India
Mumbai City District

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Top 10 Travel Destinations Mumbai City District

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  • Day27

    Bird Excursion & New Year's Eve Gala

    December 31, 2018 in India ⋅ 🌫 24 °C

    Our 30th Anniversary arrived!

    Johan had arranged a birding trip to two local reserves. The trip was led by a local ornithologist Asif N. Khan who works for BNHS, an area conservation agency. Jules joined us for his first ever birding excursion. We spent the morning birding on the edge of the Western Ghat in the Karnala bird sanctuary. The early afternoon we visited a wetland saved from by development by Asif's organization. No easy feat as 95 percent of the mangrove wetlands and islands around Mumbai have been filled in. I sighted 31 separate species, Johan probably double that. The mountain highlight for me was a scarlet minivet. The water highlight was a flock of 48 flamingo.

    We made it to the New Year's Eve celebration at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club last night. It was also our 30th anniversary so Nancy and I ducked out at 12:01. Another amazing evening. This morning we treated ourselves to a room service breakfast at the Grand Hyatt here in Mumbai.
    Here's a link to a countdown video from the evening: https://photos.app.goo.gl/1ZZAGTnRyd4E8Zah9

    Tomorrow we're off to Jaipur in the morning.
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  • Day24

    Maharashtra and Bengali Blend

    December 28, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    The wedding day arrived and found Augie and Nancy ill and confined to bed. Augie is still down some three days later. Yikes! This left Sophie and I to represent. And represent we did! Before we'd left the States Dolly requested our measurements so that she could have traditional clothing made for the occasion. We represented in style!

    The wedding was really interesting. The groom takes his place seated in an arched mandap at the front of the hall with the priest and close relatives looking on. After quite awhile the bride is lifted by her relatives and carried up to the front. She is holding her hands in front of her face and the groom has not seen her for some 12 days before this moment. He is lifted up by his relatives and the couple meets while seemingly floating on air. (this is all really apropos as they are both airline pilots) This is really no easy feat with a groom who tops out at 111 kilos. For the next hour or so the couple remain seated under the mandap with a Brahmin priest giving advice to the couple from the ancient traditions. The couple then make offerings and walk around the fire in the center seven times. Once this is done, they are official. The whole zeitgeist is really different from a western wedding. Most of the time the several hundred attendees aren't focused on the ceremony. They're milling about, socializing, and even getting a head start at the banquet table. Photos of the wedding can be found here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/kCmZHJFUJ5c19AJD7

    In the evening Johan and Mirtha were the first of our crew to head back to the hotel as Mirtha was also feeling a bit ill. Sophie and I sent them back with some electrolyte fluids and bananas for Augie and Nancy. Unfortunately we spent our last rupees on the food and forgot about having to secure a taxi back for ourselves. Fortunately a couple of guys from the bride's side noticed our predicament and went out of their way to deliver us safely back. The next morning Varsha commented, "It's India. This is how things are done here." Lovely.
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  • Day25

    Reception

    December 29, 2018 in India ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    Another night, another gala.

    Nancy and Augie were still recovering this morning so Sophie and I headed down to the old part of town to take a look. We were accompanied by Johan and Mirtha. We caught an Ola (Indian Uber) and headed for the Chor Bazaar, or Theives Market. We walked through several city blocks of metal fabricators to get to the antiques and brass items. There were shops filled with old telephones, shops with old signs, and this being India a whole corner dedicated to the sale of automobile horns. Sophie found a place dedicated to drawer pulls and made some purchases. Around that time Mirtha was wondering where the clothing shops were and so we caught another Ola and headed to the Colaba Causeway where Sophie found a few more items and we were good to go.

    By evening Nancy had begun feeling a bit better and was up for attending the reception banquet. Augie was again laid low and stayed behind as we made our way back downtown. We stopped at the Colaba Causeway again so that Nancy could buy a dress. We then walked over to the Taj hotel, the grande damme of Bombay's old luxury. The hotel is opposite the Gateway to India monument so we strolled by there as well.

    Around 8pm we caught another taxi over to the reception venue. Several hundred people were in attendance. The reception was held within a military compound. Dhiman, the groom's dad had served in the Indian military and retired as a lieutenant colonel. Our family had given additional ID documents and filled out additional security forms to be allowed entry.

