A Travel Guide to Mumbai

Mumbai Airport Directory (BOM)
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Made up of seven islands, Mumbai is a buzzing metropolis that seems to be growing upwards to match the country’s ambitions. Formerly known as Bombay, it may be the financial capital of India, but Bollywood is its biggest export and greatest draw. It is a city that is continuously reinventing itself, bit by bit. You will find a resurgent Kala Ghoda today, a new side to Byculla tomorrow, and Bandra has a new restaurant or snack bar opening practically every weekend. How do you pack in everything on a trip? Here’s a guide.

Read news and flight schedule - IndiGo strengthens international connectivity from Mumbai

Best time to visit: October to February is the best time to explore Mumbai.

How to reach

By air: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the main airport, located about 30 km from north of the city. IndiGo operates more than 100 daily, non-stop flights between Mumbai, and other key locations in India and abroad.

By train: The city of dreams is well-connected to rest of the country through a good network of express trains as well as passenger trains.

By bus: Mumbai has a vast network of buses connecting it to the all major towns and cities across the country.

Getting around/Transport in Mumbai

Auto-rickshaws, local taxis, private cab services, local trains, recently-launched metro, along with regular bus service are a convenient and most common means of travel in Mumbai.

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Places to visit in Mumbai

The best option is to start from south Mumbai and make your way north, visiting British-era museums, local tourist spots, and places of worship along the way.

  • The Gateway of India:  Built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India, the Gateway of India is Mumbai’s top tourist attraction. Located on the waterfront, this arch monument took 13 years to be built.
  • Kala Ghoda: You’ll find a range of eateries, art galleries, and shops here, that have made Kala Ghoda one of the most beautiful areas in the city to stroll along. Start with an iced espresso with heavy cream at Kala Ghoda Café, before venturing to check out the works on display at Delhi Art Gallery’s three-floor Mumbai space or at the Art Deco Jehangir Art Gallery. Also in the area is Max Mueller Bhavan, and the National Gallery of Modern Art.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya: Formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum, this place has an impressive art collection, particularly at the Jehangir Nicholson gallery. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has a collection of 70,000 artistic and historic works. 
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST): Formerly called the Victoria Terminus, CST is a railway station that has become a popular tourist attraction owing to its beautiful architecture. The stunning stone structure is a must-visit, especially to see the train station in use, with light streaming through its stained-glass windows as the Central and Harbour lines disgorge waves of humanity like clockwork. For those who want to learn more about the history of the building and the railways, don’t forget to book a guided tour of the terminus.
  • Haji Ali Dargah: Further north, towards the area now christened midtown, is the Haji Ali Dargah. This popular religious site was built in the early 19th century and sits in the middle of the Arabian Sea, connected to the mainland by a narrow walkway that disappears during high tide.
  • Siddhivinayak Temple: The Siddhivinayak Temple, in the Prabhadevi area, is an adored shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It is one of the most popular temples in Mumbai. Devotees believe that the statue of Lord Ganesha present here is self-manifested and grants the wishes of people.
  • Marine Drive: Marine Drive is a 3.6 km coastline that wraps the Arabian Ocean and is the best spot in Mumbai to watch the sunset. Also called the Queen’s Necklace, it is demonstrative of the allure and sparkle of the city. The area is buzzing with people and activity till wee hours of the night, and a popular among locals and tourists. 
  • Elephanta Caves : Elephanta Caves is known for its remarkable architecture that spreads over 60,000 square feet. Crowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this tourist attraction has magnificent rock-cut caves that depict the different aspects of Lord Shiva. One has to take a ferry from Gateway of India to visit this place.
  • Juhu beach: Nestled in Mumbai's suburbs, Juhu Beach is one of Mumbai's longest and most popular beaches. It is 6 km long and is bordered by the Arabian Sea.

Places to eat in Mumbai

Bombay Canteen
Bombay Canteen

Putting a twist on food from around the country, in less than two years, Bombay Canteen has managed to change perceptions of Indian food. An ever-evolving menu showcases regional cuisine and inventive fusion fare. Saag kulcha or coffee rasgulla sundae, anyone?

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Britannia and Co
Britannia and Co

A Parsi restaurant established in 1923, this iconic place is housed in a colonial bungalow. It is quite popular for its great food and hospitality. Do try the berry pulao – there are seven kinds – and the sali boli mutton.

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Elco Pani Puri Centre
Elco Pani Puri Centre

On busy Hill Road, you’ll find people protecting themselves from the sun under Elco’s signboard, while eating their way through an array of chaats, Indian snacks, and, of course, pani puri. Join them!

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Gajalee
Gajalee

A local favourite when it comes to coastal cuisine, the fish koliwada and bombil fry are a must-have at Gajalee. There are two outlets in the city, but the original at Vile Parle is the one you must visit for a meal.

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Khane Khas
Khane Khas

For kebabs and rolls, Khane Khas is where you should go. This place, located in Bandra, has a simple décor and serves mouth-watering rustic food with a focus on North Indian specialities.

