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The handy get ready guide to Mumbai, India

Mumbai, India

A visit to India is always certain to be an incredible, unforgettable experience. The enchanting medley of sights, sounds, aromas, people and history cast a spell like no other.

Known as Bombay up until 1995, Mumbai is one of the largest and most exciting cities in India. Its reputation as a bustling metropolis has sometimes earned it the title of “South Asia’s own New York City”.

Full of diversity, music, food, beaches, and culture, the intermingling of the traditional and the modern makes Mumbai an excellent destination for an Indian holiday.

If you’re planning a trip and need some Mumbai travel advice, our get ready guide gives you everything you need to know.

Visas & vaccinations

All visitors to India require a visa before entering the country. Your passport must be valid for 180 days at the time of your entry to the country (though it's wise to double check this before you apply for your visa), and there will need to be at least two blank pages remaining in it for the visa to be attached to.

Tourist visa application forms can be downloaded online, and submitted by post. Approval times can vary, so it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible.

Before your visit, make sure your vaccinations and boosters are up-to-date, particularly for Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid. You can check the NHS vaccinations website for current information.

Phone your local GP or practice nurse, and they will be able to check your medical notes and tell you which of your vaccinations are up-to-date, and which need to be re-administered. You may also want to consider getting immunised against Cholera, Diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, and Rabies.

To stay healthy in Mumbai, be sure to only drink bottled water, including when brushing your teeth. This also applies to any ice in your drinks, so also make doubly sure of the origin of your ice-cubes.

If eating from one of Mumbai’s many street-vendors, it’s usually best to avoid meat and never eat pre-cut fruit. One good tip is to follow the lead of locals when choosing where to go, as the most popular stalls are likely to be the cleanest.

What to pack

It may not surprise you to learn that the climate in India can be very humid.

Even from November to February, India’s winter months, Mumbai is very warm, with occasional monsoons bringing heavy rain in December and January.

With this hot weather, you’ll want to pack a good selection of light-weight outfits that will help keep you cool while protecting you from the sun. Hats are essential, as are raincoats, sandals and umbrellas. You might also want to bring a money belt, for peace of mind, when out in busy areas.

If you plan to visit any of Mumbai’s beautiful temples, such as the Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir, then you’ll need to make sure you are dressed modestly and respectfully. Shorts are considered inappropriate attire, as are sleeveless or low-cut tops. Be aware that some temples may require you to remove your shoes before entering.

Don’t forget to pack sun-block and swimwear for the beach, mosquito repellent to help keep insects at bay, and stomach medication (just in case). If you need to bring prescription medication with you on your holiday, you’ll need to take your prescription document to show at customs upon arrival.

Getting around

Local transport in Mumbai can be a little confusing, with the dense population, fast pace and complicated traffic system. There is no train station at the airport, so to make things easy upon arrival it’s a good idea to pre-pay for a taxi transfer to take you to your hotel.

Pre-paid taxis can be arranged from the pre-payment booth at the airport. Agree a price upfront and make sure you have some rupees with you to pay the booker in cash.

Taxis with air-conditioning are more expensive, but can be worth the additional charge to stay comfortable if you are not used to the heat.

Helpful links

There are lots of really useful online travel tools and Mumbai apps available. Some that are certain to be useful during your holiday are:

  • AccuWeather - for up-to-date local weather forecasts, wherever you find yourself.
  • Mumbai Travel Guide - a list of popular landmarks with offline maps.
  • Currency Calculator - for staying on top of exchange rates.
  • Airbnb - stay like a local, with these alternative places to stay.
  • TripAdvisor - reviews of local restaurants and business, written by visitors like you.
  • Google Maps - never get lost again!
  • Instagram and Twitter - check #Mumbai on these these social networks, for a close-up view of the local lifestyle.
  • Time Out Mumbai - information about the best shows, concerts, and restaurants in the city.

Also, why not follow @TimeOut_Mumbai’s Twitter account? For inspiring images to get you in the mood for your trip, take a look at Everyday Mumbai on Instagram.

One more thing

Don’t forget to book your Heathrow airport parking with us at Good To Go, for a smooth journey from start to finish. With our Meet & Greet parking service, you do the packing, we do the parking, so you can start enjoying your holiday right away.

We’re here to make sure you’re Good To Go. Have fun on your Indian adventure!

(Official government advice for British citizens visiting India is available here.)

*Information accurate as of April 2017. Check with your GP for recent changes.

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