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Mumbai, India

Mumbai (Marathi: मुंबई) (state tourism office), a cosmopolitan metropolis, earlier known as Bombay, is the largest city in India and the capital of the state Maharashtra. Mumbai was originally a conglomeration of seven islands on the Konkan coastline which over time were joined to form the island city of Bombay. The island was, in turn, joined with the neighboring island of Salsette to form Greater Bombay.

Mumbai is undoubtedly the commercial capital of India and is one of the predominant port cities in the country. Mumbai's nature as the most eclectic and cosmopolitan Indian city is symbolized in the presence of Bollywood within the city, the center of the globally-influential Hindi film and TV industries. It is also home to India's largest slum population.

Mumbai is a bustling, diverse metropolis with a flair of its own. The entrepreneurial spirit and... Read more

Mumbai, India

Destination:

Mumbai (Marathi: मुंबई) (state tourism office), a cosmopolitan metropolis, earlier known as Bombay, is the largest city in India and the capital of the state Maharashtra. Mumbai was originally a conglomeration of seven islands on the Konkan coastline which over time were joined to form the island city of Bombay. The island was, in turn, joined with the neighboring island of Salsette to form Greater Bombay.

Mumbai is undoubtedly the commercial capital of India and is one of the predominant port cities in the country. Mumbai's nature as the most eclectic and cosmopolitan Indian city is symbolized in the presence of Bollywood within the city, the center of the globally-influential Hindi film and TV industries. It is also home to India's largest slum population.

Mumbai is a bustling, diverse metropolis with a flair of its own. The entrepreneurial spirit and pulsing pace of life provide a sharp contrast to much of the rest of India.

There has been much debate regarding the original name of the city. Some say the current name of the city Mumbai is the original name; and is an eponym derived from "Mumba," the name of the local Hindu goddess Mumbadevi, and "Aai," meaning "mother" in Marathi. Others claim Bombay was an anglicized version of Bom Bahia, a name given by the Portuguese to mean "Beautiful Bay" and later made popular by the British as the name of the Bombay state.

The name was officially changed from Bombay to Mumbai in 1995. Although Bombay and Mumbai are both used, people who explicitly use "Bombay" are generally non-Marathi speakers whereas "Mumbai" proponents primarily speak Marathi. In the West, Mumbai has become more commonly accepted in order to avoid controversy. It is also fondly called as आमची मुंबई ("our Mumbai").


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Mumbai, India: Port Information


Your cruise ship will dock at the Ballard Pier. There is a cruise ship terminal with good facilities. The terminal is close to tourist attractions. However, it is recommended to use transport to get to the city center. It takes just 5-10 minutes.
If this pier is occupied, your ship may dock at the adjacent pier to the north. In this case, cruise companies provide shuttle service to the port gate.

Get around Mumbai, India


Most of Mumbai's inhabitants rely on public transport to and from their workplace due to the lack of parking spaces, traffic bottlenecks, and generally poor road conditions, especially in the monsoon. However, do ride in a taxi and auto at least once in the city. If you are not used to Indian roads, an auto-rickshaw ride can be a heart-stopping, death-defying, laws-of-physics-bending. Feel real adventure in a vehicle that feels like it might fall apart at a speed over 30 km/h with a driver who thinks he's Schumacher.

  • TMT (Thane Municipal Transport) operates services in the Thane city and areas around it.
  • The MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation), commonly known as ST, operates services from selected points in the city to the extended suburbs. From Dadar, services to Navi Mumbai and Panvel and from Borivali to Thane being the most prominent. Numerous other important routes are also covered in the MMR (Mumbai Metropolitan Region) by the MSRTC.
  • NMMT (Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport) operates services in Navi Mumbai Area, and a few points around. They also have services from Mulund in Greater Mumbai.
  • KDMT (Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Transport) operates in the Kalyan-Dombivali Area with a few connections to Navi Mumbai.

Another option is to book bus tickets online from Redbus website which has tied up with a number of large private bus operators all over India.

By taxi

Black & Yellow Top Taxi

Taxis are cheap and plentiful. Most taxis in Mumbai are small-medium sized Fiat cars (non air-conditioned), painted black-and-yellow (black on lower body and yellow on roof). The legal maximum limit on the number of passengers in a taxi is 4, excluding the driver. You can hail a cab off the streets. However, many are quite rickety, dirty, and carry mechanical fare meters that could be tampered at times. However, by Feb 2013, all Taxis are instructed to shift to electronic meters which are somewhat tamper-proof. If you encounter a mechanical meter post that date, you can put up a complaint to the closest traffic police cop. Also, according to law, a black-and-yellow taxi driver cannot refuse a fare. If a driver does refuse, a threat to complain to the nearest cop usually does the trick.

If you have extra pieces of luggage, the boot (i.e. trunk) of the taxi will not provide sufficient space - one large suitcase is all that will fit there. Hiring a taxi with a top carrier will be better. Top carriers can accommodate up to three large suitcases. Before starting the journey, ensure that the luggage is securely fastened to the carrier.

Generally, the only way to call for the standard taxi is to hail one on the street. This will not be a problem if you are inside city limits (i.e. North Central Bombay and below). If you are in the suburbs, it will be difficult to find a taxi as they have been out-competed by the cheaper auto-rickshaws.

The maximum number of passengers allowed for a trip officially is four — three in the back seat and one in the front. Seat belts are not mandatory for taxi passengers and most standard black and yellow taxis will not even have them installed, though expect them in the branded ones.

Blue & White Top Taxi

The Blue and White (B/W) Taxis are premium public Taxis which are the air-conditioned version of the Black and Yellow (B/Y) Taxis. All the rules of the B/Y taxis apply to the B/W taxis too, except that the B/W taxis are air-conditioned. Moreover the fare of the B/W taxis is 20% higher than the B/Y taxis. This is the premium expected for the air-conditioned, which is really helpful for tourists and travelers who are not accustomed to the heat and pollution of Mumbai. Moreover, all the B/W taxis ply with electronic meters, unlike the B/Y taxis.

Since the fare of the B/W is at a premium, the common-folks usually do not prefer to travel by the B/W taxis, and is primarily used by tourists or business travelers. For the lack of demand, the lack of supply is also expected. The taxis ply frequently, but are not easily available on all locations. You can always expect them to be available at tourist hot-spots like Railway Stations, Airports, Premium Hotels, Top Tourist Spots, etc. If you are not traveling through either of the above locations, and you need the air-conditioned comfort, but do not want to go look for a taxi, it is suggested that you move to the next section.

Private taxis

If you want a comfortable, air-conditioned ride it's best to travel by branded cab services that operate at government-approved tariffs. These services operate modern fleets with well trained drivers. You can get them at 30–60 minutes notice, they are clean, air-conditioned, equipped with digital, tamper-proof meters, punctual, honest, and GPS-equipped-monitored, which makes them far secure at any time. If you're using a mobile phone, you receive an SMS with the driver's name, mobile number and car number 30 minutes before scheduled departure. Some can be booked online.

Follow the queue system to board a taxi. Quite frequently, tourists and new visitors are mobbed by unscrupulous taxi drivers. Most drivers are honest, but the dishonest ones tend to cluster around railway stations and airports where they can more easily find suckers. Unless you are taking a prepaid taxi, always ask taxis to go by the meter. At the start of the journey, ensure that the meter is visible and shows the flag-down fare/meter reading.

Stay safe

Traveling in Mumbai is generally safe at any time of the day or night. The risks primarily run if you are not aware of the fares and fare calculations (only applicable to non-electronic and non-prepaid meters). If you travel alone, especially in night, then always see the meter by yourself and then pay the fare. If you are alone, it is recommended that you sit in front so that you can see the meter. Please also note that the night charges are only applicable if you board the vehicle during the night hours (12 AM to 5 AM). If you had boarded the vehicle before midnight, and your journey is finishing after midnight, you are not liable to pay night charges. Similarly, if you board the vehicle before 5 AM and you finish after 5 AM, you ARE liable to pay night charges.

Unlike other part of the country, especially Delhi where rape is prevalent, crime is rare, except for possibly common crime like pickpocketing.

Tourist traps

One of the common scams is to charge the night fare rate during daytime. You should be careful and read the heading before paying. In some cards, the night fare is red in color and the daytime fare is black in color.

Sometimes, auto-rickshaw drivers charge the taxi fare and even show you a tariff card which is used for taxi fare computation.

You can download m-indicator app which is available in Play Store and iTunes App Store. This app carries latest taxi fares, auto fares, bus services details and local train time table.

