Mumbai, also known as the city of dreams is the financial capital of India. Being born in this city, I’m familiar with all the hidden gems in the city. As I grew up, me along with my friend, used to visit places in Mumbai. Now, as I share guides through my beloved blogs, I am very excited to guide you through my home city through this Mumbai city guide covering tourist places in Mumbai, stays in Mumbai, transportation around the city, street food in Mumbai and much more.
Airport to city centre
Mumbai having one of the busiest international airports in the world, most travellers land here. Mumbai airport is named as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport(BOM). The airport is named after the well known king of Maharashtra, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Flights from and to all over the world operate through the airport. The airport has 2 terminals. Terminal 1 also known as domestic transfer is the old terminal whereas Terminal 2 is known as international terminal although some full service airlines operate domestic flights through this terminal.
The airport does not have any direct mode to reach the city centre(south Mumbai). However, Mumbai is well connected with local trains running every 2-3 minutes. The train stations nearest to the airport are Andheri station and Vile-Parle station. You can either take a rickshaw ($1-2) or a taxi($2-3) to these stations and then go anywhere in the city by train. Bus number 312 from domestic terminal and bus number 321 and 308 operate from outside the airport to these train stations and they are the cheapest mode of transport.
Indian Railways operate from Mumbai to all over the country. The biggest and busiest railway station is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus also known as CST station. It is at the southmost part of the city and operates local as well as long distance trains. Other stations for long distance trains are Bandra Terminus Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Mumbai Central. Churchgate station is also an important station.
Mumbai local trains are divided into three sections- Western railway, Central railway and Harbour railway. All have different routes in the city. Local trains are the cheapest mode of transport in the city. Hence, it is also the most crowded one.Each train is divided into 3 classes- first class, second class and ladies compartment.
- Ladies compartment is specially for ladies.
- Second class is normal class for everyone
- First class requires a first class ticket which has a bit higher cost than the second class. Therefore this class is not very crowded.
You can also check my article on Mumbai Local Trains which is coming soon.
Although the metro operates in the city in two routes, it is not that helpful for tourists. Metro is mainly used by Mumbaikars as their daily commute.
Public buses run all around Mumbai frequently. Buses are run by B.E.S.T buses. They are also not expensive and ticket prices vary according to the distance. You have to purchase a ticket from the conductor after you board the bus. However, it may not be the best idea to take a bus during peak traffic season(7pm-9pm) as Mumbai traffic is the worst.
Taxis and rickshaws operate in different parts of Mumbai. Taxis operate in southern Mumbai whereas rickshaws operate in the northern part of Mumbai. Some of them may also take you from south Mumbai to North Mumbai. All of them have meters in them, which shows the cost as the vehicle moves. So, don’t get fooled by the price they quote. Always tell them, you wil pay the price as per the metre. There are also some shared taxis/rickshaws in some parts too.
Stays in Mumbai
Mumabi being the financial capital of India, you have a lot of variety. From cheap rooms to five star hotels, the list is long!!! You can stay at luxury hotels like Trident, St. Regis, Oberoi, JW Marriot, Radisson Blu etc. at around 10000 per night. Other 2-3 star hotels are available for around 5000-7000 per night. Alternatively, there are also a lot of hostels to stay. A bunk bed in the dorm room would cost around 500-800 per night. I would suggest staying at a hostel so that you can make new friends and can explore the city with them. You may also experience the lavish and luxury life of Mumbai in luxury hotels too. Try to book your stay in south Mumbai as most of the places are around here.
Food in Mumbai
Coming to everyone’s favourite part – FOOD. As people from all over the country have settled here, you can see a lot of variety in foods. You get everything from south Indian dosa to north Indian paratha. Some must try local dishes are the world famous Mumbai Vada pav. Coming to Mumbai and not eating Vada pav does not make sense. Vada pav is basically the Indian burger. A fried potato patty in a bread with some Indian chutneys. It is available everywhere in Mumbai. And by everywhere, I mean on each and every street! They also have bhaji pav and pattices that are similar to vada pav.
Eat pani-puris (also known as gol gappa in Delhi) at a tidy place. Pav-bhaji is also not to be missed. Try the street sandwich too. Drink a fruit juice at one of the stalls. Also, don’t miss drinking sugarcane juice.There are a lot of cafes too. Starbucks, dominos, mcdonalds etc. are always there.
21 Must Places to Visit in Mumbai
Gateway of India
Gateway of India is an arch monument. It was built in Indo-Saracenic style in the 20th century during the British rule. The Gateway faces the vast Arabian Sea, flanked by Mumbai’s other attraction, Marine Drive, a road running parallel to the sea. The majestic monument is a must-visit at night, in its pristine glory against the backdrop of the sea. Just on the opposite side you see the heritage Taj Mahal palace hotel. It is one of the best luxury hotels in the country. Gateway of India is visited by millions of people across the world every year and is a very significant figure in the lives of the people of Mumbai.
