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Photograph: Amrita Chandradas

The best reading spots in Singapore

Find a peaceful slice of heaven in this bustling city and get stuck in the pages of your new book

Cam Khalid
Written by
Cam Khalid
Aiko Tun

While Singapore is dotted with a myriad of tranquil spots, off-shore islands and secret parks to escape the maddening crowds, nothing beats escaping reality with a book in hand. Melt the world away with a good book at a dedicated reading room, stunning library, hip café, or cavernous book store. No doubt, there's plenty of quiet corners in this bustling city to get lost in the pages of your latest fiction (or non-fiction). All better with a cosy seat to settle in and soothing beverage in hand.

RECOMMENDED: The best quiet cafés with free Wi-Fi to do work or study and the best libraries in Singapore

  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Chinatown

A bookstore, event and café space all in one, The Moon is a whimsical space that brings you into the library of your favourite chronicles with a wide variety of genres from modern literature to illustrated cooking books and thought-provoking non-fiction reads for you to browse through. With its warm lighting, wood furniture and comfy plush cushions sprawled across the reading room on the third floor, The Moon is the makes an ace spot for an afternoon read with a comforting cup of chai.

Looksee Looksee
  • Restaurants
  • Rochor

Immerse yourself in this Wes Anderson-esque, pastel-hued reading room and tea salon, where you can browse design and art tomes while sipping – pinkies out – on a cup of tea. The collection, which includes such titles as Fashionable Selby and Architecture and the Architect, is as thoughtful as the interiors – it’s curated by heavyweights of the city’s creative scenes.

  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Raffles Place

Formed in 2011, Epigram Books is Singapore’s largest independent publisher with titles like The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew, Ministry Of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe and State Of Emergency by Jeremy Tiang under its belt. Now, you can find all your favourite local books by Epigram at their first physical store on Maxwell Road. Spend the afternoon browsing over 400 books in the store (90% of the books are by local authors) while you sip on a latte. 

  • Things to do
  • Orchard

At the heart of the famous shopping belt, library@orchard treats visitors to a cornucopia amount of resources centred on lifestyle, design and applied art. Located on the third and fourth floors of Orchardgateway, the library splits into The Studio and The Loft which features a vast array of titles, as well as programme zones. Plus, its gorgeous interiors – think ceiling-to-floor shelves, wave-like racks and wooden seatings where you can sprawl with a book in hand – are a great excuse to grab a paperback or a magazine and chill indoors.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • River Valley

Snug like a living room complete with comfy sofas and shelves lined with books, The Book Café's long been the local go-to for a much-needed catch up on a book, or a quiet spot to bang out a quick bit of work. And if you prefer your read with some bites on the side, look to their food menu with all-day breakfast options like pancakes and Eggs Benedicts.

Hungry Heroes

A hero-themed eatery in Little India, Hungry Heroes stars memorabilia of Marvel and DC superheroes, including pictures, busts and figurines of your favourite fighters. Look forward to scouring their large collection of comic books, painstakingly built over the span of 25 years. Keep the hunger pangs at bay with their menu which features hearty dishes like Meat Fury's BBQ Pork Ribs and the Nice to Meat You platter of pork ribs, sirloin, chicken leg and pulled pork.

Cook & Tras Social Library

Located between Cook Street and Tras Street – hence its name – this social library at Six Senses Maxwell houses 3,000 books that visitors are free to pick up and browse. Settle into one of its plush velvet settees and choose between coffee, tea, kombucha or an alcoholic beverage if you so please. Or if you’re feeling peckish, sample Cook and Tras’ range of locally inspired dishes made with sustainable and organic produce. There’s the Iberico pork sate served with ketupat and achar as well as the more substantial barramundi bakar ($18), grilled fish marinated with chilli garam masala.

A bibliophile's heaven. Let your imagination run wild at this quiet cosy cafe with good food and shelf after shelf of books that seem to go for miles, spanning a variety of genres and hugging every corner of the cafe. Grab a book, sit down, and indulge in a warm cup of tea for the perfect afternoon.

Find your new favourite paperback

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