Thanks to my partnership with Air France and KLM, I could introduce you to new and exciting destinations that you might not have thought of visiting. But the truth is, there are so many places that, when you get to know them better, sparkle with charm and excitement that deliver surprisingly remarkable travel experiences. Visiting Mumbai could be one of these unplanned but amazing trips that will change your way of perceiving India and its cities.
Why Is Mumbai Famous?
Mumbai, also known as a Bombay, is the most populous city in India. But most importantly, it is the country’s financial, commercial and entertainment capital. The city offers a higher standard of living and it is a home of India’s Bollywood film industry. It is also the business centre for financial, gems and jewellery, IT and textiles production sectors.
With all this economic power concentrated in Mumbai, it is not a surprise that the city is most visited among the Indian cities by foreign visitors.
Main Tourist Attractions in Mumbai
Some of the most interesting sites in Mumbai are the buildings from colonial time and include the Getaway of India, the city’s most recognizable symbol; the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus) building, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Police Headquarters and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sanghralaya (formerly called the Prince of Wales Museum), the Mumbai University and the High Court.
A special mention deserves the famous Taj Mahal Palace Hotel named one of India’s grand hotels (if not the best of them). This hotel has imposing but harmonic architecture and you can’t miss it because it is situated just in front of the Getaway of India.
>> Here are some tips on how to visit the famous Taj Mahal Palace.
For art lovers,
Mumbai offers plenty of choices. The National Gallery of Modern Art, the Prince of Wales Museum and Jehangir Art Gallery are the most interesting among them. However, if you want to know more about India’s art through the ages, the exhibition Discovery of India in Nehru Center is for you.
Mumbai City MuseumMumbai’s City Museum (Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum) is the place to go if you want to know more about the city’s history. But even more, now the museum showcases permanent and temporary exhibitions in such a wide variety of styles and subjects that I believe every visitor will find something to be interested in. Free public tours are available on Saturday and Sunday (in English at 11:30) but you need to buy an entrance ticket.
More things to do in Mumbai
To fully experience Mumbai, you can do some of these too:
- Go for a morning walk along Juhu Beach
NB: Mumbai’s beaches are not good for swimming because the water is dirty.
- Visit some of the numerous temples.
- Hang out in Bandra area, known for its hip vibe and many top Bollywood stars living here.
- Join some of the many festivals (Mumbai Festival takes part in January).
- Visit places outside Mumbai for a day or a weekend.
- Go for a jog at Joggers Park or a stroll on Carter Road or Bandstand (both in Bandra) or Priyadarshini Park in South Mumbai.
- There is always an interesting play to catch at NCPA and Sophia’s (South Mumbai) or Prithvi Theatre in Juhu.
- Stand-up Comedy at Canvas Club in Palladium Mall (next to St Regis Hotel in mid-town) is also a good choice.
Mumbai Nightlife Places and Tips
My friend Rahul Jagtiani from Plush Plaza TV is a local of Mumbai and thanks to him I can share these top places to eat, drink and have the best nights out. Here are his favourites:
Eat & Drink in Mumbai
You can try fusion Indian food in Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra.
Yautcha is part of an international chain of Chinese restaurants that celebrate the Chinese culture and traditions by blending it with the local way of life.
Hello Guppy in the Bandra Kurla complex in the business district of Mumbai is specialised in Japanese and South-East Asian food).
In the suburb of Bandra, where a lot of expats like to live because of its hip vibe, there are lots of casual restaurants. Some of the best are Kitchen Garden (organic veggie soups and salads and sandwiches), Suzette for their crepes and Busago (South-East Asian food). Olive is a restaurant & bar with a Mediterranean vibe that has been there for a while and continues to do well.
In Lower Parel (the mid-town area), Kamla Mills has tons of new places. It used to be a textile mill area but now has lots of office space, and restaurants and bars. There are a few resto-bars such as Kode (opened last week); there’s a cool restaurant serving Mumbai street food called Bombay Canteen, trendy resto-bars like Koko and Theory which are also very good places to hang out over a weekend.
It seems like a new hip bar or restaurant is opening there every week.
In the 5 star hotels, I would recommend The Dome at the Intercontinental Hotel on Marine Drive (downtown) is a rooftop bar. Aer at Four Seasons Hotel (mid-town) is another very popular rooftop bar (34th floor). And there is St Regis (which I don’t personally like too much but it’s popular) has a rooftop bar called Asilo .
Taj Lands End (in Bandra) recently opened up a bar called House of Nomad.
Taj President (downtown in an area called Cuffe Parade) has a popular bar called Wink .
Visit Mumbai and Mix with Its Crowds
Mumbai has many faces. The five-star hotels, Bollywood stars, and offices of international corporations are just one of them. On the other side of the spectrum are the slums. If you are not afraid to dive into the Mumbai’s crowds, you can also take a Dharavi slum tour (it is one of the largest slums in the world).
I found these types of tours educational and awakening. It is a great opportunity to realize how lucky you are and that there are people that have no chance of a better life.
Alternatively, you can visit some of the Mumbai’s markets. Zaveri Bazaar is for jewellery, at Mangaldas Market you will find silk and clothes; Dadar is flower market and Bhuleshwar is for fruits and vegetables.
Tips for Solo Female Travellers Visiting Mumbai
Rahul also gave me some tips regarding women travelling solo to Mumbai.
“I’d say Mumbai is a fairly safe city for women, but like any other place, it’s always good to be careful and not put yourself in unwanted situations.
Stay in decent well-reputed hotels. If it is a very cheap hotel, to be honest, chances are they also give out rooms by the hour.
It’s also nice to carry a light jacket at times when you are going out at night so you can cover yourself up if you’re wearing a dress. I know the feminists won’t like this but the idea is to be a bit smart here, especially as a foreigner. (I totally agree, we have to always consider the local way of life and traditions even not only for our own safety but as a respect to the country and its people.)
Do not accept rides from strangers. You now have app-based cabs services like Uber and Ola that you can use.
And finally, it’s always nice to know a couple of people when you come to Mumbai.”
ADD TO PINTEREST
Mumbai is probably not the first place you would think of visiting in India. But it is worth visiting mostly because of its powerful and yet diverse lifestyle and sightseeing choices. Imagine yourself visiting markets and temples during the day. And at night testing the tempting choices of meals and drinks, in bars and eateries; mixing with the young people of India. Would you consider Mumbai as one of the destinations you would like to visit soon? I definitely do!
Marine Drive: Photo by ANIMESH MANDAL on Unsplash