Posted by: getaway2india | November 1, 2009

Mumbai – The Shining Jewel of India

Mumbai is different from the rest of India in pretty much the same way that New York City is different from the United States. The pace of life is more hurried. Time is money. The idea that one can always make a living one way or another is pervasive in this city.

Map of Mumbai

Map of Mumbai

In 1498, the Portuguese took over the 7 Islands from the Sultan of Gujarat. They built a settlement, forts, and churches, (including the strange looking Portuguese Church that stands to this day.) Later the seven islands were handed over to England in 1661 as part of the dowry of Catherine de Braganza when she married Charles II of England. He e leased them to the British East India Company for £10 a year in 1668. The East India Company built the docks, the trading posts, and the fort that would form the nerve centre of the city. They also started off the long process of reclaiming land and joining the islands, an activity which went on until the 1960s.

Seven Islands of Mumbai

Old Seven Islands of Mumbai

The Seven Islands that make Mumbai

The port attracted industries and the entrepreneurial communities like the Parsis, Gujaratis, and Marwaris (from Rajasthan) migrated and set up trading companies and factories in the late 19th century. Industries attracted migrant labor from different parts of the country. The successive waves of migration shaped the character of the city and its neighborhoods.

The city that owes its existence to the efforts of the British was also the birthplace of the Indian National Congress, which played an overwhelmingly important role in the independence movement. The city whose mills were built by industrialists from across the country is the capital of Maharashtra state.


The Average temperature ranges between 23 degree C in winter to 30 degree C in summer and peak rainfall (600mm) in July.

Mumbai has three main seasons:
• Summer (March, April and June) (October is Humid)
• Monsoon (June, July, August and September)
• Winter (November End – December, January and February)

The best time to visit is during the winter between November and February. Summer is from March to May with highs in the low to mid 30s. It is hot and humid during this time. June to September is the monsoon season when the city is lashed by heavy rain. The city gets flooded two or three times and normal life gets disrupted during this season.

At the Airport
A common scam locals play on tourists is when your taxi cab pulls up to the airport, a man will get your luggage out of the trunk, put it in a cart, push it for you towards the terminal and along the way will ask you for a Rs. 500 baggage fee. This is a lie, there is no baggage fee, and you should tell them no thank you and you kindly take the cart and push it yourself.

Paid parking is available at the airport. The charges are Rs. 60 per four hour block for cars. Longer term parking is available in a “premium” area, but it is hideously expensive, amounting to Rs. 600 per day.

Note that there are no ATM terminals in the international arrival area. In order to take a taxi from the airport to your hotel, you will need to bring cash and exchange it for rupees at one of the many moneychangers near the exit. There are prepaid taxi dispatch desks nearby, but they accept only cash, and only rupees.

The airport is 28 km from downtown. Take a prepaid coupon taxi to minimize hassle. Go to the taxi office and purchase a coupon to take to the driver. The coupon will have the taxi registration number written on it. Make sure that you get into that very taxi. Do not accept a lift from someone claiming to be a taxi driver as they may charge much higher prices designed to target tourists. The charges will depend on the general area you need to get to and will include all tolls to be paid.

Prepaid Taxi At Airport

Prepaid Taxi At Airport

Taxis are cheap and plentiful ($50 would be worth a lot of taxi rides). Most taxis in Mumbai are small-medium sized cars, painted black-and-yellow (black on lower body and yellow on roof). You can hail a cab off the streets. However, many are quite rickety, dirty, and carry mechanical fare meters that are often tampered and where payment is through a complicated system of calculating meter charge by a certain figure (all taxis are supposed to carry a tariff card that simplifies matters). Also, according to law, a black-and-yellow taxi driver cannot refuse a fare. If a driver does refuse, a threat to drive to the nearest police/police station usually does the trick. Taxi tariffs and information to lodge complaints are available.

Do ride in a taxi and auto at least once in the city.

• However, if you want a comfortable, air-conditioned ride at a small surcharge of 25 percent over normal taxis it’s best to travel by branded cab services that operate at government-approved tariffs. These services operate modern fleets with well trained drivers. You can get them at 30-60 minutes notice, they are clean, air-conditioned, equipped with digital, tamper-proof meters, punctual, honest, and GPS-equipped-monitored, which makes them far secure at any time. If you’re using a mobile phone, you receive an SMS with the driver’s name, mobile number and car number 30 minutes before scheduled departure. Charges are Rs 20 for the first km and Rs 14 for subsequent kms, with a 25 percent night surcharge (midnight to 5AM). Some can even be booked online.

Some branded cab services are:
o First Cars (+91-9766311830) email:
o Mega Cab (+91-22-42424242)
o Meru Cab (+91-22-44224422)

o Fulora Gold Cab (+91-22-32449999 / 32443333)

Mumbai Yellow Taxi Cool Cab Meru Cab

Normal Taxi                                Cool Cab                                Meru Cab

Priyadarshini Taxi Service

Priyadarshini Cabs

o Priyadarshini Cabs (especially for single women/a service managed by women)(+91-9820221107, 9323208277 or 24324161 or 24324162. ) It’s primarily meant for women riders but men too are welcome.

If you are new to India stick to the Meru Cabs or Priyadarshini Cabs.

The unbranded ones are:
o City Cool Cabs, +91 22 2216 4466, +91 22 2218 9620, +91 22 5688 4466.

o Cool Cab, +91 22 2490 5151, +91 22 2490 5152
o some private car rental company with huge fleet of car on cheap rate in Mumbai close to international airport
o car rental Mumbai -(9870493800)


Quite frequently, tourists and new visitors are mobbed by unscrupulous taxi drivers. Most drivers are honest, but the dishonest ones tend to cluster around railway stations and airports where they can more easily find suckers. Unless you are taking a prepaid taxi, always ask taxis to go by the meter. At the start of the journey, ensure that the meter is visible and shows the flag-down fare/meter reading.

Its quite handy to have the Taxi Meter Card issued by The Mumbai Traffic Police. You can access it online at [14]. Complaints can also be lodged online using the same site.

• The maximum number of passengers allowed for a trip officially is four — three in the back seat and one in the front.
• Seat belts are not mandatory for taxi passengers and most standard black and yellow taxis will not have them installed, though the branded ones would have them.
• If you travel alone especially in night then always see the meter by yourself and then pay the fare. if you are alone, sit in front so that you can see the meter.
• Most frauds take place at railway terminuses and at the airport.
• One of the common scam is to charge the night fare rate (which includes half return fare to the original fare) during daytime.
• You should be careful and read the heading before paying. In some cards, the night fare is red in color and daytime fare is black in color.
• The other scam is to swap a 500 rupee note for a 100 rupee note and then ask you pay extra.

Mumbai Autorickshaw

Mumbai Autorickshaw

Auto-rickshaws are only allowed to operate, (only in the suburbs and not in the city), beyond Bandra [15] in the western suburbs and beyond Sion in the central suburbs.

Before the Auto Starts:
• Ensure that the meter is visible and shows the flag-down reading as 1.00. If the the number is higher, insist that the driver flags it down once again.
• The minimum fare is Rs. 10(2009). The meter remains at 1.00 for the first 2 km and every 0.10 movement indicates approx 200 meters (ie 1.00 for every 0.2 kms).
• The fare is Rs. 5 for every km, except for the first two kms for which it is Rs. 9.
• A simple way to calculate the fare is to multiply the reading by 10 to get the fare in rupees. So if the meter shows 2.20, then the fare payable is Rs. 22. (and its 4.4 km). Similarly a reading of 4.90 would mean you have to pay Rs. 49 (and you traveled approximately 9.8 km).
• The meter also keeps ticking if you are waiting and/or are stuck in traffic.
• It’s quite handy to have a copy of the meter card issued by The Mumbai Traffic Police.
• Auto-rickshaws are slower than cars and have terrible suspensions.
• Pregnant ladies are most strongly advised not to travel by auto-rickshaws since the combination of rash driving, poor suspensions, and horrible road conditions have quite often led to serious complications.
• The auto-rickshaw is a slow and uncomfortable vehicle and not recommended for very long distances.

By bus



A/C Bus

BRTS - Star Bus

BRTS – Star Bus


Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (known as BEST) [16] provides efficient and comprehensive services connecting up all places of the city and the suburbs. Some services also link the city with the extended suburbs like Navi Mumbai, Thane, and Mira-Bhayanadar areas. Seats are almost always occupied. There are bus stops all over the city.

There is usually a crowd and and queue.
You have to get in through the rear entrance and off at the front. Tickets are issued by a uniformed “conductor” after you get in.
Special seats are marked for:
• “Ladies”,
• “Senior Citizens”,
• “Handicapped”,
• “Expectant Women”, and
• “Women with infants”.
All of them can get in from the front door.

• Buses run from 5AM to midnight. Selected routes run beyond these timings, but much less often.
• Average frequency between buses ranges from five to 30 min depending on the route.
• Fares are reasonable and buses can be traveled during peak hours, unlike trains which are far too crowded. Some trunk routes do get extremely crowded however. Peak hours also have traffic snarls which may depend on the area traversed and the state of the roads.
• Buses are numbered and the final destination is marked on the front in Marathi and on the side in English.
• Generally, buses around the city and trunk routes would be in the 1-199 series. Buses in the western suburbs would be the 200 series while those plying in the central and eastern suburbs would be in the 300 and 400 series.
• Services to Navi, Mumbai are in the 500 series and buses to the Mira-Bhayander area are in the 700 series. The BEST website has a nifty tool [17] that will help you plan your journey.

