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The Ultimate 2 Day Mumbai Itinerary by a Local!

Are you visiting the finance, fashion, and film capital of India and looking for the ultimate 2 Day Mumbai itinerary? Visit the Gateway of India, Taj Mahal Palace hotel, historical Elephanta Caves, the twinkling Marine Drive, and architecturally beautiful Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Do the art walk in Kala Ghoda and see the artifacts at Prince of Wales Museum. Eat at Mumbai’s iconic restaurants. Read more now.

Welcome to Mumbai! We have a special connection with this unique city. I spent a lot of my school holidays including summer and winter breaks in the city with my extended family and cousins while C has lived in the larger Mumbai metropolitan area his whole life. I also worked in Mumbai for a year and a half and we still regularly visit Mumbai whenever we travel to India. Suffice to say, our recommendations are totally legit – and local!

Whether you are an expat or a foreign visitor or an Indian tourist, Mumbai will blow your mind! The city’s sheer size and energy is impressive. Also contagious. Beneath the layers of grit and sweat – and trust me, you’ll be sweating a lot in Mumbai – there is an understated elegance and simplicity to this chaotic city. You’ll either fall in love with Mumbai or spend sleepless nights wondering why you didn’t… in which case you should definitely plan another visit!

So here goes, our ultimate Mumbai itinerary to make the most of this fabulous city!

Mumbai – India’s most vibrant, cosmopolitan, fun city

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“ Mumbai is the sweet, sweaty smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate; and it’s the sour, stifled smell of greed, which is the opposite of love. It’s the smell of Gods, demons, empires, and civilizations in resurrection and decay. “
– Gregory David Roberts in Shantaram

Mumbai vs Bombay, explained

The history of Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is the key to understanding this Indian behemoth. Most visitors know of Colonial Bombay, the province established by the British with it’s majestic colonial architecture and quintessentially English charm. The Portuguese were the first colonists to establish a settlement in the city and they called it ‘Bom Bahia’ or the good bay.

The British which came thereafter and soon gained control of the Portuguese colony, and renamed it Bombay – an anglicized version of the Portuguese name. In those times, the city was a group of seven marshy islands. The British established basic infrastructure to connect the islands and built various buildings in British colonial style. Bombay soon became the subcontinent’s most important port and flourished.

But before there was Bombay, there was Mumbai – a city named after the goddess worshipped by the fisherfolk of the city. These indigenous people called the ‘Kolis’ were the first settlers of Mumbai. They still live in the city and have contributed immensely to the city’s multicultural vibe. Before the colonial rule, the seven islands were a part of the Hindu – Buddhist empire of King Ashoka. During this period, beautiful stone caves including the Elephanta Caves and Kanheri Caves were carved in Mumbai.

Mumbai gastronomy www.dottedglobe.com
We love our Mumbai!

In the 1990s, a political movement of shedding colonial vestiges and going back to indigenous roots swept through the city and in 1995, Bombay was officially renamed to Mumbai. Which actually meant zilch to many Indians like us since we were already calling the city, Mumbai. However, the new Mumbai is vastly different than pre-colonial Mumbai. It is a very modern city and somehow, always, reminds me of New York – sans the skyscrapers. It is incredibly fast paced, vibrant, liberal, and literally never sleeps!

When to visit Mumbai?

Let us break it to you gently, no matter when you go – you are going to be quite, quite hot!

Mumbai and for that matter, India as a whole, has three seasons (technically, six but that’s another story) – summer, monsoons, and winter. You, ideally, don’t want to visit Mumbai in summer or the monsoons. In the summer, you will be sweating buckets and in the monsoon season, you will be drenched from head to toe. Seriously. It never rains in Mumbai but it pours, incessantly, till you are thoroughly tired of it.

Winter on the other hand is a great time to visit Mumbai. And this winter season I’m talking about is pretty long – fall, winter, and spring all rolled in one. So it starts approximately in September and continues up to February. Mumbai winters are super mild – for us locals it means putting on the fan instead of the AC! You will still sweat – but a lot less. I recommend packing in a thin sweater or jacket for balmy nights.

Mumbai on an overcast day

Where to stay in Mumbai?

