1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Which is better Bangkok or Singapore?

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by Jagdeesh, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. Jagdeesh

    Jagdeesh New Member

    I have two holiday destinations to choose from one Bangkok and the other Singapore, and I am having problems making up my mind which destination to choose from. I have looked into both Bangkok and Singapore, and both seem like lovely places to visit, but every time I look at the places, it becomes harder to make a decision.

    Helping me choose my destination is one of the reasons for joining the forum, so guys please advice which is better Bangkok or Singapore?

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Jagdeesh! Welcome to the forum!

    Bangkok and Singapore are quite contrasting destinations. Both are progressive destinations, with no shortage of buildings and other infrastructures. But the similarities truly stop there and both have their own merits. It really depends on your interests and likes, whether one destination is more suitable for you than the other. So first, let us try and describe these two destinations briefly:

    To describe Bangkok simply is that it is a treat for the five senses. Your eyes would feast on the modern buildings alongside the temples. Lined with street food stalls, your sense of taste also won't be disappointed. On the other hand, your sense of smell might be a bit confused, at one hand is the smell of the delicious food but yet on the other would be the pollution and scattered trashes. Your sense of hearing would love the ringing of the bells but at the same time, hate the noise from the city traffic. Your sense of touch won't be disappointed too, especially as you touch the numerous merchandise for sale in the different areas of the city. Bangkok is a mixture of it all, there's chaos, there's tradition and there's modernity. Being the capital of Thailand, it's a must to visit before venturing further into the rural parts of the country.


    Singapore, on the other hand, is a highly developed country. Three words can define Singapore in simple terms: safe, orderly and clean. Yes, it's a metropolitan country yet quite a contrast to what a typical city seems to us. Everything here is in order, citizens are law-abiding and it's very rare to see crimes happen. Some describe the country as a little bit of Western in Asia itself and that is an appropriate description too. If you're someone who comes from a chaotic city, you'd welcome the refreshing change that is of Singapore. There are buildings and hotels, scattered alongside them are a few historical sites. The mixture of different ethnicities and races provide one with a glimpse of the unique heritage of the city as well.

    Now, let us highlight the main differences between these two destinations so you can decide which one is the best choice for you:

    1. Ease of Access

    • Bangkok - Thailand shares borders with Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia so if you come from any of these countries, you can reach Bangkok by land easily. On the other hand, if you come from India, Vietnam or Bhutan, you can also reach Bangkok by land but you have to cross through other borders of some countries that you have to pass through on your way to the city. Thailand has different policies when it comes to visas for citizens of different countries. Usually though, if arriving by land, you need to apply for a visa on arrival in one of the border points of Thailand. If reaching the city by air, there are two main airports here: the Don Mueang Airport and the Suvarnabhumi Airport, with the latter being more used for international flights. If you arrive by air, then you are granted either visa on arrival or visa free, depending from which country you come from. You can also reach Bangkok by public transport, if you come from Laos, Myanmar or Cambodia. Thus, Thailand is easily accessible, whether you're coming from an Asian country or even a country from other continents.​
    Thailand and Myanmar Border​.jpg
    Thailand and Myanmar Border
    • Singapore - Being an island city, there are several ways of reaching Singapore, by air, by cruise or by road. If reaching the country by air, the main airport here is the Changi Airport. The airport is well-connected to Asian countries as well as countries in Europe, America and Middle East. Singapore is also becoming as one of the hubs for cruise ships. Thus, if you'd like to take a cruise amongst different countries in Asia, you can do that and there are cruise ships that pass by Singapore as well. If going by road, Singapore is well-connected to Malaysia by train or by bus too. With regards to Singapore's visa policy, many countries are allowed to enter the country visa-free. For some countries though, they would need to apply for a visa through a Singapore visa authorised agent. The process is fairly simple but you do need to apply before arriving in the country. Reaching Singapore is also a breeze especially with the numerous options that you have.
    2. Accommodations
    • Bangkok - This city is home to the most luxurious hotels but they won't break the bank at all. In fact, five-star hotels here are priced as low as 100 USD and if you book a hotel through a booking site, you'd even find discounts as great as 60 USD. All these discounts for a five-star luxury hotel so you get all the amenities and services provided by such accommodations. Thus, if you'd like to enjoy staying in a luxury hotel, there's no better place for that than Bangkok. Yet if you're someone who doesn't like shelling out that much money for hotels, fret not as Bangkok also has plenty of budget hotels averaging between 6 USD to 20 USD per night. With such choices, you won't have a problem with accommodation options in the city, whether you're a budget traveller or not.
    Royal Orchid Sheraton in Bangkok​.jpg
    Royal Orchid Sheraton in Bangkok
    • Singapore - Singapore is often dubbed as an expensive destination and that rings true even for its accommodations. For luxury hotels, prepare to shell out 150 USD to 300 USD per night here. The good news though is that the best luxury hotels are located here with the likes of Four Seasons Hotel and Shangri La Hotel leading the pack. Even the budget options here are a bit more expensive as compared to other metro cities in other countries. You might need to shell out 40 USD for a budget hotel with good facilities. Hotels here are fairly clean though and you won't have any issues with sanitation or hygiene.
    3. Attractions
    • Bangkok - When it comes to heritage sites, Bangkok has plenty of them. Starting with the temples, one of the most visited temple here is the Wat Pho or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Here you can find the locals praying and giving their respect to Buddha. You would be mesmerised by the beautiful and grand architecture of the temple. Another must visit is the Wat Arun or the Temple of the Dawn. As the name suggests, the temple is best visited during morning, when the first ray of sunlight hits its exteriors quite beautifully. But the temple also glows during night time, when it is illuminated by different colours of lights. Another landmark here is the Grand Palace, exquisite in architecture outside and inside. This was also the residence of the king and royal family of Thailand. The palace complex is huge, with numerous temples and halls inside. There are also some parks that you can visit here like the Lumpini Park and the King Rama IX Park, providing you some breath of fresh air, away from the pollution of the city. A place that the whole family can enjoy is the Art in Paradise Museum, featuring 3D exhibits, making it seem like you're being eaten by a shark or you're crossing a thin bridge. Of course, when in Bangkok, it's a must to try out one of the numerous rooftop bars in the city. The best-rated ones are the Moon Bar and the Sky Bar. As you can see, there are plenty of attractions that you can explore in Bangkok. In fact, you need at least a week to fully explore the city and its nooks and corners. For beaches though, you need to venture out of the city for them. You need at least two hours to reach the beautiful beaches outside of Bangkok like the beaches in Pattaya and Rayong.
    The Grand Palace in Bangkok​.jpg
    The Grand Palace in Bangkok
    • Singapore - Singapore might have a fewer heritage sites but they are also worth exploring. One of which is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, a very intricately designed and carved temple in the city. If you're lucky, you can watch the monks doing their rituals and praying which is quite a sight to see. Those interested in history must visit the Kranji War Memorial, housing the graves of the Indian, British and Australian soldiers who died during the war. Another must visit religious site would be the Sultan Mosque, quite different in its style of architecture when compared to the surrounding structures. Of course, one of the main attractions of the country, Sentosa Singapore, is a must visit as well. Here you have several attractions in one place, resorts, beach, fort, hotels and theme park. It's certainly an enjoyable place for families with children. Singapore also has plenty of parks and gardens that you can visit. Some of the best ones are the National Orchid Garden, Botanic Garden and Jurong Bird Park. There are also plenty of museums and shopping complexes that you can visit around the country. You would need around 5 to 6 days to fully explore the country of Singapore.
    Sentosa in Singapore​.jpg
    Sentosa in Singapore

