16 Beautiful Libraries & Bookstores to Visit Around Asia

16 Beautiful Libraries & Bookstores to Visit Around Asia

They say print is dead, but we beg to differ.

Books upon books upon books — it’s every bibliophile’s dream. They say print is dead, but I beg to differ. There will never (never!) be anything like the smell and feel of a book in my hands. As a travelling book lover, I’ll be honest. If I had to choose, I’d skip the museums and popular tourist spots. Take me to the most beautiful libraries and bookstores around Asia, and I’ll be the happiest girl in the world.

On any of my travels, it seems that every library or bookstore I see just calls out to me. And yes, this applies whether or not the establishment has any English titles! I don’t know if any of you can relate, but I just feel the need to browse through the shelves, gaze at every title, and make sure I’m not missing out on anything good. There’s something comforting about being surrounded by books, and I find that it’s even more inspiring when they’re presented beautifully.

Below, I share a list of beautiful bookstores and libraries around Asia — a bibliophile’s bucket list, if you will. Check them out, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to visit them yourselves!

Also read: 10 Bucket-List Libraries You Must Visit Once in Your Lifetime


1. library@orchard

beautiful libaries: library@orchard, singapore

Image credit: Lorenz Namalata

An ultra-modern library built specifically for lovers of design, library@orchard is one of Singapore’s gems. Not only is it pretty to look at (they even have an entire magazine wall!), but this innovative establishment is actually the city’s very first lifestyle library.

“Design is for everyone” is their philosophy, and it’s something I find absolutely refreshing. With a collection of over 45,000 titles, this library is geared towards anyone with an interest in design — from professionals to those who are simply curious about the topic. This chic library definitely gets plus points for being inclusive!

Address: 277 Orchard Road, Orchard Gateway, #03-12/#04-11, Singapore 238858
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11am to 9pm

2. Bishan Library

Libraries in Asia

Image credit: Ellen Forsyth

Picture this: Reading in a giant treehouse building with colourful pods sticking out like branches. It’s like a modern clash of Tarzan and Beauty and the Beast! The Bishan Library in Singapore is an absolute feast for the eyes. The vibrant-coloured pods are actually cosy reading nooks that bathe in all the natural light. We can only imagine book lovers spending hours scanning through pages and pages of books while admiring the street view in quiet contemplation.

The design of the facade is made in a sense that the library doesn’t only look and feel like a place to read — but also a monumental landmark, a community hub, and a sanctuary for bibliophiles. 

Address: 5 Bishan Pl, #01-01, Singapore 579841
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 9pm


3. Starfield Library

beautiful libraries: starfield library, seoul

Image credit: Celine Barreiro

At the centre of Seoul’s COEX Mall, you’ll find one of South Korea’s most popular sites: the Starfield Library. Truly one of Asia’s (and the world’s!) most beautiful libraries, it’s best known for its giant bookshelf, which towers at a whopping 13 metres.

Image credit: Margarita Pastor

The Starfield Library is home to over 50,000 books and magazines, though as you might expect, most of these are written in Korean. But to make up for this, there are actually entire sections dedicated to foreign titles and internationally acclaimed authors. Adding to its cool factor is its generous selection of e-books, which visitors are welcome to browse through with their available iPads.

A popular spot frequented by both tourists and locals, it definitely isn’t your typical library. It’s often crowded and can get quite noisy — but what I do love about it is that everyone is welcome to sit, read a book, or work. They actually have around 200 seats available. If you’re the type of person who isn’t a stickler for peace and quiet, then you might want to take advantage of their free Wi-Fi and power outlets! 

Address: 955-9 Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm 

4. Arc.N.Book

How could any certified bibliophile not be attracted to Arc.N.Book’s amazing archway crafted out of books? This beautifully curated bookstore is divided into four themed sections: Daily, Weekend, Style, and Inspiration. Through unique themes and artful decor, Arc.N.Book hopes to inspire more people to get into reading in a whole new way.

Arc.N.Book is more than just a bookstore — it aims to be a unique cultural space that promotes reading not just as a hobby but as a lifestyle. The first thing most visitors will notice is the Instagrammable interiors, and that’s perfectly alright. They may come for the decor, but it’s the hope that they’ll stay for the books. (And yes, you will find some English-language books here; this establishment prides itself in its above-average collection of foreign-language titles!)

Address: 29 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm

5. Book Park

beautiful libraries & bookstores: book park, seoul

Image credit: Alejandro

Who knew Seoul was heaven for book lovers? Perfect for bookworms of all ages, Book Park is an all-in-one bookstore, coffee shop, and art gallery. Each floor of this two-storey establishment is lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, holding a total of 100,000 books. In addition, they also sell accessories, stationery, toys, and a wide assortment of knick-knacks!

Both floors also have their very own cafes, including Seoul’s famous speciality coffee chain, Hollys Coffee. The best part about Book Park? It’s one of those rare places that allows you to borrow a book and enjoy it over a cup of coffee! With 200 seats available for visitors, everyone is invited to kick back and enjoy their generous selection of titles.