Mumbai has many hotels and accommodations to suit every budget. You will find luxury 5-star hotels, boutique places, AirBnB penthouses that include your own terrace pools as well as budget-friendly smaller hotels. We recommend staying in South Mumbai – in Colaba, Fort or Marine Drive area – because you will be close to the major tourist destinations. For a room with a view, book a room at the Taj Mahal Palace opposite the Gateway of India or at the Taj Land’s End in Bandra. The Taj hotels is a luxury Indian chain and you can never go wrong while picking a Taj. Other great options are the Trident or the Oberoi. You will get western style amenities and excellent service at all of these hotels.

How to get around Mumbai?

It is very easy to get around in Mumbai, especially in the touristy areas. You will find that public transport in Mumbai is abundant when compared to most other Indian cities. The commuter railway primarily known as the ‘Mumbai Local’ is the lifeline of the city. Other transportation options include the metro rails, the popular BEST public buses, auto rickshaws, black and yellow cabs known as taxis, as well as rideshare services including Uber.

In spite of these many options, getting around Mumbai is not as easy as it looks for outsiders. The local trains are jam packed during rush hours. Even if you manage to get in a local train, there is no guarantee that you can get out at your desired station. Flagging an auto is not easy since the autos are not allowed to enter most areas of Old Mumbai. To add to the confusion, most places in Mumbai have 2 names – old British era names and new official Indian heritage names. That’s why, if traveling during rush hours – we recommend taking a taxi cab or calling Uber.

If you have the time, then we recommend a ride on the iconic local train on weekends or in the quiet afternoon hours. Sitting in the swaying door-less compartments and watching the city rush by is an unparalleled experience.

Mumbai local train and the crowds waiting to board

2 Day Mumbai Itinerary

Truly speaking, 2 days are barely enough to scratch the surface of this gigantic city. For this short time, we recommend concentrating on the downtown area – Old Mumbai or South Mumbai – mainly the neighborhoods of Colaba, Fort, Churchgate, and Marine Drive. This was the historic city center and where most cultural and heritage attractions are located.

A major thing to note – we do not endorse visiting the Dharavi slums on tours of any type and have not included it in our 2 Day Mumbai itinerary. These tours have become increasingly popular since Dharavi slums were featured in the Slumdog Millionaire movie. You will see many companies selling the tours near Gateway of India. The benefits from the tour are said to go to charities but to us it feels unethical and exploitative – not to mention intrusive. If you wish to take such a tour – we suggest researching on whether the tour you select is sensitive towards the slum dwellers.

Dharavi slum tours may not be everyone’s cup of tea

Day 1 – Gateway of India, Elephanta Caves, Fort district

Begin your day at the iconic Gateway of India and then visit the UNESCO Heritage Site of Elephanta Caves via ferry. End your day in South Mumbai’s Fort district which is renowned for its vast number of restored Gothic style colonial buildings. Here’s a funny fact about this neighborhood – there is no actual fort in the area today! The area is named after Fort George built by the British East India Company in the 18th century; this fort was later demolished in the 19th century. The name however stuck.

Gateway of India

The Gateway of India is one of the country’s most iconic monuments. Located on the Apollo Bunder (in Persian, bunder means port), this arch monument was built in the 20th century on the occasion of then Emperor of India George V and Queen-Empress Mary’s visit to Mumbai. The Gateway is built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture which is a combination of elements from the Mughal style, Hindu temple style, and British colonial style.

Work was started in 1911 and the Gateway was complete in 1924. The design and location of the Gateway was carefully approved by the water’s edge on a piece of land that jutted out – the idea being that visitors arriving by sea to India would first lay their eyes on the majestic gate. The monument was a symbol of the British colonial empire. Viceroys and important British personnel would arrive in India at the Gateway. The Gateway was the site of elaborate ceremonies under the British rule. After independence, the last regiment of the British also marched out under the gate adding to its historic significance.

The Gateway of India, Mumbai

Seeing the Gateway of India is an awe-inspiring experience. The monument is majestic and overlooks the beautiful Arabian Sea. A flock of pigeons can be always found in its vicinity, creating beautiful photo opportunities. The gateway is Mumbai’s most popular tourist attraction and the area is crowded later in the day and on weekends, so we suggest visiting it at around 8 am to have the monument to yourself. Earlier you could walk up to the Gateway of India and look up its dome but since the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008, entry to the Gateway has been restricted.