While traveling by Bus or Train beware of Pickpockets. Keep your purse in your front shirt pocket (BUT INSIDE YOUR SHIRT) something like the inside coat pocket. Else wear a sweater over the shirt and keep everything in the shirt pocket. Never pick up a fight with a pickpocket….they are never alone.

By train


Mumbai suburban railway route map

Most people travel in Mumbai using the Suburban Rail Network commonly referred to as “Locals”.

Mumbai has an extensive network, with three lines:
• The Western Line,
• The Central Main Line, and
• The Harbour Line.

Mumbai East & Mumbai West
Mumbai is a linear city and the Western Line travels from Churchgate to Virar via Mumbai’s Western Suburbs. The Central Main Line travels from Mumbai CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus), aka VT Victoria Terminus to Kalyan via Mumbai’s Central Suburbs and Thane, with some services running beyond to Karjat, Khopoli, and Kasara. The interchange point for these two lines is Dadar.

The Western line & the Central line cut the City into “East” & “West” of the railway track. Eg: Bandra on the Western line has Bandra East & Bandra West. Similarly Thane on the Central line has Thane East and Thane West depending where it lies in relation to the tracks.

The Harbour Line has a common stretch between Mumbai CST (aka VT Victoria Terminus) and Vadala. The harbour line splits into two spurs, the main one running to Mumbai’s Eastern Suburbs and Navi, Mumbai, up to Panvel. The Interchange point of this line with the Central Main Line is at Kurla. The other spur of the Harbour Line runs up to Mahim on the Western Line and runs parallel up to Andheri. The interchange stations with the Western line are Bandra and Andheri.

Trains on all lines start early in the morning at 4AM and close operations between midnight and 1AM. Second class travel is very cheap. However, it is advisable to buy first class tickets as the economy class is extremely crowded. First Class can be quite expensive and if four people are travelling together, a taxi might be better.

Mumbai Local Train

Mumbai Local Train

As a tourist …….avoid using local trains during rush hour (first class or otherwise).

Rush hour is between 8:30AM and 10:30AM towards CST (VT) and Churchgate and between 5:30PM and 8:30PM in the opposite direction. If you must transit during rush hour, avoid, at all costs, standing near the train car entry, as you will be swamped by a frantic, every man for himself, stampede of men attempting to get on the car. Take no offense if you are pushed and shoved about, as passengers jostle for a spot.

Since you are inside you may not be able to know when your station comes, you can ask co-passengers to tell when your station is due and on which side it would come. Now there is an announcement system that tells you this.

As you near your exit station, ensure that you are as close as possible to the train door, as experienced commuters, will be begin the mad run to be first on, or off, the car before the car comes to a full stop! If you stand any chance of getting on/off before the train departs, you must be equally aggressive in your focus to exit/enter, remember no one will take offense if you make contact with others, as you wriggle by! Last, but not least, exiting/entering a train before it comes to a full stop is not something to be taken lightly, one misstep can send a person onto the rails with an amazing ease! Leave the stunts to the experienced locals.

There are special coaches for “women only” on both classes. These are generally less crowded and safer. But after 8.30pm, it might actually be safer to travel by the general coach than the first-class women’s coach, as the latter may be absolutely empty except for you. Drug addicts/beggars could come in to rob you. Sometimes they have a cop guarding the coaches, but sometimes they won’t. Use your judgment.

There is a lot to see in Mumbai, but the typical “tourist” sights are concentrated in South Mumbai.

Colonial buildings

The British built a magnificent city within the walls of Fort St. George. Some fine examples of the Gothic revival, Neo-classical style and Indo-Saracenic style are seen within this area. Worth seeing are the Gateway of India, the CST terminus, and the Police headquarters or generally just take a stroll around South Mumbai.

Museums and Galleries
Some of the most famous museums and art galleries in India are found here. The Kala Ghoda area in South Mumbai teems with them, particularly the Prince of Wales Museum, and the National Gallery of Modern Art. Once again, most of them are concentrated in South Mumbai.

Mumbai has a few beaches, including one in the downtown area. But they aren’t that great and the water off Mumbai’s coast is extraordinarily dirty. The relatively better ones are in the Northwest Mumbai area. But there are other beaches to be found such as the Girgaon Chowpaty in South Mumbai, The Juhu beach in the western suburbs and Aksa Beach in Malad. The currents don’t seem strong, but particularly in the rains, lots of people die from drowning, so avoid getting in the water. A word of advice to women: Bombay beaches are not the kind you can wear swimsuits to, particularly two-pieces.

100 things to do in Mumbai:

Chowpatty beach

Zoos, parks and gardens

Borivili National Park

Borivili National Park

Borivali national park

Mumbai has a justified reputation as a concrete jungle, but there are some nice pockets of greenery within the city. It is also one of the rare metropolises to have an entire national park within its borders. You will not visit Mumbai for them, but if you are already here, they make a nice escape from the din and bustle.

The city zoo (Veermata Jijabai Udyan) is in Byculla and is a colonial relic which is surprisingly well-preserved. The animals may look rather emaciated, but the sheer diversity of trees on this lush zoo is worth a trip.

Hanging Gardens
Some city parks are very well-maintained and combine history as well. The “Hanging Gardens” on Malabar Hill offers stunning vistas of the Marine Drive.

Hanging-Gardens-3 Hanging-Gardens-2

Mumbai Port Trust Garden
Further in South Mumbai, the Mumbai Port Trust Garden, is another hidden gem. This is set off a small side street off the Colaba Causeway 2-3 kms south of the main section. Once again, lovely views of the port, the naval yards, and sunset.

Five Garden
In central Mumbai, there are the Five Gardens. Mainly used by walkers in the morning, it is a mess in the evenings. But the gardens encircle some historic, art deco residences.

Shivaji ParkThe Cricket Cradle of Mumbai
This (along with azad maidan, opp VT Station) is the cricket cradle of Mumbai. Shivaji park is where the Cricketing Icon Sachin Tendulkar learnt his trade. His coach still has his nets there and there are still young cricketers under his wings. The nets take place after 4pm to sunset.

After sunset families, couples & lovers take over the place. The Mumbai Police have started to interfere with the “morality” business and do not look upon (PDA) public display of a affection very kindly. But you can always see young lovers & couples “at it”.

Bollywood & Filmcity

Bollywood is the slang for  Hindi film “Industry”. Bollywood’s center of activity, Film City is located on the outskirts of the National Park. Usually visitors are not permitted but if you can pull some strings you may get to see a movie being made. Now Tamil Film Industry is called “Tollywood”, Malayalam Film Industry = Mollywood, Kolkota (Bengali) Film Industry = Kollywood, etc

Working in Film City is the dream of many people, who come here to be a part of Bollywood. Everything needed for making a movie, right from makeshift recording rooms to gardens to lakes to theatres and grounds, is available here. So, if you are planning to visit Bombay, make sure to visit the Film City, the dream city of India. However, you will require prior permission to go inside.

In fact if you are “white”,  fit and in good shape,  stroll around Gateway of India/Taj Mahal Hotel –  you could get asked by “Background Model” coordinator’s tout to  appear in “background shots” of mainstream Hindi Movies starring top hero/heroines and even get paid for it. They also provide transportation from and to certain pickup points.

Indian Film Industry is world’s biggest Film Industry churning out more than 1,200 mainstream movies annually. Of this Bollywood itself makes more than 400 movies every year. Although Bollywood has more ticket sales than Hollywood the collection is lesser than Hollywood.

There are even some Tour operators who operate tours there:

Whistling Woods

Subash Ghai’s – Whistling Woods – Asia’s biggest Film Institute.

Asia’s biggest Film Institute Whistling Woods International in Mumbai , home to Bollywood, is India’s premier educational institution for film, television and the media arts. Whether their focus is in acting, directing, scoring or something else, people come from all over the country—and the world—to study at this acclaimed institute.

Religious places
Mumbai has all kinds of places of worship …you name it …its there – temples, mosques, churches, Parsi Agiaries, and even a few synagogues reflecting the diversity of its citizens. While these are naturally of interest if you are a believer, some, like the Portuguese church at Dadar are worth visiting just for their unique architecture.

Protugese Church, Dadar Siddhivinayak Temple, Dadar

Portugese Church                                     Siddhivinayak Temple

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue Haji-Ali

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue                       Haji Ali

The Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue was attacked during the “2008 Mumbai Terrorist Attack”:

Religious Festivals:
All regilious festivals are celebrated with equal enthusiasm…..if you want to witness the “unity in diversity” of India you cannot afford to miss the following festivals. :

Holi the festival of colour is celebrated in the month of March when Winter ends. A Bonfire is lit in remembrance of the burning of Demoness Holika. People put colour one one another and throw water or water balloons on each other.

. Janmashtami, Jul/Aug. Birth Anniversary of Lord Krishna. Earthen pots full of curd are strung high up across the streets. Young men stand on top of one another to form a human pyramid and attempt to break the pots.