By auto-rickshaw

Auto-rickshaws are only allowed to operate beyond Bandra in the western suburbs and beyond Sion in the central suburbs. They are not issued licenses in the downtown areas.

Before departing, ensure that the meter is visible and shows the flag-down reading as 1.00 (on a mechanical meter). If the number is higher, insist that the driver flags it down once again. Every auto driver is supposed to carry a valid RTO approved meter tariff card. You can check this tariff card before paying. The meter also keeps ticking if you are waiting and/or are stuck in traffic. It's quite handy to have a copy of the meter card issued by The Mumbai Traffic Police. All of this applies to mechanical meters, not digital meters. Newer digital meters have started becoming common from 2012 onwards, and they show the exact fare, so there is no need to convert via the tariff card.

Auto-rickshaws are slower than cars and have terrible suspensions. Pregnant ladies are most strongly advised not to travel by auto-rickshaws since the combination of rash driving, poor suspensions, and horrible road conditions have quite often led to serious complications. The auto-rickshaw is a slow and uncomfortable vehicle and not recommended for very long distances.

By bus

  • Mumbai Metropolitan Region — The Mumbai Metropolitan Region around Mumbai is fast developing into a major conurbation. If you need to get to the surrounding cities of Thane, Navi Mumbai or Kalyan, bus services are available.

Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (known as BEST) provides efficient and comprehensive services connecting up all places of the city and the suburbs. Some services also link the city with the extended suburbs like Navi Mumbai, Thane, and Mira-Bhayanadar areas. Seats are almost always occupied. There are bus stops all over the city. There is usually a crowd and queue. You have to get in through the rear entrance and off at the front. Tickets are issued by a uniformed "conductor" after you get in. Special seats are marked for "Ladies," "Senior Citizens," "Handicapped," "Expectant Women," and "Women with infants." They can get in from the front.

Buses run from 5 AM to midnight. Selected routes run beyond these timings, but much less often. Average frequency between buses ranges from five to 30 min depending on the route. Fares are reasonable and buses can be traveled during peak hours, unlike trains which are far too crowded. Some trunk routes do get extremely crowded however. Peak hours also have traffic snarls which may depend on the area traversed and the state of the roads.

Buses are numbered and the final destination is marked on the front in Marathi and on the side in English. Generally, buses around the city and trunk routes would be in the 1-199 series. Buses in the western suburbs would be the 200 series while those plying in the central and eastern suburbs would be in the 300 and 400 series. Services to Navi, Mumbai are in the 500 series and buses to the Mira-Bhayander area are in the 700 series. The BEST website has a nifty tool that will help you plan your journey.

BEST has introduced the "DayPass," a ticket valid all day (until midnight) on all buses except Express and A/C services.

By train

Suburban rail network

Most people travel in Mumbai using the Suburban Rail Network commonly referred to as "Locals". Mumbai has an extensive network, with three lines — the Western Line, the Central Main Line, and the Harbour Line.

  • Mumbai is a linear city and the Western Line travels from Churchgate to Virar via Mumbai's Western Suburbs. The Western line provides North-South connectivity.
  • The Central Main Line travels from Mumbai CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus), aka VT Victoria Terminus to Kalyan via Mumbai's Central Suburbs and Thane, with some services running beyond to Karjat, Khopoli, and Kasara. The interchange point between the Western Line and the Central Line is Dadar.
  • The Harbour Line has a common stretch between Mumbai CST (aka VT Victoria Terminus) and Vadala. The harbour line splits into two spurs, the main one running to Mumbai's Eastern Suburbs and Navi Mumbai, up to Panvel. The Interchange point of this line with the Central Main Line is at Kurla. The other spur of the Harbour Line runs up to Mahim on the Western Line and runs parallel up to Andheri. The interchange stations with the Western line are Bandra and Andheri.

Trains on all lines start operations after 4 AM and close operations between midnight and 1 AM. Second class travel is very cheap. However, it is advisable to buy first class tickets as the economy class is extremely crowded. First Class can be quite expensive and if four people are traveling together, a taxi might be better. There would always be queues and it would be advisable to buy coupon booklets. Coupon booklets punching machines are available at all stations and the best thing is you will not have to stand in a huge line to buy a booklet. Another option is to buy a Smart card for Railways. It helps you maintain balance like any a gift card with an option to refill it once it goes below the limit. Smart card outlets to buy tickets are available on all stations. They are touch screen based and you can simply follow the instructions to buy a ticket for the right path.

If you are a tourist, you can buy a 'Tourist Ticket.' You can travel in first class compartments of all the three lines during the entire day. Ensure the location of the first class compartment before the train arrives. You may ask fellow passengers or the vendors at the various foodstalls. An easier way to spot the location of the First class compartment is to check the station walls painted with red and yellow slant stripes.

Avoid using local trains during rush hour (first class or otherwise). Rush hour is 8:30 AM–10:30 AM towards CST and Churchgate and 5:30 PM–8:30 PM in the opposite direction. If you are traveling during rush hour, don't stand near railway track as you will get swamped by frantic. Take no offense if you are pushed and shoved about, as passengers jostle for a spot. As you near your exit station, ensure that you are as close as possible to the train door, as experienced commuters, will be begin the mad run to be first on, or off, the car before the car comes to a full stop! If you stand any chance of getting on/off before the train depart, you must be equally aggressive in your focus to exit/enter, remember no one will take offense if you make contact with others, as you wriggle by! Last, but not least, exiting/entering a train before it comes to a full stop is not something to be taken lightly, one misstep can send a person onto the rails with an amazing ease! Leave the stunts to the experienced locals.

There are special coaches for women on both classes. These are designated by green and yellow slant stripes, spot these stripes on the station walls and you'll know where the ladies compartment is.

Mumbai Metro

The Mumbai Metro currently connects the western suburbs to the eastern suburbs. Line 1 runs from Versova to Ghatkopar with interchange options available at Andheri(Western Line) And Ghatkopar(Central Line) Railway Station. The travel time is 20 minutes.

Mumbai Monorail

India's only monorail in Mumbai has started its operation recently. It has one line and eighteen stations throughout the city.

By ferry

These are a few intra-city ferry services:

  • Gateway of India to Elephanta Caves Fast boats and Catamarans operated by private operators. These are moderately priced. This is only way to get to Elephanta Caves.
  • Gorai (Borivali) to Gorai Beach Low cost ferry connecting Gorai Beach/Esselworld.
  • Marve Jetty (Malad) to Manori Jetty Cheap ferry (by BEST) connecting Manori and Gorai. Also services for Esselworld (Amusement Park).
  • Versova (Andheri) to Madh Jetty Cheap ferry connecting Madh/Erangal/Aksa/Marve.

By car

Travel agents and hotels can arrange private chauffeur driven cars to provide services. Expensive by comparison with taxis, they are the most trusted, secure, and comfortable way to travel around the city. Driving in Mumbai can be difficult, because of poor driver discipline, but chauffeur driven services are very reasonable. These can be arranged by travel companies or online from the countries of origin. Car rental agencies also have services in Mumbai.

What to see in Mumbai, India


There is a lot to see in Mumbai, but the typical "tourist" sights are concentrated in South Mumbai.

By Indian standards, Mumbai is a young city and much of the land comprising the city did not exist until it was claimed from the sea over three centuries ago. It is, therefore, a pleasant surprise to find rock cut caves such as the Elephanta, Kanheri, and Mahakali within city limits.

Colonial buildings

The British built a magnificent city within the walls of Fort St. George, which lies at the southern extremity of the city. Some fine examples of the Gothic revival, Neo-classical style, and Indo-Saracenic style are seen within this area. To get the best South Mumbai experience, stroll around the wide streets of the area right from Churchgate to Colaba. These areas are all beautifully planned and have wide and clean pavements unlike the rest of the city. Famous monuments to be seen in this area are the Gateway of India, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) building, the Municipal Corporation, and Police Headquarters and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sanghralaya (formerly, the Prince Of Wales museum). The famous Taj Mahal hotel is located just opposite the Gateway of India. The Mumbai University buildings and the High Court are also excellent examples of colonial architecture in the city.

There are a lot of other modern structures to look at in this area. The area known as Marine Drive (right from Chowpatty beach to NCPA) is home to a large number of buildings built in the Art Deco style. Mumbai is second only to Miami in the number of Art Deco buildings. some famous buildings in this style are the Eros and Regal Cinemas.

