Tuesday, August 02, 2016

HongKong vs Singapore-Which city to visit?

When I arrived in Hong Kong, first thing that came to my mind was the similarities between Hong Kong and Singapore. Both are much desired tourist destinations, full of skyscrapers, multi culture, multi lingual lifestyle, have lots of attractions/offerings packed in a small geographical area and so on. Both cities hope to be Asia’s most preferred destination for business, healthcare, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, events etc) and container cargo movement as well. If you have to choose between the two which one is better? What are the similarities and differences? In this post, I have complied all the similarities and differences that I could identify. Feel free to add more.

This post is largely from a tourism perspective. I don't have expertise in terms of living/working/doing business etc in these cities.
Hong Kong
Mega Theme parks
Disney Land
Universal Studios

Night laser show
(8 PM every night)
All are free
Local transportation
Good network of metro, tram, bus and taxis
Good network of metro, bus and taxis, Duck tours available
Singapore taxi are slightly modern but no trams
Nearest country for additional visit

Typical profile
Sky-scrappers, dense population, business and tourism hub

Cruise Options

Cost of Living

Giant Wheel
HK Observation Wheel
Singapore Flyer
Singapore Flyer is much bigger
Highest view point with public access
HK Sky 100, Victoria Peak
Marina Bay Sands observation deck, 1 Altitude bar, Bukit Timah

Main airline
Cathay Pacific
Singapore Airlines

Hong Kong
Connectivity from India
Except Cathay Pacific and very few AI/Jet flights, mostly one stop flight
Direct flight to Singapore available with multiple airline and multiple Indian cities
Flight to Singapore is cheaper as it is closer n direct
On arrival for Indians for tourism, 14 days, free

Prior Visa/ Registration needed for Indias

Indians may be subjected to additional scrutiny-read here
Need to be applied in advance, costs about 3-4k INR and validity 1 month to an year or so at embassy discretion

Details here
Hong Kong will be no longer VOA for Indians from 2017. More details awaited
Mostly Chinese, manageable with English but not as easy
Can be managed easily with English

Relatively larger than Singapore
Area is less but more attractions are available in Singapore than HK

Restrictions/ lifestyle
Public smoking is banned, no toll road was spotted, deemed less restrictive overall
Singapore is more stringent in terms of toll fee (ERP), public smoking, chewing gums, speed limit etc

Regional Influence
Heavy Chinese influence in language, culture and practices
Malay, Tamil and Chinese Influence-Finding India connection is easier

Eat out area
Clarkey Quay

Adventure Options
Overnight cruise, bungee jump at Macau tower, Multi Day Cruise
Reverse Bungee, iFly Singapore, Ferrari ride, River Cruise, Multi day Cruise

Parks and Gardens
Kowloon Park
Victoria Peak and many more
Gardens by the Bay
Labrador Nature Reserve
Jurong Bird Park
Singapore Zoo

One of the best in the world
Free tour and lots of facilities at Changi

I have not been to HK airport

Hong Kong’s advantages include free Visa on Arrival for Indians, slightly larger surface area and ability to add Macau visit to the itinerary for added experiences. However, Hong Kong has lesser flight connectivity from Indian cities compared to Singapore, resulting in higher fare and more travel time. But do read this post for additional scrutiny Indians may have to go through. HK also appeared more crowded to me than Singapore, but because of its larger area, has more parks and green cover. Hong Kong + Macau area gives you unlimited casino options, which is limited in Singapore.

Update: As per this news, on Arrival Visa for Indians will be discontinued effective 2017 and prior registration will be needed- more details on Visa fee, processing time, validity, documents needed etc are awaited.

Singapore on the other had is closer home, cheaper and quicker to access and has more actions packed in small area. But visa cost and time needs to be factored. It is easier to manage in Singapore with English than in HK, where there is heavy Chinese influence and not everyone speaks or understands English fluently. Singapore also has more museums, history and traditional attractions than Hong Kong. Changi airport is an attraction in itself where one can spend lots of time.

Which one to select between Singapore and Hong Kong?
It is like Flipkart vs Amazon or Ola vs Uber debate. Hard to decide, but below is what I think:
  • If you are tight on budget, time etc and looking for a quick getaway and action packed holiday, I feel Singapore is better option.
  • If you have already seen Singapore, or planning a holiday at short notice without enough time for visa processing and if your city has good connectivity to Hong Kong, then you can try Hong Kong.
Update: All my friends who commented on this post in FB have voted for Singapore. My vote is also for Singapore if I have to chose between these two.

Disclaimer: I have been to HK only once and 4 times to Singapore. This post is compiled based on my limited exposure to these cities. Please use your discretion.

Do share your thoughts- if you have been to both Singapore and Hong Kong, which one would you recommend higher?


rupam sarma said...

Great informative post, Thanks for sharing :)

Dhananjay Murthy said...

Nice Comparison,
Compare to Hongkong singapore have less skyscraper, In hongkong you find more apartment more than 100 floors, In singapore residential apartemts have usually 12 floors, the highest was skysuite 71 floors.

In park section in singapore you can add Jurong bird park & singapore zoo could have been added

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Rupam Thanks

@Dhananjay- Yes, I missed them, will add. Thanks for pointing out.

Antarik Anwesan said...

I haven't been to either of the places. So your posts are going to be a guide whenever I plan my trip :D

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Antarik- you are welcome

Anonymous said...

Plannig a trip to Singapore..Super helpful post :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...