21 Things To Do In Mumbai (Bombay) India

21 Things To Do In Mumbai

Mumbai, or Bombay, is India’s answer to Hollywood – a city of dreams and also a city of contrasts.  A city of rich and poor, inspiration and desperation, modern and traditional, glamour and squalor, old and new. Not surprisingly for such a vibrant city there are so many things to do in Mumbai, this is a city that even after visiting 3 times, I still find endlessly fascinating.

Welcome to Mumbai – A City of Dreams

My first visit to Mumbai, and to India, two years ago, was a complete culture shock but this city has grown to be my favourite metropolis in India – a dynamic, frenetic, cosmopolitan city that you must experience.

I love this crazily captivating, buzzing, inspiring, ambitious, city of dreams. Crowded Mumbai is a beautiful mess, among the grand, crumbling colonial buildings and the slums and shacks I feel so alive in Mumbai. 

Here’s 21 Things to Do in Mumbai.

#1 One of the most essential things to do in Mumbai is to start your exploration of Mumbai in old, colonial Bombay, visit Colaba and know that you have truly arrived in Mumbai when you see it’s iconic Gateway of India

gateway of india is a must do things to do in mumbai

Mumbai’s landmark – the Gateway of India

 

#2 While at the Gateway of India escape the crowds and savour afternoon tea at the grand Taj Palace Hotel

taj palace hotel

Mumbai’s famous Taj Palace Hotel

 

#3 Another one of the best things to do in Mumbai is to visit Elephanta Island. From the Gateway of India  you can take a boat out to Elephanta Island and marvel at the ancient rock cut cave temples

Elephanta Caves, Mumbai

Temples carved out of the rocks at Elephanta Island

 

#4 Wander around the Fort area and admire the interesting architectural styles of some of the other crumbling but beautiful colonial buildings, relics of the British Empire. Try the area around Flora Fountain, and The Mumbai High Court and University of Mumbai. For some interesting ‘Then and Now’photos of colonial Bombay see here. 

colonial arches

Looking through the arches of Victoria Terminus to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation – a fine example of colonial architecture

 

#5 The most stunning example of colonial architecture has to be the majestic, UNESCO listed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known at Victoria Terminus, one of the busiest train stations in the world – be ready to fight your way onto the trains during rush hour!

mumbai-cst things to do in mumbai

UNESCO listed Chhatrapati Shivaji Train Station

 

#6 On weekdays you can witness the amazing Dabbawallahs use the crowded commuter trains to deliver over 200,000 home cooked lunches downtown every day. You can see how this ingenious system works in this video.

Mumbai Dabbawala or Tiffin Wallahs: 200,000 Tiffin Boxes Delivered Per Day

Mumbai Dabbawalas delivering home cooked lunches

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21 Things to do in Mumbai (Bombay) India

#7 While in the area you can learn more by visiting Mumbai biggest and best art and history museum – The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum located in a heritage building (formerly called the Prince of Wales Museum)

Formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Mumbai

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum)

 

#8 Or just hang around Colaba and you may be asked to make your acting debut  in a Bollywood Movie!

bollywood movie poster

Foreigners are often needed as extras in Mumbai’s huge Bollywood film industry

 

#9 Mumbai is a shoppers paradise but shun the new modern malls to explore the markets and bazaars around historic Crawford Market. 

Crawford Market mumbai

Haggle for goods inside historic Crawford Market

 

#10 If art is more your thing then check out the National gallery of Modern Art and the free Jehangir Art Gallery – pick up some bargians from aspiring artists for sale outside.

Art outside Jehangir Art Gallery

 

#11 Learn more about the city of Mumbai in the beautiful heritage building of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum or learn more about Gandhi and the Indian independence movements at the free Mani Bhavan Museum

mumbai museum

The beautiful interior of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

 

#12 If the cause is dry and the tide is not too high, pay a visit to the island like Haji Ali Mosque

haji ali mosque

The Haji Ali Mosque

 

#13 And nearby, see laundry done the traditional way at Dhobi Ghat (a good viewing point is from the bridge just outside Mahalaxmi station)

dhobi ghat 2

Contrasts between modern skyscrapers and laundry done the traditional way at Dhobi Ghat

 

#14 Get a breath of fresh air in the largest park in the world locating with the city’s limits –  the Sanjay Gandhi National Park where you can hike, explore caves, lakes and waterfalls and spot birdlife and animals on a safari.

things to do in mumbai Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Looking back over Mumbai from Sanjay Gandhi National Park

 

#15 If the city is all too much for you then help meditation find your inner peace in the golden Global Vipassana Pagoda which is so big it can hold 8,000 people.

global-vipassana-pagoda-mumbai

Mumbai’s Global Vipassana Pagoda

 

#16 Change your perceptions on poverty by visiting Dharavi Slum

Dharavi on Medium Format

Dharavi Slum is not as depressing as you might think

 

#17 Head over to Malabar Hill and check out the Hanging Gardens , watch pilgrims bathing in Banganga tank and take in great views over Chowpatty.

malabar hill

Views from Malabar Hill

 

#18 Another one of the essential things to do in Mumbai is to end the day by joining the masses to try street food on Chowpatty Beach, people watch and take in the beautiful big red sunsets

sunset on chowpatty beach mumbai

a hazy sunset and a candy floss seller on chowpatty beach

 

#19 Take a evening stroll along Marine Drive also known as the ‘Queens Necklace’

Marine Drive

The lights of Marine Drive

 

#20 Catch a Bollywood movie at the art deco style, historic Eros Cinema by Churchgate Station

eros

The historic, art deco Eros cinema

 

#21 Or for something a bit swisher enjoy a cocktail with a view at Aer Bar at the 4 Seasons Hotel

Four Seasons, Mumbai - Bar - AER

Amazing views from Aer Bar

There are so many things to do in this vibrant city. Mumbai is a city full of dreams but also full of contrasts. Just enjoy the street life and explore this buzzing city!

Read More: Best Backpacker Hostels in Mumbai,

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21 Things to do in Mumbai (Bombay) India

What is your favourite thing to do in Mumbai? Do you have any more tips?

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