dubai vs singapore
Last Updated: August 17, 2021

Dubai Vs. Singapore: Luxury Or Futurism?

Trying to decide between Dubai and Singapore? They are two very different cities, each best suited for a specific kind of traveler – but which one is better for you? That’s something this detailed comparison should help you figure out!

I’ve covered everything from climate to top sights in each city, so you’ll find all the information you need below. Read on to learn more about Dubai and Singapore, what there is to see in the two beautiful cities, and why it’s impossible to say that one is outright better than the other!

Answer: It Depends

Singapore Waterfront

Dubai and Singapore are two very different cities. Dubai is the better place to visit for families with children because it has so many different attractions to thrill the youngest visitors. It’s known for its many theme parks, most of which are the best and biggest of their kind in the world.

Singapore, on the other hand, is known for clean streets, futuristic architecture, and tall skyscrapers. It’s the better place to visit for adults who want to see new and unique things like the incredible vertical gardens and the magical supertrees.

Dubai Vs. Singapore: The Basics

Dubai Desert

Dubai is a city of extremes and it’s the place to visit if you want to be amazed and wowed. It’s home to the world’s tallest skyscraper, the largest shopping mall, the biggest waterpark, and many other superlatives. And with too many theme parks to count, Dubai is easily the better option for families with children. Note: And here is a three-day itinerary for Dubai in case you are interested.

On the other hand, Dubai is located in the desert and the climate is much arider than in Singapore. It’s hot in Dubai year-round, but summers in the city are almost unbearable. Dubai is best experienced in the winter when the average highs drop down to manageable 25-27 degrees Celsius.

Singapore Skyline

Singapore is best known for its modern architecture, tall buildings, and too many vertical gardens to count. It’s one of the cleanest cities in the world thanks to very strict laws on littering, vandalism, and public urination. Singapore is also much more westernized than Dubai and even more so than the neighboring Asian countries. Although Asian culture is still prevalent throughout Singapore, it has blended a lot with European culture and it’s quite different from other Asian cultures.

Additionally, Singapore has a tropical climate that makes staying in the country a bit more enjoyable. There’s a lot more rain and humidity than in Dubai, and the temperatures are not quite as extreme as they are in the desert.

Dubai Vs. Singapore: Cost

Dubai Theme Parks

Singapore is the more expensive of the two cities both for locals and tourists. Everything from accommodation to public transport costs more in Singapore, so if you’re trying to stay on a budget, Dubai is going to be the better option for you.

It’s worth noting that both these cities are very expensive for tourists and traveling on a budget has an entirely new meaning. You will spend a lot of money whether you travel to Dubai or Singapore, but you will generally pay more in Singapore for accommodation, restaurants, theme parks, and other attractions.  

Dubai Vs. Singapore: City Highlights

Singapore Aerial

Both Dubai and Singapore offer a lot of fun and interesting things for visitors, but the nature of the attractions is very different. Dubai has many of the world’s best and biggest attractions – the biggest waterpark, tallest skyscraper, etc. It’s also home to a lot of different theme parks, making it a great city for family vacations.

There’s no lack of fun things for kids in Dubai, which isn’t really the case with Singapore. Singapore is the better option for adults who want to enjoy modern architecture and futuristic city streets.

Singapore’s supertrees are a magical futuristic sight, and the city’s many botanic gardens are an absolute gem even if you’re not that into plants. Singapore is also home to the only Universal Studios theme park in Southeast Asia, so it’s not like there’s absolutely nothing for families with children to do in the city – there is, but the choices aren’t as plentiful as in Dubai.

Top Sights In Dubai

Dubai View

Dubai is a city of theme parks and the world’s best and biggest attractions. The top sights in Dubai include its record-breaking buildings, as well as several unique attractions you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is the tallest skyscraper in the world at 828 meters and it’s easily the most famous attraction in Dubai. There are 360-degree observation decks at levels 124, 125, and 148, although the tallest one can only be accessed with guides. On a clear day, you can experience some truly mesmerizing views of Dubai from the top.

On a cloudy day, you can actually be above the clouds, which is an amazing experience in its own right. The incredible skyscraper also boasts an 11-hectare park in front of the entrance, as well as the mesmerizing The Dubai Fountain with 140-meter tall jets dancing to music and lights.

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab Hotel

Burj Al Arab is the most iconic hotel in Dubai and one of the most luxurious hotels in the whole world. Everything about it is iconic, from the advanced modernist architecture to the waterfront location.

