Experiences, Mumbai

When you only have one day in the city – The ultimate Mumbai Sightseeing itinerary

Sometimes our guests don’t have a lot of time to experience Mumbai sightseeing. Either they are just travelling through from or to Goa or they are in Mumbai for business and only get one day on the weekend. If you are one of them, worry not – we got you! We curated a perfect itinerary to see the best of Mumbai – from the British traces to the Koli’s heritage, from Hindu temples to Muslim markets, by foot, taxi, train and bus! Following is the perfect plan for one perfect (but busy!) day of Mumbai sightseeing.

05:00am Dadar Flower Market

Yes, we realise this is very early. But this is when the biggest wholesale market in Mumbai opens and when all the wedding and event decorators come to strike the best deals. A little later, most of the flowers will be sold already. Hence, if you’re a photographer or just a sucker for colours and flowers the early raise might be worth itWe serve breakfast at 8am at the hostel. So basically, before coming back to join us at our big dining table you have enough time for some more sightseeing.  Visit Bandra Fort for a beautiful dawn view over the iconic Sea link bridge and watch morning joggers at the Bandstand promenade. You can also have your first chai of the day at Good Luck Bakery opposite Mehboob Studio.

Mumbai Sightseeing one day
Dhobi Ghat is one of the largest open-air laundry areas in the world!

09:00am Dhobi Ghat

Take a local slow train from Bandra Station around 08:40am in the direction of Churchgate (C). Get off after 6 stops at Mahalakshmi Station. Since all commuters head south to the offices in Fort and surroundings it will be very crowded on the trains. You can get a 1st Class ticket or, as a woman, head in the women-only-compartment.

Dhobi Ghat is one of the largest open-air laundry facilities in India. Although they don’t like it when strangers walk around inside, you can get an amazing view from the bridge just outside Mahalakshmi station.

Afterwards, get on the train again and head all the way to the last stop: Churchgate Station.

09:30am From Churchgate to Colaba and Kala Ghoda

Walk from Churchgate Station south to the big ground Oval Maidon which you can cross on the center. From here you have a perfect view over Rajbhai Clock Tower and University building. This is a perfect start to the British colonial architecture that you find in the whole area.

Mumbai Sightseeing one day
The Oval Maidon from above with the Rajbhai Clocktower in the back.

Next stop on your Mumbai sightseeing tour is the Esplanade Mansion or former Watson’s Hotel. This was once the finest address in town but is now a neglected heritage building used for offices.

You have now reached Kala Ghoda, the art district which we will dive in deeper later.  For now, head south and marvel at the Sasoon Dock library and Elphinstone College on the right and the Chhatrapati Shivaji (former Prince of Wales) Museum on the left-hand side. All of these buildings are beautiful examples of the Indo-Saracenic architecture style – a fusion of European neo-classical and revival features with Indo-Islamic architecture.

Cross the big circle and pass the first Art-Deco building of the city, the Regal Cinema, after which you head left. Soon you will reach the beautiful Yacht Club, Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Now take your sweet time to enjoy these wonderful heritage monuments and buildings. You can head into the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel but remember you have little time. However, it has the best toilet around, so use that chance if you must.

Now walk back to Kala Ghoda and wander the tiny lanes all the way to Horniman Circle, another unique place to marvel at neo-classical architecture. Just behind that you can visit Yazdani Bakery for a small second breakfast. This is a small Parsi Café that offer amazing baked goods since the 50s. Typical Mumbai naashta (Breakfast) is chai and brun maska (butter bun).

11:00am From CST Station to Kalbadevi

Leave Fort behind you and reach the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Station. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in the 1880s and is now the busiest trains station in India. The small platform in the middle of the junction offers for a perfect uninterrupted view and photo opportunity. Inside you find a beautiful ticket counter hall with a gothic-styled arched ceiling. This is an absolute must on a Mumbai sightseeing tour!

Thereafter, walk further north on the left-hand side of the road. You will walk past the Municipal Corporation office, the Times of India building and the JJ College of Art and Architecture before reaching Crawford Market, a fruit and vegetable market. Head inside to not just find piles of watermelons, papayas and pineapples but also a beautiful colourful fountain by John Lockwood Kipling, the father of the famous author of the Jungle Book

Opposite Crawford market you could make a quick stop at Hotel Badshah, a snack joint famous for fruit juices and faloodas – a milkshake meets dessert drink famous for Mumbai. This establishment has been around since 1905, so you know it’s good!

Next stop is Mangaldas textile market, a maze with hundreds of vendors selling clothing and fabrics. Walk quickly through before you exit on Zaveri Bazaar, the gold and jewellery street. You can find Jama Masjid, Mumbai’s largest Mosque on the right-hand side. 400m ahead, the Mumbadevi temple welcomes daily thousands of devotees of the patron deity Mumbadevi. Mumbai got its name from the godess!

Are you hungry yet? Perfect! Because you have reached a neighborhood with multiple Thali options. Thali is a large platter with a selection of multiple dishes. You can eat at B Bhagat Tarachand, Shri Kalpana Club or, our favourite, Shree Thaker Bhojanalay. All serve Gujarati vegetarian Thalis with plenty of all-you-can-eat food.

