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Hong Kong Versus Singapore – Sights and Activities

Number four in a series.

Museums

There are some fine museums in Singapore, especially the Asian Civilization Museum. The government is upgrading the museums so some are closed. Hong Kong, on the other hand has at least Six world-class museums, four of which are less than 10 years old. The Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Museum of Hong Kong History are both “don’t miss” destinations if you are at all interested in museums. The Art Museum, the interactive Science Museum, the Coastal Defense Museum and the Space Museum are also worth spending time in. Except for the Heritage Museum and the Coastal defense Museum, the other four are within walking distance of one another. I’ll have to give Hong Kong the nod, here.

Cantonese Opera Exhibit, Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Cantonese Opera Exhibit, Hong Kong Heritage Museum

Zoos and Botanical Gardens

Strictly no contest – Singapore has a lock. The Singapore zoo is world-class. If you do nothing else sign up for the Night Safari. It may be the most entertaining and educational zoo experience you will ever have. The Botanical gardens in Singapore put Hong Kong’s efforts to shame. Hong Kong has no zoo to speak of, mostly a bunch of monkeys running around in their cages.

Family Entertainment Venues

Hong Kong has Disneyland and Ocean Park, both of which are worth spending a day at. Singapore has Sentosa Island, which has its features but cannot measure up to either of the two Hong Kong attractions.

History and Religion

Hong Kong is busy destroying its historical heritage while Singapore is busy re-claiming what it destroyed in the 80’s and is revitalizing what is still there. For instance, after destroying much of Chinatown in a re-development scheme, the government realized what it had lost so it quickly rebuilt the area based on what it had looked like before the ill-advised changes. Meanwhile The Hong Kong government is destroying the Central Market, the Wanchai Wet Market, Wedding Card St., and is trying to tear down the incredibly interesting and historically significant Hollywood Road Police headquarters – all to put up more high rise office buildings and shopping malls. Singapore in a landslide on this one.

If visiting temples is your thing, both cities are rich sources of religious traditions. Singapore does have a Hindu temple that has no real counterpart in Hong Kong but Hong Kong’s Wong Tai Sin Temple and Chi Lin Nunnery have no rivals in Singapore. What puts Hong Kong over the top is the huge sitting Buddha and Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island.

Nature, Hiking and Walking

In spite of what you may think, Hong Kong has hundreds of miles of trails and hiking opportunities. It also has many parks on the outer islands. In the New Territories, the Mai Po marshlands are a wonderland of bird and flora diversity. Even on the tourist inundated Victoria peak, there is a beautiful, hour long, uncrowded walk on paved roads around the top of the mountain. Singapore has some parks and it has some hiking trails but it is also rather flat and uninteresting. Hong Kong takes the prize in this category.

More comparisons later.