Museums and galleries

Some of the most famous museums and art galleries in India are found here. The Kala Ghoda area in South Mumbai teems with them, particularly the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum), and the National Gallery of Modern Art. Once again, most of them are concentrated in South Mumbai. Also worth planning a visit is Jehangir Art Gallery, also at Kala Ghoda, displays changing exhibits by notable artists. The plaza next to the gallery also regularly displays exhibits of various artists.

Situated in Nehru Complex in Worli is Nehru Centre Art Gallery at Worli, a gallery dedicated to young and promising talent along with established artists. Also within the complex is located a permanent exposition, Discovery of India, which attempts to cover every aspect of artistic, intellectual and philosophical attainment of India through ages. The exposition spreads across 14 galleries and reflects the true identity of the country. On the other end of the complex, Nehru Science Centre - which has a separate entrance from Mahalaxmi race course road, has a permanent exhibition on 'interactive and exciting' science related exhibits highlighting science principles in fun yet educational way.

Beaches

Mumbai isn't known for beaches because they have immensely filthy water! Mumbai has a few beaches, including one in the downtown area. But they aren't that great and the water off Mumbai's coast is extraordinarily dirty. The relatively better ones are in the Northwest Mumbai area. However, they are a great place to see how the locals spend their Sunday evenings, with various food and game stalls.

There are other beaches to be found such as the Girgaon Chowpaty(the cleanest one) in South Mumbai, Juhu beach in the western suburbs and Aksa Beach in Malad. The currents don't seem strong, but particularly in the rains, lots of people die from drowning, so avoid getting in the water (especially at Aksa Beach). A word of advice to women: Bombay beaches are not the kind you can wear swimsuits to, particularly two-pieces.

Zoos, parks and gardens

Mumbai has a justified reputation as a concrete jungle, but there are some nice pockets of greenery within the city. It is also one of the rare metropolises to have an entire national park within its borders. (Borivali national park also known as Sanjay Gandhi National Park). You will not visit Mumbai for them, but if you are already here, they make a nice escape from the din and bustle. It also houses the ancient Kanheri Caves crafted out of rocky cliffs, which dates back to 2,400 years. Entrance fee: Indians/Foreigns 30/30

The city zoo (Veermata Jijabai Udyan) is in Byculla and is a colonial relic which is surprisingly well-preserved. The animals may look rather emaciated, but the sheer diversity of trees on this lush zoo is worth a trip.

Some city parks are very well-maintained and combine history as well. The "Hanging Gardens" on Malabar Hill offers stunning vistas of the Marine Drive. Opposite the Hanging Gardens, there is another park which is known as Kamla Nehru Park, famous for the striking shoe-shaped structure which has been filmed in various Bollywood movies

Further in South Mumbai, the Mumbai Port Trust Garden, is another hidden gem. This is set off a small side street off the Colaba Causeway 2–3 km south of the main section. Once again, lovely views of the port, the naval yards, and sunset.

In central Mumbai, there are the Five Gardens. Mainly used by walkers in the morning, it is a mess in the evenings. But the gardens encircle some historic, art deco residences.

Markets and crowds

Mumbai is probably worth visiting just for its street markets, the hustle of vendors, and the madness of the crowds. Good places are Bandra, Khar, and Andheri. If you came to Mumbai and didn't give a visit to the highly dense and crowded markets, it means you didn't meet the real Mumbai.

Hawkers and street shoppers don't ask for any legal permission and then set their stalls at the places where they see maximum footfall. From electronics items to fresh food, you can get everything at railway platforms, subway and mains streets.

Modern buildings and malls

Once the British left, the zeal to wipe away the traces of colonial rule was, unfortunately, not matched by the enthusiasm to build a new city that matched the grandeur of the British-era buildings. Now, while the shabbiness of the socialist era is thankfully being replaced by architecture with an eye on aesthetics, the new malls, multiplexes, and office buildings that are coming up are indistinguishable from those anywhere else in the world. Still, they are worth a look, especially if you want to have a look at India's success story. Skyscrapers exceeding 60 stories now dominate the skyline.

For long, Inorbit Mall was the only mall offering a lot of variety for shoppers. Palladium, built within the High Street Phoenix, broke the monopoly of Inorbit Mall. From state of the art interiors to international brands, the Palladium has everything. The new Infiniti Mall (Infinity 2) in Malad also has lots of foreign brands and is one of the biggest malls in the suburbs. Nirmal Lifestyles Mall in Mulund and Metro Junction Mall in Kalyan are two of the largest malls in Mumbai. Located in the central suburbs, they are quite popular in the city.

Powai is a modern central Mumbai suburb with European looks. Powai houses the Indian Institute of Technology and is built around a fabulous lake. Most of the construction is in a township format and is privately built. It houses twenty top of the line restaurants, two large convenience stores, a handful of coffee shops and entertainment areas. Initially built as an upmarket self contained township, Powai has now grown into a business process outsourcing hub in Mumbai. The township reflects both characteristics; you will often find families shopping and twenty somethings hanging out in tables next to each other.

Religious places

Mumbai has temples, mosques, churches, Parsi agiaries, and even a few synagogues reflecting the diversity of its citizens. While these are naturally of interest if you are a believer, some, like the Portuguese church at Dadar are worth visiting just for their unique architecture.

Siddhivinayak temple of Mumbai is very famous. It is located in Dadar and you can easily get a taxi to go to the temple from the Dadar railway station.

The city also boasts of Jewish places of worship predominantly in the area called Byculla, but also in South Mumbai. In this area the three prominent Jewish groups of Mumbai lived. They were Bagdadi Jews, Bene Israelis and the locals who had conveted over a period of time and lived in the hinterland.

There are two very beautiful Hare Krishna (ISKCON) temples that are significant tourist attractions. One is located in Hare Krishna Land, Juhu, Andheri and the other in South Mumbai, near Gandhi's house. Both have Govinda's pure vegetarian restaurants at the premises. Most tourists appreciate the peaceful experience in the temple. It is of international standards and you can get all your spiritual questions answered in plain English.

The Islamic Research Foundation of Dr. Zakir Naik is located in South Central Mumbai near Dongri. This place is very popular among people of all faiths. It hosts a vast library of books from all world religions and is a great place to hangout and know about Islamic culture.

Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most visited places in Mumbai. The Dargah Sharief is built on a tiny islet located 500 meters from the coast, in the middle of Worli Bay, in the vicinity of Worli. People from different religion and places visit this places. More than 80,000 people visit dargah every week.

One notable monument in the northwest suburbs of Mumbai is the Global Vipassana Pagoda, Gorai, Mumbai. It is a meditation center that can seat 8000 people. Vipassana literally means mediation, and the center runs 10-day meditation courses and 1-day mega courses on Sundays. The courses are free of cost but you would have to register for them in advance on their website.

What to do in Mumbai, India


There is a lot to do in Mumbai, but lack of space means that for outdoorsy activities, you need to head north, often outside city limits. In the Northwestern suburbs and Thane, you will find opportunities for water sports like H20 at Girgaum Chowpatty. There are two golf courses in the city, the more famous one in Chembur in the Harbour suburbs.

Mumbai has a vibrant theater scene with plays in many languages including English, Hindi, Gujarati, and Marathi. While South Mumbai has frequent performances, the best organized theater effort is at Prithvi theater, Juhu in the Western Suburbs. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy Indian classical music and dance. While not a patch on the Sabhas of Chennai, you will find frequent performances of Carnatic music in Shanmukhananda Hall, Matunga in the South Central suburbs.

Mumbai is also usually the first stop for Western pop and rock stars visiting India, which they usually do when they are over 50. The Rock scene is very good in Mumbai. These are very safe to go to and are recommended for rock fans. Most bands cover heavy metal acts like Pantera, Six feet under, and Slipknot. To try to find places with specific music tastes try asking students outside Mumbai's colleges. Western classical music performances are rarer. However most classical music performances along with other art forms are regularly performed at NCPA and Tata Theatre, both situated next to the narrow strip at Nariman Point.

