- Saruta Chaochavanil for POLYCHROME
inspiring us: Modern Mumbai
There are certain destinations we all dream of visiting but have lost their luster after becoming too touristy. For style-conscious travelers seeking a more off the beaten track experience, Mumbai has arguably become the most alluring city to visit at the moment. It is a mind-expanding combination of art, food, and culture, and boasts breathtaking scenery while many parts of the city are still untouched by foreign tourists. Here's my curated list of the best places to explore in Mumbai.
credit : My Mumbai My Dream , Wassup Mumbai , Tripadvisor
Mumbai or "Bombay" as referred to by locals, is the largest gateway of India to the world and an exceptionally dynamic city. In recent decades, the city has undergone a rapid rate of growth including upscale hotels, forward-thinking infrastructure, creative culinary restaurants, and unique boutiques. As soon as you touch down in Mumbai's Airport, you'll be greeted by the newly renovated 50-foot-tall glass terminal inspired by traditional Indian architecture including a motif of a dancing peacock ( the national bird and symbol of India ). The architecture boasts some of the coolest design innovations as well as thousands of artful spaces and decorated walls - every space completely Instagram-worthy, so be ready for your perfect shot!
If you have time to kill at the airport, make sure to enjoy their exquisite lounge featuring fine dining, a luxury spa, library, and more.
Among the wondrous sights throughout the city, I would start with historical landmark Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj railway station (UNESCO World Heritage) which was inspired by high Victorian Gothic and Indian architectures. Form there stroll around Gateway of India monument located on the waterfront of South Mumbai and spend some time enjoying the sunset by the sea at an all-white rooftop lounge bar called "The Dome".
I like it best when the place you stay the night reflects the city you're in, so check in at the legendary 100-year-old Taj Mahal Palace Hotel; it will definitely take you back in time with its old-world elegance. This sea-facing hotel is a marvel of heritage architecture and showcases a museum-quality art collection as well as historically significant works by India artists as well.
The high-end hotel scene is becoming a hub for wealthy Mubaikers ( Mumbai residents) to come dine and socialize as they host some of the city's finest restaurants. If you like to people watch, you'll fit right in at suburban nightspot "Bonobos" which attracts a creative crowd from artists and advertising gurus, to fashionistas. Their hip jungle-themed bar is best to visit on Saturday night when it's hopping with party-goers enjoying their creative cocktail list.
For inspiration-seekers, Mumbai also has an impressive urban arts scene. The emerging art district called "Kala Ghoda" is a pedestrian-friendly zone exhibiting local handicrafts and art along the street. The National Gallery of Modern Art is in a nearby neighborhood and hosts both Indian and international artists works.
Are you looking forward to some shopping while in Mumbai? The city boasts high end boutiques as well as kitchy shops and local finds. A couple of my favorites are Kulture Shop in Kala Ghoda and Le Mill - a fashion-lover's haven!
If you need caffeine break, you would love the vibe at Kala Ghoda Cafe. There are small art exhibitions going on here all year long. A pot of fresh-mint tea or aromatic shot of espresso are my personal favorites, as well as their baked treats including gluten-free cake!
If you're wondering how to pack, Mumbai rarely gets cold. Most of the year the weather is hot throughout the day, but it supposedly gets breezy in December so that might be an ideal month to visit. In the city, people will tend to dress less casually; shorts, short skirts, and yoga pants will probably feel inappropriate and could get you some unwanted attention. Best to stick with flowing bottoms or longer skirts to beat the heat, although jeans are also fine. Crop tops and v-necks are ok, though, as are low-back tops.
I think Mumbai is a really vibrant and exciting city to visit if you are looking for less touristy options at the moment. If you have never been, you should download the "Mumbai Map and Walks" application on your smartphone to help you get around. With the city undergoing a rapid transformation in recent years to become a cosmopolitan cultural center, sooner or later we will see Mumbai as the up-and-coming travel destination on many bloggers' feeds -- time for you to get there before it's overrun!
At Polychrome we are so intrigued with this place that it has become the inspiration for one of our projected trends for Fall 2019! Check out our trend report for "Mumbai Modern".
Have you already experienced magical Mumbai? If so, do you have any suggestions for my next trip?
Travelandleisure | TimesofIndia | Conde Nast Traveler | Dezeen | NY Times
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