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Pratap Lunch Home
Pratap Lunch Home

Craving good seafood? Head to Pratap Lunch Home, Fort, which serves a mean prawn gassi, and the ever-popular crab and pomfret dishes. Started in 1961, it was the first restaurant in Mumbai to serve Mangalorean cuisine.

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Shree Thaker Bhojanalay
Shree Thaker Bhojanalay

An all-vegetarian, all-you-can-eat Gujarati thali is a must-try when in Mumbai, and no one does it better than Shree Thaker Bhojanalay. Serving wholesome home-style food, you’re guaranteed to come out happy and satisfied, afterwards.

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Swati Snacks
Swati Snacks

With two outlets in the city, Swati Snacks is well-known for its traditional snacks, and other vegetarian food. What you have to order, though, is the banana leaf-wrapped panki chatni, a Gujarati favourite.

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The Table
The Table

Lauded as one of the best in Mumbai, this resturant’s globe-trotting menu is a favourite with locals who want quality food. Having opened in 2011 in Colaba, The Table prides itself of providing a “farm to table experience”. They have an ingredient-driven cuisine, with the produce being procured locally.

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Shopping places in Mumbai

High-end shopping/luxury shopping/shopping malls in Mumbai

  • Palladium: When it comes to a one-stop location for shopping, Lower Parel’s Palladium Mall has everything that will please you. It is a shopper’s delight with all brands present here.
  • Phoenix Market City: From clothes, bags, accessories, and home furnishing to food outlets and entertainment options, Phoenix Market City mall has a store for everything that you may need, under one roof. It is one of the biggest malls in Mumbai.
  • R-City Mall: Another favourite is the R-City Mall which is not only a must-visit for shopping but also for the fun activities you can do here. The Mall has an adult trampoline park, ‘edutainment’ zone for children, and the Click Art Museum, an arena of optical illusions.
  • Infiniti Mall: Another popular mall in the city is Infiniti that attracts a number of people. With special events happening here around the year, it is a great place to hang out in Mumbai.
  • Oberoi Mall: Located in Goregaon, Oberoi Mall is another must-visit shopping spot. It’s a perfect place for both shopping and entertainment.
  • Inorbit Mall: The Mall offers both Indian and international brands for you to shop at, along with many restaurants to choose from for your after-shopping meal. It is a popular destination among locals as it houses everything, including a movie theatre.

Street shopping in Mumbai

  • Chor Bazaar: With its literal name meaning, ‘thieves market’, it is a popular place for budget-friendly shopping. It is one place you should definitely check out as you will find many second-hand things, such as cameras, records, antiques, furniture, and more. 
  • Colaba Causeway: Strolling along Colaba Causeway, you’re bound to find something to take back home. From clothes to a range of sunglasses, vintage compasses and, of course, junk jewellery, the street has it all. 
  • Linking Road: On Bandra’s Linking Road too, you’ll find something for everyone, from clothing and shoes, to jewellery and accessories.
  • Kala Ghoda: Considered the art district of Mumbai, this place is the hub for galleries and boutique stores. For the design-inclined, a visit here is a must; the stores feature a well-curated mix of eclectic items that you didn’t know you needed.
  • Zaveri Bazaar: Zaveri Bazaar is a popular gold market in Mumbai, and is one of the oldest and largest gold markets in India. It has multiple shops, some of which are decades old.
  • Lalbaug Market: This market offers an authentic local atmosphere. Known for the amazing spices, this market is visited by a large number of people. The market is surrounded with sheets of chilies, kept for drying under the sun.
  • Fashion Street: Latest clothes, shoes, and the amazing fragrance of street food are just a few of the things that attract people to Fashion Street in Mumbai. One of the most loved shopping locations, it is situated close to CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus). The Street has around 150 shops and the sheer number of things that one can buy here, makes it a haven for shopaholics.

Nightlife in Mumbai

Amongst locals, Mumbai is often termed as the city that never sleeps. You will find people throughout the night, making it buzzing with energy all the time.

  • Social: The number of outlets of Social in the city seem to grow every day. But, for our money, Khar Social, which hosts gigs in its basement, is probably the one to make a beeline for.
  • Bonobo: With a diverse menu, good music, and both indoor and outdoor seating, it is a popular amongst locals to relax and unwind.
  • Dome: This rooftop bar, at the InterContinental Hotel, overlooks the Marine Drive. A sundowner here is truly spectacular, as you can see the sun set into the Arabian Sea.
  • Woodside Inn: If you’re looking to catch up with friends, Woodside Inn should be one of your go-to places.
  • Doolally Taproom: It became popular for being the first microbrewery, and is now present in multiple outlets across the city. Do head to Doolally Taproom when in Mumbai to try their specials. 
  • Independence Brewing Company: We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the craft beer revolution sweeping the city, and the microbreweries that now dot Andheri. Like Doolally Taproom, Independence Brewing Company offers a selection of craft beers made in-house.
  • Olive Bar & Kitchen: The city’s swish set can be found at Olive in Bandra, virtually all nights of the week, and you should make your way there to sample The Olive, their special.
  • Tryst: In town, make your way to Tryst which boasts of a great sound system, and plays a healthy mix of popular hits.

