Our insider’s guide to Mumbai will help make India’s biggest city a whole world more intimate.
With thanks to Sachin Singh, chief concierge, Sofitel Mumbai.
Is there an experience that only locals know about but visitors should too?
Khotachiwadi is a heritage village in Girgaon in Mumbai’s south. Nearly 180 years old, the houses here are influenced by old Portuguese-style architecture. Kotachiwadi adds to the cultural diversity of Mumbai.
Where do locals like to eat and drink?
Mumbai is filled with many restaurants, as well as roadside eateries serving a variety of cuisines. A famous spot among locals is Girgaum Chowpatty. It’s also located in the south and is an area that comes alive after sunset, with local families and tourists all enjoying the sandy beaches, while they eat and drink a few of the city’s most traditional and well-known delicacies. Another icon present in the city is Shree Thaker Bhojanalay, a restaurant famous among locals which serves the best Gujarati thali in the city.
What is the best shop to browse?
In the city of Mumbai, a wide selection of shopping options exists, from ethnic stores to those selling high-end products. If I had to recommend one must-visit store for people during their time in Mumbai, first and foremost is The Bombay Store. This is a beautiful lifestyle destination store that is steeped in the history of India’s freedom struggle. It was founded in order to promote Indian-made products during the Swadeshi movement. Here, you can pick up a pashmina shawl from Kashmir, Dokra folk art from Orissa or embroidered, Kantha work bedsheets from Jaipur.
What do you recommend doing for the perfect Sunday in your city?
On Sunday, as traffic is limited in the first half of the day within the city limits, you have the option of taking a tour of Mumbai, visiting historical places of interest such as the Gateway of India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India), Mani Bhawan, the Hanging Gardens and Dhobi Ghat.
What is the one thing – be it a souvenir or memory – visitors should take home with them?
The Mumbai local trains are one of a kind. Running through the city of Mumbai, millions of people use this service daily. A visitor must experience this while in Mumbai to gain an understanding of the crowd patterns and experience life as a local on one of the busiest rail networks in the world.