Friday, 11 November 2011



Current exchange rate 76Rs to the £1

Expect this city to be one of the busiest, craziest places you have ever been to, with no apparent traffic laws, dangerous drivers and car horns sounding every second.

We arrived in Mumbai, very jet-lagged at 10.00am local time. Before leaving the airport we paid 520Rs for a taxi via a pre-paid service that is located near the exit area of the airport. This is the best way to ensure that you don't get ripped off. The only extra money we had to pay was a gesture of 10Rs because our main bags were carried for us (we didn't ask them to!) by locals, to our taxi. I knew that they would want money for this but as we were tired and didn't have the energy to politely decline we felt that we had no choice but to accept.

Insist on carrying your own bags, do not allow for anyone to carry your hand luggage and stay close to the person with your main bag.
Do not pay any more then 10Rs for this so called 'service'. Most of the time they want to be paid in Sterling or USD so the very small amount of Rupee we donated probably wasn't anywhere near what they wanted or have been given previously.

The hotel we stayed at was called 'Chateau Windsor' which is located on Marine Drive. We paid about 5,500Rs (£75) for a deluxe room with breakfast included. This was extortionate for our budget but as we left it until the last minute to book somewhere we found that all the decent budget rooms were already fully booked. I would advise booking 1 month in advance, but still expect to pay higher than average prices for rooms that may not be up to your expected standard of living.

Although the hotel looked very rundown from the outside, the room was huge, with a modern bathroom, very large bed and clean sheets, small balcony area and a flat screen TV. Most of the channels were in Indian of course and i would say that a TV is definitely not necessary.  For breakfast i had two perfectly made poached eggs on toast, a tasty cup of tea and a banana. All of which were enjoyed on the roof top space of our hotel.

For female travellers you will need to cover up, unless you want every male in Mumbai staring at you in a not so discreet way. I made the error of wearing shorts when we first ventured outside and actually felt violated, my mistake i know. I think the only reason i didn't get stopped or spoken to was because i had my 'muscular' (haha) boyfriend tightly gripping my hand.

We wanted to travel on the overnight train from Mumbai to Goa, and tried booking this on the day we arrived but after having difficulties withdrawing cash and feeling out of our comfort zone we decided to organise it for the following day.

After a good nights sleep we headed to the reservation office to book our train tickets. This was located directly opposite the train station, into an unexpected alley, leading to a dodgy building (that looked like it was derelict) with pigeons flapping around overhead and locals loitering.

We were informed that the overnight train service does not run on a Saturday or Sunday. As we didn't want to wait until 11pm the following Monday to leave, we decided that our best bet would be to book a flight directly to Kerala  (Kochin) then make our way North via buses, and finally catch the much anticipated overnight train from Goa to Mumbai.

We paid 6000Rs (£80) each for our flights but justified the cost by not wanting to go in search of cheaper accommodation in the searing city heat and paying for a room that would probably cost the same over 2 nights as the flight itself.

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