Singapore specifically to go shopping. You'll find tons of malls along Orchard Road, but for a more eclectic shopping experience head to the Chinatown Street Market.

Is Shanghai or Singapore Better for Families?

Shanghai
Singapore

Singapore 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, Singapore is very family-friendly. With places like Sentosa and Universal Studios, there really is no shortage of activities for kids. There's also a zoo, an aquarium, and bird park, and many kid-friendly museums.

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 Singapore Better for Couples?

Shanghai
Singapore

Shanghai and Singapore both amazing 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.

Singapore makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. The city has stunning hotels, amazing restaurants, and plenty of fun activities that are perfect for couples.


Is Shanghai or Singapore Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Shanghai
Singapore

Singapore is a world-class destination for backpackers. Also, Shanghai is not as famous, but is still a good port city to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Singapore. Many backpackers use this city as a starting or ending point for their Southeast Asian backpacking trip. It's modern and glamourous, but still has plenty of backpacker-friendly and budget-friendly options.

Plenty of budget travelers and 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.

Is Shanghai or Singapore Better for Students?

Shanghai
Singapore

Singapore is a world-class destination for students. Also, Shanghai is not as famous, but is still a good port city to visit for its student-friendly activities.

Singapore is a very popular place to visit for students. As such a diverse city, you'll find plenty of international students as well as expats to hang out with.

Shanghai is a very popular port city for students and younger travelers. 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.

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

Shanghai
Singapore

Singapore 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 Singapore can get you around easily. There is the MRT subway system as well as buses that travel all over 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 Singapore a more walkable city?

Shanghai
Singapore

Singapore 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 Singapore on foot. It's possible to walk in most areas in the city center. There are also park connectors that are nice for taking a stroll or going for a run.

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 Singapore Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Singapore or Shanghai?

How long in Shanghai or Singapore?

Both Shanghai and Singapore have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Singapore than in Shanghai. Usually, 2-5 days is a good amount of time for Shanghai, and 2-7 days is enough time in Singapore.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Singapore than Shanghai 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 Singapore.


  • How many days in Shanghai or Singapore? Ideal Length of Stay
    Shanghai 2-5 
    Singapore 2-7

One day in Shanghai or Singapore?

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 Singapore offers museums and nightlife. It's also a relaxing resort destination. 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 Singapore?

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.

Singapore is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Singapore, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.


Five days in Shanghai or Singapore?

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.

Singapore is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Singapore, 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 Singapore?

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.

Singapore is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Singapore has to offer. This city offers something for everyone.


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


Which place is cheaper, Singapore 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 Singapore is $152. 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 Singapore in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $81
    Singapore $98
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $162
    Singapore $196
Compare Hotels in Shanghai and Singapore

Looking for a hotel in Shanghai or Singapore? 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 Singapore


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 $3.88
    Singapore $10
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:

  • Shanghai Hongqiao Airport Private Arrival Transfers: $18
  • Shared Transfer: from Hotel in Shanghai to Shanghai Wusongkou Cruise Port: $20
  • Yiwu Airport Private Arrival Transfer to City Area : $20
  • Yiwu Airport Private Departure Transfer from City Area : $20
  • Shanghai Pudong Airport Private Departure Transfers: $20
  • Shanghai Pudong Airport Private Arrival Transfers: $20
  • Private Transfer to Shanghai Railway Station from City Hotels or Outskirts: $22
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Cruise Port to Shanghai Hotels: $24
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Hotels to Shanghai Cruise Port: $24
  • Shanghai Hongqiao Airport Chauffeur Service, Shanghai Airport Transfer: $25
  • Shanghai Maglev Train Station Private Transfer from City Area : $25
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Maglev Train Station to City Area : $25

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Singapore

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Singapore:


  • Taxi to Airport
    $24

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Singapore

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Singapore:

  • Singapore City Tour With Sharing Transfers: $10
  • Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) Private Transfer: $20
  • Private Airport Transfer in Singapore: $25
  • Private Arrival Transfer From Singapore Airport or Port to Hotel: $27
  • MBCC & HFCC - Cruise Terminal to City Hotel Transfer: $29
  • Singapore Departure Transfer (Hotel to Airport): $29
  • Singapore City Hotel to Singapore Cruise Terminal (HFCC)Transfer: $29
  • Singapore City Hotel to Marina Bay Cruise Terminal Transfer: $29
  • Marina Bay Cruise Centre to Changi Airport Transfer: $29
  • Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) Private Transfer to Downtown: $30
  • Singapore Changi Airport: Private Arrival Transfer with Meet & Greet Service: $31
  • Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) to Singapore - Arrival Private Transfer: $31

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Singapore?

Prices for flights to both Singapore 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
    Singapore $28
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 Singapore

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


  • Breakfast
    $4.51
  • Sugarcane Juice
    $1.48

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Singapore

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

  • Secrets of Singapore Kick Scooter Tour with Dinner: $47
  • Secrets of Singapore Kick Scooter Tour with Dinner: $48
  • Guided Hawker Culture & Street Food Tour at Night: $65
  • Local Hawker Food Tour with Tastings: $65
  • Marina Bay Sands Yacht Cruise with Dinner: $68
  • Hawker Culture Food Tour and Sightseeing: $71
  • Eat and Snap in Chinatown Walking Food Tour: $72
  • Eat Snap Katong Walking Food Tour: $72
  • Small Group: Michelin and Local Hawker Food Tour: $73
  • Private Korean Cooking Class in Balmoral Road: $74
  • Singapore Bike and Bites Food Tour: $75
  • Zebra Urban Safari Bicycle Tour with Local Dinner and Drinks: $76

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $8.44
    Singapore $32
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:

  • The History of the French Concession: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Ticket Booking: $14
  • Hop-on Hop-off Bus Ticket and Optional Attractions: $14
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Tour´╝ÜHarmony & Spirituality in Garden Art: $20
  • Shanghai French Concession Walking Tour: $29
  • Shanghai Highlights Walking Tour: $29
  • Like a Local Customized Guided Tour: $35
  • Shanghai Like a Local: Customized Private 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: $38
  • Fudan University Student Guide Tour: $42

Tours and Activities in Singapore

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

  • The Civic District: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $3.99
  • Kampong Glam: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $4.99
  • Singapore Street Art Hunting in Kampong Glam: A Self-guided Audio Tour: $5.20
  • Artoholic A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.20
  • Big Little India: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.20
  • Singapore's History of Trade: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.20
  • Kampong Glam: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of Singapore's Malay Culture: $5.20
  • The Civic District: Hear stories about Singapore's past on an audio tour: $5.20
  • Indian Heritage Centre Admission Ticket: $5.37
  • Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall Entry Ticket: $5.93
  • Indian Heritage Centre Entrance Ticket: $5.93
  • Singapore's Stories and Histories: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $6.99

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $7.36
    Singapore $27

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

Sample the Local Flavors in Singapore

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Singapore:

  • Party Singapore Bespoke Pub Crawl: $19
  • Tour of Tiger Brewery in Singapore: $21
  • Singapore Pub Crawl - Party like a Local: $26
  • Little India Pub Crawl: $26
  • Halloween Horror Nightlife PartySingapore Bespoke Pub Crawl: $37
  • LeVeL33 Rooftop Brewery Tour & Craft Beer Tasting: $74


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Shanghai and Singapore, we can see that Singapore 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 Singapore would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Singapore 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 Singapore Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Shanghai or Singapore?

Shanghai has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Singapore. When comparing the sizes of Shanghai and Singapore, 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.