There are many things to see in the vicinity of the Gateway of India. See the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the beloved Maratha King of western India. You can also see a statue of Swami Vivekananda, most famous for introducing Hinduism and yoga to the western world. Opposite the Gateway, you will find the beautiful Taj Mahal Palace hotel. The luxury hotel is a tourist attraction in its own way. The historic building built in the Indo-Saracenic style is a symbol of India’s progress and resilience following the terrorist attacks. Several jetties are located behind the Gateway Monument – ferries travel to Alibaug, Elephanta Caves, and other popular attractions from here. You can also take a short local ferry ride to see the Gateway from the water.

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel behind the Gateway of India

Elephanta Caves

Travel back in time and see the magnificent cave temples of Elephanta. These caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and have beautifully preserved rock art dating back to the 6th century. The caves are Hindu and Buddhist temples dedicated to Shiva, one of the most worshipped Hindu gods. The island also contained other sculptures including that of a stone elephant, hence the name of the caves. This elephant statue is now located at the Jijamata Udyan, the oldest public gardens in Mumbai.

The artwork found in the caves is beautiful and an excellent remainder of the rich Indian culture. The rock cut caves are equally majestic and simply take your breath away. The caves and its’ artwork were severely damaged during the Portuguese and Muslim rule in Mumbai but have since then been very carefully restored. Many other archeological remains going as far as the 2nd century BC have also been discovered on the island.

The Elephanta Caves are located on the island of Gharapuri close to Old Bombay. Gharapuri literally means the city of caves. They can be reached by taking a ferry from the Gateway of India – you will also see great views of the Gateway and Taj Mahal hotel from the ferry for free. The ferry ride takes about 40 mins and is quite safe, even for the littles. Ferry times are from 9 am to 2 pm from Mumbai to Elephanta and from 12 pm to 5 pm for Elephanta to Mumbai. The ferries are about 30 mins apart. The caves are closed on Mondays, so plan your trip accordingly. Weekdays are ideally the best times to visit due to lower crowds.

Sculptures inside Elephanta (Photo – Francois Zeller / Wikimedia Commons)

Properly exploring Elephanta and its treasures is a day’s work. If you are short on time, visit the most popular Cave 1 which has a 7 metre high sculpture of Shiva. For more detailed information about the beliefs represented in the carvings, see here. To reach the main cave, you will need to walk 120 steps or take a small toy train up to the cave. Allot at least 4 hrs for the excursion including 2 hrs for to and fro ferry and 2 hrs to explore the caves. For the purpose of this itinerary we suggest taking the first ferry out at 9 am and returning via the 12 pm ferry.

Leopold Cafe / Bademiya

After arriving at the Gateway of India from your Elephanta excursion, have a cold beer at Leopold Cafe or the famous baida roti at Bademiya. Both these eateries are celebrated Mumbai institutions and conveniently located a few blocks away from the Gateway.

Leopold Cafe and Bar first opened its doors in 1871. The most unique thing about Leopold Cafe is its feature in the book ‘Shantaram’ as the cafe which Linbaba frequents. The restaurant is located downstairs while upstairs is the bar area. We love hanging out in the bar at a corner table and drinking beer. The restaurant serves typical Western and Mughlai fare including pastas, sandwiches, and Indo-chinese dishes. You can also grab breakfast here before you follow our 2 Days in Mumbai itinerary – if you do try out the Akuri, Parsi-style scrambled eggs. Leopold cafe was one of the sites targeted in the Mumbai terrorist attack because of its large number of foreign visitors. You can still see bullet holes in the wall of the restaurant when you visit.

Decor inside Leopold Cafe upper floor

Bademiya has been open since 1946 and even Bollywood film actors flock to the eatery in the middle of the night to sample some of their famous kebabs. The sit down restaurant is open throughout the day while the street food cart which serves food in the cart is open from late evening to wee hours of the night. Things to eat at Bademiya include the famous Baida Roti – ground chicken stuffed flatbread, the Chicken Tikka roll, Bhuna Gosht (mutton dish), seekh kebabs, and the Butter Chicken with roomali roti. Vegetarians will love their paneer rolls. Though to be honest, we would say order anything you want – it will be finger licking good!

Fort District

For the rest of the day explore the Fort area between Wellington Fountain, Horniman Circle Garden, and Flora Fountain. This area contains some of Mumbai’s top tourist attractions and is also the art district of Mumbai. The Kala Ghoda Art Festival is held in this area every year and is an essential experience if you are visiting during this time. There is so much to do in this area that you can easily spend 1 or 2 days here. We suggest picking a few places to explore thoroughly and then walking the streets to get a feel of the area. Many boutique stores, art galleries, cafes, and eateries are also located here, making it a great place to explore. Here is a short introduction to the area’s most popular attractions:

Jehangir Art Gallery – Mumbai’s most famous art gallery hosts exhibitions by contemporary Indian artists. Entry to the gallery is free and the artwork on display is always worth a visit. If it’s not raining, you will also find artists selling artwork outside the gallery. While you are at the gallery, check out the turquoise blue Jewish synagogue just across the street.