Ramadan-Id — Muslim festival marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Marked by feasting at many places. Non-Muslims can also join in.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Aug/Sep. It is Mumbai’s most important and colorful festivals. During the 10 day celebration, Lord Ganesh is worshiped in millions of homes. See the colourful processions and participate in them. On the “viserjan” days (when the idols are sent in the sea) the roads get quite blocked due to the mammoth procession.

Mt. Mary’s Feast, Sep. The feast in honor of Our Lady of the Mount is celebrated with great solemnity at St. Mary’s Church, Bandra. A week long Bandra fair is held during this time attracting huge crowds. For the 7 days the roads around the church and the near by areas are barricaded and traffic comes to a standstill.

Navratri, Sep/Oct. This is a 10 day festival, where nine of the nights are spent in worship and entire Mumbai swings to the rhythm of Garba and Raas dances of Gujarati community. You should not miss this traditional dance which have taken on a modern avatar…..Its most spectacular on the last day.

Diwali, Oct/Nov. Festival of Lights. Start of New Year and opening of new accounts. Worshiping of Goddess Laxmi. Almost a week full of firecrackers, tiny oil lamps and colourful lightings & Sweets.

Christmas, Dec. This is charcterised by Mid night ( nowadays held around 8 or 9pm on Christmas eve due to restrictions on loud speakers after midinght) masses in churches and is usually followed by a number of private parties all across the city. From now then till the 1st of Jan all Pubs and Holiday Homes hike their charges.

 Jamshed-e-navroz (Parsi New Year) Jamshed-e-Navroz is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Zoroastrian year. The new year of the Parsis corresponds with vernal equinox or with the advent of spring. The time is decided in Iran which is then passed on to the world of Zoroastrians. – Parsi community is one of the smallest community of India but have given back to the country the most in comparison to their community size. Tatas, Wadias, etc are some examples.

Onam – Onam used to be the festival celebrated by the people of Kerala as a show of strength of their Agriculture splendor. A land where there should not have been any agriculture shortage. Today although large patches of land are going out of cultivation yearly… the Festival of Onam thrives and Onam is celebrated as much as it was earlier. Its a 10 day festival and the last day is the biggest and most colourful. The main focus of Onam is the Sadya “Vegetarian Banquet” is to eat good vegetarian multi course meal on a banana leaf almost right through the 10 days for lunch AND dinner. The combination served first is the banana leaf is layed on the table, then it is filled with with 7 types of pickles, banana chips, salt, papadum and small vegetable side-curries called ‘Kootan” then a small mound of rice is served with ghee on top and on top of it is poured yellow dal curry, as you finish this another small mound of rice is served with sambar you are supposed to crush your papadum on this mixture of rice and sambar (if you finished yours early… do ask for more) , as soon as you finish this again comes rice and avial curry and… then come rice and Kalan curry… you are supposed to finish all of what is put on your banana leaf… then comes the 4 kinds of desert called “Paya-sam”… today mostly its 2 kinds of desert and a banana. You are supposed to mash the banana and mix the darker of the  desert with the mashed banana and eat it… and top it off with the white payasam… if you didnt mash the earlier banana you can finish it last. Make sure you fold the banana leaf (your end on top of the far end) before you get up from the table. Please not it is considered inappropriate and rude to request for non-vegetarian food (Fish & Meat) when dining.  Make no mistake… you will not miss fish and meat the whole 10 days… but today the Sadya is celebrated only on the last day…

The complete list of food in a single Onam Sadya is available here:

Description of some of the oldest churches of Mumbai are here:

Of the festivals Ganesh Chaturthi, Mount Mary’s Feast & Navratri are the 3 most spectacular “Events” of the city and luckily all 3 fall around August/September/October.


Fashion Street, (Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai, From Churchgate Station start walking towards Flora Fountain make a left turn and its a block down). Best place in Mumbai to buy cheap clothes. Bargaining/haggling skills are a must if you want to shop here! Offer to pay 1/4 of the asking price or less and then work your way upwards! But not very good Quality & colours may fade/run…thus personally I feel you can avoid it ….I myself never buy from there and never advise anybody to buy from there. But if you like to bargain you will enjoy your self here.

Colaba Causeway is filled with tourists and locals. It is located very close to the Gateway of India. It is a place where you will be able to find many authentic Indian souvenirs, antiques, carpets, and chandeliers. But foreigners will have to be very careful, as all these stores are road-side stalls. What may seem a good price that the person has quoted to you, it will actually be a rip off. Do not settle for anything more than one-fourth the quoted price. If they refuse a price just walk away and they will call you back quoting a lower price. Normally, the more you buy, the less you will have to pay for each individual item.

Markets and crowds
Mumbai is probably worth visiting just for its street markets, the hustle of vendors, and the madness of the crowds.

Crawford Market

Crawford Market

Crawford Market It is now officially known as the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Market. But locals still refer to it by its old name. It is within 10 minutes walking distance from the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus on the Central Line in South Mumbai. Earlier it was the major wholesale trading market for fruits & vegetables. Now it houses shops selling imported items such as food, cosmetics, household and gift items.

Or you could do your shopping at family-run shops, where the items are behind the counter and you have to ask the salesperson for what you want. The traditional way to buy sarees or jewelry is to go to a shop where you sit on a bedspread laid out on the floor and the salespeople bring out their wares one-by-one until you make a decision. They will willing open up reams and reams of clothing material for you to choose from and you are not even compelled to buy from there… you can refuse if you are not satisifed with their clothes and move to the next shop. Some shop keepers even entertain genuine shoppers with light snacks or drinks if you are feeling tired or thirsty. This level of personalized shopping experience is lacking in the malls where the shopping is more impersonal to a certain extent…. and most of the time you will have to choose whatever is on display. Shops like Bharat Kshetra in Dadar have scaled this model up to such an extent that they have a two-storied complex where you can do the same. In the past few years Mumbai has been experiencing a boom in malls. You can combine your shopping, dining out, and watching movies in one place.

Shopping Malls

highstreetphoenix Mall

High Street Phoenix Mall

1. High Street Phoenix

The tall chimneys at the conveniently located High Street Phoenix mall give away the fact that this area used to be full of textile mills before it was redeveloped. The highlight of the mall is its swanky Skyzone shopping space, full of premium national and international stores. These are located along side cheaper retail outlets to suit all budgets. You’ll also find a courtyard containing food shops, bowling alley, gaming arcade, and sports bar. After shopping in the evening, head to nearby Blue Frog to hear some excellent live music.
• Address: 462 Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai.
• Opening Hours: 9.30 a.m. until 9.30 p.m. daily.
• Stores: Provogue, Big Bazaar, Pantaloons, Lifestyle, Lacoste, Mogra, Tommy Hilfiger, Next, Planet M.
Visit Their Website

Atria Mall

Atria Mall

2. Atria Millenium Mall
Looking for luxury products and international designer brands? You’ll find them at this mall. The five level Atria mall had a star-studded opening in mid 2006, and has remained popular as it’s one of the few malls that are centrally located in Mumbai. The Eco Corner store is worth checking out for its unique range of environmentally friendly home and bath accessories, made by villagers. In addition to shops and a food court, this mall also has a 4-D cinema and large entertainment zone.
• Address: Dr. Annie Beasant Road, Worli, (next to the Planetarium, near Haji Ali).
• Opening Hours: 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily.
• Stores: Mango, Nine West, La Senza, Aldo, Pepe Jeans, Benetton, Anita Dongre, Peter England, Sony, and a Rolls Royce showroom.
Visit Their Website

InOrbit Mall2

InOrbit Mall

3. InOrbit Mall

Inorbit, with its 1.2 million square feet of space, is one of the largest malls in South East Asia. The ground floor is mostly occupied by major British department stores. There are also a number of Indian designer fashion outlets, and an Australian cookie bakery. The first floor is full of national and international clothing brands, a music store, and bookstore. The top floor has been exclusively devoted to food and entertainment, and includes a kids play area. The drawback? The mall is in the outer suburbs.
• Address: Link Road, Malad (outer western Mumbai).
• Opening Hours: 11 a.m. until 9.30 p.m. daily.
• Stores: Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Spencers, Crosswords Bookstore, Provogue, Adidas, Marks & Spencer, Body Shop, Fame Multiplex Cinema.

4. Oberoi Mall

The classy Oberoi Mall opened in mid 2008, and offers 500,000 square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment. It features a large central atrium with an uninterrupted view of every shop front within the mall. The attractions of this mall are the Lifestyle Home Center outlet, and the Central department store. Find cosmetics, perfumes, and accessories on the ground floor, and clothing and sportswear on the second floor. The mall’s third level has a large food court and gaming area.
• Address: Oberoi Garden City, Off Western Express Highway, Goregoan East, Mumbai.
• Opening Hours: 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Stores: Lifestyle, Central, PVR Cinemas, Debenhams, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Adams Kids, Gloria Jeans Coffee, Giordano, Pepe, Spykar, and Gas

5. Crossroads mall

It is one of the first ever full fledged shopping mall in the city. Opened in 1999, the mall covers an area of 150,000 square feet, spread over four buildings. Crossroads is a place where you get a designer labels, its a place for higher middle class and above people people who have flair towards the branded cloths. Hundreds of people from every corner visit this mall.
• Royal Garden, Dr. Annie Beasant Road, Worli,
Mumbai 400 018
• Tel:+(91)-(22)-491 07 01

6. Infiniti Mall
This three level mall isn’t as big as some, but it still has plenty of clothing, jewelry, electronics, and music stores. Anyone who loves books will appreciate the fantastic Landmark bookstore that can be found there. The mall also has a food court and children’s entertainment area.
• Address: New Link Road, Andheri West, Mumbai.
• Opening Hours: 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
• Stores: Westside, Provogue, Food Bazaar, Reebok, Planet M, Adidas, Archies, Raymonds, Lee, Nike, Benetton, Esprit, Landmark Bookstore, CineMax Multiplex Cinema.

