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Know Before You Go
- Visiting Mumbai means you will have to adjust your expectations of space. It's one of the world's most crowded cities, and while exploring the city, personal space will be virtually non-existent.
- In Mumbai, there is a taboo around kissing in public. Rather keep the PDA on the down low or visit one of the Lovers Points.
- There are no selfie zones in Mumbai. With 19 of the world's 49 selfie deaths reported in the city, the government has cracked down on this popular pastime with ten dollar fines.
- It's illegal to eat or possess beef in Mumbai. The closest thing you will find on menus these days is water buffalo.
- Some establishments don't allow footwear. So make sure you pack shoes that can either fit into your handbag or you don't mind leaving at the door.
- Delhi belly exists in Mumbai as well. To avoid feeling under the weather during your trip be mindful of what you eat. Try to eat food that's been only boiled or fried, eat peeled fruits and vegetables and don't drink water from the tap.
Getting Around Mumbai
The most efficient way to get around Mumbai is with public transport. Luckily, there are many different options available no matter your travel budget.
- Mumbai's train system is fondly called the lifeline of the city. It has over 120 stops and is the oldest railway system in Asia. To make getting around easier, download the M-Indicator app to get a list of schedules, routes, fares and service messages.
- The BEST bus system has almost 100 stops around Mumbai. While it is a good option to get around, the traffic in the city often causes delays. If you need to be somewhere on time trains are the better option.
- The kaali-peeli cabs are a cheap way to around southern Mumbai. Fares start at INR 22 and can be waved down all over the city. In northern Mumbai, you'll find an equivalent called Bandra. The minimum fare is INR 18, and you'll need to negotiate a price if you want a ride to suburbs outside the city.
- Other taxi services include Meru Cabs, Ola and Uber. All three allow you to call a cab via their app and pay either with cash or by credit card. While kaali-peeli and Bandra are still the cheaper options, these online cabs are more comfortable for longer journeys.
When is The Best Time to Visit Mumbai?
If you are a culture vulture the best time to visit Mumbai is from December to February. Temperatures are cool, and many cultural events take place like the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. With the lower temperatures, it's also ideal for travellers who want to spend most of their time outdoors.
From March to May temperatures start to rise and can reach 40°C. If you find yourself in Mumbai around this time, don't forget to pack cool cottons, sunscreen and sunglasses to beat the heat. The summer heat also sees the city empty out from tourists and you'll be able to find good hotel deals during this time.
Mumbai's famous monsoon season is from June to October. If you don't mind the high chance of rainfall, it's a great time to experience a different side of the city. Public transport still runs in all weather conditions so that you won't be stranded in your hotel and it's the perfect excuse for a hot cup of chai.
Airports in Mumbai
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
Chhatrapati Shivaji is one of India's major international airports. It's the country's second busiest airport after Delhi and is a hub for Air India, Alliance Air, GoAir and Jet Airways.
In the past, the airport used to be two different airports, but today they operate as one. Both terminals share the same runways and are 5 km from one another. T2 only serves domestic flights while T1 is the city's international gateway.
Getting to and from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
If you need to transfer between the two terminals, there is a paid shuttle service. Prices range from INR 230-245 for a Sedan and INR 700-750 for an SUV. You can also hire a normal taxi to get between T1 and T2.
To save money, there is a free terminal transfer bus. All you need is your air ticket to board, and it runs every 30 minutes.
There are two different types of taxis operating at the Chhatrapati airport: metered and prepaid. If you want to avoid being ripped off, take the prepaid option as you will have a price before the journey begins and receive a receipt. To buy a prepaid ticket for the taxi, go to the counter outside of customs.
If you don't have a lot of bags, you can take an auto rickshaw. They are ideal for short journeys and cheaper than a taxi. Keep in mind that local laws prevent them from going straight into Mumbai city. You will need to transfer at Vile Parle station to complete your journey. Fares cost INR 35-40 for a 15 to 25-minute ride.