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Travel: TY Lee of Taiwan

I've travelled to Taiwan late last year and I made a trip down to 小品雅集 TY Lee in Tapiei, Taiwan I've travelled there by public transport. In Taipei it isn't hard to navigate their train system. The nearest train station is Daan station (大安站), I exited the station using Exit 3 but I think there are a number that would work too. That station is both on the Tamsui-Xinyi and the Wenhu lines. If you are walking over from the train station, all you really need is to pre-load Google Map and just following the map. You might think you are going the wrong way or think the address might be out of date but I assure you, it's not. The route I took was straight forward but the surrounding buildings didn't look like a fountain pen shop would fit right in. It's not along the main road but rather along one of the smaller roads inside. Regardless, trust the map.

However if you are in a rush for time or rather take a taxi, Taiepi's taxis are rather cheap and readily available. So if you are not a Mandarin speaker, I'll suggest showing the driver the address.

This is their address:
台北市大安區瑞安街208巷76號1樓
No. 76, Lane 208, Rui'an Street, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Their opening hours are Monday to Saturdays from 12noon - 10pm. They are closed on Sundays so plan your trip down accordingly.

Now that logistics is out of the way, let's get down to the details. TY Lee has a wide variety of fountain pen and related goods. They carry all the standard brands including Opus and TWSBI both are Taiwanese brands. It's a two level shop. The ground level has all the pens on display while the lower level has all the inks. And that's in my opinion where the good stuff are. Firsttly, they carry Kobe Nagasawa inks. They have a shelf's worth of Kobe Nagasawa inks. It's not that you can't buy Kobe Nagasawa inks from Rakuten but you get to look at swatches there. Secondly, they have a few series of De Atramentis inks that are shop exclusive. I purchased 6 of these bottles, 5 of which are gifts. I kept only 1 bottle.

They do have a small section for notebooks and a in-house notebook. I didn't pay too much attention there. Enjoy the photos and drop by if you have a chance.

Oh yes, I spoke to the shop attendents in Mandarin. I am not sure how good are their English but with the common language of pens between them and the customer, language is no barrier.

Fountain Pens in Singapore

Though Singapore is a small country, we have strong core group of people in love with all things related to the world of fountain pens. This is a compiled list of where you can buy fountain pens and inks locally here in Singapore for those who are visiting or new fountain pen users in Singapore.

Updated 27th December 2017

Fook Hing

Address: Blk 231, Bain Street #01-23, Bras Basah Complex
It is one of the best place to browse and buy pens and inks. They have a facebook page that you can follow to keep up with their new arrivals. They carry a wide variety of pens and inks. Call them up to find out on the status of their stock and price before heading down. You can get them to hold the pen or ink for you as well. Otherwise, go down and try the pens to your heart's content.

Aesthetic Bay

Address: No. 2 Orchard Turn, #04-14, ION Orchard
If you have money to spare after going to so many other shops, do drop by Aesthetic Bay to oogle at their pens. This isn't the friendliest place to shop but there is no harm just looking. They are also the only shop that carries Noodler's Singapore series of inks.

Straits Pen

Address: Block 212 Hougang Street 21 #04-349 (Only by appointment)
Go to Straits Pen to get your TWSBI pens locally. Mr. Sunny Koh also carries some China pens, this is subjected to availability. He also is able to do nib grinding for a fee. Do note that they are only able to do transaction via cash only.

Overjoyed

Address: 89 Short Street B1-08
Overjoyed a wide variety of art supplies. However for fountain pen lovers' purposes all you need to know is they carry Rhodia paper and J Herbin inks. There are also calligraphy nib sets available. They also have disposable pipettes but it is a little pricey to get it there.

Muji

Address: Many outlets all over Singapore
Muji carries two different style of fountain pens, one pocket version, one full length. Along with pens, they carry some fountain pen friendly notebooks in various styles of size as well. Look for the notebooks labelled "Made in Japan", those are the notebooks you are looking for.

Cityluxe

Address: Many outlets all over Singapore
Cityluxe carries Kaweco and Montverde pens, refills and cartridges. As far as I know, they only carry the M nib for Kaweco pens. I am not so sure about Montverde pens though.

NBC Stationary

Address: Many outlets all over Singapore
The main thing to note about NBC Stationary is not every outlet carries fountain pens and inks. Please call to check if they carry the item you are interested before heading down. The best bet is the outlet at Ngee Ann City Kinokuniya. They carry a wide variety of brands namely Lamy, Parker, Cross, Pilot and Kaweco. They also have Midori notebooks as well as glass pens.

Address: Many outlets all over Singapore
Popular Bookstores carries a very small variety of Parker, Faber Castell, Platinum Preppy and Sheafer fountain pens as well as limited colours for Parker and Pelikan 4001 series inks. Likewise, not every outlet carries fountain pens and inks. Your best bet would be the outlet at Bras Basah Complex. It is one of the largest outlet and it is very near Fook Hing.

Art Friends

Address: Outlets all over Singapore
Art Friends is a supply shop for all types of art supplies, similar to Overjoyed but done on a larger scale. They carry a number of different brands for markers and pens. The thing of interest at Art Friends is the calligraphy set and nibs that they carry. Some of the large branches do carry Pelikan fountain pens as well.

Lin Kong Watch & Pen

Address: 111 North Bridge Road, #03-53 Peninsula Plaza
I have personally been to the shop but based on their website they seemed to carry quite a wide variety of pens.

