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

Should you visit Xiamen 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 Xiamen 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: Xiamen or Shanghai?


Xiamen is a coastal city in the Fujian Province of China and has been a major port city and gateway to China for centuries. This vibrant and modern city was named the most livable city in the world in 2002 and one of the first cities to be named a Special Economic Zone. Xiamen is best known for being home to Gulangyu Island, a beautiful island full of historic colonial buildings and lovely walking paths.


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 Hiking & Trekking Tours in China, The Best Historical Tours in China, The Best 10-Day Tours in China, and The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in China.

Which place is cheaper, Shanghai or Xiamen?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Xiamen is $64, while the average daily cost in Shanghai is $115. 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 Xiamen and Shanghai in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Xiamen $30
    Shanghai $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Xiamen $60
    Shanghai $162
Compare Hotels in Xiamen and Shanghai

Looking for a hotel in Xiamen 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 Xiamen

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.
    Xiamen $5.98
    Shanghai $3.87

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Xiamen

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

  • Private Arrival Transfer from Gaoqi Airport to Xiamen City Hotel: $10
  • Private Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport Transfers in Xiamen City: $12
  • Private Departure Transfer to North Railway Station from Downtown Xiamen: $15
  • Private Xiamen Gaoqi Airport Arrival Transfer to City Area: $30
  • Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport Chauffeur Service ,Xiamen Airport Transfer: $47
  • Private City Transfers in Xiamen : $68
  • Private Transfer between Xiamen City and Hua’an Earth Building: $89
  • Private Transfer Service between Xiamen and Anxi : $89
  • Private Transfer Between Xiamen City and Yun Shui Yao Ancient Town: $89
  • Private Transfer to Tianluokeng Tulou and Yunshuiyao Village from Xiamen City: $93
  • Private Transfer to Tianluokeng Tulou and HongKeng Hakka Tulou from Xiamen City : $98
  • Private Transfer to Tianluokeng Tulou and Hekeng Hakka Tulou from Xiamen City : $98

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Shanghai

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

  • Taxi Ride
  • Two Subway Tickets

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • [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
  • Zhouzhuang and Tongli Water Town Private Transfer Service from Shanghai : $103
  • Yiwu Airport Private Departure Transfer from City Area : $20
  • Yiwu Airport Private Arrival Transfer to City Area : $20
  • Wuzhen and Xitang Water Town Private Transfer from Shanghai: $132
  • Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal-Pudong Airport One Way Private Transfer: $35
  • Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal-Downtown Hotel Private One Way Transfer: $28
  • Wusongkou Cruise Terminal to Hongqiao Airport Chauffeur Service, Port Transfer: $87
  • World 5th Tallest Giant Buddha (ticket & Roundtrip transfer): $199

Is it cheaper to fly into Xiamen or Shanghai?

Prices for flights to both Shanghai and Xiamen 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 Meals for one day
    Xiamen $26
    Shanghai $21

Typical Food Prices in Shanghai

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

  • Dumpling Breakfast
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
  • Cantelope
  • Dumplings and Soup
  • Duck Dinner
  • Pastries
  • Barbeque Dinner

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 Fried Rice by Sunflower Li : $20
  • Online Cooking Class Handmade Noodles by Sunflower Li: $20
  • Private Cooking Class: Make Your Own Dim Sum In Shanghai: $67
  • Private Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with Vegetarian Option: $67
  • 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

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Xiamen $16
    Shanghai $8.42

Tours and Activities in Xiamen

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

  • Xiamen Private English Tour Guide Service: $93
  • Private Xiamen Half Day Tour to Gulangyu Island and the Hi Heaven Villa: $97
  • Xiamen Private Half Day Tour of Gulangyu Island and Shuzhuang Garden: $97
  • A Night Tour to Xiamen Gulang Island: $100
  • Private Half-Day Tour to the Most Famous Scenic Jimei School Village in Xiamen: $106
  • Flexible Private Half-Day Tour to Visit the Top Attraction Xiamen Yuanbo Garden: $110
  • Day Tour to Admire the Panorama of Gulangyu Island and Visit the Precious Birds: $110
  • 4-hour Xiamen Private Flexible Tour in Your Way: $113
  • Xiamen Half-Day Private Tour include Gulang Yu Island and Garden : $119
  • 4-Hour Xiamen Private Shore Excursion Tour in Your Way: $121
  • Xiamen Layover Day Tour-Gulangyu,Shuzhuang Garden And Piano Museum: $132
  • Private Xiamen Local Market Tour with Shopping and Food Experience: $140