Mumbai sightseeing one day
Enjoy a Gujarati Thali at Shree Thaker Bhojanalay.

After lunch head to Bombay Panjrapole, a cow and animal shelter in the middle of the busy bazaar area. It’s a very unique place where you can’t take photos. Finally, find your way out of the many small lanes onto Cawasji Patel Tank Road. Look for the Kasturba Gandhi Chowk bus stop. Take bus no 103 towards Kamala Nehru Park.

01:30pm From Walkeshwar and Malabar Hill to Chowpatty

Get off at the 12th stop called Walkeshwar. Beforehand, you passed Wilson College and Chowpatty Beach on the way up to the hill. At the fisher’s village Walkeshwar, head down to Banganga Tank, a spiritual water tank that originated in the 12th century. Legend has it that the water is straight from the Ganges. Therefore,  multiple temples surround the ghats and you can always find one or the other religious ceremony going on here. Additionally, explore the entire village of Walkeshwar which feels like a village far away from the city turmoil.

From here you can walk to the Babu Amichand Panalal Jain Temple, one of the most beautiful temples of the city. The marble temple is full of colourful artworks and rich in decoration. You can observe the different ceremonies from a polite distance and even can photograph. On the first floor, you have a perfect view of the activities below from the inner balcony. Head to the exterior balcony for a view of the entire marine drive. Really a special place!

Further up the road you get to the hanging gardens and Kamala Nehru park – two green gardens with another great view of the ‘Queen’s necklace’. This a popular hang-out and picnic spot for families, school groups and young couples. Unfortunately, you can’t see much of it, but behind the Hanging gardens is the oldest and only remaining tower of silence in the city. To explain, a tower of silence is the funeral place for Parsis or Zoroastrians where dead bodies are being exposed to vultures. Parsis practice their religion and spiritual ceremonies very isolated. They don’t allow outsiders during the funeral process or inside their temples.

Now take a taxi or walk the 1.7km to the Mani Bhawan Museum. This is down the hill, a mere 10min walk from the beach.

03:30pm From Mani Bhawan Gandhi Museum to Chowpatty and Marine Drive

Mani Bhawan was a bungalow of a rich Mumbai merchant where Gandhi used to stay often. Consequently, it was turned into a museum about his life and achievements. There is a very unique life-line exhibition made of dollhouses. Furthermore, the building itself is gorgeous and in very good shape.

Afterwards, head to Chowpatty beach. It’s probably a little early in the day to observe the evening strollers and family picnics. But it’s certainly not too early to enjoy some street food at the food stall section. Enjoy some of the snacks that are especially famous in Mumbai: Pav Bhaji (mashed veggies, eaten with a soft buttered bun), Pani Puri (spiced water in a hollow fried ball) or Gola (crushed ice with syrup pressed on a stick). Since this is such a famous spot you can be sure that the food is hygienic and the water is clean.

Mumbai Sightseeing one day
At the Beach of Chowpatty you can try typical Mumbai Street Food.

Now start walking down the promenade of Marine Drive, also famously named ‘The Queen’s necklace’ as that’s how it looks at night from above. This is something you can’t skip once in Mumbai for multiple reasons: the large heritage of Art Deco architecture, the unique vibe of locals and visitors coming together and the great views over Nariman point on the lower and Malabar Hill on the upper side.

05:30pm Choose from multiple options to finish off your Mumbai Sightseeing day in a grand way

  1. If you’re getting tired but you still don’t have enough of South Mumbai, enjoy a cocktail at the rooftop bar of the Intercontinental Hotel on Marine Drive while watching the sun set.
  2. You can head for a movie at one of the iconic old charm cinemas in downtown: Liberty (just behind Marine Lines Station), Sterling (close to CST Station) or Regal Cinema (down in Colaba).
  3. You’re still not tired and want to explore more? Take a taxi to Chor Bazaar, a flea market with lots of old antique items from Mumbai’s colonial times and more. Close by, is one of the best ice cream parlors – Taj Ice Cream. If you’re getting really hungry now, head to Mohammed Ali Rd for some great Muslim delights like Tandoori Chicken and Chota Kebab. However, these areas are very crowded and busy. So this would be a tiring end of the day! You can then take a taxi back to Bandra or take a train from Grant Road Station.
  4. In case you rather want to finish off the Mumbai Sightseeing day with a great dinner at a cozy restaurant, head by taxi or on foot to Woodside Inn for continental or Bombay Vintage next door for Indian food. Both are in Colaba, opposite the landmark of Regal Cinema (remember from earlier?).
  5. Or simply head back by train or taxi to Bandra. Enjoy a grand dinner at the restaurant above Punjabi Sweets for Indian or Salt Water Café for continental food. Afterwards enjoy the night life of Bandra.

We hope you enjoyed this detailed Mumbai Sightseeing itinerary for only one day in Mumbai. Of course, you can split all of this in half and enjoy it on two days if you have more days and like to spend more time in each place. You can always ask us at Horn Ok Please Hostel how to plan your day and how to get from one place to the other. We’re happy to help! Now no excuses anymore, head to Mumbai and #hopin to explore the Maximum City!

Leave a Reply