Nirmal Lifestyles
With an area of one million square feet, it is the largest shopping mall in the suburbs of Mumbai and one of the largest in India. The Mall houses branded stores like Shoppers Stop, Fab India, Provogue, Wills Lifestyles, Health & Glow, Nokia Store,@ home and many small shops. Shoprite Hyper is a South Africa based hypermarket is also located here.

Nirmal Lifestyles consists of two parts Commercial Mall and Residential Complex. Nirmal Lifestyles Residency consists of two phases Residency I which consists of 4 buildings of 16 storeys each Emerald, Coral, Topaz, and Pearl and Residency II which consists of 4 buildings of 18 storeys each Sapphire, Ruby, Onyx and Garnet.

R-Mall is a mall situated in the suburb of Mulund,with 250,000 sq ft area. R Mall is a 4-storeyed mall with free multi-level car parking facility. Apart from shopping, the mall also has a complete set of leisure activities like a 1,300-seat 4-screen multiplex, video games and a host of speciality restaurants serving various international cuisines.

Big Bazaar
– Similar to a Wal Mart. They are situated at most of the renowned malls around Mumbai. They sell groceries, clothing, cosmetics, house hold items & furnishings. Prices are on the cheaper side since most of the items are in-house labels.

What to buy:
Khadi Clothing — Khadi is an authentic Indian variety of home spun cotton. The material is very cool and soothing to wear. Check out the Khadi Gram Udyog Bhavan located at 286, DN Road, Near the Mumbai GPO & Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. It is run by the Khadi Gramudyog Vikas Samiti [44] which is an umbrella organization started by the Mahatma himself which today has evolved into a government registered unit promoting the use of khadi.

It also houses other forms of fabrics like pure cotton wool, and silk. Items on sale include Blankets, Sweaters, Shirt pieces, Sandals, Shoes, Folders, Files, etc. All the items are hand made. Some of the items make use of natural straw. They also offer a collection of handmade paper products.

Traditional Clothing & Handicrafts — State government operated emporiums such as those for Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir etc sell state specific items of clothing and handicrafts. These are located in places around South Mumbai or the shopping arcades of Five Star Hotels. There is also a Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India Emporium located near the Gateway of India beside the Tendulkar’s restaurant. The items on display include embroidered clothing, carvings, paintings, sculptures etc and are reasonably priced. Amongst the private labels,

is a must visit for its variety of kurtas [tunics], salwars, pyjamas, churidars & dupattas. They also offer bedspreads, cushion covers, decorative pillows, quilts, table linens, home furniture etc. Just like the government owned emporiums, Fabindia operates on a cottage industries model where products are hand crafted by artisans and sourced from villages across India. Good quality, smart colours, trendy designs but prices are a bit on the higher side. Stores are located across Mumbai.

Dhoop (translates into Sunshine or Incense) — A quaint, stylist store where you can find really interesting quality crafts and home accessories. On the corner of Union Park, Near Olive, Off Carter Road in Bandra.

• Burlingtons, in the Taj is a tailor specializing in Indian outfits. Buy some material and get some clothes made up by a tailor. It’s an incredibly cheap way to get quality made-to-measure clothes. Usually only takes a couple of days.

Leather Jackets, go to the main road in Dharavi. You can fit yourself with a leather jacket (they stitch it for you) of leather you pick. Usually takes just one day to get it and it costs around Rs. 1000-2000 ($30-40).

Carpets, Rugs and shawls – Kashmir Oriental Carpet Enterprises[46] One of the finest places where you can get exquisite hand-knotted carpets and rugs from Kashmir with genuine certification of authenticity. This 30-year old store has an amazing range of breath-taking carpets in wool and silk with very reasonable prices and a personalized service. They ship all over the world too – located at 20, The World Trade Centre, Mumbai. Tel: (24-hours) 022-22183284 / 022-22188851.

• The Oberoi shopping arcade (in the Oberoi hotel) has a variety of shops offering Indian leather, silks, and handicrafts. Although everything has price tags, at the non-branded leather stores even in the Oberoi don’t be afraid to haggle hard (often to 1/2 the asking price), and do not pay more than Rs 1500 for a bag.

Saree Material
Sarees — the best place to buy them is Dadar. The place is buzzing 12 months a year. On Sundays the crowd can be maddening for outsiders. Good shops to buy Sarees are Dadar Emporium, Lazaree, Roop Sangam. On N C Kelkar Road and Ranade Road you can buy almost everything a woman needs. Bargain hard.

Pashmina — Cheap stuff is everywhere and decent shawls in every hue can be purchased at various markups in any hotel arcade. High-quality items in unusual colors and unique designs require more searching. The “pashminas” sold on Colaba Causeway are not anywhere close to pashmina.

Tourist Traps
In a place without clearly displayed price tags (and sometimes even in places with), you will get charged about 3-4 times as much as a local if you seem like a tourist. Take a local with you if you’re going to local markets to haggle. Haggling is much louder and ruder in India than elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to haggle things down to 1/4 of the asking price. And most importantly remember that almost all stores that sell carpets, jewelry, handicrafts, etc. pay huge amounts of commission (25% up to even 50%!) to the cab drivers, hence avoid tourist taxis, cabs, etc.

One of the places that you can trust is The World Trade Centre (in Cuffe Parade, near Hotel Taj President). Besides being the only World Trade Centre in Mumbai, this place has an amazing range of exquisite carpets, handicrafts, shawls, etc. with reputed government approved stores and state emporiums too. Ask for receipts everywhere, including bars, and check what you have been charged for.

Don’t ever accept a guide offer or escort of somebody from the street, you will certainly get conned. If some place (including cabs, eateries, stores, etc) claims it doesn’t have change (this is highly unlikely), insist they get change from a neighboring store.

The dining experience at an upscale restaurant in Mumbai is more or less the same as anywhere else in the world. If you search hard enough, you will find cuisine from practically every part of the world represented in the city. But to get a real flavour of what’s unique to Mumbai, you will have to go a little lower down the scale and experience the street food and Irani cafes. That is what is described here. For individual restaurants and other places to eat, go to the individual district pages.

Don’t leave Mumbai without trying:
• Butter chicken and naan
• Kebab rolls
• Indian Chinese
• As many different kinds of chaat as your stomach can handle
• Indian sweets- milky, delicious concoctions (try the kulfi falooda at Badshah’s in Crawford market)
• Vada pav (the great Indian burger)
• South Indian food from an Udupi restaurant (almost every street in Mumbai has one)
• Kingfisher beer ….the Vijay Mallaya Brand…..the force behind Force India in F1 Racing..ha ha ha.

Specialty Restaurants at Colaba
Aga Brothers Situated at Cusrowbaug, a Causeway institution since time immemorial- Aga brothers pioneered the heavenly Frankie, available in chicken, mutton and egg stuffing. You may wash that down with an orange, mango or kalakhatta drink, another Aga Brothers speciality. Cost for a meal for one Rs 100 Alcohol and smoking is prohibited

Martin’s – Don’t let the homely atmosphere deceive you. Martin’s is thoroughbred Goan. Their prawn pulao and steak and onions will send a sting through you. The food is fresh, good quantity and quick service. Cost for a meal for one Rs 100 Alcohol and smoking is prohibited

Gable’s – Coloured yellow and red, dim lights, with a mezzanine floor and cafe del mar playing in the background. Gable’s is the closest you can get to Goa in the middle of cacophonous Colaba. “The waiter will promptly take your order and promptly disappear only to reappear in a flash with the meal,” says Max Fernandes, 30, Colaba resident and a regular here. Gable’s serves a refreshing pork vindaloo and some great chicken fare. Tourists, and collegians from the nearby hostel frequent Gable’s. Cost for a meal for one Rs 100 to 150 Alcohol is prohibited.

Kailash Parbat – Read pure vegetarian, neat and clean food. Pani Puri, Bhel and Sev Puri, Ragda Patty, Dahi Vadas, Paranthas overloaded with desi ghee and their famed Indian sweets. It’s all there at Kailash Parbat, first pasta lane, Colaba. Cost for a meal for one Rs 100-150 Alcohol is not served.

Picadilly at Colaba Causeway, Picadilly deserves mention for being the only restaurant to serve Lebanese food. Try their shawarmas. Cost for a meal for one Rs 100-200 Alcohol is not served.

