How to Reach?
Mumbai is well connected by air with most of the major international airports such as New York, London, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur. Recently opened ritzy Domestic Terminal 1B of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the busiest airport and a major international gateway of India. Prominent international airlines such as British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Lufthansa, Qantas & Singapore Airlines, operate flights to Mumbai. If you are planning a trip to Mumbai from Europe, it is advisable to fly from London owing to low price of tickets and daily flight frequency.
A major domestic airport is located at Santacruz with well connectivity to all metros and other major cities in India such as Delhi, Kolkata, Banglore, Chennai etc.
Mumbai has trains coming to and fro from all over India. The Central line connects Mumbai to South India, East India, and parts of North India. Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (aka Victoria Terminus, VT), Mumbai Central, Dadar Terminus, and Kurla Terminus are key stations here. The Western line has connectivity to Gujarat, Rajasthan, and parts of North India. The main terminuses are Mumbai Central, Dadar, Andheri, Kurla, Thane and Bandra.
The newly built Konkan Railway line is a good way to travel from Goa and mangalore (Which is called the coastal pardise of India. The journey itself is a worth while experience as the train travels through the picturesque Konkan coast of Maharashtra.
National highways NH-3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 17 and the Mumbai-Pune expressway radiate from the city providing routes to all major cities of the country. Mumbai is well served by luxury buses from Udaipur, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Indore, Nashik, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Belgaum, Hubli, Bangalore, Mangalore, Trichur and Goa. Few of the reliable private operators are - Volvo, Shivneri, VRL, Konduskar, Dolphin, Paulo and Southern Travels.
The luxury air-conditioned cabs and buses are available to Pune, Ahmednagar, and Nashik from 'Asiad Bus Terminal' near Dadar East railway station, Sion, Chembur and Borivili. The easiest way to reach the 'Asiad Bus Terminal' is to walk straight (less than 5 mins) using pedestrian foot bridge to Dadar East from the Dadar Terminus.
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The city thrives on a well entrenched local train network. There are frequent trains which run every now and then across the city. All areas of city are well connected through the train network. Mumbai Central is the most important Terminus in the city. There are three major railway lines in Mumbai, Western, Central, and Harbour. These three lines cover the entire city. Travelling is also cheaper as one can take a monthly pass that allows one to commute on any station on the western/ central/ harbour line. There are separate compartments reserved for ladies.
The city has an excellent local bus network. BEST buses provide efficient and wide-ranging services connecting all areas of the city and the extended suburbs such as Navi Mumbai, Thane, and Mira-Bhayanadar. There are plenty of bus stops all over the city. Entry is through the rear entrance and exit at the front. Tickets are issued by a uniformed "conductor". Few seats are reserved for "Ladies", "Senior Citizens", and "Handicapped". Buses ply throughout day and night starting from 5AM to midnight with an average frequency ranging between 5-30 minutes. Fares are nominal and buses can be travelled during peak hours, unlike trains which are far too crowded.
One can also commute through Auto-rickshaws which are only allowed to operate till Bandra and Sion. Charges are levied based on a fair and equitable meter system. The starting fare is Rs 11 which remains constant for the first 2 kms. The meter remains at 1.00 for the first 2 km and every 0.10 movement signifies a distance covered of 200 meters.
Places of Interest
Gateway of India
The monument was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay in December 1911. The foundation of Gateway of India was laid down by the then Governor of Bombay, Sir George Sydenham Clarke. Inscription imprinted on the gateway still reminds the onlookers of historical event of the King's arrival.
The large expanse of the Arabian Sea visible from the monument makes the view simply overwhelming. At the back of the Gateway, there are several steps leading down to the water. Here, you can get onto the bobbing little motor boats for a ride to Elephanta Islands and a short cruise through Mumbai's splendid natural harbour. Cruises from Gateway of India leave every 30 min daily except during the monsoon season (Jun-Sep). This makes Gateway of India, the most visited spot in Mumbai. One could reach Gateway of India by boarding at CST station. Other magnificent attraction here is Hotel Taj which is a living legend and a premier 5 star hotel in India.
Mumbai has an unbelievable number of religious places of worship. If you want to visit all of them you have to set apart a day long itinerary on that. Starting with Mahalakshmi Temple, Banganga Temple, Siddhi Vinayak, Afghan Church, Mahim Church, and Haji Ali Dargah the list goes on and on.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)
Charles Wales Museum
This century old museum located near the Chatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus is home to some of the varied and rare pieces of historical value. It boasts of a wide collection of sculptures of Indo-saracenic culture and fabulous pieces of art and artifacts procured from different parts of the world.
Do not forget to include a trip to Dhobi Ghat, the largest open air laundry in the world.
Essel World and Water Kingdom
For the more outgoing, adventurous, and open to newer forms of entertainment, EsselWorld and Water Kingdom offers an opportunity to mix adventure with pleasure. 64 acres of fresh air, 30,000 specimens in botanical garden, 79 racy rides and zippy slides, these twin amusement parks attracts up to 1.8 million visitors each year, of which a sizable number (3, 00,000) are students.