    We arrived to a glamorous scene right out of Hollywood. Everyone took a turn getting their photos taken on the red carpet. There were film directors, actors, and a chantuese in attendance. There was even a military Scottish style regimental band complete with bagpipes. Again the buffet was brimming and drinks were liberally replenished. To top it off there was a huge roller spool of ice cream! (there you go, Don)

    Hopefully Augie will be back up to snuff by New Year's Eve.
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  • Day23

    Maximum City pre-Wedding

    December 27, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    We flew from Kochi to Mumbai the day after Christmas. We arrived in the evening and immediately fell into a whirl of activity, food, and color that has lasted for days. We came to celebrate the marriage of the nephew of our long time friends John and Varsha. After checking into the hotel we headed out into the Mumbai night to pick up Varsha's sister Pinky and their mother Neela. After a short visit to the house we climbed into cars and were driven to Pinky's favourite restaurant, Global Fusion. We arrived around 10pm and were informed That this is actually quite early for an Indian dinner. Global it was. Small plates kept arriving at regular intervals followed by visits to any one of ten food stations for main dishes. All good.

    Neela is quite a force. After Varsha's dad passed when she was nine years old, Neela took over a family of four girls. Dolly, Varsha, Pinky, and, Pappu. Varsha said that the girls grew up quick. She opened a salon and supported the family with its proceeds and help from extended family. The daughters have all grown into beautiful, successful women, each in her own way. They are also forceful women, again, each in her own way. I've watched them gently direct the men in their lives with everything from clear directions to subtle gestures over the past several days. It is Dolly's son Mikhail (named after Gorbachev) whose wedding we're here to celebrate.

    One thing about this family is that they are all into glamor and bling. Appearances matter. Knowing this Augie and I spent our first morning in Mumbai getting haircuts and a beard trim. Total came to 350 Indian rupees, or about $5. We doubled that as we tipped the barber and he was pretty chuffed. Sitting next to my oldest friend Jules in that shop watching my son getting a trim was a pretty special moment. Who would have thought that the two of us would one day be sitting in a shop in Bombay watching the chai walla dole out tea to a bunch of guys who are currently our age when we met some forty plus years ago.
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  • Day23

    Family, Family, and More Family

    December 27, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Varsha and John invited quite a crew to this week of celebration. In addition to our family of four, we are joined by their daughter Devi and her boyfriend Ed and Ed's mother Lena. They also invited their good friends and long time neighbors Johan and Mirtha. Soon upon arriving Varsha and John informed us that we were not just invited to the wedding and reception, but to all of the family events as well.

    The first gathering happened today at the home of the groom and his parents Dolly and Dhimi. It takes place just before the wedding and is called the Haldi. Women from the groom's family burn incense, conduct a prayer, and spread purifying turmeric paste on the groom's body. The remaining paste is then taken to the bride's home where she receives a similar blessing.

    Neither bride or groom is supposed to leave their respective homes following this ceremony. Technically this was adhered to as Mikhail only traveled a few blocks to his aunt Pappu's house for a pre wedding party attended by close family and friends. The party was a thing to behold. Another lovely home, but this time there were women in attendance who specialize in Mehndi, or henna body art. Oh, and there was a sound system that would put even the most raucous University of Santa Cruz house party to shame. Oh, and there was a full bar and lots of uncles and nephews ensuring that no one had an empty glass. Oh, and there was a woman, Crystal, who sings in Bollywood movies and recently sang in a huge celebrity wedding of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas. Oh, and so many interesting people that we ran out of time to meet them all. What a scene!
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  • Day36

    A Day at the Mall

    February 19, 2019 in India ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Decided to do about the least Indian thing possible for our last day here - we headed to the mall. Shandos has a conference the day after we arrive so needed to buy a couple of things for that, while I just wandered around the various shops looking at nothing in particular.

    Apparently it's the largest mall in India, and although it was fairly large there surprisingly isn't much competition. Western-style shopping malls just don't really exist here yet. The shops were all typical western brands and fairly expensive - honestly not much difference in price for the stuff I looked at versus the prices I'd expect back in Australia.

    We decided to splurge on lunch at a Jamie Oliver pizza restaurant which was tasty and quite cheap, though still comfortably our most expensive meal of the last three weeks. I think we paid about $30 AUD for two pizzas, a water and two non-alcoholic mixed drinks. Headed home in an Uber mid-afternoon and again just spent the rest of the day relaxing around the hostel.
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  • Day42

    South Goa to Mumbai

    February 16, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    We both enjoyed a lie in this morning, enjoying these really comfortable beds as we knew the following night we would spend on a night train. We were out of bed at 9am, the latest wake up time on our trip so far and made our way over to Palolem beach, a 10 minute walk from our hostel. The beach was huge, but quite crowded so we were both pretty happy that we decided to base ourselves in Patnem instead. We walked half-way along the beach and grabbed some veg noodles at a food vendor in a car park just off the beach for 80 rupees and then grabbed a 5L bottle of water to fuel us for the morning. We continued along Palolem beach reaching the island at the end that you could read at low tide, however the tide had already started to come in when we got there so we gave it a miss and decided to actually just head back to Patnem and enjoy our last beach day for a while there.

