Women with sari cloth

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM)

Considering the duality of Mumbai from a distance, it’s easy to overlook how striking and impactful its different scenes really are. At once, there are streets with abject poverty and directly facing them sit slightly battered, but nonetheless magnificent mansions and architecture. And the diversity carries over into every facet of Mumbai, which celebrates fashion, Bollywood, cricket, Hindu, Islam, and has one of the most varied street scenes anywhere in the world.

Around sixteen million people call Mumbai home and the city spans some 223 square miles. Because Mumbai has so much to offer, it is important to define your experience before you go. If not, you could get lost on the winding streets, taking in the bazaars that exist all throughout. And while not a bad option, it's best to have a plan in place when exploring the streets of Mumbai.

Mumbai Must-Sees

Bollywood should be atop your list when visiting Mumbai. Watch a production being filmed firsthand at Goregaon’s Film City. Or catch a flick at a cinema, where many films are screened in regional languages. Take in the fashion up for grabs at Inorbit, which is one of the continent’s largest mall. Here, you’ll be able to buy vogue fashions, beauty products, electronics and more.

After you have your entertainment fill, you’ll want to take to the streets of the city where buildings like the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a Victorian railway station building that now serves as the headquarters to Central Railways. Catch a match at one of Mumbai’s cricket stadiums — the Brabourne and the Wankhede — where locals and tourists gather to cheer on their team. Wander through the Prince of Wales Museum to see the ivory statues or visit the Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi always stayed during his visits.

Don’t forget the food. Café Madras serves up Tamil cuisine, which is authentic and local. Café Leopold is a great stop for happy hour and drinks and depending on what time you arrive, will carry you nicely into an Indian night on the town.

In need of an escape to India? You might also try New Delhi or Bangalore.