Mumbai is the bedrock of Indian Film Industry. Located next to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Goregaon (East), Film City is a hot-spot to find the superstars of Bollywood. A dream world, dotted with fountains, gardens, lakes, lakes, helipads and real-looking buildings, the Film City is sprawled over a large area. The techno savy indoor and outdoor shooting facilities, editing and recording rooms, and modern technology produce movies of great visuals and quality. A prior permission from relevant authorities is required to access the place. Cinema lovers can plan a trip to the Filmcity and enjoy a first hand experience of live shooting of film sequences.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
The northern edge of teeming metropolis has a 104-sq-km protected jungle surrounded by forested hills. Bright flora, birds, butterflies and elusive wild leopards could be seen in abundance in this wild region. The best time to see birds is October to April and butterflies August to November. One of the major tourist attractions here is the lion & tiger safari, starting from the tiger orientation centre. One gets to experience a whirlwind 20-minute jaunt by bus across the park housing the tigers and lions. There is also an information centre inside the main entrance that has a small exhibition on the park's wildlife.
109 Kanheri Caves lining the side of a rocky ravine is another intriguing attraction. The caves were inhabited by Buddhist monks between the 200-900 BC as viharas (monasteries) and chaityas (temples).
Town Hall is unarguably the most imperial structure amongst the heritage buildings of Mumbai. Constructed somewhere near 1830, Town Hall is located in the Fort area of South Mumbai. The pillared monument has been profoundly influenced by Greek and Roman styles of architecture. Town Hall is even more significant for its exquisite edifice that has a portico with eight Doric pillars, old wooden floor, spiral staircases, wrought iron loggias and amazing marble statues of late benefactors of India. It houses the Asiatic Society of Bombay, which is the city's largest library with a collection of 0.8 million antique volumes. The Society's museum has a remarkable numismatic treasure of more than 1,000 ancient coins of erstwhile British and Mughal rule.
Mahalakshmi Racecourse is an elite horse racing ground in Mumbai. This oval shaped Race Course is run by the Turf Club. Most of the upper elite can be seen enjoying the horse races in their ostentatious attires. The season for horse racing starts in November and goes on till February. However, Derby which is held annually in February is the most awaited event at the race course. Amidst the glitterati, grandeur and extravaganza, aggressive punters competing across the ground make the entire occasion a worthwhile experience.
Theatre & Performances
Mumbai offers plenty of opportunities to theatre lovers and there are regular shows across theatres in the city. There is a vibrant theatre scene with prominent halls such as Prithvi Theatre, NCPA, Tata Theatre. daily plays in English, Hindi, Gujarati, and Marathi. One can check newspapers for the latest updates on shows and performances.
The most renowned theatre is Prithvi theater, Juhu in the Western Suburbs. Prithvi Theatre is highly active and organizes an annual drama festival that features the best plays from India. Numerous theatre workshops are conducted here to promote theatre aspirants. Outside the theatre, there is a garden café which is famous for its delicious North Indian food and Irish coffee. A visit to Prithvi Theatre will definitely give you a magnificent glimpse into the cultural and modern theatre in India.
Sea Food - To savour some authentic Indian (Konkan) sea food you must visit the Bharat Excellensea located next to the Horniman Circle and the Reserve Bank of India. Trishna and Mahesh Lunch Home (at Kala Ghoda in Fort) are also very popular amongst locals and tourists.
Try the kebab platter, sikandari raan at Peshawari at Maratha Sheraton, Andheri, Kebab Corner at Hotel Intercontinental, Copper Chimney at Worli, and Kareem's at Malad.
Chinese - Mainland China at Saki Naka, India Jones at Hilton Towers, Ling's Pavillion at Colaba, Golden Dragon at Taj Mahal Hotel, Spices at JW Marriott, China Gate and China White at Bandra. Bandra offers a range of Chinese Restaurants. Royal China at CST is renowned for its DimSum.
Japanese - Wasabi by Morimoto at Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba, Tiffin at The Oberoi, Pan Asian at Maratha Sheraton, India Jones at Hilton Towers Mumbai, and Origami (Atria Mall Worli). Also Japengo Cafe at CR2 Mall in Nariman Point and 'Tian cafe' at Juhu is a good place for sushi.
Italian - Little Italy, Mangi Ferra, and Don Giovanni's at Juhu, Mezzo at the JW Marriott, Vetro at The Oberoi, and Spaghetti Kitchen at Phoenix Mills, Parel.
Parsi - Parsi food is similar to Iranian. Brittania at Ballard Estate or Jimmy Boy close to Horniman Circle have some delectable Parsi dishes to offer.
Mumbai Street Food - Mumbai's street food can be found at every nook and corner, but they are majorly concentrated in beaches and around railway stations. You can experience the flavor of typical Mumbai chaat at Vitthal's Restaurant located opposite Sterling Cinema (C.S.T.).
Authentic Marathi Cuisine
Authentic Marathi snacks to check out are Sabudana Wada, Batata Wada, Missal, Kanda Poha, Uppit (or Upma), Shira, Alu Wadi, Thalipith. Two notable appetizer is Kokam Sarbat and Solkadhi, best enjoyed during hot summers.
Irani cafe's are Persian styled cafes opened by 19th century Persian migrants from Iran. These cafes have a unique lazy atmosphere and are best known for their "Irani Chai", "Bun-Maska/Maska Pav" (bread and butter) and Egg Omlette.
Some famous shopping streets are: Fashion Street, (Chruchgate Station) is the best place in Mumbai to buy cheap trendy clothes. You need to have good bargaining skills as shopkeepers may easily track new shoppers and charge them huge money.
Colaba Causeway located near the Gateway of India is a place where you will be able to find many authentic Indian souvenirs, antiques, carpets, and chandeliers.