  • Borivili National Park, or go for Flamingo watching in Chembur (check with Bombay Natural History Society for further info).
  • Chowpati Jayenge Bhel Puri Khayenge; as it says in the lyrics of one of the Bollywood movie song, go to beaches (specially in the evenings) and enjoy local favorite 'Bhel Puri' while the sun sets in the Arabian sea.
  • Cruise on a Harbour Cruise; cruises from Gateway of India leave every 30 min daily except during the monsoon season (Jun-Sep).
  • Dhabba Wallahs are a group of couriers in Mumbai who move two million household lunchboxes everyday in a complicated system of delivery.
  • Enjoy theatre & performances; Mumbai offers unlimited opportunities to theater lovers and there are regular shows across theaters in the city. Check newspapers on latest shows as well as performances at prominent halls such as Prithvi Theatre, NCPA, Tata Theatre.
  • Experience Bollywood; plan a trip to Film City located in Goregaon and enjoy the first hand experience of Bollywood shooting
  • Get crowded, and try catching suburban trains at peak times. You are warned though.
  • Join for Heritage walks. organized by two architects, these walks take you around various historic and architecturally significant areas of the city. Walks are organized on the third Sunday of every month (with a break from June through August for the monsoons) and the route varies each time. The walks last around 120 min.
  • Poonawallas Breeders Multimillion; on the last Sunday of February, the glitterati of Mumbai dress up for the Ascot of Mumbai at the Mahalaxmi Race Course. With High Tea, amazing hats, and hundreds of ordinary punters staking their little all on the outside chance, this is the event to attend in Mumbai so try to cage a ticket if you happen to visit around then.
  • Pub Hopping, The number and variety of Pubs in the city allow for an enthralling Pub Hopping opportunity.
  • Taj private yacht; if you can afford it (at $300/hr, including drinks & meals), rent the Taj's private yacht (has two sun decks and three bedrooms) for a cruise around the Mumbai harbor.
  • Take A Dip at Water World
  • Take a morning walk on Juhu beach
  • Take a Slum Tour. Reality Tours and Travel and Be the Local Tours walk through Dharavi, Asia's largest slum. Both groups are socially conscious, one run by students in Dharavi itself, and many of the proceeds go to charity. Reality Tours and Travel also offers a tour which includes a trip to Dhobi Ghat, the largest open air laundry in the world, and the red light district. Short walks are also available from Be the Local, Reality Tours and Travel also provides other city tours. Note: Photos are not permitted during either group's tour of the slum, out of respect for the residents. If you must have that slum pic, just provide your guide with your email details, they will be happy to arrange to email you a nice set of pics.
  • Temples; there are so many religious places around in the city (both old and new) that one can plan a day long itinerary on that. Start with Mahalkshmi Temple, Banganga Temple, Siddhi Vinayak, Afghan Church, Mahim Church, Haji Ali... the list will get really long.
  • Visit Essel World
  • Visit museums and art galleries
  • Walk along Marine Drive; also known as Queen's Necklace, this beachside promenade is worth a ride. A walk can be planned from Girgaon Chowpati (Girgaon beach) all the way up to Nariman Point. Be careful and avoid this area during heavy rains.
  • Watch a Movie; you are in the land of Bollywood. Expect whistles and clapping by crowd in admiration of their celebrities on the screen, except at multiplexes as this occurs at single-screen movie theaters. Most of the cinema halls run both 'popular and new' Bollywood as well as Hollywood movies and some even screen ones in regional languages. Some of the popular Hollywood screening cinema halls in South Mumbai are Eros opposite Churchgate, Metro on M.G.Road, Regal in Colaba, Sterling next to CST Station, and New Excelsior in Fort. With the rise of malls and multiplexes, the nearest cinema is unlikely to be more than a stone's throw away, even in the suburbs. Check out newspaper listing to get the list of latest screenings.
  • Watch Cricket for Free; cricket has a national games stature in India, and Mumbaiites revere that every day of the year. Azad Maidan (Azad ground) near C.S.T. Railway station, ground opposite to Ruia College in Matunga and Shivaji Park in Dadar west are some of the best places to witness the cricket fever for free. You may be even lucky to witness ongoing game of cricket on some of the empty streets of Mumbai.

Sports

Mumbai inherits the cricket fever justifiably and has 3 of the finest Crickets stadiums namely Brabourne Stadium (Churchgate), Wankhede Stadium (Marine Lines) and D.Y.Patil Stadium (Navi Mumbai). Several of international cricket matches and domestic championships such as IPL have been played in these stadiums. Watch out for upcoming cricket stadium to join the cricket frenzy crowd. Apart from these, Ruia College, Shivaji Park, Azad Maidan, Marine Lines are some of the places where live cricket action can be seen for free. Alternatively if you are a football (soccer) fan, you may want to visit Cooperage Football ground (Colaba) for a local league match. For swimming enthusiasists, Mahatma Gandhi Swimming Pool (Dadar W) is the place to visit. For horse racing, head straight to Mahalakshmi Race Course (Mahalakshmi). Powai hosts some of the finest Golf fields. For others there are many sport activities including Tennis, Table Tennis, Badminton which can be practiced at various clubs. Gyms are plenty and can be easily found.

What to eat and drink in Mumbai, India


Eat

The dining experience at an upscale restaurant in Mumbai is more or less the same as anywhere else in the world. You can find cuisine from the Middle East, Western Europe, North America, and China easily. But to get a real flavor of what's unique to Mumbai, you will have to go a little lower down the scale and experience the street food and Irani cafes. That is what is described here. For individual restaurants and other places to eat, go to the individual district pages.

Don't leave Mumbai without trying:

  • Alfonso Mangoes during the summer season
  • As many different kinds of chaat (Bhelpuri, Pav Bhaji etc.) as your stomach can handle
  • Bread Maska (Bread & Butter) from an Irani Cafe
  • Goan seafood
  • Gujrati, Maharashtrian,Managlorean special and Kerala Thali
  • Indian Chinese
  • Indian sweets- milky, delicious concoctions (try the kulfi falooda at Badshah's in Crawford market)
  • Kebab rolls, Pattis, Keema
    • Particularly late-night at Bade Miyaan's behind the Taj near Colaba Causeway (also if the lights are off in order to avoid bribing the cops, do still try and approach it as it is likely to still be serving)
  • Kingfisher Blue beer (not common in eateries, but only most "wine shops" (liquor stores)
  • South Indian food from an Udupi restaurant
  • Vada pav (the Indian veg burger): known to be the dish of Mumbai

Specialty restaurants

Tourists are suggested to use local Business search engines through the Internet or telephone for an easy and accurate listing of the places or cuisines of interests in the location of choice. Popular search Engines include Justdial, Burrp, AskLaila, DizyLocal, etc. The search engines shall provide the address, contact details, and user ratings (if available) of the specific eatery (if name is provided), or list of eatery catering to the specialty (e.g. Seafood, Pubs, Chinese Food, etc.) depending on the location suggested (e.g. Worli, Bandra, South Mumbai, etc.).

  • Seafood, Apurva (Fort right off Horniman Circle). If you want to eat some authentic Indian (Konkan) sea food you must visit the Bharat Excellensea. It is located next to the Horniman Circle and the Reserve Bank of India. It is becoming pretty expensive. In the slightly higher price range, Trishna (at Kala Ghoda in Fort) and Mahesh Lunch Home (also in Fort) are very popular among both locals and tourists.

North-Western

  • Peshawari, Andheri, (at Maratha Sheraton). It's sister restaurant Bukhara in Delhi has been recognized as the best Indian restaurant across the world. Try tandoori jhinga, the kebab platter, sikandari raan (leg of lamb), and mangoes and ice cream (only during summers), Kebab Corner (Hotel Intercontinental), Copper Chimney (Worli) Khyber (Kala Ghoda), and Kareem's Malad Link Road in Malad W.

