Mumbai Travel Guide
To explore Mumbai is to explore a microcosm of India; it is a colourful and vast city where cultures and religions collide, and magnificent wealth and abject poverty interplay on every street corner:
The largest and most cosmopolitan city in India, a holiday in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is an experience in contrasts, from the glitz and glamour of Bollywood to the terrible poverty of its beggars; from the Gothic splendour of colonialism to the ornate beauty of Indian architecture; from the palaces and temples that inspire to the smog, garbage and throngs that hamper the experience. There is nothing dull or tired about Mumbai, and simply soaking up the atmosphere in the streets is sufficient to open the mind and the heart to what this fascinating country is all about.
A holiday in Mumbai is not for the faint-hearted because the sheer size and scope of this city is daunting. Globetrotters who revel in people-watching, and those who enjoy shopping for bargains in chaotic markets are good candidates for a Mumbai holiday. Those keen to party will find that Mumbai has the best nightlife of India's cities. Tourists tend to gravitate first and foremost to the Colaba district, on the southernmost peninsula of the city, for the good hotels and restaurants, and the landmark Gateway to India.
Best time to visit Mumbai
The climate of Mumbai is generally hot and humid throughout the year. The best time to travel to Mumbai is in the winter months between November and February, when conditions are slightly more bearable. Travellers should void the monsoon season (between June and September), when the city is likely to be swamped by heavy rain and flooding.
What to see in Mumbai
-Pay tribute at the Haji Ali Dargah, a mausoleum and mosque built in 1431.
-Watch the age-old labours of the dhobis at the 'world's largest laundromat', the Dhobi Ghat.
-Learn about Mahatma Gandhi at his old Mumbai headquarters, the Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum.
-Wander through the Prince of Wales Museum, learning about India's colonial history.
What to do in Mumbai
-Shop at the colourful Crawford Market and explore the Kalbadevi merchant district.
-Catch the ferry to the awe-inspiring caves on Elephanta Island.
-Explore the Gothic magnificence of Mumbai's colonial Fort Area.
-Stroll along Marine Drive, Mumbai's famous coastal thoroughfare.
Quite centrally located on the west coast of India, Mumbai is the gateway to the hedonistic pleasures of Goa, the beach paradise of India. However, from Mumbai it is also easy to travel north and experience cities such as Udaipur and Jaipur. The well-known Kanha National Park can be found to the east of Mumbai.
Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, often referred to simply as Mumbai Airport, is the second-busiest airport in southern Asia. It is located 18 miles (29km) north of Mumbai and receives direct flights from London and New York.
Did you know?
-Mumbai is home to 20 million people, making it the ninth-largest city in the world.
-Mumbai holds the record for the highest rainfall of any city in a single day.
-Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling, who wrote Kim and The Jungle Book, was born in Mumbai.