National Gallery of Modern Art – The National Gallery of Modern Art  (NGMA) in Mumbai is India’s premier art museum and home to various collections and exhibitions by national and international artists. The gallery has over 14,000 works including those by Pablo Picasso, MF Hussain, and Rabindranath Tagore as well as other historic artifacts including Egyptian mummies. If you have to choose between NGMA and Jehangir Gallery, we would recommend the NGMA for its extensive collection.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai (formerly Prince of Wales Museum) (Photo – Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons)

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya – Formerly Prince of Wales museum, this museum has a vast, well-curated history, archeology, and art collection and is India’s best museum. If you can’t find it – ask anyone for the Prince of Wales museum. The museum building itself is one of Mumbai’s finest – designed by the same architect who designed the Gateway of India – and is a heritage structure. Museum collection includes artifacts from the subcontinent, the Far East as well as Europe. The museum is the best place to view the extremely rare Indus civilization artifacts including pots, bricks etc. The museum is closed on Mondays so plan to go accordingly.

INS Vikrant Memorial – Located adjacent to the museum, this memorial is dedicated to the Indian battleship Vikrant that played a significant part in the Indo-Pak War of 1971. The sculpture is created from metal that belonged to the decommissioned ship.

Bombay Stock Exchange – The Bombay Stock exchange building (BSE) is officially called the Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers. Located on Dalal Street, the building is a must see in the area. BSE is Asia’s first stock exchange and the 10th largest in the world.

Kala Ghoda Statue – Kala Ghoda means the Black Horse. In the colonial times, a black stone statue of King Edward VII atop a horse used to be in the area. That’s how the area got its name. In 1965, the statue was relocated to Byculla Zoo to avoid British rule reminders and for almost 5 decades the area was without the namesake statue. Finally in 2017, a new statue graces the area this time of a sole horse without anyone on its back!

Kala Ghoda statue in Fort, Mumbai (Photo – Pradeep / Wikimedia Commons)

Oval Maidan – This is a large recreational ground where you will often find cricket being played. The buildings surrounding the ground are more significant than the ground itself. Most of these buildings are British era heritage structures and boast of striking architectural features. They together form Mumbai’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site called the ‘Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai’, added to the list in 2018. You can read more about it here. Some of the famous buildings include the Bombay High Court building, Rajabai Clock Tower, etc. The Rajabai Clock Tower is 280 feet high and is modeled on Big Ben in London.

St. Thomas Cathedral – Built in 1718, St. Thomas Cathedral is the first church by the british in Mumbai. The church has ornate architecture and a beautiful facade. The surrounding area came to be called Churchgate after this church. Also see the Bombay House next door which is the headquarters of the Tata Group, the Indian conglomerate.

Town Hall – Located exactly opposite the Horniman Circle Garden, the Town Hall has Roman – Greek architectural features including Doric pillars. The town hall today houses the Asiatic Society library which has innumerable antique manuscripts in Urdu, Prakrit, Persian, and Urdu. Apart from the library, the Town Hall also houses a museum which contains ancient coins including one issued by Akbar, the Mughal ruler. The Town Hall is closed on Sundays.

Town Hall, Mumbai (Photo – Nichalp / Wikimedia Commons)

Flora Fountain and Hutatma Memorial Statue – Flora Fountain is a beautiful fountain dedicated to the Roman goddess Flora. The fountain is located in Hutatma Square (Martyr’s Square). Five streets meet in this huge area and so it is likened to the five-way Piccadilly Circus of London. The adjacent Hutatma memorial is dedicated to those who laid their life for the creation of Maharashtra state.

And now, here’s a secret that not many will tell you about!

The Bookshacks – While the monuments in this area are beautiful, I love the area surrounding Flora Fountain for another reason – the pavements are lined with shacks selling all kinds of books! This area is any book lover’s dream – you will find classics, fiction, non-fiction, used books, latest bestsellers and even pirated editions. Most of the books are priced under Rs 150 (~$2) and you simply can’t resist.

