Mumbai is a beautiful, buzzing metropolis in India. The city of the sea and skyscrapers is a wonder for all senses. Mumbai is always on the move, and so are its tourists. From the ancient British facades of Colaba to the largest slum in the world in Dharavi, you will have your itinerary full when you visit Mumbai. Apart from the usual destinations, there is a plethora of eateries, tours in and around the city, the impressive Gateway of India, and of course, the mesmerising Bollywood. What to try and what to pass up is a question that finds no easy answer in this maximum city. That’s why we have curated a list of short tours in Mumbai to make the most of your trip.
This half-day city tour provides a pick-up service at the hotel in an air-conditioned vehicle. The trip begins at Malabar Hills, the city’s up-market residential area that draws its inspiration from the British era. Then you drive past the Hanging Gardens and Kamala Nehru Park, before stopping by the Mani Bhavan- the former residence of Mahatma Gandhi. This very building was where the historic Quit India Movement was conceptualised. The library houses over 2000 books and a photo exhibition on the Mahatma’s life. From here, the group heads to Dhobighat- the world’s largest outdoor laundry! On the way back to the hotel you pass the UNESCO designated Victoria Terminus and the majestic Gateway of India monument.
Duration: 4.0 hour
Those interested in the mythology and art-forms of ancient India must include the Elephanta Caves in their itineraries. Located on an island, off the shores of Mumbai, these caves are easily accessible and transport you back in time. The tour operators provide a pickup at hotel, from where you are taken to the Gateway of India. From the monument, you can take a boat to the Elephanta Islands. The Elephanta group has seven caves, dating back to early 7th century. These caves preserve one of the earliest art-forms practised by the Shiva devotees. The caves also inhabit exquisite and vibrant sculptures carved from solid basalt rock. An English-speaking guide will be made available for the duration of this tour.
Duration: 5.5 hour
What if you’d love to try the flavours of Mumbai but also want to explore the city? This unique tour lets you do both! It starts in the Fort area, the colonial heart of Mumbai. Explore the rich Persian cuisine and the inimitable masala lime soda before hopping on to a local train! The trains are usually less crowded in the afternoon, allowing you to soak in the sights of Mumbai. The next stopover is at Bandra, where you can walk over to the beach and sample chaat (local spicy snacks) while taking in the setting Sun. Bhelpuri and panipuri are some must-haves in this part of the country. Once the evening sets in, your guide will take you to the famous Chor Bazaar where you can try some mouthwatering kebabs. The tour ends with a hop across a few local bakeries before you are driven back to the Fort area.
Duration: 4.0 hour
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Mumbai is majestic by the day and simply magical by the night. If you are travelling in the summers, it might be a good idea to opt for a night tour of this tropical city. The monumental Gateway of India illuminated in all its glory and the impressive Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus top this list. You can also gaze at Mumbai’s breathtaking skyline from atop the Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill and journey down the Marine Drive or the Sea Link. The tour offers a hotel pick up, an English-speaking guide and an air-conditioned car for the comfort of the guests.
Duration: 3.0 hour
No trip to Mumbai is complete without a tour of the magical streets of Bollywood. India’s gift to the world cinema, this aspect of Mumbai is one that you believe only after you see it. So, hop on to the half-day Bollywood tour and get a front-seat view of legendary movie studios, magical working sets, special effects and a dance show! The tour begins with a pickup at your hotel. Thereafter, you are taken to a live movie set where a film is being shot. Then you will be walked through a live studio where you can see the technicians breathe magic with their skills. You may even get a chance to peek inside a movie star’s makeup room or click a selfie with a popular Bollywood star! The last leg of the tour takes you to a dance show, where famous sequences of Bollywood movies are brought alive by local dancers. If interested, you can join them and shake a leg too.
Last but not least, this is another interesting way of touring Mumbai if you don’t find the local transport to your liking. Just hop on to a bicycle for a 4-hour long exploration of the city by road! The tour begins at the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, a UNESCO heritage site. From here, the guests cycle down to the Crawford market - one of the largest fruit and vegetable markets in the city. After exploring the market on foot, you will head to the Mumba Devi temple - the goddess after which the city is named. The tour breaks for a cup of steaming chai (tea) before coasting along the 1 mile (3 km) stretch of scenic Marine Drive. Enjoy an incredible view of the Arabian Sea before making your way to the Sassoon Docks. The trip ends at the departure point where you can top it off with a delicious Indian breakfast.
Duration: 3 hours 45 minutes
While Mumbai is a city of towering buildings and is home to some of the wealthiest in the country, it also has the world’s largest slum dwelling in Dharavi. Local culture and businesses thrive in the compact space that has become of growing interest to tourists from all over the world. This 2.5-hours-long walking tour takes you through many facets of the slum dwelling. Small groups are accompanied by a guide through the narrow bylanes of shops, industries and homes that inhabit Dharavi. It is quite an eye-opener to meet people who are residing through generations in these tight spaces of the city. From here, you can choose to visit the Dhobi Ghat- the world’s largest outdoor laundry.
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
The Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai, renamed as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya was built at the beginning of the 20th century. This was to honour the visit of King George V, then the Prince of Wales. The museum has three main sections- art, archaeology and natural history. The museum is a rare collection of art exhibits through centuries as well as interesting artefacts from foreign countries. It is located at a close proximity to the Gateway of India and there are many Indian and European restaurants in the vicinity. After the tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel.
For the foodies, the local flavours of Mumbai are a must-have. The best way to do that is with this 3-hour-long, eat-all-you-want tour. Guided by a local English-speaking guide, the tourists are taken to famous eateries off the streets in Mumbai. Sample the famous Bombay Toast in Bandra. Then head over for a burst of spice with panipuris. Indulge in South Indian delicacies with a variety of dosas served with tangy chutneys. When the spices start getting the better of you, don’t worry as many sweetmeat joints await. Try one or all from a variety of local Indian sweets like the Jalebi, Gulab Jamun, Ras Malai and Laddoos. Each item is an explosion of taste and distinctly different from the other. The walk down the busy streets of Mumbai adds to the experience of feasting like a local!
Mumbai and shopping are synonymous. The markets in Mumbai provide a mind-boggling range of handicrafts, artefacts and apparels to choose from. This half-day tour provides you with a pickup service at your hotel in an air-conditioned car and drops you off at the various markets of Mumbai. Shop to your heart’s content and experience the joy of haggling and negotiating the right price before making the purchase. This experience of buying off the streets is in sharp contrast with that of the global malls in the city. After you’re done shopping you can stop by a restaurant to savour a delicious Indian lunch and complete the truly local experience.
Duration: 4 hours
Short tours to maximise the Mumbai experience
There are plenty of wonderful things about Mumbai. With so many experiences, often it may get really hard to choose. These short tours are designed in a way that you can club key sites in the city without having to let go of your favourite experiences. Be it street food, Bollywood, historic Elephanta Caves or the narrow lanes of Dharavi, you can choose any tour that suits your senses. Make sure your itinerary has a place for these tours so you can make the most of the maximum city.
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