Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Singapore compared to Bangkok

Singapore compared to Bangkok

Based on my recent trip to Singapore, 03.-07.10.2014. Stayed at a friend’s place. Exchange rate 1 SGD = 25 THB.

There are significantly fewer cars in Singapore than in Bangkok. Singapore at noon has a car density like Bangkok at midnight. I would estimate that traffic jams are a rare occurrence in Singapore. This is due to politics, high taxes on cars and at the same time a good public transport systems. Thumbs up!

I wish European governments had a similar policy, but unfortunately car ownership is favored over public transport, leading to perverse situation like costs for commuting to work being tax deductible in Germany. ChristianPFC says: if you have to commute long distances to work every day, you either live or work in the wrong place. You waste your time, money and consume resources.

Singapore has taxis, prices are higher than in Bangkok but lower than Europe (as far as I can compare). 3.20 to 3.90 SGD start, then 22 Cent per 400 m. Most taxis are in Singapore are occupied, whereas most taxis in Bangkok are free.

Here my suggestion regarding the ongoing discussion about raising taxi fares in Bangkok: reduce number of taxis instead! Let’s say I wait on average 20 seconds for a free taxi. Reduce the number by 10%, then I will wait 22 seconds. But at the same time, traffic jams are reduced, petrol consumption and pollution of environment is reduced, and the remaining taxi drivers will have higher income. Even better, tell all those taxi drivers who refuse to use the meter to get a new job.

That solves four problems at the same time: get rid of drivers who don’t use the meter, reduce traffic jam, avoid fare increase and reduce global warming. ChristianPFC for president!

Singapore and Bangkok MRT are comparable, but network in Singapore has more lines and stops. Things you cannot do in Singapore MRT: 

Things you cannot do in Bangkok MRT:

How to use the escalator:

Singapore is very pedestrian friendly. Wide sidewalks with few people, not obstructed by street stalls. Of places I know, Bangkok is second worst after Phom Penh for pedestrians (sometimes no sidewalk at all, and if there is one it’s obstructed by parked cars and mocy, shops or in poor condition).

Urinating in public
Didn’t smell urine anywhere in public in Singapore. But there was a sign in an elevator/lift (from memory) “urinating in the elevator is a criminal offense”. Who would urinate in an elevator, even if it was allowed? In Bangkok and even in Paris urinating in public is common, I can smell urine many times on a day walking in Bangkok (same was true for Paris), and often watch people peeing, sometimes in the weirdest places (in a telephone booth, onto a heat exchanger from an aircon).

Formula 1
Singapore has a Formula 1, Bangkok hasn’t (but there were talks). I have been against F1 all my life (pollution, noise, utter nonsense), but have never been directly affected by it. Until my trip to Singapore. Guard rail and lighting system for F1 was still in place in some areas, hindering view and appearing on my pictures. Now I can finally claim personal damage by F1!

Street food
All food stalls are in buildings (but open to atmosphere, no walls), style similar to food courts in Bangkok. I paid 4-5 SGD per dish (100-125 Baht).

Wild animals
I saw two rats during my entire stay in Singapore, and these two were in Gardens by the Bay, where I consider rats acceptable. I saw two cockroaches before my last day, but on my last day there was vermin control which drove cockroaches in masses out of their corners of the place where I was staying, laying around on the floor to a similar extent so similar events in Bangkok. I saw one stray cat and don't recall any stray dogs.

English language
Everyone I got into contact with (mainly staff at foodstalls) was fluent in English, moreover there were no misunderstandings due to different accents. I overheard locals talk to each other in English. In Bangkok, even people who work in the tourism industry rarely speak more than basic English.

When I walk in Bangkok (or any other Thai town) in flip flops, my feet get covered in dust. Not so in Singapore. When I hang my clothes after washing, I have to wipe off dust from the drying rack.

Plastic bags
You will get a plastic bag with every purchase, same in Singapore and in Bangkok.

Immigrant workers
Thailand has a lot of immigrant workers from Myanmar and Cambodia and Lao, in Singapore they are from India, Indonesia and Malaysia. Walking past a construction site, I notice most worker are dark skinned, Indian looking (could as well be from Bangladesh or Pakistan).

Everything is far more expensive than in Thailand. But if you adjust by GDP, taxi rides, public transport and food are similar priced to Thailand. Hotel rooms and room rents are outrageously expensive (this trip was only possible by an offer for free accommodation by a friend). Similar European food, alcohol and tobacco. I applaud the Singaporean government for the latter, if not completely banning tobacco, at least make it expensive to cover cost of health damage, and protect others from second-hand smoke.

Entry to Cruise Club (not a sauna, but similar, see upcoming post) 28 SGD = 700 THB = 17 EUR. I paid 20 EUR in Paris’ Sun City sauna (size comparable to Babylon) and after a few trips decided it’s better to save the money for Thailand. (Babylon Sauna 240 THB)

Sunbed at Siloso beach 20 SGD = 500 THB. Dongtan beach 30 Baht.

Singaporean boys look different than Thai boys, and you have choice between Chinese, Malay and immigrants. Number of cute boys I saw similar to Thailand.

Singopare has as similar longitude as Bangkok, but is in a different time zone, Bangkok + 1 hour. Hence sun rises and sets later. Important factor for me, when I go out around midday in Bangkok, half of day is already over. 

Cables are hanging in the air in large numbers in Bangkok, whereas in Singapore they are underground.

Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC


  1. As for subways: there is a NETwork in SIN, and one can do changes-even more as 1 in 1 trip, with just 1 ticket. But on the buses its an absurd system with putting exact money in a box-without knowing how much it will cost. But 99% of regulars have some oystercard/chipcard, like rabbit anyway that solves it.
    Prices have thus gone up there also a lot in last 4-5 years and yes, all touristy things are about as expensive as Europe/Australia now.

  2. So in short everything is better in Singapore. But would I choose to stay in Singapore over Bangkok ? NEVER. And you ?

  3. You must be thinking that singapore is a very backward country?

  4. Well, if you get fed up with either the either subway systems, you can be thankful that bombs are not disallowed---yet. I would rather live in Singapore then Bangkok, but Singapore is a first world nation with first world prices, and housing cost are closer to New York or London. Not cheap like bangkok, but you do get what you pay for.

  5. I like Bangkok's crowded sidewalks, never ending spectacle

  6. They are both very nice. I love both of them. U should have visited Clementi when u come to Singapore. Clementi is very beautiful too. Thailand is the land of smiles.


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