Let’s talk about money. You have 10 euros in your pocket and a day to explore as much as possible of Mumbai, the most expensive city in India, is that possible?
Sure, that works!
Night in dormitory and breakfast – 4,29 Euro
Attention, prices are changing fast and this article is a bit older. For a city sightseeing and savings, the route is still a great clue.
Mumbai is the wealthiest and most expensive city in India. Even in the backpacker area of Colaba, you pay more than 3 times as much for a room compared to the rest of India. Funnily enough, the cheapest rooms in Colaba are in the Salvation Army guesthouse. Yes, the Salvation Army has a guesthouse just behind the Taj Mahal Hotel and only 1 block from the Gateway of India!
The Red Shield Guesthouse has dormas for 350 Rupees including a small breakfast and filtered drinking water as much as you can drink. As I said, for the price you get a double room almost everywhere in India, but in Mumbai, the offer of the Salvation Army is a bargain. The Red Shield Guesthouse is also the first choice to meet other backpackers, for example, to explore the Dharavi slum together later.
(350 Rupees Dorm bed and breakfast)
Gateway of India
Walk a block of the road in the direction of the harbour and you will see the Gateway, the landmark of Mumbai. Here in 1948 the last British soldiers left their empire and ran back to England. In the morning light, the gateway looks particularly nice; it is worth getting up early. The gateway is the main attraction of Mumbai, according to much is often going on here. The exaggerated security checks with armoured vehicles were established because of the 2003 bomb attack.
Harbour cruise – 0,86 Euro
Directly from the gateway, ferries leave for Elephanta Island and Alibag and Mandwa beaches, for 100 rupees round trip. Today we have no time for such a long trip and make only the half-hour harbour cruise for 70 rupees. You see mostly ships, parts of the Indian Navy and of course the Gateway and the Taj Mahal from the Arabian Sea. The first boat leaves at 9 o’clock. If you are too early, look first at Colaba.
(70 Rupees harbour tour)
Colaba tourist district
Colaba Causeway is the tourist district of Mumbai. There are bars, hotels, a supermarket, “Official Tourist Information” (private tour operators), McDonalds, all sorts of souvenir shops and shopping opportunities, and of course cafes with cheesecake. If you want to be extra in a Bollywood movie the next day, spend some time in the morning in front of Café Leopold. As a Westerner, you will be addressed very soon and so you can earn back your 10 euros tomorrow 😉 A report of this intense experience you will find on Life is a Trip.
Tea and snack, eg Samosa, Vada Pav – 0,25 Euro
We want to get out of the tourist ghetto Colaba. At the northern end of Colaba, the Mukherjee roundabout, cross the road to the imposing Prince of Wales Museum. You are probably hungry again after the too-small breakfast. At the bus stop, there are snacks and drinks. The opposite is the beautiful colonial building of the National Gallery of Modern Art
(8 Rupees Chai, 12 Rupees Samosa or Vada Pav)
Colonial heritage along MG Road
When the British left, they left a beautiful city that could also be in the middle of Europe. A good impression of the many colonial buildings you get when you walk down the Mahatma Gandhi Road. You’ll pass the High Court, Bombay University, the Mumbai Stock Exchange, and countless banks. Mumbai is the “economic capital of India” and has one of the largest universities in the world.
Euro fruit salad – 0.18
On the right side of the Mahatma Gandhi Road, you will find a pedestrian passage with many market stalls. Some vendors sell fresh fruit salad with papaya, pineapple, watermelon, carambola and chikoo.
(15 Rupees fruit salad)
Horniman garden and cricket stadiums
When you reach the Flora Fountain, make a detour to the right to the Horniman Garden, a small green lung in the metropolis. You will pass the Cathedral of St. Thomas. Back at the Flora Fountain, you walk a block off roads in the other direction to see the two large cricket fields of Mumbai. Cricket is an Indian national sport and the two courses are played around the clock as long as it is light.
Bus to the Haji Ali Dargah mosque – 0.10 euro
Back at the Flora Fountain, walk down MG Road a bit further south to the bus stop in front of the high court. There you wait for the bus number 83, 84, 86, 132 or 133 north to the Haji Ali Dargah mosque. The typical red BEST buses in Mumbai are very efficient and frequent. The route network is one of the only ones in India that is listed on Google Maps. The bus takes about 50 minutes, get off when most people get off or ask the driver.
(8 Rupees bus)
Haji Ali Dargah Mosque
On an islet off Mumbai in the Arabian Sea, this mosque is popular with pilgrims. Not least because of its spectacular location, the nearly 600 years old mosque is worth a visit. You can walk over a half-kilometre long dam to the mosque, actually the highlight of the visit. On Fridays and Saturdays, the mosque is crowded with pilgrims and there is always a lot going on.
I discovered this mosque for the first time in a great TV interview with Fareed Zakaria on moderate Islam and democracy in India and thought only, “Where is this fascinating place?”. It is the Haji Ali Dargah Mosque and its dam in Mumbai: Walk The Talk with Fareed Zakaria. (Unfortunately at low tide)
Lunch – 1.23 Euro
Back on the mainland, there are several restaurants between the mosque and the Mahalaxmi Temple. A Veg Thali costs about twice the normal price in Mumbai, thali means as much as plates, so a midday meal. In India, this means a mountain of rice, with different watery curry and roti. Drinking water is included and yes, you can drink it in Mumbai without hesitation.
