Eventually, everyone who comes to Singapore will find themselves getting lost in the retail labyrinth that is Mustafa Centre. It's a Singaporean institution that started off as a small, 900 square foot shop on Serangoon Road in 1973. Today, Mustafa Centre occupies a 150,000 square foot retail space at Serangoon Road and Syed Alwi Road. You can read more about the store's history here.
Don't expect to adhere to your shopping list when you come to Mustafa's. I always manage to come home with a handful of really random things I didn't anticipate buying whenever I come here. You can buy everything from groceries to DSLRs, saris to toilet seats, expensive watches to cheap school supplies. They have almost anything you could ever want (and tons of things you'd never want).
Some products are really good name brands, while others are of questionable quality. You can also exchange currencies, book plane tickets, get a visa processed, and have a snack at their own cafe. It's all about the hunt at Mustafa's, which is why it can take hours to shop if you are just planning on wandering around.
During my most recent trip, I decided to take photos of some of the stuff I saw. After a while my eyes glazed over and I stopped taking photos. This is just a small fraction of the stuff they have for sale.
An aisle of bangle bracelets.
Hair accessories...right next to power strips.
So many beautiful saris. I think I want to get one for myself.
Rows and rows of underwear...
...and rows and rows of calculators, too. I didn't know people still bought calculators.
Tons of Singapore souvenirs, like these merlion chocolates...
...and merlion figurines in every color and size you could think of.
Outfits like those of the Singapore Airlines flight attendants.
Jesus or Mary nightlight, anyone?
Singapore merlion handkerchiefs. I think I want to go back and get some of these.
I was looking for a "no durian" sign but I could't find one.
Mustafa Centre is open 24 hours, so the next time you're jet-lagged in Singapore you could wander the aisles and have them mostly to yourself. I recommend coming on a weekday morning when it's less crowded. On the weekends, the store is ridiculously packed since most people come on their day off.