TRAVEL GUIDES
October 4th, 2016
5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Mumbai

Few places on Earth pulsate with a more hypnotic clash of bright colours, exotic fragrances and mesmerising noises than India does, and in the vibrant city of Mumbai two worlds collide in perfect unison as luxurious palaces cast shadows over bustling markets and the impeccable staff in the palatial hotels leave work to join the natural chaos created by nearly 12 million locals.

There’s so much to love about this enchanting city and here are our top five reasons to fall in love with Mumbai:

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THE HOTELS

India is home to some of the most opulent and luxurious hotels in the world, and many of the very best are located in Mumbai.

Arguably the most famous hotel in India, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is a tourist attraction in itself with its rich history, five star restaurants, renowned afternoon tea and architectural grandeur. The hotel overlooks the Arabian Sea, and over the years has welcomed many famous guests including the Obamas, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, the Obamas, Mick Jagger, and Prince William and The Duchess of Cambridge on their recent tour of India.

Image courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai
Image courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai

For those looking for a high-rise city hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai is an uber-glamorous property that is perhaps most famous for its stylish AER rooftop bar located on the hotel’s 34th floor. The bar is renowned for being the the highest bar in India, as well as its incredible bespoke cocktails.

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Image courtesy of knyazevfoto / Shutterstock.com
Image courtesy of glen photo / Shutterstock.com
Image courtesy of glen photo / Shutterstock.com

THE PEOPLE

Mumbai is India’s largest city and home to nearly 12 million people, which is about half the amount of people that live in all of Australia! From Bollywood actresses living in luxe apartments, to huge families squeezed into a one bedroom house, Mumbai is a vibrant city filled with people from all walks of life.

Dharavi in Mumbai is one of the world’s biggest slums with over 1 million residents living and working side by side. Made famous by the film, Slumdog Millionaire, which was filmed in the Dharavi, little is known and much is misunderstood about this area. Visitors to Mumbai can ask their hotel to organise a tour of the slum led by a local.

Many would be surprised to learn that the slum has an estimated annual turnover of US$1 billion and is home to over 5,000 businesses including textiles, pottery and recycling. Visitors can explore the tight alleyways that weave between make-shift homes, hospitals, convenience stores and schools, and even meet the locals who would tell you that they are more than happy with their home.

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THE MARKETS

Tackling the markets of Mumbai is a memorable experience, and definitely not one to be missed. Once you’ve taken a moment to marvel at the swarms of people going about their daily business, you can find yourself getting lost for hours browsing the local products on display.

Visit Colaba Causeway if you enjoy the excitement of the bargaining process. Explore a never-ending boardwalk of stalls selling everything from bags, to souvenirs, jewellery, incense and silk carpets. Or, try the popular Crawford Market for a chaotic experience that you’ll never forget, just try and avoid the entire section that is dedicated to pets!

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Image courtesy of silentwings / Shutterstock.com
Image courtesy of
silentwings / Shutterstock.com

THE FOOD

Mumbai is an exotic metropolis of fine dining restaurants serving world-class cuisine and street vendors offering cheap eats and traditional Indian recipes. While many of the best restaurants in Mumbai serve Japanese, Thai, European and Chinese fare, it’s the local cuisine that we want to talk about.

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For a fine dining contemporary Indian experience to remember, head to Ziya in the Oberoi which features gold ceilings, gold wall panels, gold plates and even gold cutlery. Led by two-Michelin star Chef Vineet Bhati, Ziya incorporates an innovative twist into traditional Indian recipes.

No article about India would be complete without mentioning the best place for street eats. Head to Chowpatty Beach to stroll along the shore with a bhel puri – a crunchy, sweet and sour puffed rice served with onion, potato and tamarind chutney; grab a ‘poor man’s burger’ of bread filled with a fritter stuffed with mash potato at one of Mumbai’s 50,000 Vada Pav stalls; or grab some Mughali specialities at the Crawford Market.

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shutterstock_315118493 shutterstock_259103372-1THE SIGHTS

There’s so much history and so much to see in Mumbai, and one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions is Elephanta Island. Accessible via ferry, Elephanta Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site that was constructed between the mid 5th to 6th centuries. People flock to the island to view the cave temples carved out of rock with imagery linking to the Hindu god, Shiva.

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Back on the main land, the iconic Gateway of India located next to the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is a spectacular monument that was built during the 20th century.  As Mumbai’s number one tourist attraction, visitors flock to the gateway for sunset photos and relaxing views of the Arabian Sea.

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