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
  • Zoo for Two

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 Flexible City Highlight Tour with Night Cruise: $221
  • Private Shanghai Full Day City Tour with Old and New Highlights: $108
  • Yuyuan Garden and Shanghai Museum Private Shanghai Day Tour: $175
  • Zhouzhuang Water Town Self-Guided Day Tour from Shanghai: $88
  • 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 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
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Shanghai Museum,Yu Garden,the Bund & Huangpu River Cruise : $213

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Xiamen $17
    Shanghai $7.34

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: $19

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

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

Which is Bigger, Xiamen or Shanghai?

Shanghai has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Xiamen. When comparing the sizes of Xiamen 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 Xiamen 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 Xiamen or Shanghai in the Summer?

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

In July, Xiamen is generally around the same temperature as Shanghai. Daily temperatures in Xiamen average around 30°C (86°F), and Shanghai fluctuates around 28°C (83°F).

It's quite rainy in Shanghai. Xiamen receives a lot of rain in the summer. Xiamen usually gets more rain in July than Shanghai. Xiamen gets 140 mm (5.5 in) of rain, while Shanghai receives 128 mm (5 in) of rain this time of the year.

  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Xiamen 30°C (86°F) 
    Shanghai 28°C (83°F)

Should I visit Xiamen or Shanghai in the Autumn?

Both Shanghai and Xiamen 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.

Xiamen is a little warmer than Shanghai in the autumn. The daily temperature in Xiamen averages around 25°C (77°F) in October, and Shanghai fluctuates around 19°C (65°F).

In October, Xiamen usually receives less rain than Shanghai. Xiamen gets 29 mm (1.1 in) of rain, while Shanghai receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Xiamen 25°C (77°F) 
    Shanghai 19°C (65°F)

Should I visit Xiamen or Shanghai in the Winter?

Both Shanghai and Xiamen 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, Xiamen is much warmer than Shanghai. Typically, the winter temperatures in Xiamen in January average around 14°C (58°F), and Shanghai averages at about 4°C (39°F).

Xiamen usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Shanghai. Xiamen gets 37 mm (1.4 in) of rain, while Shanghai receives 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain this time of the year.

  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Xiamen 14°C (58°F) 
    Shanghai 4°C (39°F)

Should I visit Xiamen or Shanghai in the Spring?

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

In April, Xiamen is generally a little warmer than Shanghai. Daily temperatures in Xiamen average around 20°C (69°F), and Shanghai fluctuates around 15°C (58°F).

Shanghai receives a lot of rain in the spring. Xiamen gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Xiamen usually receives more rain than Shanghai. Xiamen gets 147 mm (5.8 in) of rain, while Shanghai receives 102 mm (4 in) of rain each month for the spring.

  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Xiamen 20°C (69°F) 
    Shanghai 15°C (58°F)

Typical Weather for Shanghai and Xiamen

Xiamen Shanghai
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 14°C (58°F) 37 mm (1.4 in) 4°C (39°F) 39 mm (1.5 in)
Feb 14°C (57°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 5°C (41°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Mar 16°C (61°F) 99 mm (3.9 in) 9°C (48°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Apr 20°C (69°F) 147 mm (5.8 in) 15°C (58°F) 102 mm (4 in)
May 24°C (76°F) 152 mm (6 in) 20°C (67°F) 113 mm (4.5 in)
Jun 27°C (81°F) 197 mm (7.7 in) 24°C (75°F) 152 mm (6 in)
Jul 30°C (86°F) 140 mm (5.5 in) 28°C (83°F) 128 mm (5 in)
Aug 30°C (85°F) 149 mm (5.9 in) 28°C (82°F) 133 mm (5.2 in)
Sep 28°C (83°F) 116 mm (4.6 in) 24°C (75°F) 156 mm (6.1 in)
Oct 25°C (77°F) 29 mm (1.1 in) 19°C (65°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Nov 21°C (69°F) 37 mm (1.4 in) 13°C (55°F) 52 mm (2 in)
Dec 16°C (61°F) 25 mm (1 in) 7°C (44°F) 35 mm (1.4 in)