• published on 3/13/2023
  • 5min

Hong Kong VS Singapore: Which offers the best quality of life?

Discover the key lifestyle factors where each city excels based on what matters most to you.

Hong Kong VS Singapore: Which offers the best quality of life?

Hong Kong and Singapore, two vibrant Asian powerhouses, often find themselves locked in a friendly rivalry. Both boast impressive economies, efficient infrastructure, and diverse cultures, making them attractive destinations for expats and locals alike.

However, choosing between the two cities ultimately depends on your personal priorities and desired lifestyle. For instance, Singapore may appeal more to those prioritising modern amenities and a quiet family life. Meanwhile, nature lovers may prefer Hong Kong for its verdant hiking trails and easy access to islands and beaches.

But when it comes to quality of life, the question arises: Which city is better?

Cost of living

According to Living Cost, here’s a straight comparison of the cost of living in both cities. While both Hong Kong and Singapore are known for their high cost of living, Hong Kong edges out its neighbor as slightly more affordable by around 8%.

Hong Kong


One person rent

USD 1,748

USD 1,950

Family rent

USD 3,501

USD 3,669

Transport expenses

USD 241

USD 246

Food expenses

USD 502

USD 540


Hong Kong: Locals and tourists can expect a dynamic energy in Hong Kong. You can see bustling streets, late-night eateries, and a constant buzz of activity. A unique blend of Chinese and Western influences also creates a captivating cultural landscape in Hong Kong, especially in its diverse cuisine ranging from street food stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants.

However, since it is known for its fast-paced and competitive work environment, people in Hong Kong work relatively long working hours, which is the norm in certain industries. This can impact personal time and leisure activities.

It also faces challenges like higher pollution levels and crowded living spaces. While Hong Kong and Singapore offer similar rental rates, the living areas in Hong Kong tend to be significantly smaller, which is a major drawback for families who require more space.

While densely populated, Hong Kong offers amazing hiking trails for families and outdoor enthusiasts, like Dragon's Back or the Lantau Trail for stunning views and nature escapes.

See more: Best places to live in Hong Kong for expats

Singapore: Often described as clean, efficient, and safe, Singapore boasts excellent infrastructure, green spaces, and a multicultural society. A melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasian influences creates a vibrant tapestry of cultures in this city-state.

While also having a strong work ethic, Singapore places a greater emphasis on a healthy work-life integration, with various recreational and green spaces, like Gardens by the Bay and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Anyone can easily find green pockets throughout the city for picnics, jogs, or simply relaxing. However, some consider it less dynamic and lacking the "gritty" charm of Hong Kong.

See more: Checklist before moving to Singapore

Economic opportunities

Both cities are major financial and business hubs, attracting professionals from various industries.

Hong Kong: It has long been recognised as a global financial centre, with a strong presence of multinational corporations and a vibrant banking sector. It offers a wide range of job opportunities, particularly in finance, trade, and logistics.

Obtaining a working visa in Hong Kong is relatively easy if you meet the qualifications. For entrepreneurs, getting a business off the ground is a quick and straightforward process, thanks to the city's efficient regulatory framework and business-friendly environment.

Singapore: It is known for its pro-business environment and is home to numerous multinational companies. It has a diverse economy, with strengths in finance, technology, healthcare, and manufacturing.

Singapore's post-pandemic job market has grown increasingly competitive, making it harder to find employers willing to sponsor an Employment Pass. Companies have become more selective in hiring foreign talent due to stringent criteria and heightened scrutiny of qualifications, experience, and salary benchmarks.

When deciding between the two cities, individuals often consider the specific industry and job prospects that align with their career goals.


Some individuals may have personal preferences for certain types of weather and may factor climate into their decision-making process.

Hong Kong: The city has a humid subtropical climate, characterised by hot and humid summers and mild winters.

Singapore: As it is located closer to the equator, Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with consistently high temperatures and high humidity throughout the year.


Hong Kong: Crowned as the third in the world for best public transport, Hong Kong boasts unparalleled efficiency, affordability, and infrastructure. Frequent MTR trains, trams, buses, and ferries connect to every corner, making car ownership unnecessary.

However, crowdedness, particularly during peak hours, can also be overwhelming.

Singapore: Ranking 4th globally, Singapore's public transportation is impressive. Modern, efficient MRT lines and buses provide reliable connectivity throughout the city.

Singapore actively promotes walking and cycling, with dedicated lanes, bike-sharing programs, and pedestrian-friendly zones. This appeals to those seeking a more active lifestyle.

Healthcare and insurance

In terms of quality, both cities offers high-quality healthcare but are also known for being very expensive. They are both renowned for their advanced medical facilities, highly-trained professionals, and cutting-edge technology. This makes the decision less about overall quality and more about specific needs, preferences, and budget considerations.

Public Healthcare

Hong Kong: Public healthcare services are heavily subsidised by the government in Hong Kong. Public hospitals and clinics provide quality medical care either free of charge or for a nominal fee.

While facilities and services are excellent, Hong Kong's densely populated environment translates to a high demand for public healthcare services. With a limited number of doctors and specialists, appointments get booked quickly, leading to long wait times.

Singapore: Unlike Singaporean citizens and permanent residents who benefit from substantial government subsidies, expats are responsible for the full cost of healthcare services, making both public and private options expensive.

Private Healthcare

Hong Kong: Private healthcare offers shorter waiting times, personalised attention, and access to cutting-edge technology and renowned specialists.  However, Hong Kong’s healthcare costs are among the highest globally, second to the US. Comprehensive health insurance is highly recommended.

Singapore: Singapore provides a network of highly qualified and locally or internationally trained doctors, surgeons, and specialists. Many have experience in top medical institutions around the world. Compared to the public system, wait times for consultations, procedures, and surgeries are significantly reduced. Expect significant costs similar to Hong Kong.

Now, which offers the best quality of life?

In conclusion, Hong Kong and Singapore are both great destinations for expatriates. These world-class Asian cities present abundant opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Hong Kong is very vibrant and energetic, perfect for singles or couples who enjoy a fast-paced lifestyle. On the other hand, Singapore is orderly, safe, and has world-class amenities, which makes an excellent choice for families or those who prefer a structured environment.

Ultimately, the city that offers the best quality of life comes down to individual preferences and priorities.

Get your health covered with MyHEALTH

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