Bali vs. Singapore

Choosing between the lush tropical paradise of Bali and the vibrant cosmopolitan city-state of Singapore can seem like quite a challenge. After all, both destinations boast unique attributes that make them stand out. Bali offers a serene escape with rich historical depth, while Singapore dazzles with its mix of cutting-edge modernity and traditional cultural richness. How do you decide where to book your next vacation?
Bali vs. Singapore

Table of Contents

Is it the allure of tranquil temples amidst verdant rice fields that pulls at your heart? Or are you fascinated by futuristic architecture silhouetted against an urban skyline? Read on, because this comparison between Bali and Singapore will surely fuel your wanderlust and help make your decision a little bit easier.

History & Culture

Venturing into the history and culture of Bali and Singapore is akin to diving into two distinct yet equally captivating worlds.

Bali, an island in Indonesia, is steeped in a deeply spiritual culture that dates back centuries. In every corner of Bali, you can find traces of the past in the form of ornate temples and intricate artistry. Its history is richly woven with elements of Hinduism, which is evident in the daily lives of its inhabitants.

Bali’s culture is a harmonious blend of the old and new, with traditions passing down from generation to generation, preserving their cultural heritage.

Singapore, on the other hand, is a relatively young nation that gained independence in 1965. Its history, though brief compared to Bali, is no less interesting. Singapore’s past is a story of transformation from a small fishing village to a thriving global city. This transformation reflects in its multicultural society, a melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Western influences.

Singaporeans take pride in their multicultural heritage and have managed to strike a balance between maintaining cultural diversity and forging a unique Singaporean identity.

In Bali, you will find a more homogeneous culture, heavily influenced by Balinese Hinduism. The island’s cultural practices, such as traditional dance, music, and arts, are intertwined with religious customs.

Singapore, however, presents a multicultural landscape, with each ethnic community preserving its unique traditions while simultaneously partaking in a shared Singaporean identity.

When comparing the culture and history of Bali and Singapore, it becomes clear that both have unique offerings. Bali captivates with its serene spirituality and deeply rooted customs, while Singapore fascinates with its tapestry of cultures and rapid transformation from a fishing village to a global metropolis.

In summary, Bali offers a chance to immerse yourself in an age-old culture that coexists with the natural beauty of the island. Singapore, meanwhile, is a testament to how diversity and rapid modernization can coexist, offering a dynamic blend of traditional and contemporary cultures. Your preference between these two depends on what type of cultural and historical experiences you seek in your travels.

Attractions & Activities

When it comes to attractions and activities, both Bali and Singapore shine with offerings that engage the mind, touch the heart, and stir the soul. In this vivid contrast between a tropical island and an urban metropolis, the activities and attractions shape a unique narrative for each destination.

In Bali, the island’s history and spirituality spring to life in its iconic attractions. The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud is a must-visit, housing a thriving troop of long-tailed macaques amidst the tranquillity of the forest.

For a dose of spirituality, the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, a major water temple in Bali, offers an ethereal experience, seemingly floating on Lake Bratan. Adventurers might choose to hike Mount Batur, a highly active volcano, to catch a magical sunrise from its peak.

Contrastingly, Singapore’s attractions celebrate its modernity and multiculturalism. The Gardens by the Bay, with its futuristic Supertree structures, showcases the city’s innovative spirit. The ethnic districts of Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam each reveal unique aspects of Singapore’s cultural tapestry.

The Sentosa Island, a playground of sorts, offers Universal Studios and the S.E.A. Aquarium for those who love a bit of thrill and excitement.

If you’re a nature enthusiast, Bali offers splendid trekking routes, from exploring hidden waterfalls to walking amidst terraced rice fields. Singapore, while urban, surprises with pockets of greenery like the Southern Ridges, a 6-mile (around 9.7 kilometers) trail that combines parks and nature reserves.

In essence, Bali’s attractions are deeply rooted in its spiritual and natural landscapes, allowing you to connect with nature and the island’s unique cultural heritage. Singapore, on the other hand, delivers an urban adventure with a mix of modern marvels, multicultural enclaves, and green escapes. Your choice hinges on your preferences: are you drawn to spiritual retreats and natural wonders or multicultural interactions and modern exploits?


A vacation is never truly complete without a day at the beach. While both Bali and Singapore offer beach experiences, they provide contrasting atmospheres that cater to different preferences.

