India is second populated country in the world next to China. No wonder you can see a lot of Indians in my hometown Davao, Philippines aside from Chinese as these three nationalities are spread all over the world. Like Philippines, India is a third world country. India has become a tourist destination as well for having cheap costs.
As of September 1, 2017, One (1) USD is equals to 64 Indian Rupees. And One (1) PHP is equals to 1.25 Indian Rupees. I suggest that you bring USD to India then change it at the airport, or at the hotel where you will stay, or money changers nearby as buying Indian Rupees with Philippine Peso (PHP) is not a common practice.
Seeing Mumbai, India in person is quite an experience for me. Mumbai used to be under British colony. Architecture is amazing. Most locals know how to speak English. Mumbai is a financial capital of India. It is famous for Bollywood (like Hollywood) where includes the international movie “The Slumdog Millionaire” and many more. More importantly, the city is safe with CCTV around compare to other cities in India. You will learn a lot from their culture too. Let me share with you other details in this blog post later.
BOOKING A FLIGHT:
Now after your research and if you wish to experience India, you have to get the cheapest fare possible. From Manila, there are airlines which offer this destination such as Thai Airways, Malaysian Airlines, Etihad, etc. However, you will get a connecting flight rather than a direct flight to Mumbai. It depends on the connecting airport too. I had a connecting flight from Manila-Bangkok-Mumbai. Travel duration is total of 9 hours from Manila.
The average airfare ticket you can get is Php 37, 000 or 740 USD roundtrip. But if you are lucky to check a cheaper flight, you can get as low as Php 20, 000 or around 400 USD roundtrip or lower.
If you travel around March like I did, expect that weather is very humid. So wear comfy and light clothes only. Bring shades and cap.
Photo: Mumbai International Airport
WHERE TO STAY:
You can opt to stay near the airport but expect a price increase and there’s not much to see around the area. I stayed at the heart of Mumbai City in Trident Nariman Hotel – it’s a 5-star hotel and there’s a nice sea view there. It’s only 18 kms from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. It’s near to market, ATMs, and main tourist attractions. Actually you can find a decent hotel accommodation for as low as Php 2, 000 per night / 2 pax.
WHAT TO DO IN MUMBAI:
1.) Visit the Gateway of India for free.
2.) Visit the famous train station where “The Slumdog Millionaire” movie was shot called Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. It is among the busiest train station in India. One of the UNESCO Heritage Site.
Architectural design is wonderful.
3.) Mumbai University – Oldest university in Mumbai
4.) The Dhobi Ghat Laundry District – well known for open laundry. The area offers washing services for the hotels and hospitals. Entrance: FREE
5.) Mani Bhavan – Mahatma Gandhi National Museum
Gandhi is hero for Indian people. He was the leader against British rule in India. You will only see Gandhi’s face in their money. You will learn a lot about him in the museum. Entrance is FREE. Donation only (no required amount).
6.) The Hanging Gardens
It’s a terraced garden built above a water reservoir. It’s also a popular tourist destination in Mumbai. Exploring the garden is very refreshing for those who love nature.
7.) Crawford Market – it’s a famous market since 1869. You can enjoy buying food products and spices as souvenir or “pasalubong” for your family and friends. Indians are known for spices, herbs, curry powder that you can use for cooking.
I bought different spices and curry (in powder) for 200 rupees each.
8.) Marine Drive – Since Mumbai is located along a coast, you can see a lot of view by just riding a taxi at Marine Drive – a long boulevard in South Mumbai. They have public beaches, park along the seaside.
9.) Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai – Since going to Taj Mahal Mausoleum would be very expensive and would take long and extra time to book a ticket to Agra from Mumbai. Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai is an iconic landmark facing the Arabian Sea.
10.) Colaba Causeway Market – When I was about to leave Mumbai, I went to Colaba area where I did my shopping. The area is filled with restaurants, theatres. It’s a popular commercial and shopping destination. In here you can buy sort of stuff like jewelries, shirts, keychains, etc. Don’t forget to bargain as price come higher for the tourists.
FOOD: Try to have a heavy dinner at Cafe Royal located in Colaba area where the US President Bill Clinton also visited. Price per meal starts at 235 Rupees. There is also a bar upstairs where you can chill.
Basically, most of the Indian food are consist of curry and spices. But Royal Cafe will set you in the mood.
Try Mcdonalds with Indian twist. Almost same price with Mcdonalds in Manila.
I stayed for four days in Mumbai. There were both Catholic and Hindu churches I visited. I also went to Saree stores during the day and to Mumbai Country Club for dinner and drinks where there’s a live band inside the bar and a night market outside. The weather was really humid, walking around was not advisable.
Photo: I bought a shawl (hand-made) for only 347 rupees
At my hotel, there is swimming pool, a bar, stores and breakfast is buffet. As I observed the Indian culture, I can see the contrast of the traditional belief and modern perspective of the Indians. Indeed it was a nice experience. (oh, curry, spices…)
Thank you for visiting my blog.
Please visit my blogsite to check out the other places I have been to.