International Cuisine

  • Chinese, India Jones, (Hilton Towers Mumbai), Mainland China (Saki Naka), Ling's Pavilion (Colaba), Golden Dragon (Taj Mahal Hotel), Great Wall (Renaissance), Spices (JW Marriott), China Gate (Bandra), China White (Bandra). Bandra offers a range of Chinese Restaurants (Royal China at VT (behind Sterling Cinema serves some of the best DimSum the city has to offer). The new CG83 at Kemps corner is brilliant and the signature restaurant of Nelson Wang. Also new is Henry Thams. The food is brilliant as are the prices, however, the bar is much more popular than the restaurant.
  • Combination Oriental, India Jones (Hilton Towers Mumbai), Pan Asian (at Maratha Sheraton), Seijo, and Soul Dish (Bandra), Joss (Kala Ghoda) has some of the best East Asian food in the country and at moderate prices (compared to hotels). San Qi at the Four Seasons (Worli) combines East Asian and South Asian cuisine quite well.
  • Italian, Shatranj Nepoli (Bandra, Union Park), Little Italy (Juhu next to Maneckji Cooper school), Don Giovanni's (Juhu, opposite JW Marriott), Mezzo Mezzo (at the JW Marriott), Vetro (at The Oberoi, Mumbai), Celini (at the Grand Hyatt), Mangi Ferra (Juhu), Taxi(Colaba), Spaghetti Kitchen (Phoenix Mills, Parel).
  • Japanese, Wasabi by Morimoto (Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba) is Mumbai's best and most expensive restaurant, but Japanese food is on the menus of most Pan Asian restaurants like Tiffin (The Oberoi, Mumbai), Pan Asian (Maratha Sheraton), India Jones (Hilton Towers Mumbai), and Spices (JW Marriott), Origami (Atria Mall Worli). Also, Japengo Cafe at CR2 Mall in Nariman Point serves up some sushi. Tetsuma, adjacent to Prive (probably best nightclub in town) serves an average sushi but other dishes are worth a try. Best to go there for a cocktail and a few starters. 'Tian cafe' at Juhu is also a good place for sushi. Try the Teppanyaki restaurant at Tian.
  • Lebanese Food, Picadilly, at Colaba Causeway, deserves mention for being the only restaurant to serve Lebanese food. Try their shawormas. Alcohol is not served.
  • Parsi, Their ancestors originating from Iran, the Parsis are a special community of people that one would associate Mumbai with. Parsi food is based on ancient Persian cooking. Go to Brittania at Ballard Estate or Jimmy Boy close to Horniman Circle.
  • Sushi, Sushi Café (Santa Cruz West). Sushi Café is a cozy little place. The decor, including the furniture, is all-white. Here, you can get 20 pieces of those delicious, delicately-flavored chunks of white rice rolled with fresh fish and vegetables. The food is as much a feast for the eyes as it is a treat for the tongue. They also do home delivery all over Mumbai. Sushi Café, Shop No. 1, Ground Floor, Sainara Building, corner of North Avenue and Linking Road, Santa Cruz (West).

International brands

  • California Pizza Kitchen, 3 North Ave. Maker Maxity, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (East).
  • Chili's, Central Avenue Road, Powai, Ventura Building, Hiranandani Business Park.
  • Cinnabon, (next to Basilico), Pali Naka, Bandra (West).
  • Ruby Tuesday, shop No. 20, 2nd Floor, Inorbit mall, Malad (West) or at Shop No. 31, CR 2 Mall, Nariman Point, Mumbai OR Nirmal Lifestyle, Lbs Marg, Mulund West.
  • Starbucks Coffee, Behind Taj Hotel, Near Gateway of India.
  • T.G.I.F, Palladium mall, Phoenix High Street, Lower Parel or Infiniti Mall, New Link Road, Oshiwara, Andheri(West).

Regional Indian

  • Bengali, Oh! Calcutta at Tardeo
  • Cafe. Leopold and Cafe Mondegar (both near Regal Cinema, Colaba) are great places to while away time, eat cheap, and get a beer. Mocha (chain) is popular with the younger crowd. Deliciae, the dessert cafe which has some of the best desserts in town, located next to Olive Restaurant in Khar.
  • Fusion, Zenzi (Waterfield Road, Bandra), Out of the Blue ( Pali Hill, Bandra).
  • General Indian, Sheetal Bukhara, Great Punjab (both in Bandra). More in Bandra.
  • Goan, Coastal, Goa Portuguesa (Mahim) near Hinduja Hospital. New and a must try is Casa Soul Fry (opposite Bombay University in town) which serves up Goan Cuisine.
  • Goan Cuisine, Casa Soul Fry opposite to Bombay University in town
  • Gujarati Thalis, Chetana at Kala Ghoda, Thacker's at Marine Drive, and Rajdhani (multiple locations)
  • Kashmiri, Poush at Andheri
  • Lounge, Olive (Bandra), Rain (Juhu), Indigo.
  • Mumbai Street Food, To experience the tastes and flavors of typical Mumbai chaat, and yet not expose oneself to the dangers of unhygienic street food, check out Vitthal's Restaurant located on one of the lanes opposite Sterling Cinema (C.S.T.), but make sure you have a strong stomach. Vithal Bhelwalla (not the Vithal restaurant which is copycat) near VT station (behind Macdonald's) is a safe option.
  • Punjabi, Preetam's Dhaba at Dadar(E) and Urban Tadka at Mulund
  • Speciality Deli, Indigo Deli (Colaba), Gourmet Shoppe (The Oberoi Shopping Arcade), Moshe's (Cuffe Parade), Cafe Basilico.
  • South Indian, Dakshin (Maratha Sheraton) and Woodlands (Juhu)
  • 24X7 Coffee Shops, Trattoria (Taj President), Frangipani (Hilton Towers Mumbai), Vista (Taj Land's End, Bandra), Hornby's Pavilion (ITC Grand Central), Lotus Cafe (JW Marriott), basically all the big hotels have one. More coffee shops in Bandra
  • Vegetarian, Swati Snacks (Tardeo, opposite Bhatia Hospital) a gem of a restaurant, it does not take bookings and the waiting during peak meal times is usually 45 minutes every day of the week! Little Italy located on Juhu Tara Road (Jugu), Andheri West opp. Fame Adlabs multiplex, Malad (above croma), New Yorkers on Marine Drive Opp chowpatty; Creame Center on Linking Road, Bandra near Shopper's Stop and also on Marine Drive opp chowpatty; Statua at Nariman point opp. Maker Chambers. Relish (Hotel Samrat — Churchgate). Excellent vegetarian cuisine from around the world.

Street food stalls

Songs have been written about Mumbai's street food and you will find that the hype is justified. You will find them at every street corner, but they are concentrated in beaches and around railway stations.

  • Bhelpuri stalls, Selling what in the rest of India would be called chaat. In Mumbai itself, the term chaat is rarely used.
  • Bhurji, Either Egg bhurji or Paneer bhurji, a mash of eggs and chopped tomato, onion, chili, and lots of oil. Eaten on the side with some pav. Try the Maker Chamber area (near Crossroads 2, Nariman Point).
  • Chinese food stalls, You'll find them at many places, but they are particularly concentrated near Dadar railway station. They all have a typical Indian twist added to it, which is why it is frequently called "Indian Chinese". Although it is great tasting, the hygiene of these places leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Rolls, Essentially different meat and cheese grilled and served with some Roti and spice, these are cheap and cheerful for anyone with a stomach that can handle it. They are known to be spicy so always ask them to make it mild. Try Ayubs (Kala Ghoda), Bade Miyan (behind Taj and near Colaba Causeway), Khao Gulli (Food Lane, near Mahim Hindu Gymkhana), or Kareems (Bandra). All are particularly busy after a night of heavy drinking.
  • Sandwich stands, Uniquely developed in Mumbai, you won't find anything like it anywhere else in India or the world.
  • Vada pav stands, Fried potato stuffed in yeasty bread. Developed to provide nourishment to mill-workers in Mumbai's burgeoning mills. Now they are found everywhere, particularly in the railway stations. This is a Mumbai specialty. In Vile Parle (West), try the one off S.V Road near Irla across from Goklibai School. One of the most popular ones are opposite Mithibai College which is about 15 mins walk from Vile Parle Station. Also try the one outside Grant Road Station and Churchgate Station.

Tip: cheap and tasty food stalls are concentrated around the city's colleges.

Street stall food in India is fantastic, and dirt cheap. However, do consider well what you are putting in your mouth. Almost certainly the water used is non-potable, street vendors don't seem to understand much about hygiene or hand-washing, and food safety standards are low, with flies buzzing over everything. Even locals steer clear of street food during the monsoons when diseases run rampant. If the stall seems very clean, and if it clearly states that it is using Aquaguard or mineral water, go for it.

Authentic Marathi cuisine

Mumbai, being home to large ethnic Marathi community, has its share of notable restaurants that offer authentic Marathi cuisine. Most offer both snacks and regular dining. Some of the snacks to check out are Sabudana Wada, Batata Wada, Missal, Kanda Poha, Uppit (or Upma), Shira, Alu Wadi, Thalipith, Zunka Bhakari,ghavane (neer dosa) and many more. Two notable appetizer are Kokam Sarbat and Solkadhi which are best enjoyed during hot summers. People say that many of these authentic Marathi restaurants are finding it difficult to survive competitions with other modern or fast food typed restaurants, but you will find Gajali, Malvan Kinara, Sindhudurg and many more have retained their own charm and clientele.