Sea Food — Mahesh Lunch Home (near Fountain and in Juhu) and Trishna (Kala Ghoda) are famous for their coastal cuisine. The latter is, but had become too touristy by nature. Apurva (Fort right off Horniman Circle) is also very good. If you want to eat some authentic Indian (Konkan) sea food you must visit the Bharat Excellensea. It is located next to the Horniman Circle and the Reserve Bank of India.

ItalianShatranj Nepoli (Bandra, Union Park), Little Italy (Juhu next to Maneckji Cooper school), Don Giovanni’s (Juhu, opposite JW Marriott), Mezzo Mezzo (at the JW Marriott), Vetro (at The Oberoi, Mumbai), Celini (at the Grand Hyatt), Mangi Ferra (Juhu), Taxi(Colaba), Spaghetti Kitchen (Phoenix Mills, Parel).

North Western Food Peshawari (at Maratha Sheraton, Andheri). Its sister restaurant Bukhara in Delhi has been recognized as the best Indian restaurant across the world. Try tandoori jhinga, the kebab platter, sikandari raan (leg of lamb), and mangoes and ice cream (only during summers). Kandahar (The Oberoi, Mumbai), Kebab Corner (Hotel Intercontinental), Copper Chimney (Worli) Khyber (Kala Ghoda), and Kareem’s Malad Link Road in Malad W.

Regional Indian Food— Dakshin (Maratha Sheraton) and Woodlands (Juhu) for south Indian, Oh! Calcutta for Bengali (at Tardeo), Poush (Andheri) for Kashmiri, Preetam’s Dhaba (Dadar) and Urban Tadka (Mulund)for Punjabi food, Chetana (Kala Ghoda), Thacker’s (Marine Drive), and Rajdhani (multiple locations) for Gujarati Thalis. NEW and a must try is Casa Soul Fry (opp Bombay University in town) which serves up Goan Cuisine.

General Indian — Sheetal Bukhara, Great Punjab (both in Bandra). More in Bandra.
Parsi — Originating from Iran, the Parsis are a special community of people that one would associate Mumbai with. Parsi food is similar to Iranian. Go to Brittania at Ballard Estate or Jimmy Boy close to Horniman Circle.

Vegetarian — Swati Snacks (Tardeo, opposite Bhatia Hospital) a gem of a restaurant, it does not take bookings and the waiting during peak meal times is usually 45 minutes every day of the week! Little Italy located on Juhu Tara Road (Jugu), Andheri West opp. Fame Adlabs multiplex, Malad (above croma), New Yorkers on Marine Drive Opp chowpatty; Creame Center on Linking Road, Bandra near Shopper’s Stop and also on Marine Drive opp chowpatty; Statua at Nariman point opp. Maker Chambers. Relish (Hotel Samrat — Churchgate). Excellent vegetarian cuisine from around the world.

Chinese India Jones (Hilton Towers Mumbai), Mainland China (Saki Naka), Ming’s Pavillion (Colaba), Golden Dragon (Taj Mahal Hotel), Great Wall (Renaissance), Spices (JW Marriott), China Gate (Bandra), China White (Bandra). Bandra offers a range of Chinese Restaurants ([48]. Royal China at VT (behind Sterling Cinema serves some of the best DimSum the city has to offer). The new CG83 at Kemps corner is brilliant and the signature restaurant of Nelson Wang. Also new is Henry Thams. The food is brilliant as are the prices, however the bar is much more popular than the restaurant.

JapaneseWasabi by Morimoto (Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba) is Mumbai’s best and most expensive restaurant, but Japanese food is on the menus of most Pan Asian restaurants like Tiffin (The Oberoi, Mumbai), Pan Asian (Maratha Sheraton), India Jones (Hilton Towers Mumbai), and Spices (JW Marriott), Origami (Atria Mall Worli). Also Japengo Cafe at CR2 Mall in Nariman Point serves up some sushi. Tetsuma, adjacent to Prive (probably best nightclub in town) serves an average sushi but other dishes are worth a try. Best to go there for a cocktail and a few starters. ‘Tian cafe’ at Juhu is also a good place for sushi. Try the Teppanyaki restaurant at Tian.

Combination Oriental — India Jones (Hilton Towers Mumbai), Pan Asian (at Maratha Sheraton), Seijo, and Soul Dish (Bandra), Jos (Kala Ghoda) has some of the best East Asian food in the country and at moderate prices (compared to hotels).

Fusion — Zenzi (Waterfield Road, Bandra), Out of the Blue ( Pali Hill, Bandra).

Lounge — Olive (Bandra), Rain (Juhu), Indigo.

Speciality Deli — Indigo Deli (Colaba), Gourmet Shoppe (The Oberoi Shopping Arcade), Moshe’s (Cuffe Parade), Cafe Basilico.


Cafes — Leopold (This café was attacked by the terrorist…and still has the bullet holes) and Cafe Mondegar (both near Regal Cinema, Colaba) are great places to while away time, eat cheap, and get a beer. Mocha (chain) is popular with the younger crowd. Deliciae, the dessert cafe which has some of the best desserts in town, located next to Olive Restaurant in Khar. .Cafe Mondegar

24X7 Coffee Shops — Trattoria (Taj President), Frangipani (Hilton Towers Mumbai), Vista (Taj Land’s End, Bandra), Hornby’s Pavilion (ITC Grand Central), Lotus Cafe (JW Marriott), basically all the big hotels have one. More coffee shops in Bandra[50]

Goan Food, Coastal — Goa Portuguesa (Mahim) near Hinduja Hospital. New and a must try is Casa Soul Fry (opposite Bombay University in town) which serves up Goan Cuisine.

Mumbai Street Food — To experience the tastes and flavors of typical Mumbai “chaat”, and yet not expose oneself to the dangers of unhygienic street food, check out Vitthal’s Restaurant located on one of the lanes opposite Sterling Cinema (C.S.T.), but make sure you have a strong stomach. Vithal Bhelwalla (not the Vithal resaurant which is copycat) near VT station (behind Macdonald’s) is a safe option.

For an upset stomach ….best is to drink a litre of water to wash it away…or a bottle of Pepsi to break down the food.

Mumbai Fast Food

Mumbai Fast Food – also known as “Chaat”

Street food stalls

Indian Food Seller
Songs have been written about Mumbai’s street food and you will find that the hype is justified. You will find them at every street corner, but they are concentrated in beaches and around railway stations.

Bhelpuri stalls — Selling what in the rest of India would be called chaat. In Mumbai itself, the term chaat is rarely used.
Rolls — Essentially different meat and cheese grilled and served with some Roti and spice, these are cheap and cheerful for anyone with a stomach that can handle it. They are known to be spicy so always ask them to make it mild. Try Ayubs (Kala Ghoda), Bade Miyan (highly over-rated), Khao Gulli (Food Lane, near Mahim Hindu Gymkhana), or Kareems (Bandra). All are particularly busy after a night of heavy drinking.
Vada pav stands — Fried potato stuffed in yeasty bread. Developed to provide nourishment to mill-workers in Mumbai’s burgeoning mills. Now they are found everywhere, particularly in the railway stations. This is a Mumbai specialty. In Vile Parle (West), try the one off S.V Road near Irla across from Goklibai School. Also try the one outside Grant Road Station and Churchgate Station.

Sandwich stands — Uniquely developed in Mumbai, you won’t find anything like it anywhere else in India or the world.

Chinese food stalls — You’ll find them at many places, but they are particularly concentrated near Dadar railway station. They all have a typical Indian twist added to it, which is why it is frequently called “Indian Chinese”. Although it is great tasting, the hygiene of these places leaves a lot to be desired.

Bhurji — Either Egg bhurji or Paneer bhurji, a mash of eggs and chopped tomato, onion, chili, and lots of oil. Eaten on the side with some pav. Try the Maker Chamber area (near Crossroads 2, Nariman Point).

Tip: cheap and tasty food stalls are concentrated around the city’s colleges.
Street stall food in India is fantastic, and dirt cheap (you can fill yourself up for Rs 20). However, do consider well what you are putting in your mouth. Almost certainly the water used is non-potable, street vendors don’t seem to understand much about hygiene or hand-washing, and food safety standards are low, with flies buzzing over everything. Even locals steer clear of street food during the monsoons, when diseases run rampant. If the stall seems very clean, and if it clearly states that it is using Aquaguard or mineral water, go for it.

Udupi restaurants
Mangalorians(and Udupi) forms the highest tourist populations of Mumbai, and both the cities have almost same culture and architecture. “Udupi” restaurants (or “hotels”) are everywhere. They bear the name of the town of Udupi in Karnataka, but do not be misled into thinking that they specialize in the cuisine of Udupi. They serve pretty much everything, and that is their specialty.

Usually strictly vegetarian, these restaurants were opened by migrants from the district of Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka (of which Udupi is a part), to satisfy the palates of other migrants from the district. Over time, they gained popularity as places to have South Indian food. As the tastes of their customers evolved, so to did their menus, so much that now you can find Mughlai, Indian Chinese, Bhelpuri, and other chaats in addition to South Indian stuff. Amazingly, some places serve imitations of pizzas, burgers, and sandwiches too!
They are fast food joints and sit-down restaurants combined. The reason to visit them is not to experience fine gourmet dining, but to have cheap, passably tasty and fairly hygienic food. There is no easy way to identify an Udupi restaurant — they are not a chain of restaurants and they may not have “Udupi” in their name, so you will have to ask.

