Mumbai is historically known to be an important city in India and has been called the gateway to India during British colonial rule, not to mention that it has a literal monument with the same name. Located in Maharashtra, it is geographically situated facing Arabian Sea and has welcomed many travelers throughout the centuries. Hence, it is a top tourist destination in the country. One of the highlights of Mumbai is Thane Creek, an inlet of water that uniquely separates Mumbai from the mainland. Known as Asia’s largest creek at 26 kilometers (16 miles) in length, it is the home to many species of birds, including flamingos. In fact, it is labeled by the local government as an ‘Important Bird Area’ and a 'Flamingo Sanctuary’. If you’re interested in seeing this amazing natural sanctuary, check out our guide to Thane Creek, Mumbai.
Things to do / Highlights
The main highlight of Thane Creek is its famed Flamingo Sanctuary. It is one of the most popular things to do for nature lovers and bird enthusiasts in Mumbai. The local government recognizes it as an ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA)’. You will find a vast number of beautiful pink flamingoes hanging around the creek. While this is a sight to behold, you will also be able to spot many more species of birds like ducks, falcons, ibis, and other migratory birds that come and go depending on the season. Photographers will especially love all the photo opportunities available here. To get around the sanctuary, you can take a guided boat tour for the full experience.
After your boat trip around the creek, you can also opt to go walking on a nature trail around the sanctuary. Thane Creek is a blossoming natural landscape for anyone who wishes to reconnect with nature. There are all sorts of flora and fauna at the creek and its surrounding mangrove habitats for your appreciation. It’s also another activity that nature photographers will enjoy.
Respect the sanctuary
Thane Creek, though considered a tourist attraction, is still a natural habitat for various species of birds. Visitors should always remember to avoid disturbing the sanctuary and the wildlife harmoniously living within it. While on the boat ride, try to avoid flash photography as this could bother the animals. The boat maintains a safe distance from the birds and stops its engine while visitors admire the birds up close. Feel free to bring along some binoculars if you want to see them even closer. Also, guests should be reminded not to pollute the water as there is an ongoing initiative to help save the creek from pollution.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Thane Creek is from February to May. This is the peak season for flamingoes, so you will get to see them in their full glory. There are also a number of different migratory birds flying into the sanctuary during this time of the year. Boat tours begin early in the morning and finish in the afternoon. It’s best to visit the creek first thing in the morning when it’s not too hot. Whatever time you choose to visit, be sure to wear comfortable and cool clothing as the climate tends to be a little humid due to the natural surroundings.
Travelers should be reminded that the daily cruises come in two options. If you’re a couple or pair, you might want to opt to join a bigger group in a general cruise. However, if you’re a big group or a large family, you might want to have a private cruise on a speed boat. Prices and charges may vary. The boats are very safe as everyone on board is required to wear a life jacket. The guides are also very knowledgable and this activity is a highly recommended one, especially for those traveling with kids.
How to get there
Your jump-off point would be at Mumbai, so if you’re already staying in the city, then accessing Thane Creek should not be a problem.
The easiest and most popular way to get to Thane Creek is to take a train to Thane station, which is the closest station. This is if you’re coming from the eastern side of the creek. If you’re coming from the western side, your landmark stop is Bhandup Pumping Station. From there, it is recommended that you hire an auto-rickshaw to the creek.
Alternatively, you can take the local bus to Thane Creek. Simply ask if your bus is going to stop by either one of these stops: Manoramanagar, Kapurbawdi or Thane West, as these are the nearest bus stops to Thane Creek. From the bus stop, you can hire an auto-rickshaw to take you to the creek.
If you’re looking for more comfort and convenience, you can also hire a private taxi either from the bus stop, the train station or even straight from your accommodation. Just be prepared to pay a little more.
Thane Creek information
Address: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Department of tourism: Maharashtra Tourism
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sun)
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