Top Five of the Most Beautiful Bookstores in Asia

Aug 29, 2019 | Asia, Biz, China, Escape, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand

East Asia DeskKari.Amarnani author

Bookstore – Duoyun Books – Shanghai China | ©Wutopialab

Take a step inside the most breathtaking bookstores Asia has to offer

There is something so magical about a room full of books, isn’t there? The stacks of infinite knowledge, the escape to another universe, the realm where everything in the world just feels right— with all of these in the midst, the sensation of serenity is present. Books provide a sense of security that cannot be resembled by anything else. Just like the books themselves, bookstores paint an illusion. And Asia is packin’ some incredible bookstores specifically designed to put a little twinkle in your eye. 

1. Zhongshuge Bookstore (Hangzhou, China)

Have you ever just wanted to read but at the same time have your mind blown? Well, this is the place for you. Feast your eyes on this amazing palace of optical illusions. Zhongshuge was designed by XL-MUSE with the intention to make the place look never-ending; the kind of place you would want to get lost in.

The huge bookstore has quiet reading rooms, a ‘forest of mirrors’ room and an area that makes it seem like you’re sitting on a log in the woods. There’s also a room for children called the Book Playground. Reading peacefully in a forest dream while your kid has intellectual fun? Perfect.

2. Books Actually (Tiong Bahru, Singapore)

Do you believe in love at first sight? You will now. Books Actually has been standing for 14 years with its lovable and welcoming atmosphere bound to draw you in from a distance. Located at the heart of Tiong Bahru is a remote spot filled with towering piles of books along with weirdly nostalgic memorabilia. Scented candles that smell like home, antique items that remind you of childhood and vintage typewriters that make you want to write the world away. Somehow, time seems to stop within these walls.

It may not be artistically designed in a conventional and magnificent way, but it makes you feel belonging. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what beautiful designs are supposed to do? While you’re visiting, say hello to the store cats, Cake, Piko and Lemon. You may find one napping on a book.


3. Candide Books (Bangkok, Thailand)

They say that nothing worth having comes easy, and here’s proof. To reach Candide Books, one must walk through a maze of stalls in a crowded market. Once you’ve made it through, you will find the Jam Factory and inside is a wonderful little bookstore. With its picturesque environment and beautiful decorations, the bookstore lives up to its reputation as an oasis. Cement floors, black steel and the perfect amount of exposed ceiling— Candide Books is a crowd favorite, especially among students.

Don’t expect to get too much reading done unless you love the hustle and bustle sounds of everyday life. Duangruethai Esanasatang, the co-owner of Candide Books, believes that a bookshop should never be quiet; it needs vibrancy and noise. She’s a writer and publisher so let’s take her word for it.


4. Tsutaya Books Daikanyama (Tokyo, Japan)

What if I told you there was a Disneyland version of a bookstore? This is it! With three buildings and three levels, the reading fun is endless. Architecturally, Tsutaya is a masterpiece. The area was built based on the iconic ‘T’ logo for Tsutaya, and honestly, it’s a wonderful place to read. With its glass windows that stand from floor to ceiling and its gigantic and simple spaces. That picturesque scene of reading while the sun shines just right, illuminating the words on a book? Priceless. This place will definitely catch your attention (and the money inside your wallet).



5. Zhongshu Bookstore (Shanxi, China)

Wouldn’t it be amazing to enjoy a book with the sensation of floating over clouds? Wutopia Lab has designed just that in the ancient city of Xi’an. The modernly designed bookstore has 30,000 meters of light strips making it all white and looking like a floating peaceful sanctuary.

The structure was made with 300 tons of steel, but trust me, you won’t fall from the clouds. You’re safe in its white acrylic walls.

How beautiful it is to know you are safe within these sturdy and beautiful places as you read and leave for another world. Go, Asia!

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