Getting there & away
Mumbai has an efficient but overcrowded suburban train network.
There are three main lines, making it easy to navigate. The most useful service operates from Churchgate heading north to stations such as Charni Rd (for Chowpatty Beach), Mumbai Central, Mahalaxmi (for the dhobi ghat), Vile Parle (for the domestic airport), Andheri (for the international airport) and Borivali (for Sanjay Gandhi National Park). Other suburban lines operate from CST to Byculla (for Victoria Gardens), Dadar, and as far as Neral (for Matheran). Trains run from 4am till 1am. From Churchgate, 2nd-/1st-class fares are Rs 5/41 to Mumbai Central, Rs 9/76 to Vile Parle or Andheri and Rs 11/102 to Borivali.
Avoid rush hours when trains are jam-packed, even in 1st class – watch your valuables. Women should take advantage of the ladies-only carriages.
Cars are generally hired for an eight-hour day and with a maximum of 80km travel allowed; additional charges rack up if you exceed these limits.
Agents at the Apollo Bunder ticket booths near the Gateway of India can arrange a non-AC Maruti with driver for a half-day of sightseeing for Rs 600 (going as far as Mahalaxmi and Malabar Hill). Regular taxi drivers often accept a similar price.
Allibhai Premji Tyrewalla (23099313; www.premjis.com; 205/207 Dr D Bhadkamkar Rd, Opera House; 10am-7pm Mon-Sat) is the place to purchase a new or used motorcycle with a guaranteed buy-back option. For two- to three-week ‘rental’ periods you’ll still have to pay the full cost of the bike upfront. The company prefers to deal with longer-term schemes of two months or more, which work out cheaper anyway. A used 350cc or 500cc Enfield costs Rs 35, 000 to 60, 000, with a buy-back price of around 60% after three months. A smaller bike (100cc to 180cc) starts at Rs 25, 000. It can also arrange shipment of bikes overseas (Rs 18, 000 to the UK).
Both PNP (22885220) and Maldar Catamarans (22829695) run regular ferries to Mandwa (Rs 100 one-way), useful for access to Murud-Janjira and other parts of the Konkan Coast, avoiding the long bus trip out of Mumbai. Their ticket offices are at Apollo Bunder (near the Gateway of India).
Mumbai is the main international gateway to South India and has the busiest network of domestic flights. The international airport (26829000; www.csia.in), officially renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji but still known as Sahar, is 4km away from the domestic airport, also called Chhatrapati Shivaji but known as Santa Cruz. A free shuttle bus runs between the airports, which are 30km and 26km north of Nariman Point in downtown Mumbai.
The international airport has two arrivals halls which have foreign-exchange counters offering reasonable rates, a Government of India tourist office booth (2615660, ext 4700; Arrival Hall 2A), a hotel reservation desk (66048772) and a prepaid taxi booth – all open 24 hours.
The domestic airport (26156600) has two terminals with foreign-exchange bureaus, ticketing counters and a restaurant-bar. The Government of India tourist office booth is in terminal B. Note that flights on domestic sectors of Air India routes depart from the international airport.
Travel agencies are often a better bet than airline offices for booking international flights, and will reconfirm your flight for a small fee.
Air France (22024818; Maker Chamber VI, Nariman Point)
Air India (22796666; Air India Bldg, cnr Marine Dr & Madame Cama Rd, Nariman Point)
British Airways (22820888; 202-B, Vulcan Insurance Bldg, Veer Nariman Rd, Churchgate)
Cathay Pacific (22029561; 3rd fl, Bajaj Bhavan, Nariman Point)
Delta Airlines (28267000; Leela Galleria, Andheri-Kurla Rd, Andheri)
El Al Airlines (22154701; 57 Shopping Arcade, World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade)
Qantas (22020343; 42 Sakhar Bhavan, Nariman Point)
Thai Airways (22823084; 15 Shopping Centre, World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade)
Virgin Atlantic (2281289; Marine Dr, Churchgate)
Domestic carriers servicing Mumbai include the following:
Air Deccan (26611601; domestic airport)
Go Air (9223222111; domestic airport)
Indian Airlines (22023031, 24hr reservations 1401; Air India Bldg, cnr Marine Dr & Madame Cama Rd, Nariman Point)
Jet Airways (22855788; Amarchand Mansion, Madame Cama Rd)
Kingfisher (56469999; domestic airport)
Sahara Airlines (56374101-4; 7 Tulsiani Chambers, Free Press Journal Marg, Nariman Point)
Spice Jet (9871803333; www.spicejet.com; domestic airport)
There are flights to more than 30 Indian cities from Mumbai. Expect discounts if booking earlier or online. Kingfisher and Air Deccan offer flights to most of these destinations at the much cheaper Indian fares (up to 70% less).