Udupi restaurants

Individual listings can be found in Mumbai's district articles

Mangalorians (and udupi) forms the highset tourist populations of Mumbai, and both the cities have almost same culture and architecture. "Udupi" restaurants (or "hotels") are everywhere. They bear the name of the town of Udupi in Karnataka, but do not be misled into thinking that they specialize in the cuisine of Udupi. They serve pretty much everything, and that is their specialty.

Usually strictly vegetarian, these restaurants were opened by migrants from the district of Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka (of which Udupi is a part), to satisfy the palates of other migrants from the district. Over time, they gained popularity as places to have South Indian food. As the tastes of their customers evolved, so to did their menus, so much that now you can find Mughlai, Indian Chinese, Bhelpuri, and other chaats in addition to South Indian stuff. Amazingly, some places serve imitations of pizzas, burgers, and sandwiches too!

They are fast food joints and sit-down restaurants combined. The reason to visit them is not to experience fine gourmet dining, but to have cheap, passably tasty and fairly hygienic food. There is no easy way to identify an Udupi restaurant — they are not a chain of restaurants and they may not have "Udupi" in their name, so you will have to ask.

Matunga (Central line) has the best south Indian fare in Mumbai. There are few restaurants which could well be heritage sites as they are more than 50 years old and still retain their old world charm(and furniture).

Irani cafes

Individual listings can be found in Mumbai's district articles

Irani cafes are Persian styled cafes opened by 19th-century Persian migrants from Iran. These cafes have a unique lazy atmosphere, display of day-to-day accessories including toothpaste behind the cashier, soaps and what nots (especially targeted at bachelor crowds) and furniture. Most of these cafes were located at the corner of the road or building and were chosen spots by commuters to spend time. It was quite a usual sight to find people spending hours reading a newspaper over a cup of tea for hours in these places. Sadly the new restaurants and fast food culture have almost removed these cafes from the maps, though few notables like Kyani & Co. and Olympia remain. The joints are best known for their "Irani Chai", "Bun-Maska/Maska Pav" (bread and butter) and Egg Omelette. Also are popular their assorted snacks, like Kheema-na-Patice, samosas, mava-na-cakes, etc. One of the best dishes which is almost always on the menu is Kheema (prepared from ground meat) and pav (bread).

Thalis

If you order a thali (translated as "plate"), you get a complete meal arranged on your plate, with a roti or chappati, rice, and many different varieties of curries and curd. Ordering a thali is a popular option when you are hungry and in a hurry as it is usually served blazingly fast. Most mid-level restaurants have a thali on the menu, at least during lunch hours. Occasionally, they are "unlimited", which means that some of the items are all-you-can-eat. The waiters serve them at your table.

Of course, you find many varieties of them, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. There is the South Indian thali. The "North Indian" thali translates to Mughlai or Punjabi. Do try Gujarati or Rajasthani thalis if you can find them. They are sinfully filling and tasty. Rajdhani (At Crawford Market) serves up thalis in the Rajasthani style while Aram (near Mahim Church, Mahim), Ramanayak Udipi (At Matunga Station, east) serves up thalis in South Indian style and Shree Thakker Bhojanalaya (off Kalbadevi Road) do filling and fabulous Gujarati thalis.

Fast food chains

Surprisingly, there is no fast-food chain in Mumbai serving Indian cuisine. But Western chains like McDonald's, Subway, Pizza hut 6, Dominos, Kentucky Fried Chicken, etc. have many outlets all over the city. But if you are a weary westerner looking for the taste of the familiar, be warned that all of them have rather heavily Indianized their menus, so you will find the stuff there as exotic as you found Bambaiyya food. However, Barista, Cafe Coffee Day, and Smokin' Joe's are all Indian chains, although they don't serve Indian food. While Barista and Cafe Coffee Day, as their names suggest, serve coffee and pastries, Smokin' Joe's serves decent pizzas and is headquartered in Carmichael Rd, Mumbai. International coffee chains like The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Aromas have recently set shop in Mumbai.

Naturals is a chain of ice cream stores that serves up tasty and unconventional flavors of ice creams. Try their tender coconut or the coffee walnut ice creams. Its main branch is in Juhu in the Western suburbs (hence the tagline - 'Ice cream of Juhu Scheme'), but it has franchises at many places including Marine Drive, Bandra, Nepean sea road, etc. Naturals are also famous for its seasonal "Sitaphal" or Custard Apple Ice-cream. Baskins-Robbins is an international ice cream chain having its presence throughout the city. Also there are a number of shops in malls aьongst other places which serve Italian Gelato icecream.

Try the sumptuous creamy crepes and omelets at Crepe Station, Bandra. Its owned by a famous Bollywood actor, Dino Morea.

What to eat

Asking a local for suggestions is a fun way to try new things. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Bhel Puri & sev puri, A classic Mumbai concoction, bhel-puri (or bhel for short) comprises mostly of puffed rice and assorted spices with a few chutneys. You can specify whether you want it spicy or bland and the vendor will make it for you. It is quite tasty and again ought to be had off the streets to get the real flavor. Most people though, like to flock to Juhu beach to try this out.
  • Hapus (Alphonso) mangoes, A must try, if you happen to be in Mumbai in the summers.
  • Indian-Chinese, Nothing like regular Chinese. For a typical Bambaiyya flavor, try the Chinese Bhelpuri!.
  • Mewad ice cream, If you happen to be in Mumbai, it is recommended you avoid ice creams from the famous and expensive parlors and try out the cheap Mewad ice cream stalls. They are a lovely treat at their price and provide a lot of options. The vendors are found everywhere across the streets, but avoid those who appear unhygienic.
  • Pani Puri, For first timers, this can be seriously intriguing. The vendor hands you a plate. Nextб he takes a puri (it looks like a golf ball, but brown in color), makes a small hole in it, and dips the puri into two jars. These jars contain water — one tangy on a tamarind base, the other spicy on a mint base. He tops it off with some condiments and places the puri on your plate. You pick it with your hand and pop the whole thing into your mouth. The outcome is an explosion. Awesome. A word of caution here though. Make sure you don't have your pani puri from just any vendor. The best vendors use only packaged water. Stick to that and enjoy the taste.
  • Pav Bhaji, Part of the street food culture, this is mashed vegetables cooked in spices, topped with butter and served piping hot with pav. Widely available.
  • Vada Pav, the vada is a mashed potato patty. Pav is a kind of bread that has its roots in Mumbai. (The word comes from the Portuguese word "pão", for bread). The potato patty is sandwiched in the bread. Liberal helpings of three kinds of chutneys (sauces) are also added to the sandwich to make a seriously tasty snack. It is widely available on the streets. If you feel uncomfortable with the hygiene of a particular stall, avoid it. In that case, eating at, Jumbo Vada Pav outlets found almost at all train stations in the city, is a hygienic and safer option.
  • Variations of world cuisine such as Tandoori Chicken Pizzas - the Bombay Masala Pizza at the Pizzeria on Marine Drive is a legendary and well worth investigation - or McAloo Tikki burgers.

Tipping

Tip between 5% at sit-down places. If a place includes service charges on the bill, you don't need to leave an extra tip. Note the difference between service tax and service charges. Service tax goes to Government and not to the staff. While tipping is always good practice, at bars you don't necessarily have to tip the bartender.

Drink

Pubs & bars

A recent police crackdown on many popular bar and clubs is underway, so be cautious when visiting lower to mid range bars. Mumbai is one of the most liberal cities in India when it comes to attitudes to alcohol. Bars exist at virtually every street corner and many of them advertise themselves as "family" bars and restaurants, which indicates that they are primarily restaurants where one can also have a drink. Other places are primarily bars, some of them might be sleazy. In South Mumbai and in the Western suburbs, you are likely to find many places where foreigners hang out.

Mumbai is much more accepting of women drinking than the rest of India. A woman ordering a drink is unlikely to raise eyebrows even in mid-range bars, though if you are alone, you might need to look out for your safety.

Nightlife in Mumbai spans the gamut from performances at five star hotels to discos. Dance bars which involve young, fully clothed women dancing mostly to Hindi film and pop music, have been shut down by the government for corrupting the morals of those who frequent those places. While the state high court has ruled that the crackdown was illegal, it will be a while before they open again as there are some technicalities involved to be sorted out.

In Mumbai, alcohol is much more easily available than many cities in India.