Mustafa Centre

Address: 145 Syed Alwi Road Level 1 and Level 4
I have also not been down to Mustafa Centre before however as far as I know and hear about shopping in Mustafa Centre is an experience in and of itself. They sell Hero pens as well as Lamy pens. It would be best to know what you are looking for before heading down.

Submitted by Bryan Chua: Mustafa sells Waterman, Cross, Hero, Parker, MontBlanc, Lamy and quite a few other brands of pens. They also sell Waterman, Parker, Pelikan and Hero inks.

Elephant and Coral

Address: 333A Orchard Road #03-03 Mandarin Gallery
I have not been to the shop. However based on where it is located, this is a high end shop that carries a wide variety of brands.

Tokyu Hands

Address: 3 Gateway Drive #01-36/37 Westgate
and Orchard Central 181 Orchard Rd #B1-05
They carry Pilot Iroshizuku, Lamy, Kaweco, Sailor bottled inks as well as Sailor and Pilot ink cartridges. They also have Retro 51 rollerball pens, Pilot, Sailor and Platinum fountain pens. The best thing is that have tons of Japanese notebooks from Apica, Life, Midori as well as Campus. If you are anywhere in the area, this is a good place to check out.

Campo Marzio

Address: 2 Orchard Turn, ION Orchard, #B3-11
They have a number of fountain pens and rollerball pens. They also carry standard international cartridges and wax seals.

TIMES TRAVEL

Address: Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3, Departure/Transit Lounge South, #02-07
They carry various brands of fountain pens such as Pilot, Waterman and the like. Staffed by a friendly staff whom I have chatted with once.

TIMES RELAY

Address: Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2, #026-055-01/02, Departure/Transit Lounge North (Airside)
I have not visited this shop before so I am not sure what brand they sell other than Pilot. However if the Termninal 3 shop is any indication, they should be selling the same brands.

Weiting Postal and Stationary

Address: Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, #02-18
I was pleasantly surprised to find a stationary and fountain pen store at Millenia Walk while window shopping. They carry Faber Castel, Staedtler, Sheaffer and Cross pens. Their range of fountain pens are rather limited and I am not sure how knowledgeable the staff are on fountain pens.

Pens Avenue

Address: Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road #03-01C A brand new luxury pen store has arrived in Singapore. They carry Montegrappa, Lamy, Kaweco, Namiki, Cross and Sheaffer. They don’t have any exclusive inks to my knowledge. Their range of fountain pens are rather limited and I am not sure how knowledgeable the staff are on fountain pens.

For local fountain pen lovers, please join the Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers Facebook page. The community is really active there. You can ask any questions you have. There are regular pen meets and mass orders that you can take part in.

Check out these relevant links as well:
Strange Knight's Fountain Pens in Singapore
FPN's Fountain pens in Singapore
FP Writings Local blog seller
House of Pens
Pens In Asia Local online seller

Korea - Earphone Shop

I have just recently travelled to Seoul, Korea. I have found many goodies and wonderful shops. If you are an audiophile or just looking for a shop that sells headphones and in-ear monitors (IEM) in Seoul, this is the place you have to go.

Earphone shop sells not just earphones but headphones too. Note the website is only in korean.

Earphone Shop

Earphone shop is located at 서울시 종로구 동숭동 1-63, Dongsung-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. I don’t think I can provide a print screen of the map I took of Google map but just copy and paste the english or korean address to get directions. Try this Google map link, it might help.

What you see on the left of the same row of shops.

What you see on the right of the same row of shops.

The nearest train station is Hyehwa train station on Line 4. Exit the station using exit 1. There is a nearer exit but it isn’t labelled on google map but I assume it should be exit 2 (use that information at your own risk). Follow the direction on Google map.

Rows of headphones to try

The shop has rows of headphones and IEMs all set up for anyone to just walk in and try them to their hearts’ content. The staff don’t speak much english when I was there (May 2013), but things might have changed since then. Do note any purchase made there is not available for tax rebate.

Korea - Musical Instruments

If you are in Seoul, Korea and you are looking for a musical instrument, chances are you will find what you want at Nakwon Arcade (낙원악기상가). They have shops for guitars, ukulele, drums, amps, piano, flute and all manner of instruments.

The nearest train station is Jongno-3ga (Line 1, 3 and 5). Make your way towards Line 5, exit 5. Take the stairs (not the escalator) out of the station. Once you are on ground level, you can see a smaller alley slightly off to your right. Cross the road and walk down that alley. You don’t have to walk to far in you will see a few flights of stairs leading up to an enterance to a building. That’s the one you want. Check this map, it may help.

Personally, I got a ukulele at 100,000 won. The shop threw in a padded gig bag, a tuner and extra strings. It was an okay deal. A word of caution, if you are a foreigner and don’t know how to pick a good (insert instrument here), you are better off not buying anything from Nakwon Arcade. Most of their items are not price tagged and you have to ask them for the price. When I was shopping around the prices they quoted me was on the high set of things. I have a feeling a Korean would be getting different quotes for the instruments than me. In the end what I did was to give them my budget and have them work around it but at the same time you must know how to check the instrument you are buying to make sure you are not being ripped off. Regardless it is an interesting place to visit if you play an instruments.

The sign that says Nakwon Arcade in korean.

The flight of stairs you are supposed to go up to enter the building.

Inside Nakwon Arcade