The books are arranged in random piles, are dusty, and you really need to rummage through them to find your favorites. But if you spend enough time, you are bound to find something you want. On my last visit, I left Flora Fountain with fourteen classics!

Don’t disregard the booksellers; they might not have read any of those books but tell them the author name and they’ll find your book. Or inform you that your reading choices aren’t in vogue with the times! The best part about buying books here? If you return a book, you can receive up to half the price back.

Horniman Circle Garden – Once you have your book in hand, go and read it in Horniman Circle Garden. This large public garden is a welcome respite from the crowd and activity of Mumbai. It has nice play area for kids.

End your day by visiting some of Mumbai’s iconic restaurants located around Horniman Circle Garden. Here are our top 5 recommendations; all of them are within walking distance.

Yazdani Restaurant & Bakery or Jimmy Boy – Visit any of these Irani cafes (for an introduction to Irani cafes, see below in Day 2 of Mumbai Itinerary) not for the ambience but the scrumptious food. Try kheema pav (ground mutton gravy with bread) or the patra ni macchi (steamed fish) at Jimmy Boy. At Yazdani, sample some apple pie, berry biscuits, brun maska, pastries and cakes.

Bademiya’s chicken tikka roll!

Mahesh Lunch Home – If you love seafood then try the prawns, surmai, and pomfret at Mahesh Lunch Home. The restaurant serves authentic Mangalorean seafood and is one of Mumbai’s institutions. Must try are the Tandoori starters, crab, and neer dosa. Also order some solkadhi, a cool refreshing drink made from coconut milk and kokum – a sour fruit indigenous to India.

Bademiya – If you missed lunch at Bademiya, there’s another outlet near Horniman Circle. Order the kebabs – you won’t regret it!

Burma Burma – This is not as near as the others and you might need to take a cab but the food is worth it. They have delicious Burmese food, lots of vegan options and awesome desserts.

If you are in the mood for something hip, hit up The Bar Terminal. This gastropub has an extensive cocktail and drinks menu plus many unique drinks. The food while tasty is vegetarian only but you won’t regret it due to the lovely ambience.

Starbucks – We get it! After that hectic day, you are pining for something familiar. Hit up the Starbucks located opposite the Horniman Circle and order your favorite coffee!

Mumbai gastronomy www.dottedglobe.com
Mutton kheema samosas at any of the Irani cafes are a must!

Day 2 – Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Crawford Market, Marine Drive

Today explore the precincts of Churchgate, Marine Lines, and rest of the Fort area. Visit the world’s busiest railway station, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and fall in love with its architecture. Shop at Crawford Market and then have a relaxing day by the sea at Marine Drive. Visit Mani Bhavan to pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi and end with a romantic drive on the Bandra Worli sea link.

Kyani Bakery & Co

Start your day by sampling one of Mumbai’s most celebrated cuisines: Irani food. If you feel it’s the same as Persian food, think again! In the colonial era, the city had a host of Irani cafes which were started by Zoroastrians who migrated to India from Iran in the 20th century. While many of these faded away, the surviving have achieved cult status.

These no fuss cafes have bare bones furniture, meagre customer service, and delicious food. Stepping inside one is like going back in time – the interiors and menus have remained unchanged since the opening. The menu is unique: a fusion of old world Parsi dishes, colonial taste buds, and Indian spices!

Kyani Bakery & Co. is one of the oldest surviving Irani cafes in the city – and also our personal favorite. For breakfast, try the brun maska (Irani style buttered bread) and the Irani masala chai. If you are feeling more adventurous try spicy kheema pav or the delicious mutton samosa. Stop by the bakery section and get a few cookies, biscuits, and pastries to go.

Mumbai gastronomy www.dottedglobe.com
Kyani and Co. established in 1904 is a part and parcel of Mumbai’s legendary Irani food scene.

Crawford Market

Crawford Market is one of Mumbai’s most famous market. It is as well-known for its architecture as for what’s inside. The market building was built in 1869 and named after the first Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai, Arthur Crawford. Like all other places in Mumbai, it was renamed after Independence to Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market after the Indian social reformer who worked for the cause of women’s education. The building has beautiful architecture and some of the architectural elements including the friezes and stone fountains are designed by John Kipling, Rudyard Kipling’s father.