LGBT options

There is already a lively late night, if somewhat subterranean, scene for gays, as well as social and political networks. However, you need to do your homework before arriving, as LGBT gathering spaces and organizations are not published or available at local newsstands. However, Bombay Dost (Bombay Friends) the only magazine catering to the community, after 7 years of running was closed and relaunched in 2009. Much of Mumbai's LGBT scene is coordinated using social networking sites and groups. Use extreme caution; robberies, hustlers, and even police entrapment are not unheard of.

Coffee shops

There many coffee shops in and around Mumbai. Try the Cafe Coffee Day and Barista chains. Also, three Starbucks stores were opened in Mumbai in late 2012, and more are likely to follow. These are the best around town and also serve some pretty neat coffee for cheap. There's the Cafe Mocha chain of coffee shops which also serve fruit flavoured hookas — South Asian smoking pipes. If a small coffee and cookies place is what you are looking for, try Theobroma, it has an outlet at Cusrow Baug in Colaba. Those looking for a more native form of coffee can try the filter coffee, a milky coffee with origins from South India, from any Udupi restaurant.

Shopping in Mumbai, India


Visa and Master cards are widely accepted in the city shops. Many shopping establishments also accept American Express, Diners and host of other cards. However, some of the small shops or family-run shops may not accept these cards and some handy cash can be of help here. ATMs are widely available and many debit cards accepted as well. If you have an Indian bank account or credit card, you may not need to carry too much cash. If you are a foreigner, it is a good idea to carry some cash to avoid charges while using your credit or debit card.

In general, costs in Mumbai are higher than the rest of India, though they are still much lower by Western standards.

The shopping experience in the city is a study in contrasts. At the lower end of the spectrum are street vendors. Existing at the borderline of legality, entire streets have been given over to these hawkers and in many places, it is impossible to walk on the footpaths because they have blocked the way. On the other hand, these vendors often give you a great bargain though you will have to haggle a lot and be careful about what to buy. There's nothing like taking a local along to shop for you. Some famous shopping streets are:

  • Bhuleshwar Market, Kika St, Bhuleshwar (From Charni Road Railway Station take first road to south " Dr Babasaheb Jaykar Marg" ~1.3km East). For fruits and vegetables
  • Chor bazaar (Thief Market), Bhandarwada Ln (Get down at the Grant Road station on the Western Line. The market is on the east side of the station -). Chor Bazar which literally translates to "Thief Market" is a colloquial term used to refer a place selling stolen items. It consists of a number of interconnecting by-lanes with street vendors hawking a wide variety of items from antiques to shoes to car accessories etc. The place can be quite a surprise for the number and type of items on sale. A great place to spot bargains and bartering is a must. Shop with a keen eye - look out for fakes or second-hand items that are shoddily repaired and can be passed out for a quick buck. Don’t carry too many items like money/jewelry/watches on you when visiting the market. Keep it to bare essentials and keep an eye on your belongings. There is a very good chance that you may get robbed since locals are apt at spotting first-time shoppers.
  • Colaba Causeway, Lala Nigam Rd (It is located very close to the Gateway of India. ~1.0km South). It is filled with tourists and locals. It is a place where you will be able to find many authentic Indian souvenirs, antiques, carpets, and chandeliers. But foreigners will have to be very careful, as all these stores are road-side stalls. What may seem a good price that the person has quoted to you, it will actually be a rip-off. Do not settle for anything more than one-fourth the quoted price. If they refuse a price just walk away and they will call you back quoting a lower price. Normally, the more you buy, the less you will have to pay for each individual item.
  • Crawford Market (Marathi: क्रॉफर्ड मार्केट, officially Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Market, Marathi: महात्मा ज्योतिबा फुले मंडई), Central Line, Lokmanya Tilak Marg, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Area (It is within 10 minutes walking distance north from the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. - West of the J.J. flyover at a busy intersection). Earlier it was the major wholesale trading market for fruits & vegetables. Now it houses shops selling imported items such as food, cosmetics, householdб and gift items. - The market was designed by British architect William Emerson, in Norman and Flemish architectural styles. The friezes on the outside entrance depicting Indian farmers, and the stone fountains inside, were designed by Lockwood Kipling, father of novelist Rudyard Kipling. The market covers an area of 22471m², of which 5515m² is occupied by the building itself. The structure was built using coarse buff colored Kurla stone, with redstone from Bassein. It has a 15 m high skylight awning designed to allow the sunlight brighten up the marketplace.
  • Dadar (W) Flower Market, Gurunanak Marg Tulsi Pipe Road, (Opposite Dadar Train Station). Early morning. Visit early morning to see the colorful and wholesale flower market in action
  • Family-run shops, Or one could do shopping at family-run shops, where the items are behind the counter and one has to ask the salesperson to get items from the list. The traditional way to buy sarees or jewelry is to go to a shop where you sit on a bedspread laid out on the floor and the salespeople bring out their wares one-by-one until you make a decision. Shops like Bharat Kshetra in Dadar have scaled this model up to such an extent that they have a two-storied complex where you can do the same.
  • Fashion Street, Fort district, Mahatma Gandhi Rd (from Chruchgate Station start walking towards Flora Fountain make a left turn and its a block down). Best place in Mumbai to buy cheap clothes. Bargaining/haggling skills are a must if you want to shop here! Offer to pay 1/4 of the asking price or less and then work your way upwards.
  • Mangaldas Market, Janjikar St (From Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus ~0.5km NW). For silk and cloth.
  • Shopping Malls, Mumbai has been experiencing a boom in malls in the past few years. You can combine your shopping, dining out, and watching movies all in one place.
  • Zaveri Bazaar (Marathi: झवेरी बाजार), Bhuleshwar Road, (Just north of Crawford Market, Marine Lines station ~1.0km West). Best known jewelry Market, all at one place.

What to buy

  • Antiques & second-hand items, Visit Chor Bazar for the best options and bargains
  • Burlingtons, in the Taj is a tailor specializing in Indian outfits. Buy some material and get some clothes made up by a tailor. It's an incredibly cheap way to get quality made-to-measure clothes. Usually only takes a couple of days.
  • Carpets, rugs and shawls
  • Cotton clothes, Mumbai is a great place to buy quality and cheaper cotton clothes. Amongst many notable shops and brands, Cottonworld is a place to look out for.
  • Dhoop, (translates into Sunshine or Incense) A quaint, stylist store where you can find really interesting quality crafts and home accessories. On the corner of Union Park, Near Olive, Off Carter Road in Bandra.
  • Indian musical instruments, Indian music has its own set of musical instruments such as Tabla, Harmonium, straight Flute that it relies upon. These can be brought at various music shops scattered across the city. Some well-known shops are L.M.Furtado, Ghaisas & Bros.
  • Khadi clothing, Khadi is an authentic Indian variety of homespun cotton. Mahatma Gandhi advocated the use of khadi as a form of satyagraha against the use of foreign goods and a form of rural self-employment for India during the pre-independence days. Check out the Khadi Gram Udyog Bhavan located at 286, DN Road, Near the Mumbai GPO & Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. It is run by the Khadi Gramudyog Vikas Samiti which is an umbrella organization started by the Mahatma himself which today has evolved into a government registered unit promoting the use of khadi. A good place to buy souvenirs including khadi Indian flags. These are similar in type to the ones used during the freedom struggle. It also houses other forms of fabrics like pure cotton wool and silk. Items on sale include Blankets, Sweaters, Shirt pieces, Sandals, Shoes, Folders, Files, etc. All the items are hand made. Some of the items make use of natural straw. They also offer a collection of handmade paper products.
  • Kurties and tunics', a must have in India. Linkin Laado has a wide range of classy kurties, fushion ethnic wear, and exquisite dress materials in most sought after pure fabrics such as muls, cotton, maheshwari and chanderi silk, etc. in handblock prints and intrinsic chikankari work. The shop is situated at Link Square Mall, Shop No. F5, Opposite KFC, Above Croma, Linking Road, Bandra West.
  • Leather jackets, go to the main road in Dharavi. You can fit yourself with a leather jacket (they stitch it for you) of leather you pick.
  • Luxury Retail, Mumbai has witnessed a massive boom in luxury retail. All the brands you can buy in any other major city are available there.
  • Pashmina, cheap stuff is everywhere and decent shawls in every hue can be purchased at various markups in any hotel arcade. High-quality items in unusual colors and unique designs require more searching. The "pashminas" sold on Colaba Causeway are not anywhere close to pashmina.
  • Sarees, the best place to buy them is Dadar (both east and west). The place is buzzing 12 months a year. On Sundays, the crowd can be maddening for outsiders. Good shops to buy Sarees are Dadar Emporium, Lazaree, Roop Sangam. On N C Kelkar Road and Ranade Road, you can buy almost everything a woman needs. Bargain hard.
  • Traditional clothing & handicrafts, State government operated emporiums such as those for Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, etc. sell state specific items of clothing and handicrafts. These are located in places around South Mumbai or the shopping arcades of Five Star Hotels. There is also a Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India Emporium located near the Gateway of India beside the Tendulkar's restaurant. The items on display include embroidered clothing, carvings, paintings, sculptures, etc. and are reasonably priced. Amongst the private labels, Fabindia is a must visit for its variety of kurtas tunics, salwars, pajamas, churidars & dupattas. They also offer bedspreads, cushion covers, decorative pillows, quilts, table linens, home furniture, etc. Just like the government owned emporiums, Fabindia operates on a cottage industries model where products are handcrafted by artisans and sourced from villages across India. Good quality, smart colors, trendy designs but prices are a bit on the higher side. Stores are located across Mumbai.​

