As you guys may or may not know, I read Coveteur regularly and was pleasantly surprised this weekend to see they did a travel article on Mumbai. So I thought I would take some of their suggestions and put some real Desi spin!
How many times have you relegated to watching Netflix or hitting up your hotel pool with only 24 hours of spare time on an extended layover? Or used the one day off you have tacked onto a work trip to, you know, do more work with room service in bed? It’s time to make the most of your free hours in an international locale and see some cool stuff! To help kick things off, Coveteur put together a super-curated, culturally rich, and fun (!) itinerary for a perfect day in Mumbai. It starts early, but it’s so worth the before-dawn call time.
4:45 AM: Last night’s setup wake-up call lured you out of your king-sized bed at the Taj Mahal Palace. Dial in some delicious local room service, and fuel up for your day.
5:30 AM: Using a tour guide to get you into places you may not get in based solely on your charms is an essential asset in our books. But make sure they are legit, small-grouped, and can really tailor your itinerary to what you want. You only have a limited number of minutes to get in as much of Mumbai as you can. Cox & Kings is our secret sauce.
Load up into a cozy van stocked with waters and cookies, and head into the city to see how the newspapers get organized, packaged up, and loaded onto bikes and vans for distribution around the city. It’s a pretty incredible sight.
6:30 AM: The sun is just starting to break, and the city is waking up around you, which means it’s time to hit up the vegetable and fruit market. Tarps covered in hundreds of tomatoes, heaps of bundles of mint, and sari-draped women tossing hot peppers in large straw baskets will make you want to stick around and take it all in for the rest of the day.
7:30 AM: We can bet you’ve never seen anything like Mumbai’s flower market. Weave through the hundreds of flower vendors as they try to woo you into buying handfuls of jasmine. Careful, you’ll be dodging the fast-moving workers with towering colorful crates of marigolds and roses teetering on their heads as they pile high truckloads to move around the city.
9:00 AM: By now Mumbai is wide awake and vibrating! This is getting better and better, guys. You’re heading into Mumbai’s port fish market. It’s a sensory overload in the best way possible. We didn’t tell you this, because technically it’s against the rules because it happens to be right around a Navy port, but it’s one hell of a photo op.
10:30 AM: It’s only breakfast time, and you’ve already managed to squeeze in so. much. culture. Head back to the Taj Mahal Palace for a refresh—you’ll need it post fish market. Tip: Take advantage of the hotel’s laundry and shoe-cleaning service, and refuel on the BEST, yes, the best croissants you’ll ever eat at the Sea Lounge.
11:30 AM: Chill out by the pool with a smoothie and mangos. Rumor (OK, so we heard it from multiple sources on the ground) has it that Obama ate mangoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during his entire stay. So there you have it!
1:00 PM: Stroll outside the front gates of the Palace to the city’s can’t-miss landmark: the Gate to India.
2:00 PM: Get in some retail therapy at Kala Ghoda and Colaba at the beautifully curated boutiques. Or hit up my favorite spot, FabIndia, for all the best clothes. There are loads of cute cafés if you need a masala chai break.
5:00 PM: If you have energy for one final big activity, set sail and get the best views of the Gate to India and the Taj Mahal Palace from the water.
7:30 PM: You’ve had an eventful day, so wind down with the Harbour Bar’s signature cocktail. It’s a show on its own!
8:15 PM: The Taj Hotel Palace has some of the best and most diverse options in the city, so you could find practically anything to hit the spot.
10:00 PM: Sleep or catch your flight!