Mumbai Travel Tips. An article sharing travel tips about visiting Mumbai. How to get there and more…
Mark Ford Founder of Plus 1 Travel
I’m excited to have you here searching for Mumbai travel tips. This is a truly special city and there’s a lot of adventures to discover and experiences to have. Let’s dig right in, shall we!
Mumbai is also known as Bombay which was the city’s official name until 1995. Mumbai is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra and is the second most populous city in India after Delhi and the seventh most populous city in the world with a population of just under 20 million people and steadily rising.
Mumbai is a huge city and with any big city especially in India it might feel overwhelming at first, but after a few days spent in Mumbai you will get the feel for it and it’s actually not unsafe. Sure you have to take the same precautions as you would in any other major city, but the indian people are friendly and you should not worry about the safety more than usual. The city is chaotic, there’s people walking with cows on the streets and there an adventure waiting to be discovered. Welcome to Mumbai.
Mumbai Travel Tips – How To Get From The Airport To Mumbai
When looking into Mumbai travel tips and how to best get from the airport to the city center, there’s on option that is the best and will get you there safely so let’s dig into that right here and right now.
Mumbai is served by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, it’s a brand new airport opened in 2014. It’s clean, modern,
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport Mumbai
spacious, full of great amenities and not too far out of town, only about 30 km. The easiest way and your best bet to get from the airport to central Mumbai is a pre-paid taxi. Just go downstairs from arrivals and you’ll find the prepaid taxi desk. Tell the folks where you’re going and they’ll quote you a price, but never pay more than 450-600 rupees for your journey.
They will give you a paper coupon with a taxi registration number written on it. Head outside, find that taxi and jump in. The journey to Mumbai city center can take from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on how hectic the traffic is. Don’t pay anything extra when you arrive at your destination because any fees or tolls are covered in the price you negotiated back at the airport.
Mumbai Travel Tips – How To Get Around Mumbai
When looking for Mumbai travel tips on how to get around the city, there are a few things to have in mind. Mumbai has a population of over 20 million people crammed into an area that is half the size of London. This obviously makes the traffic situation a bit of an adventure to say the least.
The railways are the nervous system of India, a byproduct of British colonialism, the very first railways in India started here in Mumbai. After she gained her independence, India embraced, optimized and expanded her railway system to extraordinary proportions. And Mumbai with its extensive network covering the city is a great way to experience that.
Train in Mumbai
Most people get around town using the suburban rail network, also known as the locals. It is incredibly cheap to travel by train in India,
especially second class. But I strongly recommend that you get a first class ticket as the second class carriages are designed for the seasoned Mumbai commuter who’s used to the jabbing and jostling and jam packing that happens day in day out. But this is not the experience you want as a tourist who is used to a bit more comfort.
You can buy the Tourist ticket for 275 rupees and it allows you to travel in first class on all three suburban lines all day. It’s a good idea to figure out where the first class is before the train arrives. Look for the walls and pillars that are painted with red and yellow diagonal stripes.
Avoid using trains during rush hour, first class or otherwise. Rush hour is around 8.30am – 10.30 am for trains heading towards South Mumbai and 5.30pm – 8.30pm for trains in the opposite direction. If you have to travel during rush hour, don’t stand near the doors as they open on the platform as a swarm of people will try to exit the train as fast as possible.
Taxis are cheap and plentiful, £10 will get you from one end of the city to the next without a problem. The black and yellow taxis can be a bit old, but no matter whether you’re grabbing a new or old taxi be sure to use the meter inside the taxi for your journey as opposed to a pre-negotiated fare which can often suddenly inflate and the end of your journey. While most taxi drivers are honest, the more dishonest ones tend to stick around airports and big stations to try to get an extra buck out of tourists.
Another great way to get around Mumbai is Uber, which is surprisingly prevalent in the city. A great option is Uber Wi-Fi since there aren’t that many Wi-Fi connected places in Mumbai.
Best Places To Stay In Mumbai
Since Mumbai is a sprawling metropolis, it always has a constant buzz of activity. When looking closer into Mumbai travel tips the city has
the mesmerizing Arabian Sea providing some captivating views and many iconic structures that spread across the city. There’s temples, bazaars, historical buildings and beaches to satisfy any adventure driven spirit. Below we’ll cover places for tourists to stay in Mumbai.
The vibrant vibe of Colaba is quite unmatched especially with quaint cafés with commanding sea views, designer boutiques and historical monuments and that makes it one of the city’s most sought-after places for tourists. This is a splendid location with some great sightseeing spots, the Gateway of India and iconic restaurants.
Fort Kala Ghoda is the most historic neighborhood of Mumbai with plenty of history and it’s central to many tourist destinations, movie theatres, restaurants and eating joints. Which makes it an ideal place to stay while in Mumbai. The biggest attractions in the city are located around here such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, art district of Kala Ghoda, Jahangir Art Gallery, the Museum and David Sassoon Library. A great mix of culture, food, and art which makes this location the best location to stay in Mumbai.
Andheri West/Versova has old world charm, a vibrant fishing village and is a huge attraction too. Local places like Lokhandwala Complex, Oshiwara, Versova and Four Bungalows are residential hotspots and are big tourist attractions too. The road and rail network are quite efficient with Indian standards at least and prove to be a boon while traveling across the length and breadth of this city. A host of restaurants and pubs, shopping avenues, the St Blaise church, Mansa Devi Mandir, Swami Samarth Temple, Tapeshwar temple.