Inside you will find everything from produce, meats, household goods, cosmetics, apparel, and even a pet store selling the regular as well as exotic pets. Walking in the market is fascinating and a photographer’s delight. Here you will get all kinds of exotic pictures of Indian markets: mounds of spices, colorful bangles, fruits piled up high on the floor, jar after jar of dry fruits, and vegetables from all over the world.

Crawford market, Mumbai (Photo – Nichalp / Wikimedia Commons)

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus

The grand-daddy of all of Mumbai’s railway stations! Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus was formerly known as Victoria Terminus after Queen Victoria – you will still see many locals referring to it as VT! The Terminus is another of Mumbai’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was built in 1888 and has a beautiful Victorian Gothic Revival style of architecture. The building is awe-inspiringly majestic. Inside you will find one of the busiest railway stations and a sea of humanity! Walk inside to explore the features as well as people watch. Observe the snack stalls, book stores, shoe polish men, and chai wallahs at work. At night CST is lit up with the colors of the Indian flag and looks splendid.

Here’s an insider tip to this wonderful monument: The Heritage wing of the building is open to the public and even has an excellent museum with model rails, old rail logos, etc. If you want to explore the building in depth, consider taking the Heritage tour of about 45 minutes offered by the Central railways. The tours are offered only in the afternoons on weekdays, to buy your tickets inquire at the CST Heritage Gallery Museum. Read more about the tours here.

CST Terminus is a UNESCO Site (Photo – Anoop Ravi / Wikimedia Commons)

Bachelorr’s at Azad Maidan

Bachelorrs is a famous ice cream and milkshake place. It also serves fresh cut fruits and fun snacks like sandwiches and more. There is limited seating but is much bigger than their original location on Charni Road / Marine Drive area. Famous cricketers, bollywood stars and starlets, politicians, and people from all walks of life love visiting Bachelorrs. Even Mahatma Gandhi is said to have eaten fruits at the original location while he resided at Mani Bhavan. Bachelorrs is famous for their strawberry shakes but my personal favorite is the seasonal sitaphal shake. Sitaphal or sugar apple / custard apple is an exotic tropical fruit that tastes delicious in shakes and icecreams. Their chocolate shake is supposed to be the best in the world – go ahead, give it a try!

Custard apple milkshake and strawberry milkshake at Bachelorr’s

Fashion Street

On the opposite side of Azad Maidan, you will find Fashion Street. Like the name suggests, this street is full of shops selling apparel in the latest trends and all kinds of accessories from purses to shoes. Fashion Street is like shopping at a high end flea market. There is just one thing you need to remember about shopping at Fashion Street – it is all about bargaining! I have bought clothes for under a dollar or two and bargained to less than 75% of the original price.

Taraporewala Aquarium

If you have kids with you, you must stop at the Taraporewala Aquarium. Even adults will love this aquarium located off Marine Drive. It’s easy to identify the building by the fish painted on its facade. The aquarium has a large number of saltwater and freshwater species including turtles, sharks, corals and more. The highlight of the visit is the recently added 12 feet long 180 degree glass tunnel. It also screens documentaries about marine conservation. The aquarium is closed on Mondays.

Marine Drive

Marine Drive is Mumbai’s famous seaside promenade. It is popularly called the Queen’s necklace because of its unique curved shape – if you see it from above at night, the zillions of street lights along the promenade make it look like a string of pearls! Marine Drive connects the neighborhoods of Nariman Point and Malabar Hill and is a six-lane highway. It also has a beautiful, wide walking path along the coast.

Marine Drive views

Walking along Marine Drive is a delight. The promenade is lined with palm trees and historic buildings. You will see plenty of buildings in Art Deco and colonial styles. Many of Mumbai’s luxe hotels are also situated along the drive. Mumbai’s iconic sports clubs and the two famous cricket stadiums – Wankhede Stadium and Brabourne Stadium are also located along Marine Drive. At the far northern end you will find Girgaum’s famous Chowpatty beach.

We recommend walking along Marine Drive and sitting on its edges to get a feel of Mumbai. You will see lovers sitting on rocks, fishing boats out on the sea, luxury cars dashing along the road, rich people’s dog walkers, and locals jogging along the promenade. If you happen to spot a chaiwallah – a street vendor selling tea – then grab a glass and inhale the fresh aroma! In summer, try sugarcane juice or kulfi – India’s unique creamy ice pop. In monsoon or on windy days, watch the waves crash onto the rocks and spray the promenade. Stay for the romantic sunset and then watch the city lights go up along the drive!

