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

Should you visit Shanghai or Suzhou?

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 Suzhou. 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 Suzhou?

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".

Suzhou

Suzhou is a city in Jiangsu province famed for its beautiful gardens and traditional waterside architecture, featuring elaborate canals and bridges. Located on the Yangtze Delta, the city consists largely of waterways making Suzhou a kind of 'Venice of the Orient.' It is also a hub for scholars, artists, and skilled craftsmen.

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, Suzhou 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 Suzhou is $101. 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 Suzhou in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $81
    Suzhou $38
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $162
    Suzhou $76
Compare Hotels in Shanghai and Suzhou

Looking for a hotel in Shanghai or Suzhou? 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 Suzhou


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
    Suzhou $57
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:

  • Shanghai International Airport (PVG/SHA) Private Transfer: $15
  • Yiwu Railway Station Private Arrival Transfer to City Area: $18
  • Shanghai Hongqiao Airport Private Arrival Transfers: $18
  • Private Transfer: Hotel to Shanghai Stadium (Football Match, League of Legends): $20
  • Private Transfer to Shanghai Railway Station from City Hotels or Outskirts: $22
  • Private Transfer to ERA Acrobats Show at Shanghai Circus World: $22
  • Private Transfer to Huangpu River Cruise Terminal: $24
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Hotels to Shanghai Cruise Port: $24
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Cruise Port to Shanghai Hotels: $24
  • Private Transfer between Shanghai Pudong New Int’l Expo Centre and City Area : $25
  • Private Transfer from Shanghai Maglev Train Station to City Area : $25
  • Private Transfer between Qibao Ancient Water Town and Shanghai City Area : $25

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Suzhou

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Suzhou:

  • Private Round Trip Transfer to Tianping Mountain from Suzhou: $51
  • Private Round-Trip Transfer between Zhouzhuang Water Town and Suzhou City: $58
  • Private Round Trip Transfer from Suzhou to Luzhi Water Town: $64
  • Suzhou Private Transfer to Zhouzhuang Water Town with Shanghai Drop-off Option: $84
  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport Private Departure Transfer from Suzhou: $87
  • Shanghai Private Transfer from Suzhou with Stop-over at Tongli Water Town : $90
  • Hangzhou Private Transfer from Suzhou with Stop-over at Wuzhen Water Town : $143
  • Private Day Tour: Gardens and Old Street in Suzhou with Hotel or Railway Station Transfer: $214
  • Private Day Tour: Suzhou Highlights with Hotel or Railway Station Transfer: $227
  • Full-Day Suzhou Gardens Exploration with Hotel or Railway Station Transfer: $227
  • Shanghai Hongqiao Airport to Suzhou Chauffeur Service, Shanghai Airport Transfer: $240
  • Private Suzhou Garden and Water Town Highlight Trip with Hotel or Railway Station Transfer: $240

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Suzhou?

Prices for flights to both Suzhou 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
    Suzhou $32
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 Suzhou

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

  • Suzhou Alleyway Walking Food Tour: $55
  • Suzhou Alleyway Food Tour: $65
  • Private Suzhou Night Tour:Master of the Nets Garden, Ancient Canal with Dinner: $145

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $8.40
    Suzhou $9.29
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: $9.99
  • Yu Garden Shanghai Entry Tickets Booking: $14
  • Hop-on Hop-off Bus Ticket and Optional Attractions: $14
  • Yu Garden (Artistic Courtyard) E-ticket: $17
  • Shanghai Yu Garden Tour´╝ÜHarmony & Spirituality in Garden Art: $20
  • Shanghai Highlights Walking Tour: $29
  • Shanghai French Concession Walking Tour: $29
  • Zotter Chocolate Indulgence Tour in Shanghai: $30
  • Like a Local Customized Guided Tour: $35
  • Shanghai Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $35
  • Fudan University Student Guide Tour: $37
  • Shanghai Downtown Hotel to Baoshan Cruise Port:Private with Meet & Greet service: $38