Here’s a fun fact about Dubai’s most modern hotel that not many people know – Burj Al Arab is not connected to the city’s sewer system. The wastewater is transported to a treatment facility outside Dubai each day in “poop trucks”.

Palm Islands

Dubai’s Palm Islands are easily one of the most famous attractions on the planet. The construction of the artificial islands began in 2001, and it’s been one of the most talked-about projects in recent history.

The Palm Islands project has received a lot of criticism from environmentalists, due to various concerns ranging from erosion to lack of sustainability. Nonetheless, Palm Islands remain one of the most interesting sights of modern Dubai.

The Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping mall in the world with more than 1,200 retail stores. It’s a Mecca for shopping addicts and it’s home to both high-street and high-end fashion stores. You don’t have to be a millionaire to do some shopping in Dubai’s enormous mall, but it certainly helps.

Apart from the retail stores, the Dubai Mall is also home to a pretty big ice skating rink and the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. The latter happens to be the largest aquarium in the world and is definitely worth your time, especially if you’re traveling with children. Walking through the underwater tunnel as sharks swim above you is an experience you’ll never forget.

Ski Dubai

Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort that’s open year-round. It’s one of the most famous attractions in the city – only in Dubai can you go skiing in the middle of the summer. The ski resort has mountains of snow, a chair lift, and it’s big enough that you can forget for a few moments that you’re skiing indoors, in the middle of the desert.

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden is one of the most beautiful places in the city of Dubai. It’s a public garden, but it’s unlike any other public garden you’ve seen before in life. It boasts a heart tunnel, a small village, and a life-sized airplane, all adorned with stunning flowers in vibrant colors. And those are just a few of the many different interesting attractions that await in Dubai Miracle Garden.

IMG Worlds of Adventure

IMG Worlds of Adventure is a vast indoor theme park. It’s the world’s second-largest theme park, spread over an area of more than 1.5 million square feet and with a capacity of some 20,000 visitors – don’t be surprised if there are crowds when you visit.

The main themes in the park are taken from Marvel and Cartoon Network shows, so it’s absolutely perfect for families with young kids. And also for all the adult, Marvel fans out there who want to go on some really fun rides! The theme park boasts a lot of different rides and themed shows, as well as some really great restaurants.

MOTIONGATE Dubai

Dubai MOTIONGATE Theme Park

MOTIONGATE Dubai is a Hollywood-themed park with live entertainment, rides, and plenty of dining opportunities. It’s a great place to visit with kids since they can see Shrek, Alex the Lion, Master Ping Xiao Po, and many other cartoon characters they know and love. The rides in the theme park are fun and exciting, and the shopping opportunities are abundant.

It’s worth noting that this theme park is in a part of the city called Dubai Parks and Resorts. There are several other theme parks in the area, including Legoland and BollywoodParks Dubai – in case MOTIONGATE Dubai is slightly underwhelming for you, be sure to check out the other options that are close by!

The Lost Chambers Aquarium

The Lost Chambers Aquarium is an Atlantis-themed aquarium in Dubai. It’s also home to the first AI aquarium experience in the region – you can scan the different fish to learn more about them, allowing for ultimate freedom in self-guided tours.

The point of the aquarium is not to just display unique and interesting marine animals. You will also have the opportunity to hand-feed sharks and rays, cuddle a sea lion, dine in an underwater restaurant, and much more!

Al Fahidi Historical District

Dubai Al Fahidi

Dubai is a fairly young city full of new buildings and modern architecture. Al Fahidi Historical District is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Dubai and a rare glimpse into the city’s first houses. The district was constructed in the late 19th century and in its prime, it could hold 60 housing units that were separated by narrow and winding lanes.

Nowadays, the buildings in Al Fahidi Historical District are mostly home to museums with exhibits on art, history, culture, and more.

Top Sights In Singapore

Singapore Supertrees

Singapore’s top sights are vastly different from those of Dubai, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less interesting or important. In Singapore, the focus is on modern botanical gardens, futuristic architecture, and one-of-a-kind attractions that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island

The resort island is home to Singapore’s best beaches and many other fun things to do. It’s easily the highlight of any trip to Singapore, and families with children will particularly enjoy a trip to Sentosa Island.