(100 Rupees Veg Thali)
The largest washing machine in the world
The Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai is the “largest washing machine in the world”, operated by a man of course. If you have your laundry washed in Mumbai, then it will most likely end up here. Walk along the Dr E Moses Marg until you reach the metro station Mahalaxmi, about 20 minutes. If this is too far for you, take the No. 124 or No. 351 to Mahalaxmi at the first bus stop. From the pedestrian bridge over the metro station, you have the best view of the Dhobi Ghat.
Metro in Mumbai – 0.25 Euro
The Mumbai subway is the oldest in Asia and the second-largest in the world after Tokyo. Mumbai’s metro transports 7 million people every day, even though Mumbai’s official population is only 12 million. The metro is Mumbai’s lifeblood. Everybody has seen the legendary pictures of the crowded cars with people hanging from their open doors on the left and right.
Now in the early afternoon, the chaos is not so bad and you may even get a seat. Later in the rush hour, it will be difficult to even squeeze into the metro. On the way back we drive into the city, but there is less going on in the evening because most people work in the city and live outside. Solve a return ticket, and then you will not have to queue again later. Drive north on the Western Line to Mahim Station.
(2 x 10 Rupees Metro Ticket)
Visit to the Dharavi slum
If you’ve seen the movie Slumdog Millionaire, then you know the scenes from Dharavi Slum, the largest slum in Asia. Please wait a moment before you call “disaster tourism!”. In the Dharavi slum, you will not find any poor, depressed people or beggars in the gutter, at least not more than anywhere else in India.
The slum industry is making a $ 1 billion annual profit. There are restaurants, temples, mosques and shops. On my first visit to Dharavi, I naively asked how I got to the slum. The friendly residents have made me aware that I am already in the slum. I did not realize it, because the slum looks quite normal to India.
Tour of the Dharavi slum
Nevertheless, a visit to the slum is interesting because Dharavi is so different than you imagine a mega-slum. As a rule, Asian slums are not comparable to Rio de Janeiro or Mexico City. Dharavi is good preparation for India if you have just landed because honestly, the rest of Mumbai could be in another country.
The slum is located exactly between the two metro lines West and Central. From Mahim West, you can reach the pedestrian bridge outside the metro station from the street. Be sure to go back the same way you came, it’s very easy to get lost in Dharavi or get stuck in a dead-end. If you run away, try to find the metro line, the people are very helpful.
Marine Drive beach promenade
If you have enough of the slum, relax on the beach. Take the subway south to the Marine Lines stop. When you get out, you can already see the sea. Although you are almost back in Mumbai’s old town, Marine Drive is the newest part of Mumbai. In the 1960s, especially at the southern end of new building land was gained by Landaufschüttungen, right next to the old town. This Nariman Point is one of the most expensive grounds in the world with incredibly high rental rates. Of course, the German embassy can be found here 😉
The teens who hang around on Marine Drive’s boardwalk have a different mind and behave almost like teens in Europe. Turn right and stroll along the promenade. Here on Marine Drive, it’s easy to forget that you’re in India. If you do not feel like going for a walk along the sea, get off the metro at the Charni Road stop and go straight to Chowpatty Beach.
Dinner at Chowpatty Beach-0.61 euro
After about 30 minutes from the beach promenade, you reach the beach. Chowpatty is popular with Indian families in the evenings for a picnic. Have a picnic too, right at the entrance are innumerable feeding stalls. The speciality par excellence in Mumbai is Bhelpuri, alternatively Pav Bhaji. Treat yourself an ice cream afterwards. The prices here are at Indian level.
(30 Rupees Bhelpuri, 20 Rupees ice cream)
Bus back to Colaba-0.10 euro
If you have had enough of celebrity on the beach and posing with Indians for photos, then cross the Marine Drive over the footbridge on the right-hand side. At the bus stop just below the pedestrian bridge every 30 minutes the number 123 in southern direction back to Colaba. If you are impatient, you can also walk to the Maharshi Karve Rd, parallel to Marine Drive, from where buses # 83, 103, 106, 133 (every 10 minutes) head south to Colaba.
(8 Rupees bus)
Beer in Colaba- 1.97 euros
The Colaba Causeway in the evening is something of a tourist market and there is even something like nightlife. Mumbai is also far from Indian standards when it comes to alcohol. It is not difficult to find a licensed bar throughout the city, and of course, it is easiest in the tourist district of Colaba. The two bars Café Leopold and Café Mondegar are downright famous but overpriced.
Beer in the restaurant Gokul-1,97 Euro
Go one block towards the Gateway of India and you’ll find a local restaurant and bar. Again, the beer is a bit more expensive than normal in India, but at Café Leopold it would cost twice as much. You get the beer nibbles as much as you like. If you have time, look at the floodlit gateway before the Salvation Army Guesthouse closes at 10 pm.
(160 Rs for a big Kingfisher with snacks)
Total Expenditures 801 Rupees or 9.85 EUR at the current exchange rate of 81.36 Rupees.
Congratulations, you spent a day in the most expensive city in India and did not miss anything. The rest of India will be a breeze 😉