Horn Ok Please is a Hostel in Mumbai that chose a rather unusual but definitely unique location: the cosmopolitan vibrant quarter of Bandra. Our aim is to resolve the misconception that the most southern area of Mumbai called Colaba is the best and only spot for travelers to stay. We even made a video to show you how awesome our neighbourhood is. We aren’t denying that there are great historical and architectural highlights in and around Colaba. But you will certainly not regret the decision to stay in Bandra, the ‘queen of suburbs’. Here’s why:
Authenticity of Bandra
The British built most of their great monuments in South Mumbai and travel guide books decided that only those sights are of interest. Hence Bandra has been neglected by tourism all together. But is that necessary a bad thing? While Colaba is full of photographing western tourists with socks in sandals who stay at expensive hotels and eat at overpriced restaurants Bandra is more residential and therefore authentic and real.
No tourist traps and scams in Bandra
Colaba is full of shops and markets to rip of travelers with overpriced clothes and souvenirs that are of cheap quality. Every few metres you get attacked with either giant phallic balloons or self-proclaimed holy men who want to bless you for some sacred cash. In Bandra it’s easier to roam around without being treated like a stupid tourist who falls for every scam and trap. Also Bandra has many great shops with unique locally produced products and restaurants with authentic Indian food where you pay the same amount as every other visitor, regardless of your origin. What a relief!
Proximity to the airport and major train stations
Depending on the day time and therefore the traffic it can take you max. 25mins from the International airport to the Horn Ok Please Hostel. From the domestic airport its even faster and if you arrive late at night, early morning or between 11am and 4pm it will take you less than 20min for sure. The distance to Colaba is way longer and the traffic worse. Many of the city’s domestic train stations with trains departures to Goa, Pune and Delhi are close too. Buses to Hampi and Goa are also leaving in close proximity.
The famous nightlife of Bandra
Bandra is the best place in the city if you want to experience thrilling nightlife and meet locals, other travelers and expats alike. From local craft beer bars to bar stock markets (prices depending on customers͛ demands), from old-established local pubs to a young club scene, from trashy cheap shacks to fancy wine bars –Bandra has something for every kind of night dancer.
The unique lifestyle of Bandra
In the 1950s the rich and famous as well as wannabes moved to Bandra to be closer to the Bollywood film studios of the suburbs. It quickly became a vibrant and cosmopolitan neighborhood like no other. Now you can find all kind of cuisines, boutique stores, fancy salons and a lot of modern high rise architecture. But the main reason why we love it here so much is that despite all the urban development Bandra has always maintained its original chilled out character. No other area in Mumbai has such a unique lifestyle full of contrast yet harmony. And our hostel in 100-year-old bungalow with modern amenities and contemporary art represents this lifestyle perfectly.
The food in Bandra
You like to eat Indian food and don’t hesitate to try street food but still prefer to have it hygienic? Come to Bandra. You’re sick of Indian food and spices and would prefer some western oriented delights like burgers, pasta or bagels? Come to Bandra. You like to mix up things and have both Indian and Western on your plate? Again: come to Bandra!
The history and its traces in Bandra
The invasion of the Portuguese in 1534 was followed by a many centuries long period of often brutal but definitely successful Christianization. The catholic churches the Jesuit missionaries built at this time are still there in Bandra, all within a diameter of only 4km. There are also some remains of a Portuguese fort and many beautiful catholic village areas with old colonial houses. Therefore Bandra reminds many people of Goa.
The people of Bandra
Colaba is definitely not a local spot. Many buildings are occupied by hotels, guesthouses and tourism oriented businesses. Bandra on the other hand has an interesting mix of residents: old-established Christian families, local fishermen of Hindu faith, Muslim neighborhoods, Bollywood stars and those who want to be, businessmen and lots of expats amongst them all.
Proximity of off-the-beaten-path sights
There are many sightseeing-options that are easier to reach from our hostel in Bandra than any accommodation in Colaba, especially the off-the-beaten-path ones. Far north in Vasai you can find the remains of the once biggest Portuguese forts in India. The Borivali National Park is just a 30min train ride away. Just one station down from Bandra you can find one of Asia’s biggest slums Dharavi. The socially responsible tour operator Reality Tours & Travel conducts sensitive tours of the area with the aim to break down negative stereotypes and to support educational projects for the community.
And after all: Colaba is just a short train ride away from Bandra
Even we have to admit that there might be lots of must-sees and most-dos in Colaba that one should experience while in Mumbai. And therefore we opened our hostel within 10min walking distance of Bandra station from which you can reach Colaba within 40mins.
Still not convinced? Check out our rooms and rates and compare them to the stay options in Colaba. We are sure that will get you! If you like to stay with us at the Horn Ok Please Hostel in Bandra book here now!