The Bollywood capital of India, Mumbai is a city that is full of individuals dreaming to be a part of one of the largest film industries in the world, however, the city is not only about the glitz and glam but is also known to be one of Asia’s largest Slum Areas and also one of the most expensive cities to live in. Mumbai is a city full of people from all over India trying to achieve something big in life and the struggles are real. The city that never sleeps is forever buzzing and is also the financial powerhouse of India and not only that, Mumbai is the fashion hub of India with national designers as well as big international brands in the market.
People believe that cities in India are overwhelming with all the never ending honking from the cars, people screaming at one another or even streets being too full, but Mumbai, is a city that has its own flow altogether. At first it may not look picture perfect, but when you take a moment and travel Mumbai like a Mumbaikar, you will understand the overall charm of the city. Many travellers visiting Mumbai maybe uncertain as to what the city has to offer and we are here to help you cover the most important about Mumbai’s culture and traditions, presenting the most interesting things to see and do in Mumbai. Before getting into that lets keep one thing clear: to enjoy exploring a city we must travel the local style!
Local Travel Tips
1. If you are in the suburbs of Mumbai, DO NOT TRAVEL in local taxis instead using the Auto Rickshaws (Indian Tuk Tuks). They are cheaper and this allows you to experience Mumbai the way it is.
2. If you are travelling from the Suburbs to Town you have two options to get to that side. You could either take the local train (one of the most used transportation methods in Mumbai) or take the local taxis. If you try to experience the local trains take care of your belongings, as you might get pickpocketed without noticing that.
3. Always travel on meter when using local taxis and Auto rickshaws, as this will turn out to be cheaper than travelling on a fixed rate.
4. Be aware of your belongings at all times, just for safety precautions.
Things to Do in Mumbai
Now that we have you travel ready for Mumbai, it’s high time to see what the city that never sleeps has to offer.
Things to do in the Suburbs of Mumbai
It is one of the most happening parts of Mumbai, with a variety of shops to endless eateries. If you are looking for cafes, restaurants or even clubs you will find them in abundance in this locality.
2. Carter Road Promenade, Bandra
This location may not exactly be a touristic spot, but it is a must visit destination in Mumbai during the evenings if you want to experience the soothing sounds of the waves while listening to the endless chitter-chatter. This is a one-kilometer long walkway by the sea and is one of the most popular hang out spots with endless scrumptious eateries just on the opposite side. The promenade is full of people who simply go there to enjoy the view and the sound of the waves and there are also people who jog trying to stay fit and healthy. This spot is so popular that the chances of bumping into a Bollywood TV celebrity are high, if you surely know any. So, if you are in Mumbai and need to relax or just hangout this is a spot worth visiting.
3. Bandstand, Bandra
Similar to the Carter Promenade, this is another popular hang out spot for the local Mumbaikars and it is even more beautiful for facing the sea. What is interesting about this location is that towards the beginning of this promenade one of the most famous Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s house is right opposite the location and on Sundays if you are lucky you might just get a glimpse of him as he sometimes comes out and waves to the public. During this time, the streets are full of his fans that are cheering and catcalling at his appearance. Towards the end of Bandstand another famous Indian Bollywood actor’s house is located: Shah Rukh Khan’s house called “Mannat” (meaning “wish”) is a spot that everyone who visits Mumbai goes to see, as it is a feeling of literally meeting the star in person!
4. Mount Mary Church, Hill Road, Bandra
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, which is better known as Mount Mary Church, is a Roman Catholic Basilica making the Hill Road in Bandra a much more beautiful place. This beautiful attraction of the suburbs of Mumbai is situated on a hilltop, about 80 meters above the sea level overlooking the Arabian Sea. This church attracts not only the locals, but also devotees from other countries, who attest to the miraculous powers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If you are visiting Mount Mary Church during the month of September, you might get to experience the week long Bandra Fair, which is usually held for the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The area is chocker blocked with vendors selling food, cotton candy, balloons, wax statues of the Virgin Mary and other assorted candles along with street jewelry and a lot of other things. This place is visited not only by the locals of the area, but also people from other parts of Mumbai and thousands of tourists.
5. Linking Road, Bandra
Street Shopping at its finest can be done here at Linking Road. It is one of the biggest street shopping areas in Mumbai. The street is full off street hawkers selling shoes, clothes, accessories and other fashionable garments at prices you can choose if you bargain your way out. But that’s not all, if you are looking not only for street shopping, do not worry the street is full of other shops from Tommy Hilfiger, Forever New to Vero Moda. So if you are a shopaholic, you just have found your zone.
