India is filled with marvelous metropolises, but Mumbai offers something very different in its heady mix of markets, colonial heritage, cultural hot spots, beaches and big city mayhem. Experience the many rhythms of life in Mumbai on strolls past elegant lines of colonial-era buildings and monuments, and glimpse the best of contemporary India at the city’s cosmopolitan cafes and convivial beaches.
Day 1: Mumbai Meander
Start your Mumbai Meander on the southern tip of Mumbai, in the former colonial area known as Colaba. There are colonial buildings to admire and plenty of contemporary flair in the upmarket district’s cafes and malls. Browse the local fruit market and electronic gadgets at Colaba Causeway bazaar, then bone up on Indian history at Gandhi’s House, the city refuge where the Mahatma stayed when visiting Bombay in pre-Independence days.
Day 2: Mumbai Markets and Munchies
Mumbai locals love to shop and eat, and with some of the best markets in the country to browse, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t join in. Whether you’re looking for jewelry, saris, antiques, contemporary fashion or seasonal fruit and veg, you’ll find it at one of Mumbai’s many markets. When you’re feeling hungry after all that hard bargaining, head to Chowpatty Beach at dusk to watch the sunset and snack on Mumbai street food sold by the bagful by beach vendors. For a sit-down feast, order savory pancakes at legendary Swati Snacks, a few streets back from the beach.
Day 3: Harbor and Caves Excursion
Mumbai has always looked out to sea, tracing its history back to the seven islands that formed its core, way back in the 2nd century BC. So what better way to spend your last day in Mumbai than by admiring the port and Gateway of India monument before taking a scenic boat cruise over the waters of Mumbai Harbour. Or ride a ferry over to Elephanta Island, to explore its acclaimed network of subterranean caverns and the sumptuous Hindu temple sculptures of the Elephanta Caves. On your return to terra firma, relax with a drink in one of the sumptuous bars of the harbor-front Taj Mahal Hotel.