Looking for a stylish city break? Or a taste of South-East Asia’s delicious foodie scene? Singapore and Hong Kong are both mile-a-minute cities filled with activities and sights to fill your days. Singapore is an urban jungle of towering glass buildings paired with preserved colonial charm. Outside the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong’s high-rises, you’ll find peaceful walking trails and ancient temples.

On the surface, both destinations might seem similar, but underneath the gleam of modernity you’ll discover two very different cores. Choosing between the two might seem difficult, but we’ve compared the highlights to help you out.

Singapore vs Hong Kong: The Vibe

Both Singapore and Hong Kong are cities with a futuristic feel. If Singapore is a spotless utopia with vast green spaces and vertical gardens, Hong Kong is the gritty dystopian streets of Blade Runner.

Singapore’s main draws are pristine streets, cutting-edge amusement parks and futuristic botanic gardens. Anyone visiting Asia for the first time can enjoy this city as a clean introduction to street food, shopping and wildlife.

The heart of Hong Kong is all sleek skyscrapers, air-conditioned shopping malls packed with designer shops and rooftop cocktail bars with skyline views. In the shambling streets of Kowloon, a bustling suburb, you’ll find billowing street food stalls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants between densely packed apartments. Up in the hills surrounding the city, temples and hiking trails offer a peaceful escape.

Singapore vs Hong Kong: The Best Time To Visit

For the best weather in Singapore, visit in March and April. There are two main monsoon seasons, running from December to March and from June to September, though it does tend to rain most afternoons all year-round. If you visit in July, you can take advantage of Singapore’s festival season when the Great Singapore Sale and Singapore Food Festival draw in the crowds.

Weather-wise, the best time to visit Hong Kong is between October and early December when the sun still shines, but you avoid the stifling heat of the summer. April and March are dry and the evenings are cool, but the sky tends to remain cloudy this time of year. Avoid May to September, when the typhoon season hits the city.

Singapore vs Hong Kong: Ease Of Access

Changi Airport, Singapore’s main airport, has been crowned the best in the world. This makes it a popular spot for re-fuelling for flights on the way to Australia and New Zealand. A few days’ stop-off in the city of Singapore is the perfect way to break up the journey to the Southern Hemisphere. As well as long-haul international flights, a number of budget airlines fly in from the major cities of South-East Asia. International trains run from Singapore across the border to Malaysia.

Hong Kong is another popular choice for stopovers between Europe and Australia. Flights from all over the world land at Hong Kong’s main airport. There is a ferry link to Macau, for the perfect twin city holiday. Trains connect Hong Kong to most of the major cities of China for the adventurous traveller.

Singapore vs Hong Kong: Outdoor Activities

With the outdoor playground of Sentosa Island, and lush rainforest surrounding Singapore, there is plenty to keep outdoor enthusiasts busy. The island of Pulau Ubin is home to loads of different outdoor activities. People flock here to soak up the natural surroundings by kayak through the calm swamp waters, on foot through lush hiking paths, and by bike on paved forest trails. Sentosa Island is a haven of water-sports where you can try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding or jet skiing. You can also swim with dolphins at Dolphin Park.

Up in the hills surrounding Hong Kong lies a hiking and walking paradise. The Dragon’s Back ridge is a challenging hike, providing you with stunning views across the city and out to the South China Sea. Kam Shan Country Park is just a 30-minute bus ride from the city centre. Enjoy peaceful walks through forests surrounding a picturesque reservoir where wild macaque monkeys swing through the trees.

Singapore vs Hong Kong: Hotels & Guest Houses

Singapore is not short of luxury 5-star hotels, housed in skyscrapers and classic colonial buildings with beautifully manicured gardens. Raffles Hotel is an icon, not only in Singapore, but worldwide. Marina Bay Sands resort, in the striking three-tower building topped with a boat-like structure, holds the title of Singapore’s only seven-star hotel. For those on a budget, cosy guest houses and backpacker inns fill the ramshackle streets of Chinatown and Little India.

The Marina Bay Sands - SingaporeThe Marina Bay Sands via Vibin JK

Towering above the apartment blocks and overlooking the Bay, Hong Kong’s high-rises contain some of the best luxury hotels in the world. Big names like Shangri-la, Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton all have impressive outposts here with rooftop bars, infinity pools and plush king-size beds overlooking the bright lights of the city. There are also budget-friendly guesthouses and hostels in convenient suburbs like Kowloon.

Singapore vs Hong Kong: Adventure Activities

You don’t have to go far in Singapore to find adventure activities. Indoor skydiving in the centre of the city will satisfy any thrill seeker. Dive with sharks at the S.E.A. Aquarium and catch the waves at indoor surfing. See the city from a different angle with a reverse bungee jump at Clarke Quay.

Hong Kong doesn’t exactly have a reputation for adventure activities, but peek behind the gleaming surface of this megacity and you’ll find adrenaline-pumping activities on the fringes. You can wakeboard in Sha Kiu Tau, go canyoning in the New Territories and surf at Big Wave Bay.

Singapore vs Hong Kong: Street Food & Fine-Dining

With a diverse population, you can find some of the best Chinese and Indian dishes in the streets of Singapore. Chinatown is home to cheap and cheerful dim sum restaurants, billowing steam into the night air. Little India has hundreds of curry houses to choose from behind colourful shop fronts. Singapore is famous for its hawker centres, where a huge choice of food stalls serve traditional dishes straight from the wok, the ideal introduction to South-East Asian street food.

Hong Kong has a rich foodie history, with hole-in-the-wall restaurants cluttering every side-street and fine-dining establishments looking out over the city. Tim Ho Wan is the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant, where casual dim sum dining is at it best. Find fresh seafood at one of the many busy restaurants in Kowloon with bubbling tanks on show outside.

Singapore vs Hong Kong: Nightlife

As the sun sets over the Singapore skyline, there are loads of places to stop for a drink. Swanky bars with views of traditional bumboats line the riverfront at Clarke Quay. You can enjoy a famous Singapore Sling in the wood-panelled bar at Raffles where it was invented and you might find yourself in the same rattan chair that Hemingway once sat in.

Hong Kong comes to life at night. You can choose from any kind of bar, pub or club, depending on your taste. Hidden whisky bars, dive bars blasting Bon Jovi long into the night, and even an Ice Bar to counter the stifling heat of the day can all be found in the city’s lively nightlife scene.

Singapore vs Hong Kong: Things To See

Singapore is packed with sights. Family travellers should make time for the world-class Singapore Zoo, where every animal from South-East Asia can be spotted. Head out to the zoo at twilight for a unique night safari. The modern greenhouses and towering Supertrees like something from a foreign planet at Gardens by the Bay are not to be missed. Take an evening river cruise in a traditional Chinese bumboat to see the iconic skyline lit up at dusk.

Hong Kong is not all high-rises and busy streets. Ascend to the lush look-out point at the top of Victoria Peak. Visit the giant Tian Tan Buddha statue on Lantau, where quiet walking paths cover the verdant island. Ride the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour and admire the city from the water. 

Hong Kong may be a modern metropolis, but it is filled with ancient temples, like Man Mo Temple, for a relaxing retreat from the fast-paced centre.