Indians tend to respond with a weary smile when they hear their country described as up-and-coming in terms of economy. Up-and-coming? «We have long arrived» they respond.

Anybody can see this for themselves in Mumbai – or not, as the case may be. India is often described as poor and dirty, as a developing country where beggar children sit by the road and millions of people live in slums. Sadly, the poverty is a fact. All this can be seen in Mumbai – as can the exact opposite. It’s also where Bollywood screen stars, cricket stars and rich bohemians live. It has trendy boutiques, cool cafés, chic restaurants and elegant luxury hotels.

Incomes in Mumbai are highest on the subcontinent – as are the taxes people pay. Property prices are in the «Tokyo range», and the gold-embedded saris worn by upper class ladies to official events are beyond the price range of the average Western wallet. Major Indian companies have settled in Mumbai, and as the result the city is becoming more and more multi cultural.

And it doesn’t take long to get used to the heat and dust, the noise and the numerous people. One is constantly inhaling new spices and fragrances, and soon starts to feel at home in this melting pot. Suddenly there’s a cow at a street intersection, blocking the already sluggish traffic. That’s India.

The people of Mumbai take that as much in their stride as they do the torrential monsoon rains or the power failures that are still the order of the day. On the other hand, they do have the prettiest names for parts of their city: Queen’s Necklace, Hanging Gardens, Chowpatty Beach. They sound as enticing as they actually are. The best way to find that out is on a guided tour of the city.

City Facts

  • Location

    Most highly populated city in India, situated on the country’s west coast.

  • Population

    About 12.5 million

  • Size

    Approx. 603 km²

  • Public transport

    Underground and bus lines are available, but we recommend taking a taxi.

  • Climate

    Tropical climate with monsoon rains between June and September.

  • Best time to visit

    November to March are recommended because it is usually dry then.

  • Good to know

    It's recommended to take a tour guide by visiting the city.

  • Nice to know

    Mumbai’s traffic demands patience. And strong nerves. The taxi drivers’ driving style is challenging, and there is much honking of horns and cursing.

  • Airport

    Chhatrapati Shivaji; approx. 28 km from the city centre.

  • Railway

    The nearest station to the airport is Vile Parle, which is about 3 km outside. The journey to the city takes approx. 30 minutes.

  • Taxi

    The best and most practical way to the city is by taxi. There are taxi ranks at the exit; the fare is paid in advance.