    Back at Patnem we enjoyed the water, the sunshine and the peace for a little while (even though it was scorching hot) before I looked at our tickets for the upcoming train. I woke Tom from his doze to tell him the tickets for our trains tonight were actually waiting list tickets not actual tickets for the train. We’d not been told about any of this as we’d paid for the tickets a couple of days earlier. We were in a Pool Quota waiting list, and bottom of the pile for that. We did some googling and discovered we wouldn’t have beds on this 11 hour overnight train to Mumbai. This made us both so frustrated at how the Indian rail system works and how anybody actually gets anywhere! We decided that we’d go to the train station in Cancona early to see what we could do. Of course we still had time to have our favourite Thali from the Nepalese restaurant, so we devoured it for the last time and went to get ready at the hostel. We’d asked the guy earlier in the day if we could grab a quick shower before the train, but it was a different person manning the hostel this afternoon and he didn’t like the idea of it! This day was going from bad to worse! We eventually just decided to get a shower as the hostel was empty, and then set off on the walk to the train station via the ATM for some much needed cash. I only had 30 pence on me and Tom only had about £2...not quite enough to get us to Mumbai.

    When we got to the station, there was a crazy guy there, either drunk or drugged up, causing trouble for everyone. The station master was armed with a big wooden bat if he started to kick off more...luckily the police were called and he was taken away. This left the station master to be barraged with questions by me about what all the different codes on tickets meant. Eventually it made sense (Indian sense) and we’d be refunded for the waiting list ticket but we’d have to buy a general class ticket if we still wanted to get to Mumbai tonight. We took a brave pill and got them , only £2.50 each, and awaited the arrival of the train, getting some snacks in the meantime. It hit 20:30 and we went up the platform where we’d been told the general carriages were and we both jumped on before the train had stopped to try and beat some of the locals on so we’d get a seat. It was immediately uncomfortable. Hard benches with a tiny amount of padding, racks above to store luggage where people were sat and very little air. We went for about an hour or so and stopped at some random station where they were selling chapattis and curry through the window of the train, so we grabbed one to share and it was actually pretty good. Once finished we noticed that other who had the same as us didn’t have the little bag or plate they were given. I went on the hunt for a bin but found none - a fellow passenger then motioned for us to just throw it out the window - something that I couldn’t imagine doing, but obviously normal for these guys...we just held onto it for a bin later.

    About another hour later and we’d both tried to get some sleep with no luck, but at least we had some of our own space to move about and get comfy. This is when the whole night took a turn...we got to a station just before midnight and what felt like half the Indian population got into our carriage....we were in for a long night.
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  • Day44

    Mumbai Dharavi Slum

    February 18, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    We woke up nice and early and set off to get to Bandra junction train station to catch a train to Mahim junction where we would meet our tour guide for todays tour of Dharavi Slum, one of the largest slums in the world. We got to Bandra and got on any train heading in the direction of Mahim, which we found out as wrong as we sped past Mahim junction without stopping...we got out at a random train station and an Indian commuter decided to take us under his wing and ensure we got on the correct train to Mahim, what a nice guy! He even advised us to wear our backpack on our front to avoid the notorious pickpockets on the Mumbai inner city trains. We eventually got to Mahim and took a seat in Cafe Coffee Day, the exact meeting point for our tour.

    At around 9:45, Yahya arrived outside with three Irish girls, we went out to meet them to start our tour. Yahya worked for a company called ‘The Local Tours’, a company that we had been recommended by Jen, who Tom used to work with. It is a very socially aware company and they recruit university students that live in Dharavi to run the tours as a means of earning money to pay for their tuition fees, so it was a nice company to do it with. Yahya explained to us all that Dharavi was not a sad place to live, in fact a very desirable place to live for people in India. Over 1 million people called Dhiravi home and it has a booming economy, with a GDP of over $1 billion per annum with textiles, leather and recycling industries being its biggest income. Yahya explained how when Dharavi was founded, from dried up marsh land, people from all over India rushed to buy the land due to its central location in Mumbai, and now the land is very expensive at over a quarter of a million rupees per square meter. We walked round the streets and many alleyways of Dharavi and saw first hand each of the major industries at work and also where people were living and it was right what Yahya was saying, people were more than happy living here, in fact they loved living here. We got an awesome lunch in Yahya’s favourite place and then finished the tour near to a barber shop, so ever the opportune, Tom and I decided to get our hair cut, 80 rupees for a haircut!

