Wherever you go, the sound of honking horns, the smell of street food wafting by in waves, and the colourful sight of traditional Indian dress will compete for your attention. With bargain buys, exclusive boutiques, ethnic markets and mini bazaars dotted across the city, Mumbai is a shopper’s dream. Bargain hard for good prices on beautiful handmade scarves and shawls, silk paintings, and unique Indian souvenirs at the roadside stalls and markets. You’ll be amazed by the magnificent patterns on show in the elite stores, where the city’s richest pay top rupees for glamorous garments and fabrics.
Along the street you’ll notice many fast-food outlets, but skip these and instead try a vada pav from one of the street vendors, a spicy deep-fried vegetarian snack native to this state of Maharashtra. To experience the classy dining scene, dedicate your nights to exploring the multi-culinary delicacies dished up in posh restaurants, or dine with the locals in simple eateries serving up trays laden with colourful curries and rice. Then pull up a stool in one of the stunning rooftop bars or grungy hole in the wall drinking spots, where you may find just yourself shoulder to shoulder with local Bollywood stars – or simply wannabes.
A trip to Mumbai isn’t complete without a real taste of Bollywood, the seat of the Hindi film industry, which produces the largest number of films in the world. Indulge in the constant stream of performances, from music and dance to drama, or catch a local Bollywood film at the cinema, a favourite Indian pastime. Next up, check out Kala Ghoda, the cultural heart of the city and home to Mumbai’s best art galleries and museums.
Once you’ve indulged in all the cosmopolitan delights on offer, immerse yourself in the cultural roots of this city that, while being the most modern city in India, is still steeped in Indian customs and values. Relish in the Gateway of India, a striking symbol of the British Raj era, and the imposing Haji Ali, both a mosque and a tomb built in 1431. Then explore the most famous Mumbai temples, like Siddhivinayaka and Mahalakshmi, before moving on to the Art Deco buildings and Victorian-Indian fusions that grace the streets. And at the end of the long days battling with the crowds, sit back and watch the sunset by the beaches of Juhu and Marine Drive.
Mumbai is a city of contrasts that has to be seen to be believed. From the flashy, shimmering Bollywood scene and the eclectic mix of top-notch dining and bars, to the bustling bazaars and ancient Indian architecture, Mumbai delivers it all with a punch. Unlike any other place on earth, this is one city you don’t want to miss. Check out our range of Mumbai hotels below, and don’t forget your flights to Mumbai.
Hotels in Mumbai start at AU$165 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.