Nuts-and-bolts information to plan your trip, plus a checklist of essentials to include when you pack and a list of links to local media

Planning

Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens need a valid passport to enter India. Indian visas are mandatory, with six-month multiple-entry tourist visas routinely issued.

Security: Theft can be a problem in a big city like Mumbai, especially in crowded areas such as transport hubs and busy markets. It’s wise to keep your money and important documents, such as your passport and air ticket, in a secure money belt that can be worn underneath clothing. Concealed inner pockets on clothes are another safe bet, but don’t keep wallets in back pockets or carry valuables in shoulder bags, as these can easily be snatched. Never leave valuables in your hotel room unless it has a reliable safe.

Time: Indian Standard Time (IST) is ten-and-a-half hours ahead of U.S. eastern standard time.

Money: Mumbai’s currency is the Indian rupee (Rs). For current conversion rates see OANDA Currency Converter: www.oanda.com/convert/classic

Phone Calls: Mumbai’s area code is (0)22. For calls to Mumbai from within India dial 022 local phone number. For calls from outside India, dial your country's international access code 91 22 local phone number.

When to Go: Mumbai is always warm, but is at its coolest from around October to early February when maximum day temperatures average 87.8°F (31°C). The monsoon arrives anytime from late May, with the heaviest rainfall in June, July, and August, diminishing through September and October.

Getting There: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) is a major international gateway, served by several dozen airline carriers. The international terminal is about 18.6 miles (30 kilometers) north of downtown Mumbai. Pre-paid taxis are available at the airport.

Getting Around: Driving is on the left-hand side of the road. Taxis and auto-rickshaws (restricted to certain areas of Mumbai; prohibited downtown) are the most convenient ways of getting around. Local buses are handy for short city hops, but the suburban train system can get horrendously crowded, especially during the morning and evening work rush hours.

Checklist

Immunizations: Health officials recommend certain immunizations for anyone planning to travel to India. Be aware that some immunizations may need to be given over a few weeks, so it pays to seek medical advice well ahead of your trip.

Toiletries: Apart from the top-end hotels, few Mumbai hotel bathrooms have shower caps and sink plugs. Budget and mid-range hotels usually only provide soap and toilet paper. Shampoo and conditioner are widely available in the city’s pharmacies and general stores but imported brands can be expensive.

Clothing: Non-revealing clothing will not only win you a warmer reception from locals, it is mandatory when visiting places of worship such as temples and mosques. Women should avoid wearing skimpy shorts, miniskirts, and tank tops.

Mosquito Protection: During Mumbai’s rainy season (anytime from late May through October) malarial mosquitoes can pose a risk. Bring high-protection repellent (doctors recommend repellents containing DEET) and consider bringing a mosquito net if you’re staying at a budget hotel.

Sun Protection: The sun packs a punch throughout the year so don’t forget to bring high SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.

Flip-Flops: Flip-flops are recommended for budget hotel bathrooms and hotels with communal bathroom facilities.

Ear Plugs: Street noise can drive you nutty (day and night) so to snooze soundly, pack good ear plugs.

Flashlight: Power cuts can occur, especially during the warmer months. If you’re staying at a shoestring hotel a flashlight is especially recommended, as many cheap lodgings lack backup power generators. Flashlights also come in handy for dark side streets.

Web Links

aboutmumbai.com

Handy visitors guide, with information on Mumbai sightseeing, hotels, restaurants, transport, entertainment, round-the-clock pharmacies, and more. Useful maps. www.aboutmumbai.com

Bollywood World

Popular Bollywood portal providing all you need to know about Mumbai’s star-studded world of show business. Includes interviews with Bollywood stars and the latest high-society events.

www.bollywoodworld.com

Burrp!

Proffers candid reviews of Mumbai’s restaurants, bars, and nightclubs; a good way of tapping into what gets the thumbs up (and down) from Mumbaikars. www.mumbai.burrp.com

Incredible India

This Ministry of Tourism site offers travel planning tips and gives information pertaining to Maharashtra’s capital, Mumbai, and its environs. www.incredibleindia.org

Mumbai on the Net

Information-packed site, with everything from city attractions, hotels, and leisure activities, to weather updates, sports, blogs, and city maps (including one of the railway network). www.mumbainet.com

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai

Mumbai government site covering local current events, links on what to see and do in the city, as well as some city-specific statistics. http://portal.mcgm.gov.in

Planet Bollywood

Click into the gossipy lives of Bollywood stars and similarly glamorous showbiz personalities. Includes film and music reviews, sneak previews, and feature stories. www.planetbollywood.com

Web Directory of India (Mumbai)

A useful directory, with links to Mumbai-specific information, from arts and culture to entertainment and shopping. http://www.uncoverindia.com/

Local Media

DNA (Daily News & Analysis)

Daily English-language publication with a section devoted to Mumbai. Also has major national and international news in addition to sporting headlines. www.dnaindia.com

Hindustan Times

English-language daily newspaper with an information-packed Mumbai edition that includes news, sports, entertainment, lifestyle, business, and lots more. www.hindustantimes.com

Mid-Day

Local English-language Mumbai-geared daily newspaper with news and current affairs. Also covers major international news, sports, and entertainment issues. www.mid-day.com/home

The Indian Express

Widely read English-language daily newspaper (Mumbai edition) that covers the lot, from domestic and foreign news to cricket and business happenings. www.indianexpress.com

The Times of India

Major English language daily newspaper (Mumbai edition) spotlighting everything from news and finance to sports and entertainment. www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Time Out Mumbai

Bi-monthly magazine with its finger on Mumbai’s entertainment pulse, from restaurants and nightlife to theatrical performances and art exhibitions. www.timeoutmumbai.net

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