People & places
Mumbaikars (or Bombayites, depending on who you speak to) make this city. Wander around South Mumbai and you’ll find Bollywood stars hanging out in glamorous hotels. At the other end of the spectrum, there are barbers running micro shops from the pavement and clothes are hand-washed on a record-breaking scale at dhobi ghat. After you’ve seen the highlight reel of places like Marine Drive and the gorgeously Gothic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, meet a local guide in the early hours for a good, old-fashioned walking tour to see a side to the city that most don’t (p11). And there’s the dabbawalas. If you time it right (try around 11am at Churchgate station), you’ll spot some of Mumbai’s ‘lunchbox-carriers’, mid-transit as they shift 130,000-odd home-cooked lunches to offices every day. It’s the ultimate and original food delivery service.
Food & drink
Mumbai is big on flavour. Locals are powered by street food snacks like vada pav (deep-fried veggie goodness in a pillowy bun) and crispy chaat slathered in sweet and sour chutney. There are lots of chic meeting spots for cocktails and Instagram-friendly small plates, and if you’re always the last to decide what to get, order a thali. You’ll literally be having it all, on a silver platter with eight or so different dishes and naan to scoop it all up. As Mumbai’s weather is set to a constant humid, cool down like the locals do with some kulfi (silky Indian ice cream) or falooda, a milky drink that doubles as dessert.
How & when
Mumbai is an inspired – and easy – addition to any itinerary, with direct flights to and from Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta), Goa, Kerala and almost every other city in India as well as Kathmandu. It’s notoriously muggy so it’s best to avoid the height of summer (mid-March to May), and the following monsoon season (June to September). Mumbai’s winter (November to February) is still warm and is the most comfortable time for sightseeing.
GMT +5½ hours
Hindi, English and a number of other regional languages
A visa is needed for travel to India. British passport holders are able to apply for an E-Visa. The E-Visa needs to be applied for online in advance of travel and travellers must possess a machine readable passport. Please call for more information.