Bali’s beaches are world-renowned, with a blend of white and black sand beaches lapped by clear, warm waters. Seminyak Beach, a stretch of sandy shore about 3 miles (around 4.8 kilometers) long, is known for its calm waters and stunning sunsets. Another iconic spot is Uluwatu, renowned for its towering cliffs and world-class surf spots.

On the other hand, Singapore offers man-made beach experiences on Sentosa Island.

Palawan Beach, connected to the southernmost point of continental Asia by a suspension bridge, offers family-friendly amenities and is about half a mile long (around 0.8 kilometers). Meanwhile, Siloso Beach, measuring roughly one mile (approximately 1.6 kilometers), is popular for its water sports activities.

While Singapore’s beaches offer a pleasant retreat amidst the city’s bustle, they can’t quite match the natural allure of Bali’s beaches. Bali’s coastline is characterized by pristine stretches of sand, crystal-clear waters, and surf spots that attract beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts alike.

In conclusion, if a natural beach experience with stunning landscapes and tranquil waters is what you desire, Bali is a clear choice. However, if you prefer easy accessibility with ample amenities and water sports, Singapore’s beaches, while man-made, provide an enjoyable seaside retreat.

Eating, Drinking & Nightlife

In the thrilling journey of exploring Bali and Singapore, food and drinks form a crucial part, adding to the cultural immersion and overall experience. And when the sun goes down, the nightlife in both destinations unfurls its unique charm. Let’s delve into these aspects.

Bali offers a culinary journey through its traditional Indonesian and Balinese dishes. From the spicy ‘Bebek Betutu’ (roasted duck) to the simple yet satisfying ‘Nasi Goreng’ (fried rice), each dish tells a story of the island’s rich culture. Bali also has a growing trend of health-conscious cafes offering organic and vegan meals, especially in the Ubud region.

On the flip side, Singapore is a gastronomic paradise where you can sample a diverse range of cuisines. The hawker centres, like the popular Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, offer affordable and delicious local dishes like Chicken Rice, Laksa, and Chilli Crab.

Additionally, Singapore’s restaurant scene boasts a multitude of Michelin-starred establishments offering world-class dining experiences.

In the realm of drinking, Bali’s beach clubs like Potato Head and Ku De Ta in Seminyak are popular hangouts where you can sip on a Bintang beer or a tropical cocktail while watching a spectacular sunset.

Singapore’s drinking scene is equally exciting, with rooftop bars like Marina Bay Sands’ CE LA VI and 1-Altitude offering breathtaking views of the city skyline along with their creative concoctions.

When night falls, Bali’s nightlife caters to a range of tastes, from relaxed beachside bars in Seminyak to pulsating nightclubs in Kuta. In contrast, Singapore’s nightlife is renowned for its vibrant clubbing scene, especially around Clarke Quay, as well as evening cultural performances in the city’s numerous theatres.

To summarise, Bali offers a taste of its rich culture through its traditional cuisine and a relaxed nightlife scene against stunning natural backdrops. Singapore impresses with its food diversity, classy drinking spots with a view, and energetic nightlife featuring everything from clubbing to cultural shows. The choice depends on your taste buds and how you like to unwind.


A shopping experience in a foreign land can be as exciting as exploring its attractions. The retail landscapes of Bali and Singapore, with their unique characteristics, invite you to discover and bring home a piece of these places.

In Bali, shopping is a blend of traditional markets and upscale boutiques. Sukawati Art Market, Ubud Art Market, and Tegallalang Handicraft Center are some of the places where you can find handicrafts, traditional textiles, and art pieces reflecting Bali’s unique craftsmanship. Additionally, Seminyak is a hub for chic boutiques offering designer clothing, jewelry, and homeware.

Singapore offers a world-class shopping experience with its wide array of shopping malls, luxury boutiques, and bustling street markets. The Orchard Road, spanning about 1.5 miles (around 2.4 kilometers), is lined with numerous shopping malls carrying international brands.

For a more local shopping experience, head over to Bugis Street Market where you can find affordable fashion, accessories, and souvenirs.

Whether it’s the allure of traditional markets brimming with artful souvenirs in Bali, or the thrill of upscale shopping malls and bargain street markets in Singapore, both destinations offer unique shopping experiences.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for traditional artifacts and local crafts, Bali’s markets and boutiques offer a delightful shopping experience. If you prefer the convenience and variety of shopping malls with both luxury and bargain options, Singapore will certainly meet your retail desires.


