A holiday in Mumbai is an intoxicating assault on the senses. It’s big, it’s bustling and it’s chaotic, and Mumbai city, also known as Bombay, is famous for being the home of Bollywood and Indian high fashion. The city is located on a small island connected to the mainland by a number of bridges and is a paradox of both wealth and poverty, evident in the contrast between the slums and the opulent buildings. With its streets are filled with temples, mosques and bazaars, a Mumbai holiday will engulf you.
The city offers numerous fascinating museums. The Hanging Gardens, located on the slope of Malabar Hill, give visitors a panoramic view of Marine Drive with its Art Deco architecture and nearby Chowpatty Beach. Mumbai is also home to some of the country’s finest Indian restaurants, a diverse melting pot of cuisines from the north and south. Shopping in Mumbai’s bustling markets is a great way to get to know the people and their culture, with a dizzying array of produce and products and a lively, chaotic blend of all that is India in a nutshell.
Why travel to Mumbai
- Shopping is not only a cultural adventure, but it’s also a memorable experience and excellent retail therapy!
- As the gateway to India, Mumbai’s history and culture are fascinating and absorbing.
- The vibrant nightlife is renowned as the best you’ll find in the country.
- It’s the home of Bollywood so make sure to visit the cinema.
- Explore the city’s largest park, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
- Its history dates from the 1st Century BCE onwards.
- The beaches are superb.
- Mumbai also boasts a cutting-edge contemporary art scene.
With its fine dining restaurants standing shoulder to shoulder with fabulous food stalls, exquisite fashion boutiques and colourful bazaars, vibrant streets and impressive architecture, plus history and art to the nines, and Mumbai is a fascinating holiday destination. Let Thompsons Holidays arrange a Mumbai holiday package especially for you.
Things to do in Mumbai
India’s economic powerhouse, Mumbai, is the country’s fastest-moving and most industrialised city. It’s a busy, noisy, chaotic place to visit – a completely dishevelled mix of old and new, wealth and poverty, a melting pot of cultures and a lively, charismatic city. Mumbai is also full of history that dates way back, and you can explore the city’s museums and temples at leisure to find out about its fascinating story.
A popular place to visit is the museum called Mani Bhavan, the house where Mahatma Gandhi stayed. There are also numerous art galleries displaying the city’s burgeoning modern art scene, and exquisite gardens to explore, not forgetting the city’s beautiful beaches, a drawcard for visitors who come here to soak up the endless sunshine. With so many places to visit, things to do and sightseeing options, Mumbai sightseeing is a dream come true for explorers.
What to do in Mumbai
- Visit Mumbai’s most famous monument, the Gateway of India.
- See the country’s largest open-air laundry, the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat.
- Discover the 15th-century Haji Ali, a mosque and a tomb.
- Enjoy shopping in one of the chaotic bazaars.
- Take in a Bollywood movie at the Eros Cinema.
- Visit the impressive Elephanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Explore the city’s cultural centre, Kala Ghoda, to see excellent museums and art galleries.
- Soak up the sun on Juhu or Marine Drive Chowpatty Beach.
- Sample historic Iranian recipes in a Parsi café.
- Cycle through the city in the early morning.
A diverse melting pot of cultures, art and history, Mumbai offers so many sightseeing attractions and things to do. It’s a thrill to explore and offers a taste of India in a nutshell. Thompsons Holidays can take you there on an unforgettable, tailor-made Mumbai holiday package.
Know before you go...
When is the best time to visit?
- Summer (March to May) in Mumbai can be unbearably hot, which is why most South Africans prefer to travel to Mumbai in the more temperate period from October to March.
- Monsoon Season falls between June and September.
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to Mumbai with one stopover: 10 hours, 55 minutes.
- There are regular flights between South Africa and Mumbai, India.
- South African passport holders do require a visa to enter India.
- You can apply for a visa through the Consulate General of India in South Africa or online through Indian Visa Online.
- Time zone – Mumbai is 3 hours and 30 minutes ahead of South Africa.
- Currency in India: Indian Rupee (INR).
- Credit cards are accepted in big-city hotels, shops and restaurants. In more remote areas, cash payments are only accepted.
- Don’t accept change if the paper money is old, torn, dirty or marked.
- No Indian currency can be exported or imported. Convert your Rupees back into another currency before leaving.
- Tipping is not an Indian custom, but you have to pay for all services, even if you ask directions.
- Ask tour guides up front what they expect to be paid.
- Most hotels include a service charge of 19%.
- Where tipping is at your discretion, 10% is acceptable.
- India has 22 official languages. Hindu is the most spoken language (it’s also the fourth most spoken language in the world!)
- English is widely spoken – in fact, it’s one of India’s official languages. However, it is not easily understood by locals.
- You can learn a few common phrases or carry a phrasebook with you to help you communicate in restaurants, shops and when asking for directions.
- Almost 80% of the Indian population practice Hinduism.
- Other religions include Islam, Christianity and Sikh.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively and modestly. Cover heads, arms, legs and shoulders before entering.
- Drinking water is not safe in India. Only drink bottled water.
- No vaccinations are currently required but travelling to India involves certain health risks. Please contact your doctor before you leave.
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing in summer, layers for the cooler evenings and colder months.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Mumbai transport includes the Mumbai Metro, the Mumbai Bus Rapid Transport system, taxis, buses, auto-rickshaws and ferry services.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Instead of using plastic bags, take fabric shopping bags with you.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Mumbai, India - Sightseeing [1.3 MB]
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