- Find accommodation around Central Mumbai and Chowpatty beach. From here you have walking distance to all the main tourist attractions, and you avoid being poached by tourist “guides” and salesmen around the main tourist area, Colaba.
- Wear Indian clothes. This one is especially for girls, if you are going to the bazaars or taking the local train. The Indian kurtas (long tunic tops) are meant to be a bit big, and is perfect to hide any trace of your female features + valuables! Tip: wear a slim bumbag under the kurta for your money and phone, and you can stroll around the streets relaxed, without having to hold on to your valuables all the time. Perfect for crowded areas.
- Try to avoid the local train at peak time, especially if you have to bring a backpack or other luggage with you. It is literally so crowded that you won’t be able to control might be interested in your stuff, and with the swarm of people pushing from all sides when getting on, you might easily loose your balance if you have additional stuff to carry. However, if you are up for an Indian experience – leave your stuff at home and go peak-timing. Here’s a bit of our experience.
- Be aware that accommodation is more expensive in Mumbai than in most other Indian cities. So some extra money needs to be allocated to this. Also, it should be booked in advance. The hotels in Mumbai are frequently fully booked, and smaller hotels often do not allow foreigners.
- Be aware of the pollution. It is walking distance from Mumbai Central, Chowpatty beach, the bazaars and Colaba, and you might be tempted to walk around for a whole day. Remember that pollution is strife in the city, and you might want to consider a face mask for pollution.
- When taking a taxi, ask to use the taxi meter. The standard of taxis around Mumbai Central and Colaba is very high, and there are few rickshaws. So all the taxis have fully functioning meters, and all the locals use these every time. Remember to ask for the meter, instead of getting lost in the bargaining of prices. Another thing is that some taxi drivers are not too keen to take foreigners, and will ask for an unreasonable starting price, just to make you move on. In that case, move on and find another driver who is keen to take you. There are many drivers speaking perfect English and going straight for the meter, so don’t bother with the unfriendly ones.
- On all trains there are “female only” carriages, and in the evenings there is always a police officer present in these. For solo female travellers, this is a smart choice to go for at any time of the day, as public transport tends to get very crowded. For men it is good to be aware of, just to avoid the embarrassment and anger it could cause.
Check out what to do in Mumbai here, and enjoy this fascinating city!