Though present all over the city, they started in the Matunga area. Cafe Mysore is one of the older Udipi Restaurants in King’s Circle (Maheshwari Udyan). Also one of the earliest established restaurants( est. 1932) is New Sardar at lalbaug. They serve one of the best MISSALS in mumbai and their Garlic Dosas (this dosa is available only here and nowhere else in the world) have to be relished & not eaten. Lots of interesting dishes are served here and a visit to this restaurant is a must. The address is very simple Sardar, Dr. B.A.Road, Lalabaug,Mumbai 400 033, Tel +91 22 2470 0583, +91 22 2470 1773.

Matunga(Central line) has the best south indian fare in Mumbai. There are few restaurants which could well be heritage sites as they are more than 50 years old and still retain thier old world charm(and furniture). Try out Sarada Bhavan(opposite the Railway Station), Mani’s cafe(near Matunga Gymkhana), Anand Bhavan(near Maheshwari Udyan), Ram Ashray(near Vegetable market) and Amba Bhavan(near the Asthika Samaj Temple) for authentic South Indian snacks. Some of these Restaurants have a long queue in the afternoon…the food is supposedly so good. Better be there before 12noon.

Irani cafes
Absolutely the best for “Chai” and “Maska-Pau” (bread and butter). Also for assorted snacks, like Kheema-Patice, Samosas, mava- cakes, etc. The best dish which is always on the menu is Kheema Pav. Kheema (prepared from ground meat) and pav (bread). One of the best places to eat is Cafe Military which is in the Fort area (near the Bombay Stock Exchange). Majority of their customers are upscale like lawyers, bankers, and stock brokers because of which the quality is good. In spite of that the prices are very low, average entree would cost around $1 or Rs. 40.

If you order a thali (translated as “plate”), you get a complete meal arranged on your plate, with a roti or chappati, rice, and many different varieties of curries and curd. Ordering a thali is a popular option when you are hungry and in a hurry as it is usually served blazingly fast. Most mid-level restaurants have a thali on the menu, at least during lunch hours. Occasionally, they are “unlimited”, which means that some of the items are all-you-can-eat. The waiters serve them at your table.

Mostly these “Thalis” are Vegetarian. There are also different flavours like:

South Indian thali. – Aram (near Mahim Church, Mahim), Ramanayak Udipi (At Matunga Station, east) serves up thalis in South Indian style.

North Indian thali translates to Mughlai or Punjabi.

Do try Gujarati or Rajasthani thalis if you can find them and on the sweeter side. They are sinfully filling and tasty. Rajdhani (At Crawford Market) serves up thalis in the Rajasthani style. Shree Thakker Bhojanalaya (off Kalbadevi Road) do filling and fabulous Gujarati thalis.

“Thalis” are the easiest way to try different flavours of India.

Fast food chains
Surprisingly, there is no fast-food chain in Mumbai serving Indian cuisine. But Western chains like McDonalds, Subway[, Pizza hut, Dominos[,Kentucky Fried Chicken[ etc. have many outlets all over the city. But if you are a weary westerner looking for the taste of the familiar, be warned that all of them have rather heavily Indianized their menus, so you will find the stuff there as exotic as you found Bambaiyya food. However, Barista, Cafe Coffee Day], and Smokin’ Joe’s[58] are all Indian chains, although they don’t serve Indian food. While Barista and Cafe Coffee Day, as there names suggest, serve coffee and pastries, Smokin’ Joe’s serves decent pizzas and is headquartered in Carmichael Rd, Mumbai. International coffee chains like The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Aromas have recently set shop in Mumbai.

Natural is a chain of ice cream stores that serves up tasty and unconventional flavours of ice creams. Try their tender coconut or the coffee walnut ice creams. Its main branch is in Juhu in the Western suburbs, but it has franchises at many places including Marine Drive, Bandra, Nepean sea road, etc. Naturals is also famous for its seasonal “Sitaphal” or Custard Apple Ice-cream.
Try the sumptuous creamy crepes and omelets at Crepe Station, Bandra. Its owned by a famous Bollywood actor, Dino Morea.

What to eat
Asking a local for suggestions is a fun way to try new things. Here are a few suggestions:

Indian Cuisine

• Vada Pav, the vada is a mashed potato patty. Pav is a Snack of Maharashtra Snack. (The word comes from the Portugese word “pão”, for bread). The potato patty is sandwiched in the bread. Liberal helpings of three kinds of chutneys (sauces) are also added to the sandwich to make a seriously tasty snack. It is widely available on the streets and most folks price it Rs. 4 – Rs 5 a piece. If you feel uncomfortable with the hygiene of a particular stall, avoid it. The Jumbo Vada Pav outlets at almost all train stations in the city are hygienic and its not risky to have Vada Pav from there.

• Pav bhaji — Part of the street food culture, this is mashed vegetables cooked in spices, topped with butter and served piping hot with pav. Widely available.

• Bhel puri and sev puri — A classic Mumbai concoction, bhel-puri (or bhel for short) comprises mostly of puffed rice and assorted spices with a few chutneys. You can specify whether you want it spicy or bland and the vendor will make it for you. It is quite tasty and again ought to be had off the streets to get the real flavour. Most people though, like to flock to Juhu beach to try this out.

• Pani puri — For first timers, this can be seriously intriguing. The vendor hands you a plate. Next he takes a puri (it looks like a golf ball, but brown in color), makes a small hole in it, and dips the puri into two jars. These jars contain water — one tangy on a tamarind base, the other spicy on a mint base. He tops it off with some condiments and places the puri on your plate. You pick it with your hand and pop the whole thing into your mouth. The outcome is an explosion. Awesome. A word of caution here though. Make sure you don’t have your pani puri from any vendor. The best vendors use only packaged water. Stick to that and enjoy the taste.

• Indian-Chinese — Nothing like regular Chinese. For a typical Bambaiyya flavour, try the Chinese Bhelpuri!

• Variations of world cuisine, such as Tandoori Chicken Pizzas or McAloo Tikki burgers.
If you happen to be in Mumbai in summer, try eating some “Hapus” (Alphonso) mangoes.

• Natural ice cream[60] — The Mumbaikar’s answer to Gelato with flavors like chikkoo and mango to get you in the right Indian mood. Chemical free, organic, and delicious.

Tip between 5-10% at sit-down places. If a place includes service tax on the bill, you don’t need to leave an extra tip. While tipping is always good practice, at bars you don’t necessarily have to tip the bartender. If you plan to be there a while though it’s a good idea to give him Rs 50-100 on your first drink to ensure a night of trouble-free service. You do not have to tip cab or auto drivers at all, and don’t get out of the vehicle until they have given you full and exact change.

Mumbai is one of the most liberal cities in India when it comes to attitudes to alcohol. Bars exist at virtually every street corner and many of them advertise themselves as “family” bars and restaurants, which indicates that they are primarily restaurants where one can also have a drink. Other places are primarily bars, some of them might be sleazy. In South Mumbai and in the Western suburbs, you are likely to find many places where foreigners hang out.

Mumbai is much more accepting of women drinking than the rest of India. A woman ordering a drink is unlikely to raise eyebrows even in mid-range bars, though if you are alone, you might need to look out for your safety.

Nightlife in Mumbai spans the gamut from performances at five star hotels to discos. Dance bars which involve young, fully clothed women dancing mostly to Hindi film and pop music, have been shut down by the government for corrupting the morals of those who frequent those places. While the state high court has ruled that the crackdown was illegal, it will be a while before they open again as there are some technicalities involved to be sorted out.

Indian Beer

Some of the best Bars are:
• Valhalla Lounge, a tapas bar and later at night, an extremely chic nightclub, is a great place to let your hair down. It has very upmarket interiors and plays host to some of Mumbai’s biggest names in the party circuit. Getting in post 11:00 p.m. can be a challenge as they have a very strict guest list and a dress code.

• Tetsuma/Prive. The bar and restaurant is pretty and has some nice cocktails. A great place to pre-drink before heading off to Prive, the only good nightclub in (south) Bombay. Prive is as difficult to get in as any top nightclub in a big city.

• Poison, in Bandra. It’s a great place to get a taste of Bollywood music & pretty women.

• Toto’s Garage Pub, 30, Lourdes Haven Pali Junction, Bandra West 400 050, (Off Pali Market) +91 22 2600 5494. Toto’s is the closest you will ever come to a Western bar. The place fires up every single night throughout the week, the beer is great, and the place is packed with locals and the occasional tourist. But don’t go in expecting a seat. The tables are hard to get even if they’re empty. They are parked with ‘reserved’ signs unless you are a party of four or six. 6PM-midnight. Rs. 250 (average per person).

• The Bayview Bar, located at the lobby level of The Oberoi. Mumbai has an arresting view of the Arabian Sea and the finest range of single malts and Habanos cigars. “George and Soft Rock Revolution” perform at the bar and sooth you with their charming renditions of Jazz Classics. Open from 5PM-1AM. Tel +91 22 6632 6220.

• Opium Den, at Hilton Towers Mumbai. Serves a vast array of martinis, daiquiris, and home infused vodkas. Quiet and convenient, this bar is a break from the ordinary. Open: 12:30PM-1:30AM Tel +91 22 6632 4343.

