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

Should you visit Shenzhen or Shanghai?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Shenzhen and Shanghai can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Shenzhen or Shanghai?

Shenzhen

Located in the Guangdong Province of southeastern China, Shenzhen is a metropolis that connects Hong Kong to China's mainland. It is one of China's most populous cities, inhabited by vast array of people from other Chinese regions.  It is perhaps best known for it shopping, collection of amusement parks, green parks, museums and galleries, and a few historic sites. It is on UNESCO's Creative Cities list.

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".

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Lhasa, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Shanghai, The Best 2-Week Tours from Beijing, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to China.


Which place is cheaper, Shanghai or Shenzhen?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Shenzhen is $123, while the average daily cost in Shanghai is $114. 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 Shenzhen and Shanghai in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shenzhen $89
    Shanghai $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shenzhen $178
    Shanghai $162
Compare Hotels in Shenzhen and Shanghai

Looking for a hotel in Shenzhen or Shanghai? 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 Shenzhen


Hotels in Shanghai


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.
    Shenzhen $15
    Shanghai $3.86

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shenzhen

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

  • A One-Way Hotel Pick-Up Transfer to Ocean Park Hong Kong: $26
  • Private Departure Transfer:Shenzhen City Hotel to Any Shenzhen Railway Station : $29
  • Private Departure Transfer: City Hotel to Shenzhen Shekou Ferry Terminal: $29
  • Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) Private Transfer: $30
  • Hong Kong Airport HKG Private Transfer to Kowloon City: $31
  • [Airport Transfer] Shenzhen Airport 送 迎 Shenzhen City Transfer High reputation for service! : $32
  • A One-Way Disneyland Pick-Up Transfer to Hong Kong Hotel: $33
  • Private Transfer from Hong Kong Hotels to Kai Tak Cruise Terminal: $36
  • Hong Kong City to Kai Tak Cruise Terminal - Departure Private Transfer : $36
  • Private Transfer from Shekou Cruise Port to Shenzhen city hotels: $42
  • Private Transfer from Shenzhen Int Airport (SZX) to Shekou Port: $42
  • Private Transfer from Shekou Cruise Port to Shenzhen Airport(SZX): $42

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 transfer from Wusongkou CruisePort to Disneyland and back: $64
  • [Airport Transfer] Shanghai Pudong Airport / Hongqiao Airport ⇔ Shanghai City Transfer ☆ High reputation for service! <Charter charter>: $27
  • Zhujiajiao Water Town and Shanghai City Self-Guide 10-Hour Private Transfer Tour: $138
  • Zhujiajiao Water Town Self-Guided Tour with Private Transfer from Shanghai: $75
  • Zhujiajiao Water Town Private Round-Trip Transfers: $72
  • Yiwu Airport Private Departure Transfer from City Area : $20
  • Yiwu Airport Private Arrival Transfer to City Area : $20
  • Xitang Water Town Self-Guided Tour from Shanghai with Private Transfer: $100
  • Wuzhen and Xitang Water Town Private Transfer from Shanghai: $132
  • Wusongkou Cruise Terminal to Hongqiao Airport Chauffeur Service, Port Transfer: $87
  • World 5th Tallest Giant Buddha (ticket & Roundtrip transfer): $199
  • Tongli Water Town Self-Guided Tour with Private Transfer from Shanghai: $100

Is it cheaper to fly into Shenzhen or Shanghai?

Prices for flights to both Shanghai and Shenzhen 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
    Shenzhen $20
    Shanghai $21

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Shenzhen

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

  • Vegetarian Food Tour: $77
  • Hong Kong Guided Dinner + Laser Show Lounge Entry (2023) | 200+ booked : $100
  • Hong Kong Food Tour: Central and Sheung Wan Districts: $108
  • Secret Food Tour With the Locals in Tin Hau Hong Kong w/ Private Tour Option: $109
  • Private Food Tour With the Locals in Hong Kong: $143
  • Traditional Chinese Pun Choi cooking class in Hong Kong: $146
  • Hong Kong Crazy Rich Asian Food Tour with a Local: 100% Personalized & Private : $164
  • Hong Kong Food Tour with a Local: A Feast for Foodies 100% Personalized: $164
  • Kowloon Street Food Tour with a Local: 100% Personalized & Private: $164
  • Private Food Tour: Hong Kong Island: $237

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 Dim Sum by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Online Cooking Class Sesame Chicken by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Evening Walking Food Tour: $69
  • 3-Hour Biking and Local Food Tour: $70
  • 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
  • 3-Hour Flexible Private Shanghai Night Tour with Local Dinner Option: $100
  • 2.5hrs Chinese Kitchen Cooking Class: Art Steamed Dumplings: $110

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shenzhen $17
    Shanghai $8.40

Tours and Activities in Shenzhen

For Shenzhen, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Skip the Line! Walk to the Peak: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.34
  • Hong Kong Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.00
  • Hong Kong Airport Express Ticket: $11
  • Hong Kong Airport Express Train Tickets(Avoid Heavy Traffic): $15
  • Walking Tour in Hong Kong - Local Experience (New & Best) : $17
  • [Entry After 6pm] sky100 Min. 2pax Ticket Offer (F-II_2P): $17
  • sky100 Tales of Hongkong Admission Ticket F-KE: $21
  • Dukling Boat Tour in Victoria Harbour: $25
  • Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car Ticket on Lantau Island: $26
  • Historia Tour of the Youngest Big4 City of Old China: $30
  • Victoria Harbour Yacht Night Cruise - DREAMER: $31
  • Kowloon Walking Tour on the Dark Side of Hong Kong: $33

