City Guide: Mumbai


Getting there

KLM. Cost: £306 (per person, return) we flew from London Heathrow and flew back from Delhi. I tried many other dates and combinations (ie: return trip to/from Mumbai, fly into Delhi then back from Mumbai etc…) and this was the lowest at that time. Found via Expedia (April 2018)

Visa (April 2018)

Can not be applied too early, but visit the official website to understand the procedure. E-visa tends to be a little cheaper than a ‘normal’ visa. Visa fee is country specific, but for many countries it is around 50USD. I started my e-visa preparation 1 month in advance. It is not that difficult, but pre-application preparation can be time consuming.

Getting around

We used mostly black-and-yellow taxis. Mumbai drivers tend to follow the meter. Apart from the fact that you do need to tell them to use it, sometimes more than once, sometimes firmly, it was all straightforward and prices were often fair. Do also use Mumbai suburban railway even just for the experience of it. We also enjoyed a few auto rickshaw rides in North Mumbai (as they are not allowed in South Mumbai).

Mahalaxmi train station, Mumbai

Mahalaxmi train station, Mumbai

Mumbai airport taxi fare is still a bit of a mystery to me. But due to the evil ‘night charges’ we were quoted ₹1200 to get to our hotel in Fort area by the prepaid taxi (it was around 3AM). I walked around a bit and found a Meru counter. Meru Cabs is like an Indian equivalent of Uber. The man at the counter explained to me that we pay ₹100 admin charge at the counter, we will then pay the metered charge to the driver later. The man said that the journey shouldn’t cost more than ₹700, but we ended up paying ₹1000 to the driver.

Meru counter in Mumbai airport. Prepaid taxi counters are on the other side to the left.

Meru counter in Mumbai airport. Prepaid taxi counters are on the other side to the left.

For the returning journey we booked a taxi via our hotel for ₹800. The journey would’ve been about ₹200-300 less had we hailed one on the street, but we didn’t want any hassles and it was nice to be picked up directly from the hotel.

Accommodation

Hotel A.K. International. Cost: £25 per night (double room).

Found via Expedia with special discount as we booked the flight with them.

Excellent location just in between many touristic spots of North and South Mumbai. I liked the area, not too touristy but not too intense, just right amount of lively local vibe. The building was quite old and the rooms were small, but people really made up for it. The manager was always there and happy to help with any queries, problems you might have, friendly, attentive and kind. The night manager was good to us also. We arrived at around 4AM, he gave us a room to rest only for ₹500.

Money

There were several exchange offices near our hotel/CSTstation. I first ‘shopped around’ a bit and checked the rate. They are all in close proximity to each other, so after asking 3-4 places you will know who offers a good rate (and who doesn’t!). I used a place called ‘Abu Moosa and Co’. Their rate was £1= ₹90 when the mid-market rate then was £1= ₹91, so pretty good.

Money exchange

Money exchange

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