    4. Activities
    • Bangkok - There are plenty of activities that you can do around Bangkok. Start with a cruise around the Chao Phraya River and enjoy the tranquility and serenity of the surroundings. It's a pretty laid-back activity that couples and families alike can enjoy. Another must do activity here is boating through the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market where you get to see hundreds of floating markets and yes, you can even buy fresh produce here. For those seeking some thrill and adventure, there's Flowhouse, where you can indulge in surfing in the artificial waves here. If all these activities have tired you out, why not try an authentic Thai massage in one of the many spas of the city? Lastly, when in Bangkok, it's a must to watch a real Muay Thai fight and do get a seat in the front so you can experience the sweat from the fighters reaching to you. Nothing can be as authentic as that, unless you'd like to try Muay Thai too, which you can also do in Bangkok as it has many Muay Thai short or long courses as well.
    Rajadamnern Stadium in Bangkok​.jpg
    Rajadamnern Stadium in Bangkok
    • Singapore - For the adventure seekers, Singapore has a myriad of activities that you can do. There's hiking in Mount Faber or maybe trekking through a suspension bridge in Mac Ritchie Treetop Walk. You can even be transported to a different country when you walk around Chinatown or Little India, both located at Singapore itself. If you love wildlife, you can check out places like Chek Jawa and Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, where you might be able to spot wild animals and lots of birds. Another must do here is watching a free movie under the stars courtesy of Movie Mob, but locations vary, you can check out their online site for weekly updates. Of course, yoga is also a must when in Singapore and you can find yoga centres in every corner of the country.
    Mac Ritchie Treetop Walk in Singapore.jpg
    Mac Ritchie Treetop Walk in Singapore
    5. Food
    • Bangkok - Thai Cuisine is well-known over the world, especially its popular dishes like tom yum soup and pad Thai. Thai Cuisine is more than just these two dishes though and you'd realise that once you're in Bangkok. Whether it's the high end restaurants or the street food stalls, the choices are varied and you would be very happily confused with your options. When it comes to authentic Thai Cuisine though, do try out Pad Thai Sala Daeng and Thip Samai Pad Thai. These eateries are nowhere luxurious nor do they have elegant ambience. But their dishes are as authentic as they can be and for affordable prices as well. For street food, there are many stalls for these but you have to pick which street food dishes are best for you. Safe options would be the sweet potato balls and pandan sweetmeat. If you're quite experimental, there are also street foods like the beetle chilli relish and deep fried frog skin.
    Pandan Sweetmeats in Bangkok​.jpg
    Pandan Sweetmeats in Bangkok
    • Singapore - On the other hand, Singapore has a mixture of both local cuisine and international cuisine. You can find various cuisines like Chinese, Italian and even Mediterranean dishes here. For local cuisine though, perhaps the best well-known dish here is chicken rice. There are plenty of food stalls and restaurants to try out this dish but the best-rated ones are the Hup Hong Chicken Rice and the Tian Tian Chicken Rice. When it comes to street foods, Singapore might not be as extreme as Bangkok but it does have pretty good ones like spicy noodle soup and yong tau fu. Street food stalls in Singapore are more like hawker centres or food courts though.
    Yong Tau Fu Stall in Singapore​.jpg
    Yong Tau Fu Stall in Singapore

    6. Shopping
    • Bangkok - Shopping won't be a problem in Bangkok, with its numerous malls and markets. For branded items, you can go to malls like the Central World, the sixth biggest mall in the world or to Siam Paragon, housing luxury brands like Jimmy Choo and Armani. But for most tourists, shopping in street markets can be an exhilarating and fun experience. For that, you have different options in Bangkok. Noteworthy of which is the Chatuchak Market, with over 8,000 stores in its vicinity, you certainly can enjoy a whole day here. Some of the items you can buy here are clothes, handicrafts, accessories and many more. If you're a night owl, do visit Khao San Road during night time and you'd find all sorts of knick-knacks and goods here. Of course, street markets offer much affordability than malls so they're great options for budget travellers.
    Chatuchak Market in Bangkok​.jpg
    Chatuchak Market in Bangkok
    • Singapore - Although Singapore is mostly well-known for its high end stores and brands, you can also find affordable shops here. But first for the luxury stores, there's the Viva City and Marina Bay Sands. Here you can find stores after stores of branded items which can certainly be fun for those who love luxury items. On the other hand, if you are in a budget, do visit Mustafa Centre, open 24 hours a day and providing affordable goods to locals and tourists alike. For trendy items, there's the Bugis Street Market, which also has quite affordable to mid-range prices. Although goods here are nowhere as cheap as the ones in Bangkok, you're certainly going to find a huge gap between the prices here and in the higher end stores in Singapore.
    Bugis Street Market in Singapore.jpg
    Bugis Street Market in Singapore
    So there you go, a comparison of these two destinations. Which do you think fits you best? If you like heritage sites and the chaos of the city, then there's Bangkok. It's highly progressive and developed yet has done well to preserve many of its historical sites. Rates here, from hotels, restaurants and even for shopping, are quite affordable. On the other hand, you have Singapore, another progressive destination. Quite perfect, in contrast to the other destination so there's less chaos and noise. However, rates here are quite higher and you need to spend more money to enjoy the destination.

    Good luck in choosing!:)