He Said/She Said: Singapore vs Hong Kong

He Said/She Said: Singapore vs Hong Kong

Hong Kong and Singapore.  Often mentioned in the same breath as the great cities of Asia, they are at least as different as they are similar.  You can enjoy a delicious beef noodle soup in both, but when it comes to living in one we each have our take on which one’s better.


It would be easy for me to pick Singapore in this argument.  I don’t know how many times I’ve been there, maybe 15 times?  With an average visit lasting two weeks I figure I’ve spent about six months in the tiny island state.  Having seen so much of it though, I have to say that if I had to choose between living in Singapore or Hong Kong it would definitely be Hong Kong.

Note the asterisks after the cost, that means it costs even more than printed.

What’s not to like about Singapore?  Beer is way, way, way too expensive.  A beer at happy hour?  $10.  Seriously, that’s just too expensive.  Add on the cost of a home, $1 million or so for a 1 bedroom condo (see the world’s most expensive neighborhoods), and a car, $250,000 for a VW Passat, and you, Singapore, have priced me out of the market. OK, it’s not all about money, it’s also the 110% humidity, 24/7, 365…and your acronyms.  Meet me at the MBS LV?  Where?  Are we in such a hurry we can’t say a whole word?

Hong Kong on the other hand has all the best parts of Singapore, the delicious food and the frenetic city life I love, but adds a lawless Chinese side.  I’m pretty sure that if I had asked around enough in Hong Kong I could buy a tiger, or an aircraft carrier, or an aircraft carrier and a tiger… While Nathan Road has all the riches of Singapore’s Orchard Road, the cheap side of Hong Kong is so much better.  I can get beer and a meal for $10, then buy another beer for $2 and drink it on a $3 taxi ride across town.  Ever had a beer in a taxi before?  Once you do you’ll never go back…  The wonderful life Hong Kong will introduce you to make it so much more fun than Singapore everyday of the week.


I have to admit that just like thinkCHUA could easily pick Singapore, I’d have no problem living on the lawless island of Hong Kong.  The pristine little urban parks, great food and cheap 7-Eleven beers make Hong Kong a contender for one of my favorite cities in the world.  So, why didn’t I choose Hong Kong?  It’s dirty, crowded and far from hassle free. Since I’m not in the market for rhinoceros horns or shark fins, I would prefer not to be harassed to buy them as I walk down the street.

Taking Muffie and Pocket for a walk…I’m already settled into Singapore life.  With gorgeous sea views what’s not to love?

I would argue that Singapore has all the best parts of Hong Kong, but in a clean and delicious package. The island is spotless, you could eat off the streets or street stalls and never risk getting sick.  But, if I could give you just one reason to visit Singapore it would be the delectable delights sold all over the island.  The mouthwatering flavors of South East Asia are combined in a way that’s hard to resist, especially for just a few dollars (learn about Singapore’s world-best cuisine here).  In addition they sell the best bubble tea in Asia (catch my full bubble tea taste off here), hands down.

Aside from the food Singapore is a girl’s best friend due to the plethora of shopping.  It’s hard to complain about the heat when you can hop into any mall and relish in the innumerable options of what to wear.  I’m not a shopaholic, but I would become one if I lived in Singapore. With excellent food and shopping what’s not to love about Asia’s most orderly island.  It’s better than boasting about enjoying a beer in a taxi as entertainment in comparison to Singapore’s indoor skydiving, beautiful beaches and delicious chili crab.

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» Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) :
Sep 12, 2012

Another timely post for us, as we are just wrapping up a week here in Hong Kong and we LOVE it here. I found myself grinning when you mentioned the “lawless” aspect to HK, because that is EXACTLY what we have remarked as well since being here (especially coming from Japan, the juxtaposition has been extremely salient). There’s very little that we haven’t loved during our time here, but just on the basis of the food alone, I’d say we could very happily spend a few years here eating ourselves stupid. I will be very interested to see how Singapore compares when we finally make it there!
Read Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)’s awesome post Celebrating Obon in Matsushima

LOCAVORista Reply:

Steph, Hong Kong is incredible and in a lot of ways it was hard to choose the Singapore side of the argument. I’m excited to read about your time in Hong Kong and hear your thoughts on Singapore when you visit. Happy trails!

» Ayngelina :
Sep 14, 2012

I have been to Hong Kong but not Singapore. I found HK great to visit but I could never imagine living there whereas I have heard a lot of people love living in Singapore.
Read Ayngelina’s awesome post Food Friday: Best pizza in New York?

LOCAVORista Reply:

Ayngelina, it was hard to choose one over the other, but Singapore does offer a great standard of living.

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.


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