Choosing the perfect place to rest your head can be as exciting as planning your itinerary. In both Bali and Singapore, the accommodation options are diverse, ranging from budget-friendly options to lavish retreats.

In Bali, the accommodation options add a distinct touch to your vacation. Here, you can find an array of private villas, often with a private pool, especially in areas like Seminyak and Ubud.

If you’re after a more authentic experience, consider staying in a traditional Balinese guesthouse or a homestay amidst the scenic rice fields of Ubud. Bali also offers luxury resorts, particularly along the beachfront in Nusa Dua.

On the other hand, Singapore’s accommodation scene caters to a range of preferences and budgets. From luxury hotels like Marina Bay Sands with its famous infinity pool to boutique hotels in culturally rich districts like Chinatown, the options are varied. Budget travelers also have access to numerous quality hostels and budget hotels spread across the city.

In essence, Bali offers a unique blend of private villas, traditional guesthouses, and luxury resorts, many nestled amidst its lush landscapes. Singapore, meanwhile, impresses with its range of luxury hotels, boutique accommodations, and budget options, all conveniently located within reach of major attractions. Your choice largely depends on your budget and the type of accommodation experience you seek.

Family-Friendliness & Children’s Activities

Creating memorable experiences for the whole family is a crucial part of any vacation. Thankfully, both Bali and Singapore are well-equipped with family-friendly amenities and engaging activities for children.

In Bali, the entire family can explore the island’s natural wonders, from visiting turtle conservation projects in Sanur to the interactive Bali Safari and Marine Park in Gianyar. The Waterbom Bali in Kuta is also a hit among families, offering exciting water slides and a lazy river.

In contrast, Singapore is an urban playground for children. The Universal Studios on Sentosa Island is packed with thrilling rides and shows. The Singapore Zoo, River Safari, and Jurong Bird Park offer interactive wildlife experiences. Gardens by the Bay, with its family-friendly Far East Organization Children’s Garden, is another spot kids would love.

In terms of family-friendly accommodations, both destinations offer a range of resorts and hotels equipped with family rooms and kid-friendly amenities. Bali stands out with its villa accommodations, often featuring multiple bedrooms and a private pool, while Singapore hotels often include family rooms and kid-friendly services.

In summary, Bali offers an abundance of natural and wildlife attractions that can be explored as a family, while Singapore caters to children with a variety of themed parks and interactive educational attractions. Both provide family-friendly accommodation options, ensuring a comfortable stay for everyone.

Getting There & Getting Around

Travel involves not just exploring the destination, but also the journey of getting there and moving around. Bali and Singapore offer different travel experiences, each with its own charm and challenges.

Reaching Bali primarily involves flying into Ngurah Rai International Airport, which is connected to major cities worldwide. Singapore, being a major aviation hub, is serviced by Changi Airport, consistently voted the best in the world, with extensive connections globally.

Once you’ve landed, getting around in Bali is often done by hiring a private driver or a scooter for the more adventurous. Distances between attractions can be significant, with a drive from Kuta to Ubud taking approximately 1.5 hours covering around 23 miles (about 37 kilometers).

In contrast, getting around Singapore is a breeze with its efficient public transport system. The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) network covers the city extensively, and buses are equally reliable. Even the furthest corners of the island can be reached within an hour.

In summary, getting to both Bali and Singapore is easy with international flight connections. Once there, transportation in Bali can involve scenic drives across the island, while Singapore offers the convenience and efficiency of one of the world’s best public transportation systems. Your choice depends on whether you prefer a laid-back journey with views or quick and efficient city transit.


Understanding the weather is key to planning any vacation. Both Bali and Singapore have tropical climates, but they vary slightly, making each unique in its own way.

Bali has two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season, from April to September, is the most popular time to visit with average temperatures around 82°F (28°C). The rainy season, from October to March, sees more rainfall but still offers warm temperatures around the same range.

Singapore, being near the equator, has a fairly constant tropical rainforest climate. It’s consistently warm and humid all year round, with average temperatures hovering between 77°F (25°C) and 95°F (35°C). Rainfall is somewhat evenly distributed throughout the year, but the wettest months are typically from November to January.

In summary, Bali offers a more varied climate with its distinct dry and rainy seasons, while Singapore provides a consistent tropical climate year-round. Depending on your preference for weather and activities, this could play a key role in your decision.


