Mumbai is a big, exotic city full of people and colour, and home to India's prolific Bollywood film industry. Although the city can be daunting to first time visitors, it is worth facing the challenge to explore its grand colonial architecture, beautiful palaces and discover unique bazaars, tucked away temples and its wonderful food and noisy nightlife.
The climate in Mumbai falls into three distinct seasons - summer, monsoon and winter. The best time to visit is during the winter months of November to February, when the temperatures range between 17°C and 30°C. The monsoon season of June to September is best avoided. Holi is celebrated during the full moon in March, while the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in August or September is celebrated with processions and fireworks. Diwali in October is a major festival of lights, which also sees fireworks being set off.
Visas are needed to enter India and are available from the Indian High Commission. Traveller's vaccinations should be up to date. Recommended are Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid. Some visitors also have vaccinations for Cholera (especially during the monsoon season), Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies. It is advisable to avoid drinking tap water in India unless it is boiled. Food should also be boiled, or fried before eating and all fruit and vegetables peeled. Unpleasant smog is common during the dry season. Living costs in India are much lower than in the United Kingdom, with a budget meal starting at around 200 Indian Rupees, approximately £2.
Mumbai airport is located 28 km from the city centre and pre-paid taxis cost around 450 to 600 Rs. Taxis in the city itself are cheap, the minimum fare is 21 Rs for the first 1.5 km, and then 1 R for every 100 metres. Suburban trains become extremely hot and crowded during rush hour so are best avoided at this time. Bus passes are available at around 70 Rs for one day (A Smart photo ID is needed).
Accommodation in Mumbai is relatively expensive compared to the rest of India. For budget guest houses head to South Mumbai, Colaba or near the railway stations, where a dormitory room in a hostel starts at roughly 250 Rs. 3-star hotel rooms start at about 4000 Rs.