    The man who would be doing the haircut had bright orange hair with matching beard, so hopefully he was better than whoever does his hair! We played rock, paper, scissors to determine who would go first....for the first time in ages, Tom won, so I was up! I’m not going to lie about 2 minutes in it looked like he had absolutely butchered my hair, but he turned it around eventually and he actually gave me a good cut! After my haircut was finished the man decided to give me a very thorough/violent face wash, involving a pink machine that resembles a polishing machine....it was not pleasant and he was pummelling my cheekbones and nose with this vibrating device. It was then Tom’s turn and that is when we found out he could only really do one style, as we both got practically identical haircuts. Tom then endured the same torturous face wash machine, and tried to pay up....however he was trying to double the cost saying that the face wash (that we didn’t ask for) was additional. Paying no more than the agreed price, we left Dharavi after having a great morning.

    We made our way back to Mahim junction and got a train to Charni road where we walked to Chowpatty beach. A little bit of a disappointment if I’m honest...it wasn’t exactly the nicest beach but I wasn’t really expecting much in the centre of Mumbai. We continued walking along the beach to find the hanging gardens that Tom had read about...again a little bit of a disappointment too. However, it was the highest point in Mumbai, hence the name “hanging gardens”, due to its location there was a observation deck nearby that we went up to get a view over crazy Mumbai - this was pretty nice, and free too! We then walked back through Mumbai traffic to a nearby train station, stopping off for a bit of air con in H&M and got a train back to Bandra where we got our now standard order of Chinese Bhel, this time with noodles on top for not additional charge...we were becoming locals here.

    After this long hot day, we went back to the hostel for some chill and then back to the same place for more Chinese Bhel, and then we went over the road for an Orea Shake, which was unreal! With the taste of chocolate in our mouths, we then made a desperate trip to the shop for biscuits then back to the hostel for the night.
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  • Day45

    Mumbai plan day and night bus to Udaipur

    February 19, 2020 in India ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Today we were in no rush at all. We’d seen what we wanted to see in Mumbai, so we had a big fat lie in and a leisurely get up and warm shower. Today was our last day in Mumbai so we needed to check out by 10:30, so we packed up our stuff and chilled in the common area for a little while. We dedicated some time this morning/afternoon to planning what we would do for the next few weeks as well as book flights into Nepal. We spent a few hours researching and adding things to the plan before we both got hungry and went back to our trusty street food man for Chinese Bhel for the last time.

    Tonight we were getting the bus to Udaipur, as our waiting list tickets for the train hadn’t come through. Rather than suffer a 17 hour journey on a train in general class again, we’d booked a luxury bus with our own TVs, films and all the trimmings. It would take just as long as the train, but hopefully we’d get some decent sleep. We went out to get snacks for the bus, the standard crisps, biscuits and bananas before going back to the hostel to chill out before it was time to grab an Ola (Indian Uber) to the pickup spot. The pickup location on the RedBus app was just at the side of the motorway, so we waited for a little while keeping track of the buses location...it was on its way to us, just very slowly. Eventually the bus pulled up, it was a different model bus to what it said online so we wanted to check that it was going to Udaipur, the man grunted at us and ushered us on. We found our beds and set up camp for the night. I must admit, it was certainly worth spending a little bit more money for a bit of comfort on these long journeys.

    After watching Mission Impossible Fallout (great film!) the bus stopped in a random location to refuel and where we could try and get some proper food as we were only had snack...we had tried to get something a few times before but there was just crisps and junk! This time was equally unsuccessful, however even more so as the bus loudly sounded its horn and began to drive off...without us! Tom was faster than me to react and sprinted to the bus and started banging the door until he stopped to let us on. We were not happy at the driver at all and I had a go at him saying that they need to communicate better with their passengers, in response he just grunted at me... back to bed then.

    A little while later we stopped at a slightly more official looking place that were actually selling proper food. We both got 2 samosas, devoured them and then a friendly Indian guy asked us if we wanted to try his crisps...we both tried a few and they were nice, and then the guy decided that he was going to give the entire packet to us, what a gent! We got back on the bus and I passed out for the night in the extremely comfy beds.
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  • Day117

    Namastey Mumbai Backpackers

    January 26, 2019 in India ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Morgendliches Trapeze Yoga und dann spielen wir zu 7. Wizard. Danach ein entspanntes Lunch und endlich ein guter Kaffee.
    Es wird viel gequatscht, gelacht und wir gucken uns gemeinsam den Sonnenuntergang an.
    Nach dem Abendessen fahren wir dann ans andere Ende von Mumbai um unseren Nachtzug nach Goa zu bekommen.
    Kann ja keiner wissen, dass der Zug 2 Stunden Verspätung hat... wieder begegnen uns herzliche und hilfsbereite Menschen. Ein junges Pärchen bringt uns zu einem Restaurant, welches eigentlich gerade schließen wollte, uns dann aber trotzdem beherbergt.
    Zwischenzeitlich kommt dann die Durchsage, dass der Zug 4 Stunden Verspätung hat. Um 3 steigen wir dann endlich in den Zug und dann dauert es nochmal eine Stunde bis wir losfahren.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Mumbai Suburban, Mumbai City District

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