Mumbai is a sprawling city but the traditional heart of Mumbai- South Mumbai- is relatively small and contains districts such as Colaba, Fort, Malabar Hill as well as the famous Marine Dr you would have seen in pictures. Slightly north is Central Mumbai with districts such as Byculla. Further north are the suburbs- of Bandra, Andheri and the city further stretches north to Goregaon, Malad and Gorai. Check out this map.
An (E) or a (W) on an address indicated the side of the railway line the shop/house etc lies. For example, Bandra (W) means the business is in Bandra, west of the railway line.
How to get there
Mumbai has a major airport, located around Santa Cruz. It can take upto an hour to reach South Mumbai. There are pre-paid cabs available as soon as you exit the terminal. The airport has flights from throughout the world and India.
Old Names or New Names
Many people still say Bombay and most taxi drivers will understand you when you want to go to VT (Victoria Terminus is the old name for Chhatrapati Sivaji Terminus, CST). However, I've never heard Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Road; everyone uses Marine Dr.
South Mumbai is the traditional business district of the city.
|The Gateway of India (right) next to the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel|
SP Mukherjee Chowk is a beautiful square which forms the borderline between Fort (north) and Colaba (south). On it are the Regal Cinema and the Prince of Wales Museum (now known as the Chhatrapati Sivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya).
|SP Mukherjee Chowk|
Further south in Colaba is the Afghan Church. It wasn't open when we visited (a Friday) but the caretaker opened it for us.
|Interior of Afghan Church|
In the western part of Colaba is Cuffe Parade. The shopping arcade is not of
much interest but the area around is relatively quaint and worth a walk.
|Dr Dadabhai Naoroji Rd|
|High Court (left), behind Rajabai Clock Tower|
is the BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange)
Continue straight, you hit Veer Nariman Road again and the Flora Fountain. Turn right on Veer Nariman Rd and continue straight till you reach St Thomas Cathedral.
|St Thomas Cathedral|
|Inside St Thomas Cathedral|
Marine Drive, or called Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Marg, is Mumbai's premier seaside boulevard. It starts from around Malabar Hill and then ends at Nariman Point (west-east). With a broad and well-kept pavement, it is a popular place for jogging. The curve of the road is known as the Queen's Necklace because of illumination at night (all streetlights work!).
|Girgaum Chowpatty; behind is|
Road (Sandhurst Rd) is the
Not far from CST is the Crawford Market, a great place to feel the chaos around. Be careful with your pockets, this is a prime spot for pickpocketing!
If you're in the mood for some greenery, go to the Hanging Gardens
in the posh district of Malabar Hill. They are indeed quite beautiful
and provide good views of Mumbai (if it isn't too smoggy). Opposite the Hanging Gardens is the Kamala Nehru Park. This park has a
giant shoe and the viewpoint offers nice views over Marine Dr.
|View over Marine Dr from Kamala Nehru Park|
|The lanes of Chor Bazaar...|
|Carter Rd promenade|
South of Carter Rd is St Andrews Church.
|St Andrews Church|
|Inside St Andrews Church|
South of St Andrews church is Bandstand, a posh area of apartments and bungalows (including houses of celebrities), with a hill station feel. Nearby is Mount Mary's Basilica and the shrine opposite it provides good views of the basilica.
|Mount Mary's Basilica|
Elephanta Island is located around 10 km from the Gateway of India. To get there, get to the ticket counters at Gateway of India and buy tickets for Elephanta Island (INR 150 per person return). You can buy the tickets just before departure, ferries run every 30 min from 9 am to 2 pm. To get on the upper deck you need to pay INR 10 to the person on the ferry. Once on Elephanta Island, the first ferry leaves at 12 pm- ferries arriving from Mumbai before leave empty (it is, however, possible to request a ferry to take you back). Ferries take around 50 min one way.
Once on the island, you can take a short train ride (INR 10 per person return) or walk (it's less than 1 km) to an area with shops. There are steps- after getting off the train- and around 5-7 min later you're at the entrance of the caves.
The caves are indeed beautiful- and are carved out of rock. The scenery around is good too.
We stayed in 2 hotels:
Rooms- 7/10 The rooms are generally good but, as the hotel is old, the rooms may have some problems. Ours had problems with the shower. Otherwise they're relatively spacious considering the prime location.
Staff- 8/10 Staff is fine, no special comment here.
Location- 10/10 Amazing location, on Veer Nariman Rd, meters from Marine Dr.