Tourist traps

In a place without clearly displayed price tags (and sometimes even in places with), you will get charged about 3-4 times as much as a local if you seem like a tourist. Take a local with you if you're going to local markets to haggle. Haggling is much louder and ruder in India than elsewhere. Don't be afraid to haggle things down to 1/4 of the asking price. And most importantly remember that almost all stores that sell carpets, jewelry, handicrafts, etc. pay huge amounts of commission (25% up to even 50%!) to the cab drivers, hence avoid tourist taxis, cabs, etc. Another thing to remember is not to haggle just for the fun of it. The shopkeepers may take offense if you don't buy an item after they have agreed to your price. One of the places that you can trust is The World Trade Centre (in Cuffe Parade, near Hotel Taj President). Besides being the only World Trade Centre in Mumbai, this place has an amazing range of exquisite carpets, handicrafts, shawls, etc. with reputed government approved stores and state emporiums too. Ask for receipts everywhere, including bars, and check what you have been charged for. Don't ever accept a guide offer or escort of somebody from the street: You will certainly get conned. If some place (including cabs, eateries, stores, etc.) claims it doesn't have change (this is highly unlikely), insist they get change from a neighboring store.

Groceries

In addition to the local grocery stores which can be found on most of the streets, there are new additions to the city in the form of new big and small supermarkets and hypermarkets where you can get all the food items you need. Some of them are Big Bazaar , Food Bazaar , Hypercity , DMart, Spinach Local, Apna Bazaar.

If you are looking for exotic fruits and vegetables then you can try looking in stores like Natures Basket.

Safety in Mumbai, India


Violent crime in Mumbai is more or less like any other large Indian city.
As with any foreign city, it is best to err on the side of safety and act according to your local environment. Here are a few basic safety tips:
  • Keep your money and credit cards safe at all times. Always carry some cash as many places won't take cards.
  • Do not display ₹500 and ₹2,000 notes in public; The available currency notes are ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹500 and ₹2,000 and the available coins for tender are ₹1, ₹2, ₹5 and ₹10. Beware of someone giving you currency notes of any other denomination (Though it is very unlikely; as they would have to be exchanged with the Reserve Bank of India; the central bank of India). The Indian government demonetized the old ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes in November 2016.
  • There have been cases where Kaali-Peeli (Black-Yellow) Taxi drivers con people, mostly tourists, by taking longer routes, charging extra for luggage, tampering with the meter and fooling the passenger by exchanging ₹500 with a ₹100 note within fraction of seconds and making the passenger believe that he/she has handed over a ₹100 note. Thus, in order to avoid getting fooled, prefer app-based taxi services like Ola and Uber for commuting.
  • Beware of pickpockets on buses and trains. Do not put your wallet or other valuables in outside pockets of your bag, such that someone may be able to slip it out without your noticing.
  • Also beware of mobile, chain, or bag snatchers who operate in densely populated places, such as railway stations, busy roads, and traffic signals.
  • Women traveling by train, especially on off-peak routes should travel in the second class where at least a few co-passengers are also found.
  • Women (especially Westerners) should avoid crowded places, you might well get groped. Cases of men pinching or touching women are common in crowded public places, including nicer nightspots. Create a scene if this does happen to you, there will be enough people around that will come to your defense. In general, in Mumbai, if you are ever worried about your safety, make a loud scene. It is an extremely crowded city, and somebody is always around and willing to help.
  • Women should never ever take lifts from strangers. Western women tourists should note that if they visit a disco or pub in Mumbai or India, don't take lifts or even get too friendly with strangers. You will almost certainly get conned, if not worse. Many Indian men presume that if you're foreign you must be easy.
  • Don't ever let an auto or taxi you are traveling in pick up any more people, or pull over before your final destination.
  • Police can sometimes be almost as shady as criminals in Mumbai. At night, women should ensure if they are ever stopped by police, there needs to be a female police officer present or they are well within their rights in demanding the presence of a woman cop.
  • Think twice about eating food that has not been thoroughly heated. This may be especially true if you're eating street food.
Emergency numbers
Mumbai Police
  • Mumbai Police Control Room, ☎ 100
  • Police Infoline, ☎ 1090
  • D. G. Control, ☎ +91 22 22026636
  • Mumbai Police Head Quarter, ☎ +91 22 22625020
  • North Control, ☎ +91 22 28854643
  • East Control, ☎ +91 22 25233588
  • West Control, ☎ +91 22 26457900
  • South Div., ☎ +91 22 23089855
  • Central Div, ☎ +91 22 23750909
  • Traffic Police
  • Traffic Control, ☎ +91 22 24937746
  • Traffic Helpline, ☎ +91 22 30403040
Railways
  • Churchgate, ☎ +91 22 22017420
  • C.S.T, ☎ 22622685
  • Central Rly. C.S.T., ☎ +91 22 22620173
  • Western Rly. Central, ☎ +91 22 23070197
Airport
  • Santacruz Airport, ☎ +91 22 26156600
  • Sahar Terminal (NIPTC), ☎ +91 22 26829000
  • Air India Enquiry, ☎ +91 22 22796666
Air Ambulance
  • Domestic/International, ☎ +91 9821150889 [8]
  • Fire Station, ☎ 101, +91 22 23076111/23086181/2306112/13
  • Coast Guard, ☎ +91 22 24376133, +91 22 24371932

Stay healthy

  • Food. As elsewhere in India, be careful with what you eat. Outside of major tourist hotels and restaurants, stay away from raw leafy vegetables, egg-based dressings like mayonnaise and minced meat are particularly risky. In short, stick to boiled, baked, fried, or peeled goods.
  • Water. Opinions on tap water vary, but most visitors choose to stick to the bottled stuff. Large bottles of water can be purchased at a very low cost. One note of caution, when buying water from street vendors, make sure the lid is sealed, there have been cases of bottles being filled with tap water, and sold as new.
  • Fitness. Numerous fitness centers exist throughout the city. Many exercise facilities and spas offer 24-hour memberships for visitors and are a popular way to unwind after a long day of touring in Mumbai.
  • Smog can reach unhealthful levels, especially during the dry season. This, coupled with the summer heat and humidity can make spending time outdoors quite unpleasant.

Language spoken in Mumbai, India


Mumbai is India's melting pot — a confluence of people from various parts of India, but dominant are people from the west, then north, and followed by the south. Marathi is the state and city official language used by State Government agencies, municipal authorities, and the local police, and also the first language of most locals.

However, being India's largest city and main commercial center, Mumbai is now also home to migrants from other parts of India who do not speak Marathi. A local variant of Hindi, with strong Bollywood influence, called Bambaiya Hindi serves as the "lingua franca" and although almost everyone can understand standard Hindi, you may get an interesting reply from some. Most educated locals will be trilingual in Marathi, Hindi, and English.

English is widely used in the corporate world and in banking and trading. At most places, you will be able to get by with Hindi and English, as most people you will encounter can communicate in broken English at the very least. However, expect to hear more regional languages including Gujarati.

LOCAL TIME

12:01 am
April 25, 2019
Asia/Calcutta

CURRENT WEATHER

29 °C / 84.2 °F
sky is clear
Thu

28.27 °C/83 °F
sky is clear
Fri

29.35 °C/85 °F
few clouds
Sat

29.58 °C/85 °F
broken clouds
Sun

30.19 °C/86 °F
broken clouds

LOCAL CURRENCY

INR

1 USD = 70.03 INR
1 EUR = 78.04 INR
1 GBP = 90.41 INR
1 AUD = 49.04 INR
1 CAD = 51.95 INR

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