Where to stay in Mumbai

abode

Abode Bombay This boutique hotel thoughtfully combines contemporary with old-world touch. Located in Colaba, in a heritage building built in 1910, the hotel offers an ambience that you will love, with its vintage furniture and original artworks.

fariyas

Hotel Fariyas This hotel is popular with those who favour location over all else. A walking distance to the Gateway of India, the shops that line Colaba Causeway, and more such tourist spots are easily accessible from here.

residency

Hotel Residency Amidst the city’s old business district, rooms at the Hotel Residency are comfortable and with modern amenities. Best of all, it’s close to popular tourist sites.

marriot

JW Marriott Mumbai A sprawling property in Juhu that opens out onto the beach, the JW Marriott is famous as a meeting spot for the film fraternity. Besides the celebrity spotting, make sure to have a meal at Dashanzi, which offers excellent Asian cuisine.

The-Oberoi,-Mumbai,-Marine-Drive

The Oberoi Ask for a room that overlooks the Arabian Sea, for a view that will leave you spellbound. The hotel has multi-cuisine restaurants and a Champagne lounge, where the wines are impressive, but the bright red piano steals the show.

St-Regis-Mumbaio

The St Regis Mumbai This luxury hotel is where the city parties on the weekend, but its central location is what makes it popular with guests. Towering above Phoenix Mills, you can visit the mall after a hectic day to shop, watch a movie, or grab a bite.

TajMahalPalaca

Taj Mahal Palace An enduring property that opened in 1903, it is considered iconic and is often visited as a tourist attraction. Overlooking the Arabian Sea, this hotel oozes luxury and legacy. Walking distance from Colaba Causeway, it offers spacious rooms and an old-world charm. The Hotel has also played host to many eminent personalities from around the world.

More reasons to visit and top things to do in Mumbai

Walk around the city

Mumbai has something for every interest, so you can explore the city on your terms. For architecture and design lovers, a walk around the Oval Maidan presents Bombay High Court and Rajabai Tower on one side, and the low-slung Art Deco buildings on the other. From there, walk past the impressive colonial buildings, and buy a ticket for Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus’ Railway Museum to take a stroll in the grand station’s administrative section, where you can marvel at the cavernous dome that echoes every footstep. You can also take a night-cycling tour to see another side of the city, glittering with lights and an evening buzz that makes this place a favourite amongst tourists. 

Theatre hopping

Culture lovers should check local papers and catch a show at the National Centre for Performing Arts’ Experimental Theatre, a lively black box that hosts young talent; or at Prithvi Theatre in Juhu where the intimate performance space demands your full attention. Each has a café on the premises, for those who want to sit around and soak in the atmosphere. You can also catch a movie at The Deepak Cinema, a refurbished single-screen theatre. Another place that is worth visiting is The Revolver Club for its collection of vinyl records, that include new artistes and pre-owned favourites. 

Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Acclaimed to be one the most loved public parks, guests crowd in thousands to spot different animals, birds, and countless butterflies here. Also known as the Borivali National Park, you can book lion and tiger safaris, go on a trek, enjoy cycling, row a boat, or explore Kanheri Caves. There are two man-made lakes and you can spot crocodiles in one of the lakes.

Places to visit near Mumbai

Karjat

The scenic hilly town is a popular getaway destination from Mumbai. It is known for its adventure activities and trekking. Karjat promises temples, beautiful mountains, waterfalls, and ancient caves – a perfect place to spend a weekend.

Matheran

The lush green fields, serene environment, and picturesque sights make Matheran an ideal weekend getaway. Located on a hilltop, it offers stunning views of the city. If you are planning a trip to Matheran, do experience a ride on the Neral-Matheran toy train.

Lonavala-Khandala

This place needs no introduction. Be it a perfect road trip, short escape for one day from Mumbai, or a location amidst hills, this place caters to every demand. Thus, holding a special place in the hearts of every person from Mumbai.

Alibaug

It’s a popular beach destination near Mumbai where you can enjoy a relaxing vacation by the waters of the Arabian Sea, camp outdoors, indulge in some water sports, or explore the heritage sites. You can reach Alibaug either by ferry or by road. The ferries are available from Gateway of India, in South Mumbai.

Festivals in Mumbai

Ganesh Chaturthi

This is the birth commemoration of Lord Ganesha. This 10-day celebration takes place in August/September and is one of the most popular festivals of Mumbai. Numerous small and large-scale events take place across the city to celebrate this festival.

Gudi Padwa Festival

This festival marks the Maharashtrian New Year, which is celebrated in April. Locals dress in traditional clothes and take part in a procession. You can spot colourful decorations and celebrations taking place across the city on this day.

Navroz 

Mumbai has a prominent Parsi population who celebrate Navroz, the Parsi New Year, which falls in August-September. The day is marked with feasts being organised, along with meeting of family and friends to celebrate this day.

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