• Indigo — An exclusive lounge and bar located at Colaba causeway behind Hotel Taj Mahal in South Mumbai is a not to miss destination. +91 22 56368980. On the expensive side with an average drink costing Rs. 250 upwards. Boasts of a large wine collection and also serves superb fusion food. Excellent alcoholic Sunday brunch.

• Head to the nightclubs in Phoenix Mills, Ra, Aaziano and White. Although these are usually frequented by people under 18 years old.

• Not Just Jazz by the Bay (opposite Ambassador Hotel, on Marine Drive) is a small bar with live performances on most nights – best nights are Karaoke nights on Sunday and Mondays.

• Dome in the Intercontinental Hotel provides a great view of the city.

• Zenzi at Bandra (and now also at Parel in Todi mills) sees a lot of the expatriate crowd apart from models and filmmakers. Drinks aren’t cheap and the service is slow, but the place is always buzzing.

• Aurus and Vie, both on Juhu Tara Road are bars facing the sea with a restaurant too. Great place for a nice drink after dinner.

• Rock Music — The Ghetto (near Mahalaxmi temple) is pretty good and has its usual media/arts college crowd and is completely filled with ultraviolet light. Tavern at Hotel Fariyas in Colaba shows music videos and is pretty packed, but don’t go there if you don’t like Linkin Park, etc.

• Hard Rock Cafe, Bombay Dyeing mills, and Lower Parel is usually packed with office folk on weekdays and plays older music. Expect your Zeppelin, Hendrix, REM, etc. Thursdays are band nights.

• Shiro , right next to Hard Rock Cafe, is beautiful, and modeled after Buddha Bar. Shiro does some fabulous sushi on one day and yet somehow can mess it up so bad on another. Retro nights on Fridays are always packed to bursting, and it usually stays open til 3 on weekends.

• Wink at the Taj President does some fantastic cocktails and some pretty decent sushi too.

• Enigma at the JW Marriott, Juhu – Great place for some bollywood music and glance of bollywood stars.

• Bandra is also called the Restaurant and Pub district of Mumbai with many options for different budgets and taste ([62]).

• blueFROG in Todi Mills Compound. Serves up great drinks and live music every night. More relaxed on weekdays with a hip club scene on the weekend. Great atmosphere with a cool design. Also serves dinner and just had a new menu launch. Website: Can be pretty expensive, with drinks at Rs 500 upwards.


1. The Mumbai police have become very srtict regarding drinking and driving. If caught it will result in either your license being suspend, to fines and even a jail term.

2. Although you will find a lot of couples in love sitting intimately in certain places like Marine Drive, Shivaji Park, 5-Gardens, Bandstand… its better to make sure you are not one of them… as the police have been authorised to clamp down on over the top “indecent” Public Display of Affection. Kissing and Hugging are ok but feeling each other up sexually is considered a strict no-no although many get away with it.. 😉

There many coffeeshops in and around Mumbai. Try the Cafe Coffee Day and Barista chains. These are the best around town and also serve some pretty neat coffee for cheap. There’s the Cafe Mocha chain of coffee shops which also serve fruit flavoured hookas — South Asian smoking pipes. If a small coffee and cookies place is what you are looking for, try Theobroma, it has an outlet at Cusrow Baug in Colaba. Those looking for a more native form of coffee can try the filter coffee, a milky coffee with origins from South India, from any Udupi restaurant.

LGBT Options
There is already a lively late night, if somewhat subterranean, scene for gays, as well as social and political networks. However, you need to do your homework before arriving, as LGBT gathering spaces and organizations are not published or available at local newsstands. Much of Mumabi’s LGBT scene is coordinated using social networking sites and groups. Use extreme caution; robberies, hustlers, and even police entrapment are not unheard of, though a July 2009 judgment legalizing homsexuality should save you from the last one.


Taj Mahal Hotel at night

It is very difficult to find good budget hotels in Mumbai. If you are a tourist or a business traveller, you may have to stay in South Mumbai, which is where both the business district and the touristy areas are. Lack of space means that even the cheapest hotel charges stratospheric tariffs. The state of public transport and traffic means that it is not really a good choice to stay anywhere else. In any case, things aren’t much better if you are looking for hotels close to the airport. You should be looking at the Western Suburbs in that case. There are many guest houses at Colaba, where you find most of budget foreign travellers stay. Other budget hotels are found near railway stations, such as Dadar or Santa cruz, but most of them are absolute dumps. One safe and economical place to stay in Mumbai is the YMCA. Reasonably priced accommodations are available at the Colaba, Bombay Central, Andheri, and CBD Belapur Branches. Other budget options include the Salvation Army Red Cross Hostel, one of the few dorms available, at Rs.195 a night.

One inexpensive alternative is to live with a local family as a paying guest. A list of available families can be obtained from the Government of India tourist office Tel +91 22′ 2220 7433 opposite Churchgate train station.

On the other hand, if money is of no object, you can stay at the Taj in Colaba (the oldest in India), the Leela Kempinski, the ITC Grand Maratha, or the JW Marriott Mumbai, Renaissance Mumbai Hotel & Convention Centre. Hotel listings are in the district pages.
• Ship Hotel, 3 Rd Floor, Bharti Bhavan (walk out CST Station’s south exit, turn left until you hit PD Mello road, it’s on PD Mello road’s east side, immediately east of CST.), ☎ 022 22617613. checkin: 9AM; checkout: 9AM. 3 Rd Floor.

• Bharti Bhavan Opp Govt Dental College, Mumbai G.P.O(Fort), Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001. One of the, if not “the”, cheapest place in Mumbai. Advertised rates as of 28/03/2009 are 140rs for basic dorm bed, 180rs for A/C Dorm Bed, 220RS for Single (no A/C, Shared Bathroom), and 330(!)for double (non A/C) Shared Bathroom. The cheap prices make it extremely popular with Indian businessmen and tourists. Arrive at 9AM for the best chance to bag a room, but it’s extremely close to CST make it easy to check first when you get off the train, if it’s full, the surrounding Fort area (between CST and Colaba) is a much better option to find cheap hotels instead of Colaba . 140RS-320RS.

• Sheel Hotel, 23 Manohardas Street (Immediately south of CST station’s south exit. Exit the south exit of CST, before you cross Walchand Hirachand Marg, look up and you should see a sign for this hotel.), ☎ 022 22615465. checkin: 10AM; checkout: 10AM. As of 29/03/2009, a double with fan and shared bathroom costs just 440RS (A/C rooms were upwords of 1000Rs, I did not enquire about singles but they should certainly be cheaper), making this a great cheap option (finding anything under 600RS is extremely hard in Mumbai) . The bathrooms are non-flush squat style, and the showers suck, but the price is right and the sheets are clean. This is a particularly good option given it’s extremely proximity to CST (5 minutes walk, at the most), saving you the hassle of a taxi ride, and putting you in the spectacular Fort area, and sparing you from the lameness of Colaba. Note that the writer could not find any room (double) under 600RS in Colaba, take heed. Food tends to be cheaper in this area as well, as it’s less frequented by foriegn tourists. 440rs.

The area code for Mumbai is “22” (prefix “+91”, if you are calling from outside India). Phone numbers are eight digits long, but on occasion you will find a seven digit number listed. That is probably an old listing. They made the changeover from seven to eight digits a few years back, when they allowed private service providers to offer telephone. Just add a “2” to the number and it should work just fine, however if that does not work try prefixing “5”. All mobile numbers, however, are 10 digits long and begin with “9”. Do not dial the city prefix for mobile numbers. If you don’t get through to a mobile number, try adding a “0” before you dial it.

Phone booths can be found all over the city. Though they are coin operated, there is usually someone to run the place. (Typically the phones are attached to a roadside shop). You need to keep putting 1 rupee coins into the slot to extend the talk time, so keep a change of 1 rupee coins handy with you. The person running the booth will usually have them. If you find a booth marked STD/ISD, you can call internationally or anywhere within the country. Fees will be charged according to the time spent and a meter runs to keep track of your time. You pay when you have finished your call. Often it is difficult to find one that is open early in the morning or late at night.

Cell phone coverage in the city is excellent. There are many service providers offering a wide variety of plans. Among them are:
GSM Providers:

• MTNL • Vodafone • BPL Mobile • Airtel • Dolphin

CDMA Providers:
• Reliance and • Tata Indicom.
It might be a good idea to buy a cell phone and use one of those prepaid plans to get yourself connected while you are in the city.
Cybercafes are located at virtually every street corner and the rates are quite low. Just keep in mind that they have probably not kept pace with advances in hardware or software, so if you find yourself in one of them, don’t be surprised if you are stuck with a really small monitor, Windows 98, and Internet Explorer 5.0. Also data security is an issue. Change your password after you use it at a cybercafe.

Finding wi-fi in Mumbai is very difficult due to security concerns. A few coffeeshops such as Barista may offer access. You should start your search with Chembur, Pamposh, Phoenix Mills, Santa Cruz, and Sterling Baristas. You can also find for-pay wi-fi at the airport, provided by Tata Indicom. Café Coffee Day has a Hotspot.
Also for sending the letters, parcels etc you can choose from the Indian Postal service , to private courier companies such as DHL[73], UPS[74], TNT[75],DTDC[76]etc.

