Mumbai is a magnificent city. I’ve been living here for seventeen years and each time I go away to holiday, I get homesick. For a Mumbaikar, there’s really nothing like home. The most effervescent city in India, a magical place to be. Visiting my city? Here’s an ultimate travel guide to Mumbai!
Facts about Mumbai:
- Antilia, Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey building located in Mumbai is one of the the world’s most expensive houses, valued at almost $1 billion.
- When the city was in the hands of the Portuguese, they saw it was a natural water bay. Hence, they called it ‘Bom Bhaia’, which is the Portuguese term for ‘good bay’. Later, Bombay was given to the British as dowry when a Portuguese princess married an English prince. They renamed the city Bombay. And that’s how the city got its name. After independence, the rise of nationalist ideals led to the change of name to Mumbai.
- Although now connected, the islands that formed ‘Bombay’ are Isle of Bombay, Colaba, Old Woman’s Island (Little Colaba), Mahim, Mazagaon, Parel and Worli. It took over 5 centuries to unite them together to form an emotion called ‘Bombay’.
Let’s acquaint you to Bombay so that when you’re here, you’re well prepared for what this city has to offer. This post also contains images to inspire you to visit Mumbai.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Mumbai is between November and February. It starts getting hot from mid-March and monsoons take over the city from August. Since Mumbai doesn’t ever get too cold because of the humidity, the best weather is found during its winter months! However, if you do happen to be here around August-September, you will get to witness the madness surrounding the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The music, the colours, the dhol, the fun… it’s something you’ve never seen before.
FACT: Less than 2% of the idols immersed in Bangalore this year were made of PoP. Such people & such mindsets is what this world needs. Click here to know how you can do your bit for our planet!
Where to stay
Colaba: A part of old Bombay, Colaba has a seaside promenade and is close to one of the main attractions of the city: Gateway of India. Colaba Causeway is also a big marketplace where you can shop till you drop – you’ll find clothes, shoes, jewelry, handikrafts & more at cheap rates!
BKC: Bandra-Kurla Complex is a commercial hub with modern architecture. A locality with great hotels, restaurants & clubs, BKC is a fun attraction. If you’re lucky, there might be a flea market around here when you come down so don’t miss that!
Worli: A posh area in SoBo with views of the Arabian Sea and the sea-link. Worli has great architecture, galleries & family-friendly attractions like the Nehru Science Centre.
Andheri: This is a residential hotspot with great road & rail connections. While Versova is a quick ferry ride away from Madh Island, a place away from the city’s hustle, Lokhandwala has good, inexpensive street shopping. It’s also not too far from the airport.
What to do
Take an evening walk at Marine Drive, a sea-facing promenade with a view of the Queen’s Necklace
Visit the Sanjay Gandhi National Park if you love nature. Spotted deer, leopards, monkeys, Sea Eagles, lion & tiger safaris and trekking are just a few of the many things you can see/do here.
Catch a live play at the Prithvi Theatre or at the NCPA.
Visit Imagica if you want to go to a theme park. There are fun rides here, but you can also do water rides or go to the snow park for some added fun! This is a few hours away from the city and is a day trip so is not advised if you’re running short of days.
Visit the Gateway of India. From here, you can also take a ferry up to the Elephanta Caves.
Take a tour of Dharavi. While it is known as one of the largest slums in the world, it is actually a great business hub. Retailers from this area have entered the e-commerce world, some girls are creating their own mobile apps and young boys are beat boxing commendably. Dharavi also has its own contemporary art festival.
Don’t sleep early at night? Go for a drive on the beautifully lit Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
Take a metro & local train ride just to experience it. DO NOT DO THIS DURING PEAK HOURS – IT WILL BE UNBELIEVABLY CROWDED.
Go to the Taj Mahal Palace hotel – a landmark which has been rebuilt beautifully after the attacks of 26/11. It is India’a second-most photographed monument.
Visit the Haji Ali Dargah, a mosque located on an islet off the coast of Worli.
This is it for the guide to Mumbai! I hope you enjoy your time in the City of Dreams. If you’ve been to Bombay, let me know in the comments below how you like it & if you’re planning on coming, feel free to ask me any questions you may have! Happy travels!