The shopping paradise of Singapore is filled with inspiring finds, ranging from artisanal wares and curios, to vintage vinyl and labours of literary love. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a bibliophile or a connoisseur of craftsmanship, you’re bound to discover a unique purchase to help you convey the distinctiveness of your personality.
For vinyl fiends
Roxy Records & Trading
More than just a form of aural pleasure, music is a window into an individual’s tastes and temperament. Make a statement with the vinyl records at Roxy Records & Trading, a charming hole-in-the wall that’s been the haunt of local music lovers for over five decades.
Besides vinyl, the store stocks a motley assortment of CDs and cassettes in a variety of genres, ranging from speed metal and rock to jazz and acoustic blues. Avid collectors can inquire with the friendly proprietors at the counter about their collectors list, while those hoping to bring home music from Asia can go crate-diving for Cantopop.
If you’re an aspiring musician yourself, be sure to drop by Peninsula Shopping Centre next door. This shopping mall houses several instrument stores in its basement, and the proprietors will be happy to let you test out a new Fender Stratocaster (and channel your inner Jimi Hendrix) before making your purchase.
Excelsior Shopping Centre. 5 Coleman Street #02-15, Singapore 179805. +65 6337 7783.
Choice Cut Goods + Coffee
Fixing for a cuppa coffee to accompany your hunt for great music? Head down to Choice Cut Goods + Coffee in Joo Chiat. This cosy space offers up a mean brew alongside a selection of vintage vinyl and street merchandise.
More of a dedicated collection than an eclectic spread, the records sold here tend to be clustered around the genres of soul music, jazz, blues and rap. If you’re holding a house party in the near future, this will make a great place to find dance-worthy tunes with African roots.
Katong Point. 451 Joo Chiat Road #01-07, Singapore 427664. +65 9748 1775.
Tue-Thu & Sun 11am-10pm; Fri & Sat 11am-11pm.
For art aficionados
Aptly located in Bugis—a neighbourhood of craft stores and art academies—Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film is a non-profit visual arts centre dedicated to the craft of film and photography.
The retail space here offers up an ever-evolving mix of photography-themed books, arthouse film DVDs and fine prints. We recommend picking up the latter—shot by famous local photographers like Darren Soh and Lui Hock Seng—to peer into Singapore’s past and commemorate your time here. Alternatively, you can add to your curated list of home movies by purchasing titles from local film makers like Boo Junfeng and Ken Kwek.
Besides its dedicated store space, the establishment offers up a mix of workshops, exhibitions and screenings for shutterbugs and aspiring auteurs. We recommend signing up for one of their guided photo walks, conducted by the establishment’s instructors. These photography-themed jaunts through the city will help you hone your eye for composition while discovering Singapore’s beautiful urban landscape.
Objectifs. 155 Middle Road, Singapore 188977. +65 6336 2957.
Tue-Sat noon-7pm; Sun noon-4pm.
For literary lovers
One of the largest bookstores in Southeast Asia, this megastore at Ngee Ann City stocks a whopping 400,000 books from every genre imaginable. Whether you’re looking for self-help by Marie Kondo or surrealist shorts by Franz Kafka, you’re bound to find a book that will introduce you to new concepts, worlds and ideas.
Our suggestion? Delve into the rich world of Singaporean literature, and bring home a literary gem as testament to your stellar tastes. Lovers of poetry should consider Sonnets From The Singlish by Joshua Yip and Unmarked Treasure by Cyril Wong, while fiction fans can explore new worlds with The Minorities By Suffian Hakim and Ministry of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe.
Takashimaya Shopping Centre. 391 Orchard Road #04-20/20A/20B/20C/21, Singapore 238872. +65 6737 5021.
Mon-Fri & Sun 10am-9.30pm; Sat 10am-10pm.
For a full list of Books Kinokuniya stores, click here.
Littered with Books
Nestled in a two-storey conservation shophouse along the hipster enclave of Duxton Road, Littered with Books feels less like an indie bookstore, and more like the personal library of a particularly well-read friend.
The range of books here are a delightfully chaotic mishmash of classic literature, modern potboilers, and popular bestsellers. Readers desiring to be transported to new worlds without ever leaving their couches should peruse their eclectic selection of travel narratives and guides.
Littered with Books. 20 Duxton Road Singapore 089486. +65 6220 6824.
Mon-Thu noon-8pm; Fri noon-9pm; Sat 11am-9pm; Sun 11am-8pm.
For collectors of curios
Tong Mern Sern Antiques
Channel your inner Indiana Jones and go treasure hunting at Tong Mern Sern Antiques. Located in a conserved pre-war shophouse amidst the bustle of Tanjong Pagar, this charming establishment feels like the sort of place where you’d find a genie-inhabited lamp.
Sieve through the bric-a-brac, and you’re likely to find something to pique your interest, ranging from beautiful porcelain plates for your kitchen to old wood carvings that’ll make a bold addition as the centrepiece of your abode.
Tong Mern Sern Antiques. 51 Craig Road, Singapore 089689. +65 6223 1037.
Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm; Sun 1.30-5.30pm.
To add a dash of The Orient’s mystique to your abode, consider a visit to East Inspirations. Nestled along South Bridge Road in the heritage district of Chinatown, the establishment is packed with old-world relics, antiques and trinkets that will transport you back in time.
The store’s owner, Mr PK Cheong, has been a lover of antiques for over four decades, and the shop’s repository is filled with artefacts that will add a dash of the Orient to your home. The many-splendoured wonders here include beautiful porcelain vases, charming figurines of mythical animals, vintage abacuses and ink sticks that hearken back to feudal-era China.
East Inspirations at South Bridge Road. 233 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058782. +65 6323 5365.