I got bored one night and decided to travel to Mustafa Center alone so I could document it and share it with you guys.
Mustafa Center is a 24 hour shopping mall located in Little India. It's where a lot of people go to shop for bargain finds and if you're planning a trip to Singapore, it's also probably one of the places that people will recommend you to visit.
I'll tell you now though, it isn't for everyone and it isn't really that cheap either coming from someone who lives in Manila. Singapore is the most expensive city in the world (130% more than New York, trumps Paris, Tokyo and everyone else. see here) so what they may call "a bargain" there doesn't necessarily translate to something really, really cheap.
Having said that, for the sake of experience and travel, I guess it's still worth checking out but I suggest doing it late in the night on a weekday. It can get really crowded and crazy on weekends and if you're a tourist and prefer to browse before you shop, it might get a bit irritating and impossible (Mustafa has been fined for going over their capacity limit several times).
So like I said, I went at around 11:30pm. I had to take a cab because the buses and trains stop operating at around 10:30pm and you're only option is to hail a taxi which charges an extra $3sgd after 10:00pm.
I paid around $15 to get from Orchard Road to Little India (Php520) and it took less than 10 minutes to get there:
Mustafa Centre is an old and dirty shopping mall that looks like it hasn't been repaired or renovated since it first opened in the 1980's. Think Cubao/Recto and the old shopping malls there.
For me, it's only charm is that it is open 24 hours and you can visit it anytime you can't go to bed.
It's most organized area is the first half of the ground floor where watches and jewelry are located:
It's also where you can find gadgets, flashlights, hardware stuff, dvd's and much, much more.
These fancy necklaces cost around Php300 each. In Greenhills, you could get these for less...
Mustafa also has a grocery that's loaded with lots of goodies you can take home as gifts. There's papadom chips, durian candies and lots of other interesting snacks that I didn't see anywhere else.
They also have popular western favorites like Cadbury chocolates, Pringles, etc.
Mustafa is also a pretty cheap place to buy souvenirs at. They've got all the cheesy "I love SG" merchandise in stock and they usually offer deals for multiple purchases.
There's a huge section for handbags that are of similar quality and style to the ones you can find in most low-end department stores in Manila but these aren't as cheap. Prices range from around Php500-Php1500 ($14-$45sgd). Not worth it if you ask me. Just get a pretty one from Parisian in SM Dept Store :P
They also sell branded luggage and LOADS of cosmetics but they're so messily displayed, it makes them appear fake, old and dirty.
Of all, my favorite part would probably have to be the athletics section because there are actually some things that are worth buying there. I'm warning you though, it's not easy to find your size/style. Everything is hung at random and you have to search through huge piles of shoes and clothes before you'll be able to find you size (if you find it at all...)
But again, like I said, it isn't impossibly cheap. It costs around the same as most outlets here in the Philippines. Only difference is, ours are cleaner and more organized.
This is just crazy!
And don't expect to come here and find your dream shoe. Styles in stock are very limited. There's lots of a few designs (if you get what I mean...) and they're all shoved together tightly in shelves. You need to go through them one by one to find your size...
But that still isn't guaranteed! I found this pair of Nike RosheRun's sticking out from a shelf stocked with a different style. I checked and saw it was a size 9, I was planning to buy it for Dennis but when I checked further, the other pair it was attached to was a size 6.5. After asking for assistance from an Indian fellow (whom by the way was very nice and helpful), I found out that these were actually for women. I'm a 6.5! Perf, so I decided to get it for myself instead. Good thing there were only a few pairs of this left so it didn't take too long for us to find its partner pair.
This cost me only $79usd (about Php2750) so this was a pretty good steal, then again, you'll be able to find similarly priced sneakers in our local outlets but hey, I was on holiday so I might as well. Also really liked the colorway.
They also had Reebok Nano Crossfit Shoes but only in white. These were also cheap, around Php4000 if I remember right? I got my pair from the states and I think I paid around Php6,000 for them cause they weren't on sale.
Another thing to buy at Mustafa Centre are Doc Martens. Here they only cost $149sgd (Php5168). That's about Php2000 cheaper than the stores in Manila. However, styles are limited to the basics:
Crocs for kids are also relatively cheaper. About $40sgd (Php1300).
And if you get hungry from all the shopping, there's a Mustafe Cafe outside that serves local favorites:
Mustafa Center has it all. Food, medicine, clothes, shoes, electronics, you name it, they have it. Just don't expect to find anything high-end, fashion forward or designer here, just basics but LOTS of it. It's like a crazy hoarder's home who cable ties your shopping bags before leaving so you don't shoplift and sneak anything else out. :P
That's the first post of my Singapore Travel Diaries. Hope you like it :) Feel free to leave your questions and suggestions in the comments section below.