Address: Yongsan-gu, Hannam-dong, Itaewon-ro, Seoul, South Korea
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm


6. Kanazawa Umimirai Library

beautiful libraries: kanazawa umimirai library, japan

Image credit: Asturio Cantabrio

Sleek, modern, and minimalistic — could we expect anything less from a library in Japan? Kanazawa Umimirai has been named one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, and we couldn’t agree more. But despite its stylish aesthetic, it isn’t at all intimidating. In fact, it’s the opposite: the library was specifically designed to be a comfortable space for readers of all ages.

Not just a book lover’s dream come true, Kanazawa Umimirai Library will inspire anyone who appreciates great architecture and design. Best known for the thousands of holes (6,000 in total!) that puncture its concrete exterior, the library gets a lot of natural light — creating a warm ambience that invites readers to stay as long as they’d like. 

Address: I-1-1 Jichumachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-0341, Japan
Hours: Monday to Tuesday, 10am to 7pm; Thursday to Friday, 10am to 7pm; Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm

7. Kitazawa Bookstore

Here’s something you don’t find every day: A Japanese bookstore that mainly sells English-language titles! Amazingly, Kitazawa Bookstore has been around since 1902 and continues to enchant us with their selection of secondhand foreign and rare books. We hear they’ve even got a few that date back to the Middle Ages! Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Mostly available in pretty good condition, their books range from old paperback novels to academic titles on philosophy, religion, folklore, and international relations. And since these books are secondhand, their prices are quite reasonable, too!

Address: Chiyoda City, Kanda Jinbocho, 2−5 北沢ビル 2F, 〒101-0051 Tokyo, Japan
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11am to 6.30pm

8. Nakajima Library

Nestled within the walls of the Akita International University campus, the Nakajima Library is not your typical quiet library. Instead, it serves as an “arena of knowledge” that embraces a vibrant atmosphere of the academy. Imagine the inside of a coliseum, but instead of gladiators fighting each other, students engage in day-to-day intellectual battles within towers and towers of literary shelves. And because of its unique design, it’s undoubtedly running for one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

Address: Okutsubakidai-193-2 Yūwatsubakigawa, Akita, 010-1211, Japan
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9am to 10pm; Saturday and Sunday 9.45am to 6pm


9. Tianjin Binhai Library

Image credit: Muzzleflash

Now this one’s pretty controversial. Upon seeing Tianjin Library in real life, many were disappointed to find that the books on the cascading floor-to-ceiling bookcases were actually just painted on. Yes, you read that right — most of the books you see are merely an illusion! Majority of the shelves are purely decorative, some hold a few books, and others are simply steps and seats for visitors to enjoy. The real books and reading rooms, on the other hand, are situated away from the main space.

But hey — despite that, I still think it’s pretty cool! Architecture-wise, I’d say it’s still one of the most beautiful libraries ever built. The books may not be real, but this library actually has enough space to hold up to 1.35 million titles. (Maybe one day, they’ll fill all those shelves with real books. Who knows?) Its design is pretty interesting, too — from the outside, it resembles a giant eye. Because of this, it’s actually been dubbed ‘The Eye of Binhai’!

Address: Binhai, 旭升路347號, Tianjin, China


10. Biblio

Image credit: Amil Tamano

Biblio is a family-run business that offers secondhand books, a curated selection of merchandise, and coffee from all over the Philippines. Not only do they have super-cute interiors, but they’ve also got a great selection of books — most are in great condition and some are practically brand new! Catering to readers of varying ages and interests, they have titles of just about any genre — from fiction, to business, to self-help, to cooking.

Image credit: Gaby Salud

And as if all that weren’t enough, Biblio also invites readers to go on a blind date with a book! A simple yet exciting concept, their blind date with a book promo encourages readers to live up to the age-old saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” These titles are hand-picked by the staff, and I find that it’s such a special way to breathe life into old books!

Address: 2/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave., Quezon City, 1108 Metro Manila
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11am to 9pm; Friday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm

11. Fully Booked

When you’re looking for beautiful libraries in Asia, make sure you put this one on your list. Fully Booked has over 30 branches around Manila, but their store in Bonifacio High Street is the one you have to visit. It’s particularly popular for the eye-catching work of art that greets you once you enter: a mural painted on a stack of books that stands 12 metres high. 

Across its three storeys, you’ll find a comprehensive selection of books categorised into pretty much every genre you can think of. Run by a team that’s always on the lookout for the next great read, they’ve got world-class titles that are perfect for book lovers of all ages. Not simply your run-of-the-mill bookstore, Fully Booked is a lifestyle destination; they also sell vinyl records, arts and crafts, stationery, and more one-of-a-kind merchandise!

Address: Ground Floor, B6, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig, Metro Manila
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11am to 11pm; Friday, 11am to 2am; Saturday, 10am to 12am; Sunday, 10am to 11pm


12. Wuguan Books

At Wuguan Books, only two things matter: you and your book of choice. Besides that, this library is made to feel as though nothing else exists. (Basically, it’s you and your book against the world!) And with such an interesting concept, how could Wuguan Books not be on this list of the most beautiful libraries in Asia?