Tours and Activities in Suzhou

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

  • Suzhou Self-Guided Tour with Private Car and Driver Service : $65
  • Zhouzhuang and Tongli Self-Guided Tour from Suzhou with Drop-off Options : $70
  • 4-Hour Suzhou Private Customized Tour: $80
  • Suzhou Private English Tour Guide Service: $91
  • Suzhou Private Walking Tour with Panmen Gate, City Moat and Yiyuan Garden: $101
  • 4-Hour Flexible Suzhou City Highlights Private Tour: $114
  • Suzhou Private Flexible City Tour with Lunch Option: $121
  • Wuzhen and Xitang Self-Guided Tour from Suzhou with Drop-off Options : $123
  • 4-Hour Suzhou Private Flexible Tour with Garden and Boat Ride Option: $125
  • 4-Hour Tongli Water Town Private Tour from Suzhou with Boat Ride : $127
  • Private Suzhou City Amazing Day Tour in Your Way : $127
  • Private Flexible Suzhou Day Tour with Old and New Highlights: $127

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $7.32
    Suzhou $6.38

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 comparing the travel costs between Shanghai and Suzhou, 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.

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


Which is Bigger, Shanghai or Suzhou?

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


When is the best time to visit Shanghai or Suzhou?

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 Suzhou in the Summer?

Both Suzhou 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 July, Shanghai is generally around the same temperature as Suzhou. Daily temperatures in Shanghai average around 28°C (83°F), and Suzhou fluctuates around 28°C (83°F).

It's quite sunny in Suzhou. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Shanghai. Shanghai usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Suzhou during summer. Shanghai gets 232 hours of sunny skies, while Suzhou receives 232 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Suzhou. It's quite rainy in Shanghai. In July, Shanghai usually receives around the same amount of rain as Suzhou. Shanghai gets 128 mm (5 in) of rain, while Suzhou receives 128 mm (5 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Shanghai 28°C (83°F) 
    Suzhou 28°C (83°F)

Should I visit Shanghai or Suzhou in the Autumn?

Both Suzhou 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.

Shanghai is around the same temperature as Suzhou in the autumn. The daily temperature in Shanghai averages around 19°C (65°F) in October, and Suzhou fluctuates around 19°C (65°F).

In the autumn, Shanghai often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Suzhou. Shanghai gets 162 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Suzhou receives 162 hours of full sun.

Shanghai usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Suzhou. Shanghai gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Suzhou receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Shanghai or Suzhou in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Shanghai and Suzhou. 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 Suzhou. It's quite cold in Shanghai in the winter. In the winter, Shanghai is around the same temperature as Suzhou. Typically, the winter temperatures in Shanghai in January average around 4°C (39°F), and Suzhou averages at about 4°C (39°F).

Shanghai usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Suzhou during winter. Shanghai gets 135 hours of sunny skies, while Suzhou receives 135 hours of full sun in the winter.

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


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

Should I visit Shanghai or Suzhou in the Spring?

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

In April, Shanghai is generally around the same temperature as Suzhou. Daily temperatures in Shanghai average around 15°C (58°F), and Suzhou fluctuates around 15°C (58°F).

In the spring, Shanghai often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Suzhou. Shanghai gets 153 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Suzhou receives 153 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Suzhou. Shanghai receives a lot of rain in the spring. Shanghai usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Suzhou. Shanghai gets 102 mm (4 in) of rain, while Suzhou receives 102 mm (4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Shanghai 15°C (58°F) 
    Suzhou 15°C (58°F)

Typical Weather for Suzhou and Shanghai

Shanghai Suzhou
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (39°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 4°C (39°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
Feb 5°C (41°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 5°C (41°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Mar 9°C (48°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 9°C (48°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Apr 15°C (58°F) 102 mm (4 in) 15°C (58°F) 102 mm (4 in)
May 20°C (67°F) 113 mm (4.5 in) 20°C (67°F) 113 mm (4.5 in)
Jun 24°C (75°F) 152 mm (6 in) 24°C (75°F) 152 mm (6 in)
Jul 28°C (83°F) 128 mm (5 in) 28°C (83°F) 128 mm (5 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 133 mm (5.2 in) 28°C (82°F) 133 mm (5.2 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 156 mm (6.1 in) 24°C (75°F) 156 mm (6.1 in)
Oct 19°C (65°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 19°C (65°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Nov 13°C (55°F) 52 mm (2 in) 13°C (55°F) 52 mm (2 in)
Dec 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)