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A Local’s Guide to Mumbai (Bombay)

Inside Tips:

Don’t go Overboard on the Local Food: Local Indian cuisine is mouth-watering tasty, but that’s primarily because it is prepared in such a wide assortment of spices and oils. If you aren’t used to it, they can seriously leave you spending the whole of next day visiting the restroom! This by any means, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try out the local cuisine whatsoever, but only that you do it with some caution and self-control!

Keep your wits about: Honestly, this is the only real inside advice I’d give to any western tourist that comes to Mumbai. Compared to most western cities of this size, the pace at which life moves in Mumbai is dazzling & extremely unsettling. As a stranger, unfamiliar with the city, you can very easily feel unbelievably hassled & harried with its frantic pace & chaotic nature, where you’ll constantly be pressed for personal space. You can ill-afford to allow any of your senses to switch off for even the minutest of time-frames. While Mumbai is amongst the most liberal places in India, as a white-skinned traveler, you might be a constant source of attention, often unwanted – people will stare with fascination for no apparent reason. While most people you meet will be kind, friendly & warm – plenty will even go out of their way to help you out, but please understand that a large part of the city lives in sheer poverty, crime is rampant, and amongst such a large number of people, you’re bound to meet your share that will want to hoodwink you or take you for a ride.

Be aware of Local Sensitivities: For the umpteenth time, Mumbai is a fairly liberal, cosmopolitan city, but its large diversity also means the existence of a sizeable number of sensitivities. Like most parts in India, the city feels very strongly about religion(s). Take every care to respect local cultures, norms and beliefs, just like you would anywhere else you travel to and always steer clear of local conflicts, no matter how trivial in nature.


Mumbai – the city where a million dreams collide…everyday!

Some Useful Resources:

Top Restaurants in Mumbai

Important Phone Numbers for Travelers

Best Places to Stay in Mumbai

Safety Tips for Women Travelers in India

Also Read:

Playing The Guide in Goa

3 Exotic Summer Destinations in India

5 Visa Friendly Destinations for Indians


  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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