6. Infinity 2, Malad West, Mumbai & Phoenix Market City, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai
If you are looking for shopping in a proper mall, these are your two main stops. You can access to a wide range of brands from ZARA to Forever 21 and many more mass fashion brands.
Things to Do in South Mumbai
1. Travelling on the Bandra Worli Sea Link
The Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link is an easy commute to the other side of Mumbai with an exceptional view to never forget. The link is connected to the Western Suburbs to Nariman Point, which is situated in Mumbai’s main business district. Travelling on the Sea Link will be an unforgettable ride as the wind blows through your hair and you cross the sea and hear the waves hit the rock. It not only helps you avoid the heavy traffic, but also allows you to see how the city is divided into two parts.
2. Marine Drive, Mumbai
It is a boulevard situated in South Mumbai and is 4.3 kilometers long. There is a promenade between the sea and the road, which allows people to enjoy long walks, or simply hang out to enjoy the beauty of nature at its best. The view from this point is something to never forget. A street full of restaurants, beautiful vintage buildings built by wealthy Parsis with the inspiration from the art deco style architechture that was popular during the 1920s and 1930s is the view opening from the beautiful Marine Drive. It is a popular hang out spot at nights just to sit by the bay and enjoy the late night view with a cup of chai.
3. Colaba Causeway, Mumbai
Colaba Causeway also known as Shahid Bhagat Singh Road is one of the most popular street shopping areas in the South of Mumbai. It is forever filled with people and street vendors and restaurants along this area. You get a wide range of fashion offerings from western clothing to authentic Indian wear. This is a touristic hub and is also close to other attractions such as The Gate Way of India and Taj Mahal Palace and Tower (one of the most popular hotel in the area). So shoppers, if you are bargain experts ready to spend some time shopping, you just have found the best shopping area in Mumbai!
4. Gateway of India, Mumbai
Gateway of India in Mumbai is one of the biggest touristic attractions of the city, a monument built during the British Raj. It is situated on the waterfront area overlooking the Arabian Sea. This monument is the fishing harbor of Mumbai. One of the most interesting aspects of the monument is that it has witnessed three terror attacks from the beginning of the 21st century, twice in 2003 and once in 2008 when it was used as a way to enter Mumbai. While there, be sure you take care of your belongings as the location is usually very crowded and you could get pickpocketed. Also around that area you might be offered drugs and to be safe just say “No”, as it could lead to problems. Stay safe and enjoy the beautiful monument with endless numbers of photographs!
5. The Elephanta Caves (Gharapurichi Lenee)
This is a network of sculpted caves on Gharapuri (meaning “ the city of caves”) in Mumbai harbors that is about 10 kilometers to the east of Mumbai. This island is located on an arm of the Arabian Sea and consists of two separate groups of caves, the first being a large group of five Hindu caves and the second featuring smaller groups of two Buddhist Caves, one consisting of stone sculptures that represent the Shaiva Hindu sect. No one really knows the real creator of the beautiful ethnic sculptures but they are definitely among the must-see sights in Mumbai. There are boats and tours available to take you there to enjoy the beautiful nature and sculptures worth looking at.
6. Crawford Market
This is one of the most famous markets in South Mumbai. The market is located opposite Mumbai police headquarters and this market allows you to find close to everything you could imagine. Local to international products are available here. It might not be a touristic attraction, but if you have anythng you need, you might just find it there!
7. Dhobi Talao (Washermen’s Lake)
This is an attraction that might be a little different from the regular monuments you get to see. As the name states – a washermen’s lake, in this location linen and clothing are washed. It is a technique to wash clothes with your bare hands and is a site to see the number of clothes washed and ironed, which is an authentic Indian way to wash clothes.
This location is one of Asia’s largest Slums. It was founded in 1882 during the British era and then the slum area kept growing because of the expulsion of factories and also a lot of individuals from rural parts were migrating to Urban Mumbai. The population of only this area is estimated between 300,000 to 1 million, which makes this the most densely populated location in the world. This location has an informal economy in which many households employ people living in the slum area. It also exports leather, textile and pottery products around the world. Dharavi has tours to allow tourist to see the life of a resident living in this over populated location and their life struggles and how they survive.
9. Phoenix Mill, Palladium, Mumbai
One of the well-known shopping centers in South Mumbai offers a wide range of luxury brands, as well as mass-market products. This mall is full of shopping enthusiast and is a must visit if you have a knack for luxury products cause you might find it right under this roof!
Mumbai is a city that has endless number of things to keep you entertained during your stay. It’s a city that will keep you forever on your feet but while staying there keep in mind to always stay hydrated, take care of your belongings while in open areas, eat endlessly, explore full heartedly and enjoy the city like a local!