Walking through the streets of south Mumbai, especially in the areas of Colaba, CST and Marines, a glimpse of heritage buildings of the british era can be seen. The architecture is beautiful and most of them are made up of stones. Some of them are Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, David Sassoon Library, The Asiatic Society of Mumbai, The Municipal Corporation building etc. CSMT is lit every night and it is a totally different experience to see. Heritage walks are a great way to explore these areas. Some great options are civitatis, yotours, freetour, bombay heritage walks.
Probably most of the tourists visit Mumbai to see this place. Dhobi ghat is a gigantic open air laundry. Washermen are known as dhobi in India. Hence the name Dhobi ghat. This place is known for its rich history and the way it works. There is a designated viewing area made for tourists. Clothes from all over Mumbai are brought here to be washed. Washermen wash clothes in open with their hands in huge sinks.
Asia’s largest slum- Dharavi is an area in Mumbai. A city within a city! It is an unending stretch of narrow, dirty lanes with houses on both the sides. House rents in Mumbai being one of the highest in the world, dharavi provides a cheap option for the poor. Being located in the middle of the city, it has a large number of small scale industries. The annual turnover of business here is estimated to be more than $650m (£350m) a year. Tourists visit the outer parts to see the lifestyle of these people. The famous oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire was shot here in Dharavi.
One of the most successful organizations in Mumbai, working for over 100 years and providing jobs even to uneducated people. Mumbai Dabbawalas is not a place to see, it is the management that makes you wonder. Their dress code is white outfit with traditional Gandhi cap. You can spot them in some of the railway stations easily. Their work is to pick up clients’ lunchbox from their home and deliver it to his office within lunchtime. And don’t be surprised if I say, they don’t use modern ways to deliver and have hardly made any errors till date. Their management system is worth studying.
Girgaum Chowpatty & Juhu beach
Girgaum Chowpatty(beach) is in the southern part of the city. The beach is always packed with people in the evening. It is a great place to relax and see the sun setting into the waters. Just next to the beach is Marine drive a promenade. Juhu beach is in the western part of the city and is small in size. When on these beaches, try the beach side foods- gola and pav bhaji.
Marine Drive is a 3.5 km promenade next to Girgaum chowpatty. It is a famous hangout place for Mumbaikars. Marine Drive is also referred to as ‘Queen’s necklace’, because the street lights make the road look like a string of pearls and create an illusion of a necklace, when viewed at night from any elevated point along the pathway of the drive. It is a must visit for a beautiful sunset.
Main reason for visiting Hanging Garden Mumbai and Kamla Nehru Park is the Beautiful, Panoramic view of South Mumbai. There is a Viewing Gallery which offers stunning views of Chowpatty, Marine Drive and Mumbai Harbour. It is called a hanging garden because it is made on a water reservoir. There are lot of green vegetation here and the main attraction is a large shoe sculpture.
If you cannot make it to Ajantha and Ellora caves in Maharashtra, Elephanta caves near Mumbai are a great alternative. Situated on Elephanta island, just a few minutes by ferry from Gateway of India, the caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rock-cut Elephanta Caves were constructed about the mid-5th to 6th centuries AD. Beware of the monkeys here!
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Covering an area of around 104 square kilometers, it is one of the largest parks in the world located within the city. It is the natural filter of the city as its lust green trees reduce the air pollution to a great extent. The park houses Buddhist caves, lakes and wild animals. People prefer to rent bikes for a day and explore the park.
Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque and a dargah(tomb) on an islet on the coast of worli in south Mumbai. It is one of the recognized landmarks in Mumbai.
Siddhivinayak is a temple of hindu God Ganesha. This temple is of very much significance to the people of Mumbai. It is said that prayers in this temple come true and peoples wishes are fulfilled. The carvings of the temple are worth noticing.
This area has a lot to offer. Go for an unrealistic graffiti hunting in the lanes of Bandra. Walk along the Bandstand and Carter Road Promenades. Drive through the Bandra-Worli sea-link. You can also hop around cafes in Bandra that have a great vibe. The night scenes in Bandra are also hot!
Nehru Science centre
Nehru Science centre is kind of a museum of science. It has spread over huge land. People often bring their children here as it is also an educational place. There is also a Nehru Planetarium nearby this place where documentaries of universe and stars are screened everyday on a dome shaped screen.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
This museum is an important Grade I Heritage building of the city. The museum has preserved India’s grand history for a long time. The beautiful gardens around the main buildings bring more glory to this place. One should definitely visit this place to know the ancient history, to see century old things that are displayed here and to praise the architecture of the museum itself.