This dark library has a total of 300 bookshelves, and every book has its very own light. As only the books themselves are illuminated, this creates the illusion that they’re floating in mid-air! The individual lights also make browsing a more personal experience — no need to worry about anyone hovering over your shoulder or surveying your chosen title. If you’d like to spend more time reading, you’re welcome to move on to a yakisugi table, which has more ample lighting. 

Address: Yancheng District, Dayi Street, 2-1號C7-6倉庫, 80343 Taiwan, Kaohsiung City,
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm; Saturday to Sunday, 11am to 8pm

13. Beitou Library

Beitou Library

Image credit: 臺北旅遊網

Nestled amidst the lush greenery of Beitou Park is Beitou Library which is an architectural marvel and a treasure trove of books in one. The two-storey wooden building resembles a treehouse with sunlight peeking in through its large windows. This library is more than just books and words — it’s actually a sustainable building with environment-friendly properties such as a green roof filled with plants that also happens to collect rainwater, walls painted with eco-paint, and an overall energy-saving design.

Curl up and get comfortable in one of their nooks and crannies, and enjoy the peaceful sound of nature in one of Asia’s most beautiful libraries. If you’re a fan of books and nature, this sanctuary is a match made in heaven.

Address: No. 251號, Guangming Rd, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
Hours: Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, 9am to 5pm; Tuesday, Thursday to Saturday, 8.30am to 9pm

Also read: 15 Indie Bookshops in Southeast Asia That Will Satisfy Any Nerd


14. Tranquil Books & Coffee

Tranquil Books & Coffee isn’t exactly a library — but it’s stacked with books from floor to ceiling, and everyone is welcome to grab a book and enjoy it over a cup of coffee. With cosy interiors and an atmosphere that’s perfectly conducive for reading, I find that this ambient book cafe definitely deserves a spot on this list of beautiful libraries!

This quaint cafe is truly one of Hanoi’s hidden gems. It’s tucked in an unassuming alley and offers a quiet escape from the city’s bustling streets. If you’re up for it, you can even participate in a book swap. You can take one of their titles, as long as you bring one of your own to replace it with! To add to this fun concept, Tranquil Books & Coffee also holds piano nights and movie screenings, and sells cute knick-knacks like postcards, notebooks, and tote bags.

Address: 5 Nguyễn Quang Bích, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8am to 10pm

Also read: Concept Cafes in Singapore Bibliophiles Would Love


15. David Sassoon Library and Reading Room

Located in the heart of the Kala Ghoda district in Mumbai lies yet another one of the most beautiful libraries on the continent. David Sassoon Library and Reading Room was built in 1870, but one cannot really tell how old the building is because of its constant upkeep and restoration. Out of all the libraries in Asia, this has got to hold the most history. Step inside and witness how you can transport back in time to a haven of letters, books, and charm. Indulge yourself in the mesmerising beauty of the library bathing in golden sunlight with its stained-glass windows and rows and rows of wooden bookshelves filled with stories and knowledge.

The polished wooden desks are surprisingly comfortable, urging a day of page-turning from one book to another. It’s the perfect place to learn about history and lose yourself in the world of words. Plus, squint and it feels a little bit like Hogwarts!

Address: 152, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Off David Sassoon, Library Marg, opposite Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8am to 9pm


16. Think Space B2s

Not a fan of the noise? Escape in this not-so-little hideaway in the streets of BangkokThink Space B2S at Central Chidlom is an architectural marvel that is more than just a bookstore. This open space features towers of books, both Thai and English, that feed the heart, mind, and soul. Forget the typical Hogwarts-style library; here, you get curved wooden shelves that create an interesting play of light and shadow. Colourful shapes and other accents also make the place a lot more warm and bubbly.

Libraries in Asia

But the magic lies beyond the books. At Think Space, art geeks will be happy to know that it also features a dedicated zone for art supplies that might just ignite an old spark within you. What are you waiting for? Grab a cup of coffee, read, scribble away, and get lost amidst this art and literary haven.

TripZilla Trivia: This is actually the second branch of Think Space already! The first Think Space branch was first introduced at Central Eastville, which gained so much positive feedback hence, opening a second branch. 

Address: 9, 9 Rama IX Rd, Khwaeng Huai Khwang, Khet Huai Khwang, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10310, Thailand
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm

What are your favourite beautiful libraries and bookstores around Asia? Let us know if we’re missing anything on this list!

About Authors

Gabriella Salud
Gabriella Salud

With the intention of pursuing a career in medicine, Gaby got her bachelor of science degree in psychology—and proceeded to follow her passion for writing instead. A former editorial assistant at Metro Society magazine, she loves to hear people's stories and tell them through her writing.


Patricia Caleon
Patricia Caleon

Patricia is a simple girl who likes to express herself through pictures and words. Not much for talking; writing and taking pictures have always been her way of telling people of her stories and adventures. On a normal day, you'll probably see her reading a good book in one hand and a cup of coffee in another.