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52 Undiscovered Experiences: SHOPPING & STYLE

Cult brands, curious finds and calming retreats

Bliss out at the city’s closest thing to an onsen

Bliss out at the city’s closest thing to an onsen

Having come across our fair share of spas that put on a soundtrack of cheesy muzak, we’re happy to see that the Japanese-inspired Ikeda Spa is recognising the role that music can play in creating a fuller spa experience. The spa’s second branch at The Central offers a Zen Music Therapy, which incorporates lighter styles of massage like Swedish, Balinese and Japanese. Therapists wear a sensor on their arms that translates their movements into layers of music, with instruments like pianos, guitars and Japanese flutes matching the massage’s rhythms.

The soothing massage is complemented by a selection of Shiatsu oils, and each session ends with a presentation of a personalised CD of the unique tunes created during your session – a thoughtful, if gimmicky, touch to help justify the price. 

Shop for a good cause

Shop for a good cause

The tiny New2U Thrift Shop is by far the best thrift shop in the city. Not only can you score a designer piece for less than $50 – we picked up a Chloé silk blouse for $35 – and spot trendy jumpsuits for less than $10, you can do your conscience a favour, too.

The place is run by the Singapore’s Council of Women’s Organisations, to which all the profits go. Give yourself a good chunk of time to get a proper rummage – there are always bargains to be had.

Dig for vintage vinyl records

Dig for vintage vinyl records

It’s slightly out of the way, but Red Point Record Warehouse is worth the detour – especially if you’re a music geek. The 2,000 sq ft store in the industrial district of Ubi stocks thousands of vintage and second-hand LPs across all genres, whether you’re looking for a first-edition Gladys Knight or a Baroque music anthology.

But what Red Point excels in is its catalogue of old-school Asian records. Collectors will go wild at the stacks of South-East Asian stuff from the ’40s to ’60s – there are plenty of pretty rare finds to unearth. And don’t worry if you don’t own a record player. Red Point also has a selection of used turntables, amps and speakers to get you all geared up.

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Unearth rare tomes

Unearth rare tomes

Let the hipsters squawk about BooksActually – the title of best independent bookstore in town belongs to GOHD Books. There, you’ll find first-editions and rare titles, some even dating back to the early 19th century.

Whether you’re a chin-stroker looking to discuss continental philosophy or a collector of antique children’s books – or you’re gifting friends who are – you’ll find the right tome among the stacks. Just be sure to block off an afternoon to dig through them.

Get a late-night garden massage

Get a late-night garden massage

Here’s one reason to hit up the suburbs: Aramsa spa. Its unusual location in the middle of Bishan Park means it’s surrounded by nature and feels a million miles from home, the way a good spa should.

Individual spa suites are linked via resort-style covered walkways, and there are even private gardens – with sunken bathtubs, natch – to laze away in. Oh, and Aramsa closes at 11pm from Fridays to Saturdays, so if you’re fresh from dinner or drinks, pop by for a quick pick-me-up.

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