I spent a long weekend in Mumbai for a work conference and even with work, I felt like 3 days is more than enough time there. Mumbai is a very fast-pace city, and the roads are full of cars and tuk-tuks all day long. Traffic never seems to ease there so getting around the city can be hard at times. We mainly used uber, because taxi drivers and tuk tuk drivers will never give a definite price and you end up having to negotiate a lot. Uber just allowed us to avoid that problem, but, you should take at least 1 tuk tuk ride to really have the Mumbai experience.
One of the first places we went to visit was the Gateway of India. You don’t need to pay to see this, but you will have to go through security when you get there. The Gateway of India is along the waterfront in Colaba, so there are great photo opportunities here, but you don’t need to spend a lot of time here. Some people go here as part of organised city tours, but personally, I think you’re better off visiting here on your own. This area can be quite busy and be prepared for people approaching you and offering to take your photo for money. You can also see the famous Taj Mahal Hotel from here too!
Just walking distance from the Gateway of India, you will find local markets, where you can buy all sorts of trinkets, materials, rugs and souvenirs. If you like shopping for something that’s a bit different, you’ll love this place. Those kind of markets are not for me, but my colleague spent hours there, and a small fortune! Be careful here as there are a lot of beggars. They approach you and ask for money and don’t leave when you say no. It can be a bit uncomfortable at times, so hanging around here isn’t advisable. Have a look through the stalls and small shops and then leave as soon as you’re done.
We had heard about a place called Dhobi Ghat and wanted to stop here. One evening on our way to our hotel, we stopped here for 10 minutes. It is near the Mahalaxmi Railway station, but most taxi drivers will know this. This is the biggest open air laundry in Mumbai. The workers here wash clothes and sheets for hospitals and hotels in Mumbai. Most of this is done by hand by these local workers. It’s crazy to think that all of this work is done by hand. From the bridge above, you can just see lines and lines of hanging clothes and workers.
Another popular landmark to see is the Bandra to Worli Sea Link Bridge. This bridge is lovely when it’s lit up at night, but you cannot stop on the bridge for photos. It is a popular tourist request to see this bridge, but you can just drive over it while you’re in Mumbai and see the skyline as you drive over the bridge. There is a 80 rupee fee to cross this bridge too. The traffic here can be horrible at times, because people all have the same idea, to drive here to see the bridge and the views! Best to go on off peak times if you can to avoid the worst of the traffic.
In the evenings, we visited the Aer Lounge in the Four Seasons, Worli for sunset. This is a fab rooftop bar. Get there early, because all of the seats with views will be taken. We watched the sunset over Mumbai and we also got to see some great views of the city lit up at night. There was a very chilled atmosphere in this bar and lovely cocktails to choose from!
Haji Ali is a mosque and a tomb and is located in the water, that becomes accessible during low tide only. The wealthy Muslim that built this, is also buried here. It is just off the coast of Worli, near the Mahalaxmi Railway Station. This trip would need to be planned in advance by checking the tides. We weren’t able to get out here because of work restrictions, but I have heard that it is cool to see and to get to be one of the few that make it out there!
For accommodation, we stayed in the Sofitel Mumbai BKC. This was a bit out of the city centre, but very clean and safe. The weekend we were there, the pool had been closed off as Coldplay were staying there too!! Pity we didn’t get an invite!! 😛
I would recommend the hotel I stayed in, but here are some other options that you could check out. I would recommend paying that bit more here for cleanliness and safety. As always, double check the most recent reviews.
- Uber will help you to get around the city easily and not get over charged
- Be careful in crowded areas for pick-pockets
- Get your e-visa before you go here at least 5 days before your departure date
- Pay a little bit extra for accommodation for cleanliness and security
- If you’re travelling around India, check out my post on Delhi and Agra.
Top Tip Traveller 🙂