When it comes to city breaks, Bangkok and Singapore are two that should be near the top of everyone’s bucket list. That’s because both of these lively cities can offer unique experiences and unforgettable vacations.
However choosing whether to visit Bangkok or Singapore for that once-in-a-lifetime holiday can be exceptionally difficult.
Thankfully we know both cities well, so are here to help you decide which one is right for you.
Bangkok or Singapore: Which should you choose?
Bangkok and Singapore are both wonderful city destinations, but they are very different. Thailand’s capital is chaotic, jam-packed and an assault on the senses! In contrast, Singapore is modern, clean, very well organized, and has more of a ‘Western’ vibe.
Below we compare both cities, and give our honest opinion on which is safer, cheaper, has the best excursions, nightlife, and more:
Bangkok vs Singapore: Which is the better cultural experience?
There’s no doubt that Bangkok is the cultural hub of Thailand, and the city has a vibrant mix of traditional temples alongside an exciting and emerging modern art and music scene. It’s an energetic and chaotic city that feels in a world of its own.
Thailand’s capital remains very much a city centered around Thais rather than tourists, and as such there’s an array of street food, museums, markets and floating markets to enjoy and explore. We recommend visiting Yaowarat Road which is one of the largest street food spots in the world. In fact when it comes to food experiences, this city is one of the best on the planet!
Singapore is probably the most modern city in South East Asia, and with that has come an interesting mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western influences and culture. Globalization has driven Singapore’s recent development and it has a very ‘Western’ feel to it – that’s certainly taken its toll on Singaporean culture.
Unlike Bangkok you won’t find a plethora of street sellers, and this city is far more ordered and calm – which actually makes it a pretty good destination for a relaxed vacation. Still, remnants of the Singapore of old still exist if you know where to look – for example the bustling late-night food market, Newton Market.
However for a cultural experience unlike any other, Bangkok is our choice.
Bangkok vs Singapore: Which has the better nightlife?
People from around the world come to Bangkok to experience Thailand’s famous nightlife and the various vices it caters too.
Bangkok has a rowdy reputation and areas like Khao San Road, Soi Cowboy, and the famous red light district of Patpong, are at the heart of Bangkok’s nightlife scene. For your own safety when in these areas it’s best to stick to the main roads and don’t venture down side streets.
Singapore has a more reserved nightlife scene in comparison, but there’s still plenty of cocktail lounges, budget beer places, and nightclubs to dance until the early morning.
The nightlife in Singapore is focused around the city center, and for classy cocktails with a view head to Marina Bay where Singapore’s best dressed congregate in the early evening. If you’re wanting a more lively time then Clarke Quay is the place to be – packed with bars and nightclubs, this is Singapore’s late night spot.
Still, Bangkok’s lively and loud nightlife scene is famous for a reason, and is probably the best choice if your priority is fun when the sun goes down.
Bangkok or Singapore: Which has the better excursions?
Bangkok is packed with things to do, from the spectacular royal temples in the Old City to its famous floating markets. In fact everywhere you turn there appears to be something new to explore or try. The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market outside of Bangkok is one of the most famous markets in Thailand, and well worth visiting.
Surrounding Bangkok is the beautiful Khao Yai National Park – perfect for walking and wildlife spotting. Whilst just a few miles outside the city is Maeklong Railway Market – this unassuming vegetable market has become famous in recent years due to the fact a train runs directly through the heart of it. It’s now been nicknamed Thailand’s most dangerous market! (Recommended: Hiring a scooter in Thailand).
The city-state of Singapore has a wealth of things to do despite existing in such a small space. In particular, when it comes to family friendly attractions and excursions it really excels. Singapore has theme parks, a zoo, aquariums, opportunities to spot dolphins, and spectacular birds like endangered parrots at Jurong Bird Park.
It’s also a city with many green spaces, making it perfect for picnics, romantic walks and more. One of those spaces is Mount Faber, which is a rainforest-clad hill with some lovely trails, and even a cable car so you can enjoy lovely views across Singapore.
When it comes to excursions both these destinations have great choices. However due to the close proximity of things to do in Singapore, and the wide range of activities here (many that are family friendly too), we think Singapore beats Bangkok in this department.
Bangkok or Singapore: Which has the better shopping?
Both of these cities have famous shopping streets and mega malls, so you’re unlikely to be disappointed if you have ambitions of a shopping spree.
However Singapore tends to be a better shopping destination when you’re on the hunt for high-end brands. In particular Orchard Road is famous for its luxury retail outlets and world-class cuisine options.
Bangkok is much cheaper when it comes to shopping, but remains a hotbed of counterfeit goods. That said, you’ll find many Singaporeans go to Bangkok to shop due to the prices!
All in all, it depends on what you’re looking for. Singapore is great for luxury goods, and Bangkok is the place to be for cheap shopping. So we have to call this one a tie.
Bangkok vs Singapore: Which is cheaper?
There’s a clear winner for us in terms of expenses as Bangkok is a far cheaper destination than Singapore in regards to accommodation, food, and more. Thailand’s capital has many affordable accommodation options to cover all budgets – from backpackers to honeymooners – whilst the easy availability of cheap street food around the city is a big plus.
Singapore is not as budget friendly, and there are far less options for travelers looking to save a buck by staying in budget accomodation. Food is more expensive too, but you can pick up some cheap meals at places like Newton Market.
Bangkok vs Singapore: Which is safer?
Both are safe destinations, which is why tourists visit in huge numbers every year. However, as always when on holiday you should avoid confrontations with locals, avoid walking in unlit areas at night, and keep an eye on your drinks when at clubs and bars.
As for which is safer, petty crime – like bag snatching and pickpocketing – is more common in Bangkok than Singapore. You also have to be careful in popular nightlife areas of Bangkok – more so than Singapore – and make sure to avoid side streets and only visit known establishments. You also have to be wary of the many tourist scams in Bangkok.
As a last point, we’ve found that if you have an issue in Singapore the police tend to be prompt, efficient and carry out their duty. This isn’t always the case in Bangkok.
For those reasons, it’s clear to us that Singapore is a safer destination than Bangkok.
Bangkok vs Singapore: Which is the better choice?
Both cities are definitely worth visiting at some point, and each has its own unique charm and quirks.
But if your priority is a great nightlife, an impressive food scene and a budget-friendly destination, then chaotic Bangkok may be the better choice than Singapore
Singapore has more of a ‘Western’ vibe than Bangkok, and the city is calm and relaxed in comparison. It’s more expensive than the Thai capital but it does have great excursions and is very safe. So if you’re looking for a laid-back holiday with lots of things to do in an exceptionally safe city, then Singapore may suit you more than Bangkok.