Marine Drive Northern End – Babulnath / Malabar Hill area

You can either end your day at the Marine Lines area of Marine Drive or walk up to the north side. You can also take a cab to the far end. This area has many popular attractions and is a great place to visit. Here are the most popular things to do in the area:

Chowpatty Beach – Go at the right time and Chowpatty Beach is the most beautiful place in Mumbai. Go on weekends, at sunset, or during Ganesh Visarjan times and the area is a madhouse. Our favorite time to visit is on weekdays before rush hours or late at night. Then you will have the entire area to yourself. Swim in the sea or sunbathe on the beach or build sandcastles. Walk upto the shaved ice stands and try some of Mumbai’s famed shaved ice. The best flavors to try are kacchi kairi (raw mango) and kala khatta (Indian blackberry). Also try some of the Indian chaat food including bhel, pani puri etc.

Tranquil morning at the Girgaum Chowpatty

Original Bachelorrs – If you walk the entire length, then we recommend stopping at Bachelorrs located at Charni Road for its fresh fruit juices. This is the original Bachelorrs and opened way back in the 1930s. Like Mumbai’s most eateries, this roadside shack has no seating, but you will spot a huge line of college goers, office workers, kids and their grandparents.

Mani Bhavan – Mani Bhavan museum is dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi’s work and life. Mahatma Gandhi was the Indian political activist who led the nonviolent non-cooperation movement against the British rule and is called the Father of the Nation. His portrait is present on the Indian currency notes. Mahatma Gandhi resided in Mani Bhavan and launched his most popular freedom movements including Non-Cooperation, Satyagraha, Khilafat etc. The museum has many photographs and exhibits about Gandhi’s life. You can also see his room, bed, and other belongings. Mani Bhavan is a great place to learn about one of India’s most revered founding fathers.

ISKCON Swaminarayan Temple – Located adjacent to Mani Bhavan, the ISKCON Chowpatty Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Mandir is a must visit. Stay for only 10 mins if you are short on time or sit in peace and meditate for a hour. The temple is beautiful – made from white marble and beautifully carved and extremely photogenic. Be sure to not take photos inside the temple as that is disrespectful – also wear clothes that cover shoulders and knees before you go. The temple cafeteria also sells delicious Jain food (vegetarian, no onion, no garlic) and is a great place to eat if you are hungry.  

Starbucks – To get your familiar coffee on Day 2, stop at the Starbucks located near Wilson College.

Shaved ice stall at the Chowpatty, Mumbai

Dinner at a rooftop restaurant overlooking Mumbai

Splurge on a cozy view worthy dinner at one of Mumbai’s top rooftop restaurants. We recommend either Asilo located in the St. Regis in Lower Parel area or AER in Four Seasons at Worli. Both have gorgeous views of Mumbai from high above and great food. However, you will easily run up a tab of INR 6k to 7k (~$100) for two people at these restaurants – but it’s so worth the luxe ambience, and the views!

Bandra Worli Sea Link

Hire a cab and have a late night romantic drive down the Bandra Worli Sea Link for a spectacular finish to the 2 Day Mumbai itinerary. We recommend this after 10-11 pm when the traffic has considerably lessened and you will be able to enjoy the majestic views. Bandra Worli Sea Link is one of Mumbai’s newest architectural gems and opened less than a decade ago. Construction and design of the bridge had its own challenges due to saline water and complex geology. As a result, the completed bridge is a superb engineering feat. The cable stayed bridge looks marvellous at night. Pedestrians, motorcycles, and autos are not allowed on the bridge; also you need to pay toll to travel across the bridge.

Bandra Worli Sea link

That’s it! You now have a complete blueprint for your own bespoke tour of Mumbai’s premier attractions located in the old town. However, the suburbs of Mumbai have their own story and we suggest another visit to completely explore India’s film, fashion, and finance capital.

Did you like our most popular Mumbai itinerary? Let us know in comments!

MANISH GANDHI

Sunday 2nd of May 2021

ALL PICTURES & INFORMATION NICE - THANKS

Lisa K

Tuesday 22nd of August 2017

Food sounds delicious and your photos are superb quality:)

Globejamun

Tuesday 22nd of August 2017

Wow I'm from mumbai and absolutely loved reading this. 😊😍 gonna catch up on part 2 and 3 of the series

Sameer Sharangpani

Friday 16th of June 2017

Food for thought :)

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