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You might be nervous about visiting Mumbai if it is your first time. You’re not wrong.
Mumbai is the heart of India. It’s crazy, hot, beautiful, unstoppable, and inspiring.
It is the largest city in the country and has a massive divide between the insanely wealthy and the downright poor. It works somehow.
Its wild energy will grab you and make you want more. It can be challenging to get your feet under the swirling point.
If you’re visiting India for the first time, this is the place to be. It’s important to know where you can go to catch the action.
It is spread over an enormous area, so many places are essential to ensure you get the most from your visit.
This guide is for first-timers and will help you navigate Mumbai.
How to get to Mumbai, India
Mumbai is now served by an international airport that has been completely rebuilt. It can be reached via plane from anywhere in the world.
Fly direct from London Heathrow every day. It’s also cheaper than flying into Delhi if you want to begin your Indian adventure in Bombay.
Daily domestic flights to Mumbai from Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai.
It is easily accessible by bus or train. You will likely pull up at Terminus Station. You’ll be in for a surprise!
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Mumbai: Where to Stay
The Taj Mahal Palace is my favorite place to stay.
It’s right next to the Gateway of India and is also one of the most famous hotels in the country.
This hotel is a landmark in history. It is the Taj Hotels flagship property built in 1903 by Jamsetji Tata.
Founder of the world-famous mammoth Tata Group.
The place was built for him to protest that he couldn’t access the grand hotels in other cities, such as Watson’s because he was Indian. They say the rest is history.
It is a 5-star “Heritage Grand” hotel and has seen a lot of celebrities through its doors over time. Amitabh Bachchan, Obama, and John Lennon have all visited the hotel to enjoy the luxurious lifestyle.
The hotel can be divided into two halves. The first is the historic Palace Wing. Here you will find their heritage apartments or suites.
Their second tower wing is the modern, contemporary one. It offers more options and costs less for people who want to experience Tajness but still have a good financial balance.
This hotel is wall-to-wall perfection. It’s easy to see why the Taj group can’t be beaten on hotel service. It’s a place you will never regret.
These are the top things to do in Mumbai if you’re visiting Mumbai for the first time.
Colaba is Mumbai’s heritage area. You can see the colonial past when you pull up.
The perfect place to see the sights is the Gateway at the harbor, the buildings, and the cobbled streets.
This is why I recommend starting from here. Here are some suggestions for what you should do.
Gateway of India and Front Bay
This was my favorite spot in Mumbai! This is the place to find all the historical buildings and tourist attractions.
The Gateway is striking, and it is India’s second most photographed attraction.
It is right next to the busy Mumbai harbor, so you will see seagulls playfully following fishing boats as they pull into shore.
You can take a boat ride through the harbor with the tourist boats that run throughout the day.
They leave when the boat is full. A one-hour cruise costs 80 rupees. You can also sit upstairs to enjoy the views.
Even though I didn’t go, daily boat trips to the Elephanta caves are available. They are about an hour from the harbor shore.
These ferries are extremely popular and can get crowded. Make sure to set off early!
Mumbai was the victim of a series of attacks in 2008 that left over 160 dead.
This area was home to the Taj Mahal Palace, one of the main targets. Even though it’s been almost a decade since the incident, its lasting effects still impact the city. Security is at its best.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
The Terminus station could be a tourist attraction all by itself!
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest train station built by the British during the 19th century.
Mumbai is home to some of India’s most dangerous and crowded train journeys.
Youtube has videos showing the rush hour, and I find them hilarious but deadly.
Many travels to see the chaos of riding a train during rush hour.
First class is the best option to experience a ‘people’s massage on the train.
The carriage will still be complete, but it won’t be as crowded as usual. A ladies’ carriage is also located near the front. It will be marked with a lady’s face.
I need to remember to board at rush hour. But it’s up to you!
People love to hate Leopold Cafe, a popular tourist spot. This bustling cafe is full of life, beer kegs, and film posters. Getting a table may take a while, but it is worth it!
This place is lovely, and the service was terrific. They also have the best butter chicken I’ve ever had in India. Get the butter chicken.
Kingfisher beer is a popular choice for punters. It’s also a great spot to enjoy a large but affordable meal from their extensive menu.
You can get everything from Caesar salad to pizza to traditional curries and pasta.
Unfortunately, this cafe was attacked in Mumbai in 2008. They’ve also left bullets in the walls as a tribute and reminder.
It is also featured in the novel Shantaram written by Gregory David Roberts.
Prince of Wales Museum
The Prince of Wales museum is intriguing, even though it’s less popular than other museums in India.
You can also find English translations of all artifacts, which is a great help.
Many museums in India still need this feature. If you need to learn Hindi, you will have to guess. You can also hire a guide.
The museum has an excellent natural history section showcasing over a ton of extinct animal taxidermy.
My friend and I had a great time stamping our ancient Indian coins!
Celebrity sightings in Juhu and the Beach
You may not be aware that celebrities are often spotted in Mumbai, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. This is because most Bollywood Stars have chosen to live in Mumbai due to the large movie studios in the area.
Film City is a trendy attraction. Tourists and locals alike can take movie tours every day.
They will take you to all the popular Bollywood filming locations and studios.
You might even be able to view some filming!
Many westerners are sought out in Mumbai for Bollywood movie roles.
You’ll be there for a while at rates of around 800 rupees per day. How cool would that be?!
I decided not to go on a tour because the Amitabh Bachchan residence was the only place I wanted to see.
I am a massive fan of his Bollywood films and love his appearances in Hollywood.
He has appeared in films such as the Great Gatsby, Wes Anderson, and the Grand Budapest Hotel.
Although he has bought many properties in the vicinity, the original is in Juhu. The iconic plaque outside will help you to spot it.
He makes an appearance on Sundays for well-wishers
He will be greeted by thousands of fans who will wait patiently for hours. To catch a glimpse, I will be back.
I talked with his security guards, who were busy watching the area. That’s all I can think of!
After you’ve finished stalking, you can relax on Juhu beach. Although it is a small beach with white sand, it is a beautiful place to unwind and dip in the ocean.
Nightlife in Mumbai
Mumbai’s nightlife is legendary. There are many expensive bars and clubs to choose from.
India’s sky bars scene is still relatively new. It was, therefore, a delight to find one that offers a spectacular view of Mumbai’s skyline.
The perfect spot to enjoy cocktails and see the city come alive with the twinkling of lights is Aer at Four Seasons Worli.
You can enjoy cocktails at happy hour from 5-8 pm, and entry is charged after 8 pm on weekends. But the view is well worth it!
High Tea at Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai
If you are like me, afternoon tea is a must-have! I love a good cup of tea and a delicious cake.
You should stop by the Taj Mahal Palace if you still need to check in for the night.
The traditional cake tiers won’t be available, but the buffet-style all-you-can-eat affair is excellent because you can eat what you want when you want.
You can find savory and sweet dishes in many sizes and shapes. You can enjoy many sweets, including truffles, goodies, and devilish sweets.
Freshly baked scones fill the air. You can also have them with cream and jam.