Photo Essay: the streets of Mumbai (Bombay) in 2014

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2015 update: Mumbai is one of our top 5 cities in India!

We arrived to Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 2AM on Jan 30th. After almost 24 hours of constant travel we were two zombies looking for a bed. Thankfully our new AirBNB host Mani picked us up at the airport and brought us back to his “suburban” bungalow in Chembur.

transportation from Mumbai airport
Welcome to Mumbai

After a decent nights rest, Mani greeted us with Masala Chai and gave us a few pointers for exploring Mumbai. Turns out everyone drinks chai and it can be found for as little as 3 rupee for a small glass. (5 cents)

Mumbai Chai wallah serving his customers
Mumbai Chai wallah serving his customers

After leaving our oasis at Mani’s we set out on foot to explore Chembur which we’re told is a very nice and expensive suburb. Didn’t feel like any suburb we have seen. Today we learned how crowded Mumbai is. In fact it has become so crowded (21M people) that in 1972 they decided to develop another township to decongest the city. The township is called Navi Mumbai which means “new Mumbai” and has over 1.2M residents. Mumbai is known as the most expensive city in India.

chembur from annes viewpoint
Street view of Chembur – Mumbai “suburb” to the North

After exploring Chembur, we took a taxi to the Colaba neighborhood which is at the southern tip of Mumbai. We started with the Gateway of India, a reminder of when the British ruled Mumbai (then called Bombay).

Anne getting a "blessing" near the Gateway of India
Anne getting a “blessing” near the Gateway of India

After sneaking into the Taj Hotel to gawk at luxury in Mumbai, we were ready to get off the beaten path. After we got out of the touristy Colaba neighborhood, our surroundings started to change. We got more stares from the locals and our jaws were dropping every couple minutes.

balancing act money money 3
entertainment on the street in Mumbai

Along the way we stumbled on a men’s beauty parlor located on the street corner. Anyone need a quick shave?

quick shave
quick shave on street in Mumbai

The deeper you go, the more fascinating it becomes…

street vendors in Mumbai

After a long day exploring, we head back to our place and Mani greets us with Chai. After a quick chat he takes us to the basement and shows us his model train collection.

mani the train conductor
Mani showing us how his electric trains work

We start the next day by exploring Kamala Nehru Park which is located on top of Mumbai’s version of Beverly Hills. During our stroll around the park we are greeted by many friendly locals. We were often asked to hold babies and pose in pictures as if we were a celebrities. Sometimes we received looks of horror as if they had just seen an alien…

child gaping smile finished
child’s reaction after 2 blondies walk by

Next up is Chowpatty beach. Great views of the city however the beach is not very nice. Some school kids wanted their picture taken. The brave one of the group takes his shirt off while his friends laugh from the sidelines.

School kids playing around on Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai

Time to explore the side streets near the Opera House in south Mumbai.

anne crazy street 1
Anne on the street in Mumbai

Every time we get lost in Mumbai, we are rewarded with scenes we could not have imagined.

four peas in a pod
four peas in a pod

The children in Mumbai are cute as it gets.

small child in Mumbai
small child in Mumbai

After a long day on our feet, we are ready to eat (our favorite part of the day). We pass a few vendors along the way.

Vegetable street vendors in Mumbai
Vegetable street vendors in Mumbai

At last we have selected our dinner for the night. A spicy vegetarian dish containing Chickpeas, lentils, onion, cilantro, chile peppers, and various sauces and spices. Spicy and a little sweet. All for 30 cents per person (20 rupee).

Street food in Mumbai
Street food in Mumbai

Although chaotic, the city of Mumbai has a certain energy about it that we learned to love. Since moving on to Goa, we have found ourselves missing the electric Mumbai. We will be back someday…

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About Brandon

Former corporate sales rep turned nomadic entrepreneurial yogi. Street food ninja, avid outdoorsman, craft beer geek, and live music junkie. Co-founder of The Yoga Nomads.

17 thoughts on “Photo Essay: the streets of Mumbai (Bombay) in 2014”

  1. It is so great to SEE your adventures, Brandon and Anne. Keep the chronicles coming – I’m hooked! Be safe (said in Momvoice)

    • Thanks Katy, glad to hear it! We left Mumbai and are now hopping around small beach communities in Goa. Pictures soon. Hope you’re doing well and say hi to G and Mia!

    • Love it and want to hear more! I’m mentally traveling with you two and can’t wait to see more of it all! Amazing pics! Street food is the world’s greatest invention…keep that Cipro close by though, just in case. 😉

      • Thanks Meg! You’re so right, nothing better than street food. Our favorite time of day is usually dinner time on a street corner. All the locals gather around to eat – feels like a small block party (with better food)

      • Aw, thanks, Meg! We’ll be sure to keep you posted as we keep going. Been thinking about you tons. Wish you could enjoy the street food with us! In the meantime, check out The World Street Kitchen on Lyndale in Uptown – yummy street food dishes from around the world! 🙂

  2. Great pictures, loved reading this! Can’t wait for more. So glad you are using Air BnB. My husband and I did that while traveling through Scandenavia on our honeymoon. We met so many incredible and hospitable locals in every city. Most were excited to show us around, it’s like getting a free tour guide and tips and info on their culture! Glad you’re having a great time. Safe travels.

    • Thanks Rachel! Glad you had such nice experiences with AirBnB in Scandinavia! So far both of our hosts have been top notch – cooking for us and taking us around town. Definitely get a different perspective than staying in a hostel full of other travelers.

  3. This is amazing. I had no idea you were such an adventurer. Stay safe and keep blogging, this is so cool to read about!

  4. Sending peace and love your way… So cool that you are sharing this in such detail with all of us. Feels like I’m along for the ride! I’m going to see you over seas by summertime mark my words. Safe travels you happy lovers.
    All my best,

    • Thanks Johnny Boy! Glad you liked the photo essay. Maybe we’ll do another one soon.

      Music to my ears! Keep me posted with your planning!

  5. Brandon and Anne
    Loving your blog and posts of Facebook. So happy you both are having the time of your lives. Your pictures are breath-taking. Learning so much about travel abroad. Safe travels!!
    Love you both:-)

    • Thanks Izzy! We are definitely enjoying ourselves. We just spent 5 days in Hampi, India which is filled with giant boulders. Reminded me of AZ, we’ll post more pictures soon 🙂 Love you too!


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