Mumbai – Bollywood City! And the melting pot of / for ~20mn people. Capital of almost everything in India except politics. Mumbai is jam packed, cramped. Chances are either you will find an excuse to land / pass through Mumbai on your next visit, or ensure you never visit it again.
Mumbai is home to the largest slum in Asia as well as some of the best luxury hotels too. Real estate prices are not very far from those in top global cities of the world. Being the financial capital of India, it comes with the benefits as well as problems of any other top global city anywhere in the world. All brands and items are easily available, but so are crowds, traffic jams, and congestion. Due to its very busy, non-interference and lack of mal-intent style of operating, Mumbai is loved by almost everyone.
In spite of being commercial capital of India, you will find UNESCO World Heritage buildings in the old part of Mumbai near sea, Jungles and caves within the city limit, cool and also happening bars and restaurants, and a theater where you can always catch up with a great play.
Connectivity / How to reach:
Mumbai is very well connected by road, rail, and air. Almost all international connections landing in India are available for Mumbai also. Domestically, various trains start / end or pass through Mumbai. From road, it has very good connectivity with national highway passing through it. Long distance trains final station is CST or Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and they typically also halt at Dadar station in Central Mumbai.
Commuting within Mumbai:
Mumbai has one of the best public transport in India. If you are staying in south Mumbai, in Colaba or near it, then yellow / black cabs or radio cabs are the most convenient and easy to hire. Else you can opt for radio cabs such as Meru / Ola / Mega or Uber. If you are travelling to suburbs, and have adventurous spirit, try the local train. It is the lifeline of locals but extremely crowded during office hours. Outside office hours, boarding should not be a challenge esp on Sunday.
Staying in Mumbai:
Hotels, budget and those over throwing your budget, both can be booked and are well spread out. But for a tourist, I will advise looking for a place in Colaba / Churchgate / Lower Parel or areas around it. You will be in the main city and will limit your time in commuting. Apart from these locations, Bandra, queen of suburbs, and right next to main city, is a good option to stay. It also has an active party scene.
Gateway of India:
Archway build in 1911 as identification for ships of Mumbai, now it is a historic monument and general place to enjoy the evening. Ferries to nearby islands and caves leave from here. It can be visited during anytime of the year, however, if you wish to get drenched watching it, then monsoons at high tide will ensure that.
Located in Malabar hills, perfect place to get away from the noise of city and jog to perfect and fantastic sunset views.
Area to be walked and seen. Part of old city, it has narrow roads and popular restaurants. Have a drink here once you are tired of souvenir shopping or simply shopping.
Located on Marine Drive, the only aquarium in town, it has about 100 species of marine and freshwater fishes along with seven types of coral fishes. Fishes such as Sharks, ray fish, star fish, stingrays and turtles can be seen. It also stores fossils, rare fishes and corals.
4.3km C shaped road hugging the Arabian Sea. You will be visiting it few times when exploring Mumbai. Watch people jogging, walking, meeting, and enjoying the evening. You too could join them for a jog!
Religious place but very popular. It is in middle of sea and you reach by walking about 200m pathway / bridge. Bridge is closed during high tide as water floods the bridge. Nice spot to see the sunset and under lights
The main theater of Mumbai right at one end of Marine Drive, next to Oberoi Hotel. Stepin to watch comedian act or a play
Mahalakshmi Race Course:
130yr old race course for horse racing. Races happen between November to April. Drop in to try your luck in betting on the wining horse. Or to learn to ride one.
Mahalakshmi Dhobi Ghat:
Place where Mumbai’s laundry gets cleaned! Easily visible from the flyover next to Mahalakshmi train station, you could go down and explore it at length too if desired.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park:
Nature’s jungle in middle of concrete jungle. It has caves of Buddha again dating back to several centuries before. It is a nice morning trek away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai.
Temple of religious importance. Visit to worship or enjoy quiet place and a beautiful building in middle of concrete jungle.
Very large museum containing history of India. Sculptures dating back to 1st century AD are on display along with coins / ornaments / textile of earlier times. It also has dedicated section on art which has very beautiful and old European paintings.
Jehangir Art Gallery:
A premier art gallery which hosts and displays fabulous art work. Do stop by when in Kala Godha or visiting the Museum.
CST / VT / Kala Godha Area:
This is the UNESCO World Heritage area. Many fantastic old buildings such as Mumbai University, CST station, Police Headquarters, Old hotel builds now defunct, can be seen here. Walking in this area on Sunday late morning / afternoon may allow you to see how Bollywood movies are shot ;). Do not miss seeing the CST / VT train station at night.
About 1hr boat ride away, and a popular tourist spots among locals and non-locals too. It is a good half day excursion at least. It is best visited during November – March period as temperatures are tolerable and rains have not set in to make your boat ride treacherous.
Though Mumbai is an island city and it has few beaches, but these beaches are not for sun bathing. Beaches are typically crowded with commercial activity such as Chowpatty in Marine Drive or Juhu, or simply with family and children who like to picnic / walk / play and have some family time eg. Aksa or Marve Beach in Malad or Manori Beach in Madh Islands. You might be able to catch a night party in Manori if lucky.
Quick Trips: Alibagh, and Khandala & Lonawala. These two are more of local getaway to relax and recharge themselves for coming week at office.
Tourism Website: https://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/