5. For hip finds: Tiong Bahru, Singapore
With historic Art Deco walk-up shophouses and a laid-back vibe, hip housing estate Tiong Bahru is a favourite haunt for locals in the know. Wander around the enclave to discover indie shops brimming with quirky home products, locally designed clothing and accessories. Those with a love of the whimsical should not skip Woods in the Books, a bookstore specialising in illustrated tomes for children and adults alike. Fashionistas should stop by Nana & Bird for stylish, tropical climate-appropriate apparel, while audiophiles will enjoy a browse through Curated Records (55 Tiong Bahru Rd) – one of the last surviving vinyl stores in the country.
6. For traditional textiles: Malioboro Street, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
For beautifully wax-dyed Indonesian fabric, known as batik, make a beeline for this bustling street in Indonesia’s art capital. It’s packed with tiny shops, many spilling onto the sidewalk, offering traditional clothing, textiles and small crafts made from local materials such as coconut shells, rattan and leather. You’ll be able to bargain for a small discount at most stalls but if you prefer fixed-price shopping, head to Hamzah Batik or Batik Keris (below) for a wide selection of quality batik apparel and accessories.
7. For quirky local designers: Bangsar Village, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Just 15 minutes from the city centre, Bangsar Village has an edgy, indie appeal for those looking for something other than mainstream brands. This thriving neighbourhood is packed with bars, cafes and restaurants as well as plenty of quirky shops by local entrepreneurs and designers. Pestle & Mortar is a local streetwear label while Snackfood (below) offers a lovingly curated collection of books, prints, jewellery and tableware to brighten up your living space.
8. For upscale mega malls: Makati, Manila, Philippines
Hanging out in an air-conditioned mall in humid Manila is practically a national pastime, so to blend in with the locals while getting some retail therapy, head to the shopping district of Makati. One of the most popular malls in the area is Greenbelt, which offers a mix of international designers as well as smaller, independent boutiques. Other popular malls in the vicinity include Power Plant Mall (above) and Glorietta.
– TEXT BY KAREN TEE
PHOTOS: KAREN TEE, SUPPLIED, I LOVE SNACK FOOD, BATIK KERIS
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.