Singapore or Hong Kong

Old Jul 13th, 2011, 08:49 AM
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Singapore or Hong Kong

I have never been to Asia and when I go I would like to see Singapore or Hong Kong. Probably would not have time for both. I know it is a matter of personal taste but could you tell me as a new traveler to the area, which city should be my first....and what other places do you recommend and lastly, living on the east coast of the USA, what is my cheapest way to get to that part of the world and do I need any vaccinations. Sorry for all the questions but thanks, in advance, for your help.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 09:28 AM
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Singapore and Hong Kong are surely the 2 most Westernized cities in Asia. I'm not saying that at all disparagingly -- it's just that they are both efficient and ultra-modern places that are also extremely English-language-friendly. Both are shopping havens, with Singapore probably having more high-end shopping available. Singapore is the more culturally diverse -- it has enormous amounts of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences (and populations), while Hong Kong is primarily Cantonese in culture. Both Singapore and Hong Kong do, of course, have lots of British colonial culture, as well.

The weather can be different: Singapore is always hot and humid; Hong Kong is much more temperate (and sometimes even cool) from November through February.

Don
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 10:40 AM
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Don, never being in Asia, is there a better place to get a better flavor of Asia? Any advice about getting there in the most cost effective way?
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 11:42 AM
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I think Bangkok would be more exotic than Singapore and Hong Kong
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 11:42 AM
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Dorothy, I did not mean to imply that Hong Kong and Singapore are not as "good" or "genuine" as other places in Asia. (In fact, they're among my favorite places.) It's just that the feel of those two is a little less exotic than anywhere else in Asia that I've been to.

If you looking for the more exotic, you might look at Bangkok and Thailand, all of Japan, anywhere in China (though maybe not Beijing). The question is awfully broad, though: what 1, or possibly 2, places would you suggest that someone visit to get a sense of North America?
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 12:13 PM
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Either Singapore or Hong Kong are good first trips to Asia. Both have great public transport and are easy to navigate.

If you are looking for a place that feels more "exotic" I'd choose Bangkok.

Living on the east coast, you cacn choose to fly either east or weat to get to these cities. I generally find Bangkok the least expensive gateway, but there are times that flights to Hong Kong or Singapore have cost less.

No immunizations are required for visitng any of these places. Personally, I recommend that people make sure they have their routine vaccines (diptheria/tetanus, MMR) and the Hep A vaccine, all of which I think you should have even if you are staying at home.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 06:26 PM
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Having lived in both (and still currently living in Hong Kong), I love both places, but they are hugely different. However, before I feel I can give any advice which would be helpful, I would need to know the following:

1. What time of year
2. How long you have for the trip
3. What your interests are: active outdoor or do you prefer museums, are you interested in a mix of religions and peoples (or have no interest).

As an initial comment, I see on your profile that you like mountains and oceans, that would make me advise you more toward Hong Kong, which has both in quite stunning arrays. Singapore is flat, and the sea (surprisingly) does not dominate the landscape in the same way it does in Hong Kong. (Of course from Singapore you can get to places like the east coast of Malaysia, which does offer great ocean opportunities.)

Once we know how much time you have for the trip, it may be quite possible to provide advice on a trip to several places. To fly 17 hours each way for 5 days and just one city would be something I would strongly recommended against doing. If you only have a week, go to Europe.

I don’t think I could say what is the cheapest way to get there, obviously you have to fly (a long sea voyage would be more expensive and it would appear you don’t have time for it). Hunt around for flight deals, use mileage points. Both Singapore and Hong Kong are rather expensive for hotels, which may affect your decision; you would probably find far more bargains in Bangkok, which I agree would be a good choice as well. As I mention, you may be able to include 2-3 places depending on how much time you have.

I would also comment that both have a Western <i>appearance</i> in that there are skyscrapers and subways and taxis and people dress in western dress for the most part and there are no cows in the streets (well, there are in Sai Kung and other parts of the New Terrorties of Hong Kong, but that is not for religious reasons). But I can say from living and working in both that neither are remotely "westernized." Just because I eat with chopsticks and take my shoes off in my house does not mean I have abandoned my culture and become "Chinese". No more does a Chinese become Westerninzed because he has a hamburger at McDonalds. It is a superficial analsyis to judge a place based on whether it has certain trappings of modernity. Do not be fooled by thes things: in culture, heart and soul neither is "Westernized". There are many opportunities in both places to see traditional Asian culture.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 07:10 PM
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time of year does make some difference... weatherwise...

all the cities mentioned are extremely safe, so that is not a consideration... all the main cities have international cuisines so you can eat most any cuisine you want..

bangkok is the cheapest of the 3 cities... cheapest for food and for hotels, etc.

i live in boston and i fly to SEA in many different ways... the traditional way with united or delta is to fly to detroit/chicago/SF/LA first and then to narita japan and then to your final destination..,.

this fall i will fly jfk (ny) to helsinki to bangkok on finn air... fantastic

last year i flew ny to seoul to SEA on korean air---fantastic

i have flown boston-paris-bangkok on air france--all night flights

ANA,Luftansa, air Canada, British air, Virgin, Singapore and many other airlines are all good

choosing your hotel is amongst the most important decisions you will make... it can make or break your trip... give us your budget and we will make suggestions...

look at www.asiarooms.com www.agoda.com www.sawadee.com
for hotel suggestions and rough pricing...
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Old Jul 14th, 2011, 11:30 PM
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I am not a huge fan of Hong Kong, but having said that, HK does have that "Wow I'm really in Asia" feeling. The harbor itself is almost worth the trip and of course it's very very Chinese Asian.

Singapore is lovely, green, clean..and is really more like a "western" city with a mix of ethnicities.

As others have said, a lot of your decision could rest in time of year, flights you can get, and your own personal preferences, (especially FOOD).

However, Bangkok is my favorite big city destination..inexpensive four star hotels, incredible shopping, the river, Grand Palace, temples and the incredible Thai cultural attractions like music, dance and offerings.

You really can't go wrong with any of those destinations..and it will surely whet your appetite for more travels throughout Asia.

Have a wonderful trip.
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 11:13 AM
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<<<I am not a huge fan of Hong Kong, but having said that, HK does have that "Wow I'm really in Asia" feeling. The harbor itself is almost worth the trip and of course it's very very Chinese Asian.>>>

I have to say I disagree with this. We visited Hong Kong for the first time this year, after visiting Hanoi, Hue, HoiAn, Saigon and Siem Reap. We loved Hong Kong, but didn't really get that "wow I'm really in Asia" feeling. It's a fabulous big city, with plenty of Asian influence, but we got much more of that feeling in Hanoi, for example, than in Hong Kong.
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