An old rivalry exists between Hong Kong and Singapore. Both Asian Tiger cities have been at the forefront of Asia’s race towards economic and cultural global significance for the better part of 3 decades. Having both established themselves as global centres for commerce and education in the 2000s, the focus shifted towards creating cities that would be creative, dynamic, and fun. Office suites in sky scrapers made way for roof top bars, with sweeping views over both majestic cities, even as street food vendors earned Michelin stars for old family recipes passed along generations.
Of the two cities, however, each had their very distinct identities, and one certainly came out on top in fashion, fun, and frolic stakes, and that was always Hong Kong. It was a long held truth that few cities in the world could rival Hong Kong when it came, in particular to its fashion offering, and the city shifted its focus to becoming uber chic, even transforming Kowloon, once the more gritty side of the electric city into a fashion oasis. For those hoping to explore beyond the exorbitant malls and designer boutiques, Hong Kong is teaming with markets, world class museums, temples, and throwbacks to its colonial past which now form a part of the overall fabric of Hong Kong in a new and exciting way.
Singapore, founded on principles of discipline and rigidity faced a conundrum – it still had the perception of being strict, a little bit sedate. Sure, it was clean, impeccably manicured, and is set amongst beautiful gardens, but where was the buzz?
A new generation of Singaporeans have taken the buzz of Hong Kong and transplanted it in the Lion City, and entrepreneurs and developers are responding to that fresh injection of energy (coupled with obscene generational wealth). The establishment of Marina Bay Sands was a marker of a turning point in Singapore, which houses the infamous rooftop bar and party hub CÉ LA VI, open 7 days a week and until 4am from Wednesday to Saturday. An excellent spot for cocktails in luxury overlooking the beautiful city below. Aside from this notable spot, the Clarke Quay area has a growing reputation as a centre as a night life destination.
In Singapore’s lazier days when locals often exclaimed that there wasn’t “much to do”, the city developed a strong food scene, with their hawker centres gaining the attention of international gourmands in search of the best food. As a result, foodies can enjoy Michelin starred hawker food for SGD4 (AUD4.31). This is not to say that there isn’t something for every wallet, where mid-tier restaurants will set you back SGD20 per meal, all the way to high-end restaurants at SGD100 per meal.
I will admit, Hong Kong still has it over Singapore when it comes to shopping, but Singapore is nevertheless growing into its own identity as a fashionable city with locals and visitors alike enjoying a growing scene, and fashion tribes taking over the streets.
All in all, there has never been a better time to visit Singapore and to enjoy all that this incredible city has to offer.
Words Fuzz Ali