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Mumbai is a whirlwind of experiences but there are a few sights you must see. Here, Forbes Travel Guide’s list of the five best things to see and do in Mumbai:
1. Visit Gateway of India. There’s no better place to begin your Mumbai adventure than with a visit to the symbolic door of India to the world. Built in 1924 to commemorate the visit of England’s King George V, the imposing monument draws tourists from around the globe. Be sure to slip into the grand Taj Mahal Palace hotel next door. The hotel has been fully restored after the 2008 terrorist attacks. Have a bite to eat and sip a cup of tea or a glass of bubbly at the Sea Lounge overlooking the Gateway of India.
2. Tour Dharavi Slum. No visit to Mumbai is complete without seeing how untold millions of the city’s residents live and work side-by-side and stacked in unbelievably small dwellings. Reality Tours and Travel provides an excellent glimpse of one of Asia’s largest slums that is respectful to its residents and showcases the prominent small scale industries that have sprouted up there, from producing pottery and poppadoms (flatbreads) to making soap and leather tanning. Proceeds from the tours are returned to the community through the company’s NGO organization, which runs educational projects and supports other NGOs within the Dharavi community.
3. Explore Chor Bazaar. This area of small, family-run shops sells everything from antique cameras and gear shafts to teak furniture and vintage Bollywood movie posters. Although Chor Bazaar means “Thieves Market,” a little hard bargaining will ensure you are the only one getting a steal. Treasures large and small abound but be ready to dig for them.
4. Witness Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Formerly known as Victoria Terminus, this UNESCO World Heritage Site train station is a jubilant remnant of colonial architecture. Come during rush hour and watch how millions of Mumbaikars commute every day.
5. See Dhobi Ghat. This outdoor laundry is the perfect example of the organized chaos that is Mumbai. Serviced primarily by illiterate workers, they manage to keep orders straight and deliver cleaned and pressed clothing on time to their customers throughout the city. A marvel of organizational management.