Breakfast- 7/10 The breakfast is fine.
Total- 32/40 Recommended. While the hotel looks pretty characterless from the outside and the revolving restaurant isn't operational, rooms are fine and location is unbeatable.
Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport
Rooms- 8/10 Rooms are very good with the usual mod-cons.
Staff- 8/10 Staff is fine, no special comment here.
Location- 7/10 Nothing much is walkable but handy for the airport.
Breakfast- 8/10 Breakfast is pretty good with a good variety.
Total- 31/40 Very nice hotel with a pretty big gym. Recommended, but for the average tourist, commutes to attractions will be long. (around 45 min to Bandra, Malad, 1 hr to South Mumbai)
Busaba- Expect slow service but the result is good Pan-Asian food. Off Colaba Causeway, on Mandlik Rd.
Cafe Leopold- Located on Colaba Causeway, not very far south from SP Mukherjee Chowk. Amazing desserts.
Indigo- Pricey but good food. The dish "vegetables cooked different ways" is well-made. Next to Busaba.
Kailash Parbat- An iconic restaurant on Colaba Causeway/1st Pasta Lane dishing Sindhi and North Indian cuisine.
Starbuck's- Newly arrived in India, expect lots of crowds. The food is also decent. Entrance is from behind the Taj Mahal Palace.
There is also a Barista outlet (Cecil Court, Colaba Causeway); strategically located if you're tired of walking around in the heat.
Starbuck's- The biggest Starbuck's outlet in Mumbai, this is located on Horniman Circle. Food is similar to the one in Colaba with some more variety.
Pizza by the Bay- Famous restaurant on the junction of Marine Dr and Veer Nariman Road. Get a window table and see the world passing by while enjoying pizzas with Indian twists. Their tomato sauce is amazing. However, expect relatively slow service; it's quite a laid-back place.
Soam's Veg- Good Gujarati cuisine available here.
Badshah- An iconic eatery dishing up good Indian desserts etc. Get a window table to witness the outside chaos.
Moshe's- In High Street Phoenix/Palladium. Good Med food.
Bonobo- Located above KFC on Linking Rd/33rd Rd. Good crostini, humus and other Med food.
You can have a look at the food courts in the various malls for greater variety.
See the Sights section for Crawford Market, Chor Bazaar and Fashion St.
High Street Phoenix/Palladium- A typical, modern mall in Lower Parel. Lots of food options and typical shops.
Inorbit Mall- Located in Malad. Has all the usual brands.
Infiniti Mall- Has two branches, one in Andheri and one in Malad.
Taxis operate throughout the city and can be hailed. Autos (3-wheelers) only operate in the suburbs. City cabs are cheap by Western standards and drivers are generally eager for a conversation. There are also radio taxis and other companies.
Radio cabs will use their meters. With normal city cabs you may need to agree on a fare if the driver doesn't use the meter.
There is a hellishly crowded (on weekdays at least) suburban train. If you plan on using it, take advice of your hotel or a local friend. As a first-timer, avoid using it in rush hours, from 8-11 am and from 5-8 pm. Stand clear of the doors (they don't close) as people near the doors can get pushed out.
When it comes to violent crime, Mumbai is generally safe. Be in well-peopled areas. Many areas, eg Marine Dr, are well frequented even late at night. Petty crime can be a problem in crowded areas. Exercise usual precautions and don't leave belongings unattended. If you're riding the commuter rail, be very cautious of pick-pockets.
With just one day in Mumbai, stay in South Mumbai and visit Colaba in the morning. After lunch around, in the evening, get to CST to get a feeling of the evening rush and walk around for a while- Dr Dadabhai Naoroji Rd and MG Rd for instance, and end your stay with a stroll down Marine Dr at night.
On your Day 1 morning, walk around Colaba, visiting Colaba Causeway, Afghan Church and Cuffe Parade. In the early evening, visit Crawford Market for some kulfi at Badshah and then stroll then Marine Dr later, visiting Girgaum Chowpatty for some views and street food.
On the second day, spend your morning around Churchgate and Fort, taking in the colonial architecture. Visit the Prince of Wales Museum during the afternoon and spend the evening around CST- feeling the chaos.
Spend the first two days as above. On the third day, go to Elephanta Island in the morning. Spend your evening in Bandra.
If you have another day, spend the morning in Malabar Hill and later get to Byculla for some antique-shopping in Chor Bazaar.
No of visits- 3
Last visit- Jul 2014
First visit- Feb 2009