Mumbai street food is as exciting as it is mouthwatering. When looking closer into Mumbai travel tips, not only do you get a chance to taste some incredibly flavorful combinations of ingredients, and standing along the humid streets of Mumbai, watching countless people walk by, is part of what adds to your experience.
I will share with you some of the best Mumbai street foods and where to eat them.
Vada pav, one of Mumbai’s most popular street foods, is also referred to as the Mumbai vegetarian burger. Vada pav consists of a spiced mashed potato mixture, deep fried into a patty, packed into a white bun, and garnished with a variety of different chutneys and spices for seasoning. As simple as it sounds, it’s set out to be one of the best tasting vegetarian burgers you’ll likely ever eat. The chutney and spices make all the difference.
Where to try it: Ashok Vada Pav
Bhelpuri is another great street food you’ll commonly find throughout the city, especially along the busy beaches like Girgaum Chowpatty and Juhu. Bhelpuri is one of the homegrown Indian snacks from Mumbai. The basic recipe includes puffed rice and sev, mixed together with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, again a variety of chutney. Often topped with a handful of chopped cilantro and the result is a crunchy snack that’s tangy, spicy, and sweet from all the sauces.
Where to try it: Om Sai Sagar Chaat Centre.
Sev puri begins with a flat puri, a little round chip, topped with mashed potatoes, onions, cilantro, sev, and a trio of garlic, tamarind, and chili sauces to give it an incredible balance of flavor. Topped with a handful of sev, and also sprinkled with little bits of green sour mango.
When you take a bite of sev puri, the flavor explosion will overwhelm your mouth and it may just turn out to be one of your favorite Mumbai street food snacks as well.
Where: 6th Road Sev Puri
Food in Mumbai
Pav bhaji is a combination of vegetables that were mashed up, mixed with spices, and served with bread. It has an interesting history, it was originally a late night food that was made for workers from leftovers. The common recipe includes potatoes and tomatoes, mashed up with spices, and served with buttered toasted bread to mop it all up. It’s simple, delicious, and it’s a street food you can’t leave Mumbai without trying.
Where: Shri Krishna Fast Food
Pani puri is just a wonderful thing to eat. The little puris are poked with a hole, half stuffed with potatoes and chickpeas, seasoned with spices, and filled with chutney and flavored water. As soon as the vendor hands you one, you’ve got to eat it on spot immediately so the puri remains crunchy, and the spice filled water will collapse in your mouth with the potatoes and chickpeas.
Where: Girgaum Chowpatty
Top 7 Experiences You MUST Have In Mumbai
Taj Mahal is by far Mumbai’s most famous landmark. This stunning hotel is a fairytale blend of Islamic and Renaissance styles. It’s
Taj Mahal Hotel
India’s second most photographed monument. Built in 1903 by the Parsi industrialist JN Tata, after he was refused entry to nearby European hotels on account of being ‘a native’. Taj Mahal’s history is intrinsically linked with the nation: it was the first hotel in India to employ women, the first to have electricity, and it housed freedom fighters for free during the struggle for independence. An icon that you just can’t miss!
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus is imposing, exuberant and overflowing with people. This monumental train station is the city’s most extravagant Gothic building, an aphorism of colonial era India. It’s a mix of Victorian, Hindu and Islamic styles blended into an imposing Dalí-esque structure of buttresses, domes, turrets, spires and stained glass. Designed by Frederick Stevens, it was completed in 1887, 34 years after the first train in India left this site.
Elephanta Island are the rock-cut temples located on Gharapuri in Mumbai Harbour. A Unesco World Heritage Site, created between AD 450 and 750. This labyrinth of cave temples represent some of India’s most impressive temple carvings. The main Shiva-dedicated temple is an intriguing latticework of courtyards, halls, pillars and shrines. It was the Portuguese who dubbed the island Elephanta because of a large stone elephant near the shore, that collapsed in 1814 and was moved by the British to Mumbai’s Jijamata
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
Royal Opera House is India’s only surviving opera house reopened to suitably dramatic fanfare with a 2016 performance by Mumbai-born British soprano Patricia Rozario. Portraits of famous playwrights and musicians are painted on the dome-shaped ceiling and gold-painted wallpaper dominates the exquisite detailing at this Chowpatty-area landmark. It has seen a cornucopia of India’s creative talent grace its stage through the decades.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is Mumbai’s biggest and best museum and it displays a mix of India-wide exhibits. The domed behemoth, an intriguing hodgepodge of Islamic, Hindu and British architecture, is a flamboyant Indo-Saracenic design by George Wittet. Its vast collection which includes impressive Hindu and Buddhist sculpture, terracotta figurines from the Indus Valley, Indian miniature paintings and some particularly vicious-looking weaponry among other interesting history and culture.
Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum built in Renaissance revival style in 1872 contains 3500-plus objects centring on Mumbai’s history. There’s photography, maps, textiles, books, manuscripts, bidriware, lacquerware, weaponry and exquisite pottery. The landmark building was renovated in 2008, with its Minton-tile floors, gilded ceiling mouldings, ornate columns, chandeliers and staircases all gloriously restored. Contemporary music, dance and drama feature in the Plaza area, where there’s a cafe and shop.
7. Iskcon Temple plays a key part in the Hare Krishna story, as founder AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada spent extended periods here. The temple compound comes alive during prayer time as the faithful whip themselves into a devotional frenzy of joy, with kirtan dancing accompanied by crashing hand symbols and drum beats. Murals around the compound detail the Hare Krishna narrative. It’s a compelling place to visit for intense, celebratory worship in the sedate suburbs.