Mumbai has a whopping 18 million residents and undoubtedly has its own unique flare. Our North India Adventure ends in the city and, if you have time, spending some extra time there is well worth it. Here’s our guide on how to spend a day in Mumbai.
Rise and shine
Mumbai is hot but not as hot as some of the areas you’ll have been exploring in the north of India. The city lies on a distinctive peninsula and you’re normally within walking distance of the bay. A perfect way to start the day in Mumbai is breakfast sat outside a café looking onto the water. Take a stroll along Marine Drive and you’ll easily find somewhere to stop. Grab a cup of chai and enjoy a bite to eat before you get started with your day.
See some iconic sights
The density of Mumbai means it’s easier to get around than the likes of Delhi. Walk along by the water and you’ll come to the Gateway of India, possibly the most famous sight in the city. The structure was completed by the British in 1913 and was constructed to greet George V on his visit to the country.
From there, take a 15 minute walk to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (long name, we know), on the way you’ll pass a fascinating blend of Indian and colonial monuments. The Chhatrapati museum documents the history of India, it’s worth having a look inside as well as seeing its beautiful exterior design and area of lush greenery outside.
The Markets of Mumbai
Spending a day in Mumbai without visiting one of its markets would just be plain wrong. It’s got plenty of famous ones to choose from. Heading up from the south of the city, we recommend going to the historic building of Crawford Market to browse the array of items being sold. Then, to find some street food for lunch, walk a bit further to Bhendi Bazaar.
The Dharavi ‘slum’ has gained global attention for its contested rights of settlement, the quality of life within it, as well as featuring in films such as Slumdog Millionaire. Second-generation residents have set up a tour that aims to show a different side of it, in attempt to challenge stigma and misconceptions. For example, the settlement is home to incredibly innovative homegrown industries (set up by residents) which are eye-opening to learn about.
Poverty is still rife in the neighbourhood and travellers should go in aware of that but, if you’re looking to get under the skin of the beating heart of Mumbai, we can’t recommend this tour enough. It’s included in our Ultimate India Tour, so just give us a message if you’re interested in joining for a visit!
Evening (and night) in Colaba
To end your day in Mumbai, return to where you first started. Colaba is a trendy area with lots going on: plenty of places to eat and plenty of places to go out. Unwind after your day at one of its many restaurants. We recommend Delhi Darbar if you’re looking for some authentic Indian food or, if want something a bit fancy and different, the Korean food at Busaba is delicious.
After dinner, get stuck in to the nightlife of the area. Try out BayView for a relaxing drink looking out across the bay; head to Café Mondegar if you’re looking for an arty bar with a good jukebox; and if you’re looking for the full-on club experience then we’d say Red Light Lounge Bar.