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 to Hangzhou Mini Group Tour: $131
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Shanghai Museum,Yu Garden, the Bund and Nanjing Road: $190
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Shanghai Museum,Yu Garden,the Bund & Huangpu River Cruise : $213
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Suzhou from Shanghai: $272
  • 1-Day Shanghai Tour to Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Yu Garden and Jade Buddha Temple: $224

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shenzhen $19
    Shanghai $7.32

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: $21
  • Shanghai Luxury Bar Crawl in 5-star Hotel or Boutique Hotel: $255


When comparing the travel costs between Shenzhen and Shanghai, we can see that Shenzhen 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 Shenzhen Expensive? and Is Shanghai Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Shenzhen or Shanghai?

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

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Shenzhen or Shanghai in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Shenzhen as well as Shanghai. Additionally, many travelers come to Shanghai for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Shenzhen is generally around the same temperature as Shanghai. Daily temperatures in Shenzhen average around 30°C (85°F), and Shanghai fluctuates around 28°C (83°F).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Shanghai. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Shenzhen this time of the year. In the summer, Shenzhen often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Shanghai. Shenzhen gets 231 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Shanghai receives 232 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Shanghai. Shenzhen receives a lot of rain in the summer. Shenzhen usually gets more rain in July than Shanghai. Shenzhen gets 323 mm (12.7 in) of rain, while Shanghai receives 128 mm (5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Shenzhen 30°C (85°F) 
    Shanghai 28°C (83°F)

Should I visit Shenzhen or Shanghai in the Autumn?

Both Shanghai and Shenzhen are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Also, many visitors come to Shanghai in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Shenzhen is a little warmer than Shanghai in the autumn. The daily temperature in Shenzhen averages around 26°C (78°F) in October, and Shanghai fluctuates around 19°C (65°F).

Shenzhen usually receives more sunshine than Shanghai during autumn. Shenzhen gets 190 hours of sunny skies, while Shanghai receives 162 hours of full sun in the autumn.

It's quite rainy in Shenzhen. In October, Shenzhen usually receives more rain than Shanghai. Shenzhen gets 143 mm (5.6 in) of rain, while Shanghai receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Shenzhen 26°C (78°F) 
    Shanghai 19°C (65°F)

Should I visit Shenzhen or Shanghai in the Winter?

Both Shanghai and Shenzhen during the winter are popular places to visit. Also, most visitors come to Shanghai for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Shanghai can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Shenzhen is much warmer than Shanghai. Typically, the winter temperatures in Shenzhen in January average around 16°C (60°F), and Shanghai averages at about 4°C (39°F).

In the winter, Shenzhen often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Shanghai. Shenzhen gets 140 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Shanghai receives 135 hours of full sun.

Shenzhen usually gets less rain in January than Shanghai. Shenzhen gets 26 mm (1 in) of rain, while Shanghai receives 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Shenzhen 16°C (60°F) 
    Shanghai 4°C (39°F)

Should I visit Shenzhen or Shanghai in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Shenzhen and Shanghai. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Shanghai because of the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

In April, Shenzhen is generally much warmer than Shanghai. Daily temperatures in Shenzhen average around 23°C (73°F), and Shanghai fluctuates around 15°C (58°F).

Shenzhen usually receives less sunshine than Shanghai during spring. Shenzhen gets 95 hours of sunny skies, while Shanghai receives 153 hours of full sun in the spring.

Shanghai receives a lot of rain in the spring. Shenzhen gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Shenzhen usually receives more rain than Shanghai. Shenzhen gets 154 mm (6.1 in) of rain, while Shanghai receives 102 mm (4 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Shenzhen 23°C (73°F) 
    Shanghai 15°C (58°F)

Typical Weather for Shanghai and Shenzhen

Shenzhen Shanghai
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 16°C (60°F) 26 mm (1 in) 4°C (39°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
Feb 16°C (61°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) 5°C (41°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Mar 19°C (66°F) 67 mm (2.6 in) 9°C (48°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Apr 23°C (73°F) 154 mm (6.1 in) 15°C (58°F) 102 mm (4 in)
May 27°C (80°F) 325 mm (12.8 in) 20°C (67°F) 113 mm (4.5 in)
Jun 29°C (83°F) 382 mm (15 in) 24°C (75°F) 152 mm (6 in)
Jul 30°C (85°F) 323 mm (12.7 in) 28°C (83°F) 128 mm (5 in)
Aug 29°C (85°F) 393 mm (15.5 in) 28°C (82°F) 133 mm (5.2 in)
Sep 28°C (83°F) 300 mm (11.8 in) 24°C (75°F) 156 mm (6.1 in)
Oct 26°C (78°F) 143 mm (5.6 in) 19°C (65°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Nov 21°C (70°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 13°C (55°F) 52 mm (2 in)
Dec 17°C (63°F) 27 mm (1.1 in) 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)