In addition to the spectacular beaches, the island is also home to theme parks, indoor skydiving centers, water parks, and adventure parks, among other attractions. If you’re looking to go on a proper family vacation, Singapore’s Sentosa Island might just be the best place for you.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Singapre Botanic Gardens

The 183-acre Singapore Botanical Gardens are easily one of the best things to see in the city. The massive gardens boast sculptures, a swan lake, and an impressive collection of tropical trees, among other things.

You should also see the National Parks Board, which is a hilltop display of thousands of rare orchid species. The gardens are divided into lots of smaller garden areas, with some of the highlights being the Fragrant Garden and the Healing Garden.  

Cloud Forest & Flower Dome

Singapore Cloud Forest

The Cloud Forest is another one of Singapore’s botanical gardens, but this one is located in a modern greenhouse. It boasts lush tropical vegetation and even a huge indoor waterfall. The observation deck near the top of the waterfall is easily the highlight of the Cloud Forest, as the views from the top truly feel like you’re on a different planet.

Close to the Cloud Forest, you will find another enormous greenhouse worth checking out – the Flower Dome. The huge greenhouse features themed gardens with lots of exotic plants and it’s easily one of the best sights in the city.

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo is one of the best zoos in the world. It’s situated in a rainforest setting and it’s absolutely huge. The varied animals inside the zoo are wonderful to observe, and there are also two safari parks. There’s a Night Safari with tram rides and walking trails for anyone who wants to see the animals in the rainforest at night.

There’s also a River Safari with an aquarium and a river theme, offering boat and themed rides. You can see pandas in the Singapore Zoo, as well as tigers, leopards, flamingos, and many other animals.

Gardens by the Bay

Singapore Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay is one of Singapore’s most iconic attractions. It’s a network of vertical greenhouses and parks in a waterfront setting, featuring supertrees that are lined with solar cells. The supertrees light up at night in various colors and they’re an astonishing sight. It’s worth noting that you don’t have to necessarily visit the gardens to see the supertrees – they’re absolutely massive and can even be observed from across the water.

Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer

There’s one thing Singapore has that Dubai doesn’t – the largest observation wheel in the world. It’s the Singapore Flyer, and it’s an iconic city sight that you just can’t miss. Literally – how could you miss the sight of a 165-meter tall Ferris wheel?

If you’re not afraid of heights, you really should ride the Singapore Flyer – the views are so incredible that’s it’s without a doubt worth the time and money. Those scared of heights won’t be able to enjoy the best vies of Singapore, but they can still visit the Singapore Flyer just to witness it in all its glory.

Science Center Singapore

Science Center Singapore

Science Center Singapore is one of the places to visit if you’ve traveled to Singapore with children. The museum is very educational with a lot of interactive exhibits on Earth, space, and biology. There are both indoor and outdoor exhibits in the museum and a lot of them are interactive, to keep the youngest visitors entertained.

Jurong Lake Gardens

Jurong Lake Gardens

Jurong Lake Gardens is a sprawling lakeside park. It features playgrounds, a swamp forest, and boardwalks. Sections of the park include a Chinese Garden and a Japanese Garden, both of which are decorated in accordance with the respective Asian cultures. They’re a beautiful sight and certainly some of the top things to see in Singapore.  

Universal Studios Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore is the first and only Universal-themed park in Southeast Asia. The theme park has seven different zones and about 24 rides, all of which feature themes from various Universal movies. It’s a must-visit for families and an unskippable attraction on a tour of Singapore’s Sentosa Island.

Merlion

Singapore Merlion

Merlion is another one of the iconic Singapore landmarks. The 8.5-meter tall fountain of a fish body with a lion head is an astonishing sight, and one of the most recognizable attractions at Singapore’s waterfront.

The fountain is situated just below the Jubilee Bridge – another Singapore sight you should take time to see. The modern pedestrian bridge offers wonderful views of Marina Bay, and they truly are a sight for sore eyes.

National Museum Of Singapore

National Museum Of Singapore

The National Museum of Singapore is the best museum in the city, especially if you want to learn more about the history and culture of the area. The building is notable for its blend of classical and modern architecture, and it’s home to an extensive collection of vibrant Singaporean artifacts.

National Gallery Singapore

National Gallery Singapore

The National Gallery Singapore is an art museum situated in a 20th-century municipal building. It’s a must for all art lovers out there – the vast collection of Southeast Asian and Singapore art is certainly impressive, and one of the largest collections of its kind in this part of the world.

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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