It is India’s oldest aquarium. It was restored in 2015 and have been given a new look now. Located in Marine drive, the aquarium has a 12-feet long and 360 degree acrylic glass tunnel. It houses around 2000 fishes of 400 different species.
Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Zoo
Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Zoo also known as “Ranichi Baug”, was once a popular attraction for tourists. But now, the number of animals in the zoo has decreased significantly. So the zoo has been getting very few footfalls nowadays. There has been planning for complete renovation of the place. There is also a history museum just outside the zoo which has preserved the history of ancient kings.
Mahalakshmi temple is also a famous temple situated in Mahalaxmi area. This temple is just at walking distance from Haji Ali. People come here to worship Goddess Mahalaxmi. The temple is lit up during the festival of Navratri. The compound of the temple is filled with shops selling garlands and flowers.
Mumbai Film City
Mumbai Film City was set up by the Government of Maharashtra to grow the film industry. It is located near Sanjay Gandhi National Park with dense trees around it. It consists of a large number of sets for several shoots. This place is like a dream world for a normal person. Many Bollywood movies are also shot here.
Colaba Causeway is an authentic street shopping place alongside some very old buildings of British rule. While strolling through the lanes, you can see or buy a variety of things at unbelievably cheap prices. From fashionable cheap jewelry to clothes, you can find everything up to date. Shopping being the first reason to visit this place, the second one is food. Hop around some old cafes that have maintained their vintage looks and taste their foods.
You get a glimpse of the latest trends in fashion. Clothes are available cheaply, but only if you bargain. The street is located at a walking distance from CST station. You can come here in the afternoon to enjoy a pleasant walk under the tree shades, along the shops.
Other than these, there are many other places which you can visit, if you have time. You can also plan a one day trip near Mumbai to explore nearby places. Many Mumbai tours and travel companies provide Mumbai city tours.
Festivals in Mumbai
My favourite festival so far. Ganesh Chaturthi happens around August to October. It basically celebrates the birth of hindu God Ganesha. The festival continues for 10 days. This festival brings the spirit of Mumbai together. Basically, on day 1,small idols are brought into homes whereas big idols (upto 22 feet) are set up at places or junctions. THey are worshipped for 10 days. On the 11th day, the idols are carried to the sea, where the idols are immersed into the sea. This day is called Visarjan. Most of the roads are closed on this day to make way for the idols. South Mumbai is flooded with people. You see tall idols everywhere, some people carrying their home idols too. There is music all around. The whole vibe is just amazing. You should definitely attend this festival if you are around.
Diwali is also known as the festival of lights. It happens around October to November. It is much popular all over India and people celebrate it with joy and pleasure. The festival is for 5 days with different traditions on each day. During this festival, people light up firecrackers, decorate their houses, install lanterns. You see lights everywhere around. The sky is filled with fireworks. Everyone seems happy!
Kala Ghoda Art
For all the art lovers, Mumbai host’s this festival for 5-10 days every year. It happens at a place called Kala Ghoda in south Mumbai. There is a large exhibition of various art forms all around. Recently, it has become much popular as it attracts people and has become an instagram photogenic location.
- Never travel through public transport without a ticket. If caught, you will be heavily fined.
- Don’t stand at the doors of trains. It is not safe as doors are open even when the train is moving.
- Always tell the rickshaw/taxi driver that you will only pay as per the meter. If he quotes high prices, leave the vehicle and take another one. If you see a policeman around, inform him about this.
- You can roam late at night too as this city never sleeps. People are around even at night and it is safe.
- Avoid wandering in poor and shady lanes as they may not be safe.
- Don’t give anything to beggars as it attracts other beggars and motivates them to keep begging.
- Apart from tourist places in Mumbai, try to explore other places.
- Mumbai has the worst traffic in peak time(7pm-9pm). Avoid using vehicles during these hours.
- Always eat at a place which has many people eating and always eat at a clean place.
- Being a tourist, you will not be able to board second class compartments in train as they are overcrowded. Be wise and purchase a first class ticket, it will only cost a bit more but is still cheap compared to other countries.
- Bombay was the city’s old name. But people don’t like to call it that way now. Always say it Mumbai.
Mumbai is a backpacker friendly city as it has so much to offer at such low cost. Digital nomads can also set their base here as it has everything available. Finally, Mumbaikars are educated and helpful. They have a mixed culture from all over the country. I would definitely suggest you consider visiting this city for its grand history, beautiful places, mouth-watering food and loving people.
Share your experiences from Mumbai in the comments below. Would love to hear them. Do ask your questions below. Will definitely answer them!
- We left our cancelled tickets to God and went exploring…
- 2021 Travel Trends that will Emerge the Travel Industry
- 10 Best Places to Celebrate New Year in India