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A Local’s Guide to Mumbai (Bombay)

Beaches: For an island city, Mumbai has a non-existent beach scene. Popular beach fronts include Girgaon Chowpatty & Juhu Beach – the waters are alarmingly dirty and the beaches crowded, so you’d totally be within your rights to skip them altogether, but most tourists can rarely resist the temptation.

Religious Places: Befitting a largely religious populace, Mumbai has several world famous places of worship belonging to different faiths. You’ll see massive variety ranging from temples, mosques, churches, Parsi agiaries, and even a few synagogues co-existing side-by-side – a stark reminder of the diversely cosmopolitan nature of the city’s masses. Notable religious venues include the Haji Ali Dargah, a tiny islet located 500 metres from the coast in the middle of Worli Bay – you have to walk the 500 meters on a narrow pavement in the middle of the sea. Siddhivinayak Temple in Dadar is popular and local legend believes the deity to be wish-granting. Other notable places of worship include the ISCKON Temple in Juhu, belonging to the widely known Hare Krishna movement and the Global Vipassana Pagoda, in Gorai – a meditation hall built as a monument of peace & harmony dedicated to Buddha and his teachings is an excellent venue for meditation. religious places, mumbai


Mumbai is fondly known as the ‘city that never sleeps’, which is true in most parts. Venture out at 3-4 am in the night and you’ll always find a decent number of people in the main-street areas. Auto-rickshaws & cabs ply their trade around the clock, though public transport usually stalls for a few hours at night. Mumbai has a massive number of bars, pubs & lounges – most remain open till well after midnight on weekdays and oftentimes till 2am on weekends. South Mumbai has several brilliant venues for a drink including a couple of microbreweries in The Barking Deer Brewpub & The White Owl, both situated in Lower Parel. A few notable clubs include Tryst, China House & F-Bar – all of which are upmarket venues. Cafe Mondegar & Leopold Cafe in Fort are renowned venues frequented by a very cosmopolitan mass, including large numbers of foreign nationals.

In the western suburbs, Bandra & Juhu are the epicenters of nightlife activity with a plethora of pubs & lounges to choose from. Mumbai is the most liberal of Indian cities in terms of alcohol consumption, even for women – but just as everywhere else, you’d do well to keep your wits around you while consuming alcohol.

cafe mondegar

The Effervescent Cafe Mondegar, Colaba

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  1. We have not been to India or Mumbai yet. Would love to visit this city, it looks amazing and is so big and crowded! 20 million people on 603 sqkm!! That is crazy! Back home in Norway we are a total of 5 million people on about 385000 sqkm! 🙂 We are currently in Indonesia, thinking about where to go next. India just climbed high up on our next-to-visit-list :). How many days would you recommend us staying in Mumbai?

  2. The last time I was in Bombay was about a year ago. I want to go back… love the city for its energy!

  3. This is still on my list of places to visit – hoping to get to India in the next couple of years – so I will remember that it is an expensive place to stay. Perhaps for a night or two I could stretch the budget!

  4. I remember the crazy traffic and being nervous to cross the street that we ultimately decided just to keep to our side of the street!

  5. The subcontinent and its volume of people is always staggering!

    I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting India (however it is one of Sarah’s favourite countries), however I think I can imagine the sheer volume having visited Bangladesh a few years ago!

  6. I’m actually not fan of Big cities. Yet mumbai
    Seems to be interesting. And wow that train. I thought we have the worst here in the Philippines. But wow, that looks more tough. Hehehe

  7. 20 million people? There are only 5 million in Scotland – cannot comprehend this!!

  8. I actually really enjoyed this little read…..very well written. I would love to visit Mumbai, probably will one day. I like both the beautiful outdoors as well as the hustle and bustle of a big city… In fact I think you can find quite a bit of culture in these cities….The modern world with old world beliefes meshed into one..sounds cool.

  9. Here is my additions to your locals guide to Mumbai from an actual Mumbai local
    Mumbai is about great food , vada pav and panni puri in Khao Galis. taporis, elephanta caves, kaali peeli taxis, a zillion people in dadar station, madness in mumbai locals. beautiful victoria terminus and India gate , Juhu beach,
    Beautiful Navy nagar in Colaba, the marine drive, home of Bollywood, and the God of cricket

  10. Seems to be interesting…I really enjoyed this little read!!! very well written.

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