Stay safe
For a city of its size and global importance, Mumbai is quite safe, though many people seem to think that Mumbai is full of underworld gangs and pickpockets. However, there are a few basic safety tips:
• Keep your money and credit cards safely with you at all times, and always carry cash. Many places won’t take cards.

• Do not display 500 and 1000 rupee notes in public.
• Beware of pickpockets on BEST buses and trains.
• Also beware of mobile, chain, or bag snatchers who operate in densely populated places, such as railway stations, busy roads, and traffic signals.
• Women traveling by train, especially on off-peak routes should travel in the second class where at least a few co-passengers are also found.

  • Do not accept food from strangers you just met on Trains or Buses although it might appear rude not to accept. There are gangs operating as “families” and board trains as if travelling to some place. They get friendly with you and offer food or sweets which are druged…even they eat from the plate (they usually take a antidote for the drug before hand so nothing happens to them). People taking the food have fallen asleep within minutes….and wake up mostly in a hospital after one or two days….while these thugs get away with the luggage. Safer to be Rude than to be sorry. Some of the gang really “nag” you to try the food…Tell them “you eat your food…I eat my food…OK?”.

• Women (especially Westerners) should avoid crowded places, you might well get groped. Cases of men pinching or touching women are common in crowded public places, including nicer nightspots. Create a scene if this does happen to you, there will be enough people around that will come to your defense. In general, in Mumbai, if you are ever worried about your safety, make a loud scene. It is an extremely crowded city, and somebody is always around and willing to help.
• Women should never ever take lifts from strangers. Western women tourists should note that if they visit a disco or pub in Mumbai or India, don’t take lifts or even get too friendly with strangers. You will almost certainly get conned, if not worse. Many Indian men presume that if you’re foreign you must be easy.
• Don’t ever let an auto or taxi you are traveling in pick up any more people, or pull over before your final destination.
• Police can sometimes be almost as shady as criminals in Mumbai. At night, women should ensure if they are ever stopped by police, there needs to be a female police officer present or they are well within their rights in demanding the presence of a woman cop.

Site seeing in out the City:
The City has numerous “Getaways” or picnic spots which are relatively close by. Like the Hill stations, Forts, Lakes, National Park, Historical Caves, Beaches. There are also very good planned adventure activities (rock climbing, mountaineering, hiking/trekking etc) to these places. Some good ones are advertised in the newspapers. These group activities are best if you plan to visit these places (as on your own you would be unable to utilize the opportunity to the best use) unless you are a very experienced trekker. Of course this is also a good way to meet new people and make friends and learn about the culture & tradition.

Hill stations — Matheran, Lonavala, Khandala, Mahabaleshwar.

Elephanta Caves (9 Km. by sea): The Elephanta Island, originally known as Gharapuri (fortress city) has 7th century rock cut Hindu caves situated atop a hill. This cave temple complex is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Here, Lord Shiva is depicted as the creator, protector and destroyer in the famous Mahesh-murti. There are other beautifully sculpted panels depicting different aspects of Lord Shiva.

Elephanta Cave

Elephanta Cave

Tours to Elephanta Caves

Launches available every hour from the Gateway of India.
Timings: 0900 hrs to1430 hrs (Return after 4 hours)
Timings: 0900 hrs to1430 hrs (Return after 4 hours) Tariff: Rs.100/- (Dlx), Rs.80/- (Ord)
Mini-train on jetty: Rs.8/- (to & fro)
Entry Fee (at Elephanta): Rs.10/- (Indians), US$ 5 or Rs.250/- (Foreigners).

Caves are closed on Mondays


Gateway Elephanta Jal Vahatuk Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit Counter,
Gateway of India, Apollo Bunder, Colaba.
Tel: 22026364 / 22023585

(Launches operated subject to weather conditions during the monsoons)

Aarey Milk, Colony, Goregaon

Aarey Milk, Colony, Goregaon

Aarey Milk Colony(35 Km) This modern dairy farm is set amidst beautiful surroundings and well laid gardens. This dairy is the principle supplier of milk to the city of Mumbai. Also good place for couples 😉

Note: not a place for kids as too many couples are doing hanky panky.

Aarey Milk Colony, Goregaon (East), Mumbai – 400 065.
Tel: 26858554 / 55, 26858705 (Dairy)

Timings: 0900 to 1200 hrs & 1500 hrs to 1800 hrs
Entry Fee: Rs.2/- (adult), Re.1/- (child)

Cottages for picnickers are available and can be reserved through the Chief Executive Officer, Aarey Milk Colony.

Borivali National Park (41 Km.): It’s a Forest thriving next to a big City like Mumbai. This 104 Sq. Km stretch of lush green forests and streams is also known as the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It boasts of a Lion Safari, Tiger Safari and deer park and offers a change from the hustle and bustle of the city. Also a good place for couples 😉

Tel: 28860362, 28866449, 28860389

Timings: 0730 to 1800 hrs
Entry Fee: Rs.5/- (Adult), Rs.2/- (Child)

Lion Safari Park (On all days except Mondays) Timings: 0900 hrs to 1300 hrs and 1400 hrs to 1730 hrs (Each trip lasts for half an hour). Entry Fee: Rs.30/- (adult); Rs.15/- (child).

Kanheri Caves (42 km) Carved out of native rock, the 112 caves that form the complex are considered the largest group of Buddhist caves in Western India, belonging to the Hinayana period. These caves are believed to have been occupied by Buddhist monks for nearly a thousand years, from 2nd century AD.

Timings: 0900 to 1800 hrs
Entry Fee: Indians: Rs.5/- (Adult), Re.1/- (Child)

Kanheri  Cave 3

Kanheri Cave 3

Kanheri caves 6 - Cave no 3 - Chaitya - A Big Stupa

Kanheri caves 6 – Cave no 3 – Chaitya – A Big Stupa

Kanheri caves 11 - front view

Kanheri caves 11 – front view

Be careful around the beaches and heed the lifeguard warning placed around. There are some dangerous spots near Aksa and Madh & Gorai which have witnessed drowning due to tidal activity. Marve, Madh & Manori Beaches: (38.4 Km., 44.8 Km, & 40 Km. respectively):

These are beautiful stretches of beach to the north of Mumbai. Also situated on the same stretch are the Aksa, Erangal & Gorai beaches, and ideal picnic spots.


Aksa Beach:

*The Resort*****Dlx, 11, Madh-Marve Road, Aksa Beach, Malad (W), Tel: 28823331.

Erangal Beach:

(1) The Retreat*****Dlx, Erangal Beach, Madh Marve Road, Malad (West). Tel: 28825335.

(2) MoTelBlue Ballerina, Erangal, Madh-Marve Rd, Tel: 28821689 / 28822139

Tariff: A/c Dbl: Rs.1500/-

Madh Beach:

Almeida’s Shacks, Madh Church,

Tel: 8899182, 8893988
3 shacks with capacity of 30-40 people in each shack. Only group booking on week ends
Tariff: Rs.1500/-

Manori Beach:

(1) Hotel Manoribel , Reservation – Weekends Rs.1000/- to 2000/- and week
days Rs.700/- to Rs.1800/-

(2) Dominica, Manori, Tel: 28676591, 28694511
Reservation: Tel: 24449735 / 24462161
Rs.150/- per person in 4 bedded room, Dbl Room : Rs.600 – 900/-

(3) Manori Resorts, Manori, Tel: 28695092, 28699727; Fax: 28684975
Reservation: Dlx. Rs.800/- to Rs.1200/-

Gorai Beach:
Whispering Palms, Gorai.

Tulsi, Vihar, Vaitarna & Powai Lakes (32 Km, 28.6 Km, 122 Km and 26.6 Km. respectively). These are the major lakes supplying drinking water to Mumbai. Their ideal location close to the city makes them popular picnic spots.

One of the best and easiest way to sight see around Mumbai is through Neeta Travels’ Mumbai Tour called as “Mumbai Dharshan” The word Dharshan means “sight” …meaning “Sight seeing of Mumbai”. They take you around 51 most important places of interest and value. Of these 16 (in Red) which require an in-depth view will be shown from outside only. You could come to these later by cab or otherwise. Neeta Travels usually have very good Airconditioned Volvo buses and are quite professional.

To book bus services:

More info on Mumbai:

Getaways near Mumbai:

Spread over 60 acres of sprawling lush green hills, it is perched on the confluence of two perennial rivers – the Vaitarna and the Dehraja. The Picnic Village is fully functional. It also includes 48 rooms in the resort, a restaurant and permit room, a swimming pool, the Big Splash, boating facilities, children’s park including Mini Train, walkways, jogging tracks.

Silent Hills Resort is just one hour drive from Mumbai, on the Mumbai – Ahmedabad Highway. Rates around Rs 3,500.

National Highway No.8,  Vaitarna River Bridge, Manor,  Palghar – 401 403




  1. Comprehensive, practical and sensible advice. Makes me want to revisit and rediscover Mumbai.

  2. Thanks …AJ…Thats what I wanted…even people who have been to Mumbai should find something new…..there is so much to that place ….that one would want to rediscover it again and again…:)

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