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Mumbai Travel Tips

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Mumbai is an exhilarating, intoxicating mass of humanity. It’s at times thrilling, and at times bewildering, so it’s always worth planning your visit in advance and making a shortlist of places you want to visit, whether it’s the religious temples or happening nightlife hotspots. One minute you’ll be frolicking with monkeys, the next clinking cocktail glasses in a high rise drinking den, in this kaleidoscope of a city.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

The months between June and September tend to be something of a washout in Mumbai, as the rains of the monsoon season sweep in relentlessly. It may be worth braving the weather, however, in order to be a part of the city’s Ganesh Chaturthi festival, which takes place in August or September, depending on the moon’s cycle. Thousands of statues of Lord Ganesh are paraded through the packed streets during this colourful and chaotic festival, which is the perfect introduction to Mumbai life. Most visitors find that October through to March is the most pleasant time to come, during the dry season, and before the humid air arrives to clog the city.

 

Not to Miss

 

Mumbai’s markets breathe with a life of their own, as the locals barter and banter over everything from crimson and gold spices, to plump red tomatoes and rations of rice. Head to Colaba Causeway for an overwhelming and infectious experience, wandering between the city’s stalls and attempting to bag a few bargains for yourself. After the markets, you can find a little peace at the city’s temples, mosques and churches, or by enjoying a Mumbai sunset. Marine Drive is a great place to watch the glowing orb descending, silhouetting massive ships in the distance as it ducks below the Arabian Sea’s horizon. This wide stretch of sandy beach is just as vibrant in the daytime, as joggers churn up and down, and families slurp dripping ice creams in the sunshine.

 

Getting around

 

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the major gateway to India, and the country’s biggest airport, with links to major cities across the world. Taking a prepaid cab is the simplest way to reach the city once you’ve landed. Mumbai itself is a sprawling, chaotic city to travel around, and journeys can take hours - especially at peak times. Trains and busses do serve the city relatively well, but these can become incredibly overcrowded, and can be a real shock to the system for visitors. Taxis and rickshaws offer a little more privacy, but you should be careful to understand the rates, as there’s a chance that some drivers may try to overcharge.

 

Cuisine

 

Mumbai offers a real treat for the palate, and while world class restaurants have turned delicately balancing spice mixes into a precise art form, it’s hard to beat the city’s authentic, and delicious, street food. Pick up a delicious vada pav - a Maharashtra speciality of fried potato and spices in a bun - or the mango and chilli concoction that is bhelpuri, perfect to munch on the go.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Mumbai can be a real culture shock for new visitors, so it’s best to read up on the city before arriving, so you understand what to expect. The huge population means manners can fall by the wayside sometimes, so you may need to be a little more forceful to get a taxi, or when travelling on public transport, as queuing is not as common here as it is in other parts of the world. Visitors should also be wary about drinking the water, and should usually stick to sealed, bottled water to be safe.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 12.6 million

Spoken languages: Marathi, Hindi, English

Electrical: India runs on 230V, 50 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +91 22100