The safety of a destination significantly contributes to your peace of mind during your vacation. Both Bali and Singapore are generally considered safe destinations for tourists, but there are some differences.

Bali, while largely safe, has occasional instances of petty crime such as pickpocketing, particularly in crowded tourist areas. On the other hand, natural events like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, due to Bali’s location in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” can be a concern, though they are rare.

Singapore is known for its stringent laws and low crime rates, making it one of the safest cities in the world. However, as with any city, it’s always important to stay aware of your surroundings and belongings.

In terms of health, both destinations have good healthcare facilities. However, medical services can be more expensive in Singapore compared to Bali.

In summary, both Bali and Singapore are generally safe for travelers but bear different considerations. While Bali has minor crime and natural events, Singapore’s safety is marked by its strict laws and world-class healthcare, albeit at a higher cost.


Cost is a key consideration for any traveler. Comparing the costs between Bali and Singapore reveals significant differences, mainly due to the differing levels of development and cost of living in the two destinations.

In Bali, the cost of living is generally lower. Meals at local warungs (small family-owned businesses) can be as cheap as IDR 30,000 ($2), and a stay in a budget guesthouse might cost around IDR 300,000 ($20) per night. Taxis or private drivers for a day could cost around IDR 500,000 ($35).

In contrast, Singapore, as one of the world’s most expensive cities, has higher costs. A meal at a local hawker center might cost SGD 5-7 ($4-5), while a night in a budget hotel can range from SGD 80-100 ($60-75). Public transportation is relatively cheap, but taxis can be expensive, especially during peak hours.

In summary, Bali offers a low-cost travel experience with affordable food, accommodation, and transportation, making it an ideal choice for budget travelers. On the other hand, while Singapore has higher living costs, it provides a diverse range of experiences reflective of its status as a global city. Your choice will largely depend on your budget and desired travel experience.

Which Is Better – Bali or Singapore?

Choosing between Bali and Singapore can be a tough decision, given the unique charm and attractions each destination offers. However, examining the different aspects of your potential vacation can help in making an informed choice.

From a historical and cultural perspective, Bali and Singapore offer contrasting experiences. Bali’s deep-rooted traditions and rich culture captivate travelers looking for an immersive cultural experience. Singapore, with its mix of cultures and impressive modern skyline, suits those interested in exploring a vibrant, cosmopolitan city.

In terms of attractions and activities, both destinations have unique offerings. Bali, with its temples, rice terraces, and yoga retreats, promises a serene getaway. Conversely, Singapore, with its iconic landmarks, gardens, and thrilling theme parks, provides a dynamic city escape.

Beach lovers will find Bali’s serene coastlines hard to beat, while Singapore’s man-made beach at Sentosa offers a different experience altogether.

When it comes to dining and nightlife, Singapore’s hawker centers and high-end restaurants offer diverse culinary experiences, complemented by an array of nightlife options. Bali, on the other hand, offers a range of food options from local warungs to fine dining and has a lively nightlife scene, especially in areas like Seminyak.

Shopping enthusiasts might find Singapore more appealing with its luxury malls and boutique stores. Bali, though, is a paradise for those who enjoy bargaining and seeking unique handicrafts. When looking at accommodations, Bali offers more diversity from budget homestays to luxury resorts, while Singapore caters more to mid-range and luxury travelers.

Family-friendliness and children’s activities vary as well. Singapore’s well-organized attractions, such as the zoo and science centers, are perfect for kids. Bali, while also offering family-friendly activities, has a more relaxed atmosphere that might suit families seeking a laid-back vacation.

In terms of weather, if you prefer a consistent climate, Singapore might be your go-to, while Bali’s dry and rainy seasons offer variety. Safety-wise, Singapore’s strict laws make it one of the world’s safest cities, whereas Bali, though safe, requires some caution against petty crime and natural events. If cost is a significant factor, Bali’s lower living costs might sway your decision over Singapore’s higher costs.

So, is Bali or Singapore better? It entirely depends on what you’re looking for. For a relaxing beach holiday, with cultural immersion, and on a budget, Bali would be a great fit. If you prefer a bustling city with diverse food options, organized attractions, and don’t mind spending a bit more, then Singapore is your ideal choice. Ultimately, both destinations have unique qualities that can offer memorable experiences. It’s all about finding the one that fits your preferences and travel goals the best.