A few weeks back I was in Mumbai to experience the Cordelia Mumbai High Seas Cruise. While most of my colleagues left, I decided to stay back and explore Mumbai. This was my first slow travel experience ever. It was a plan for 15 days during which I worked, fell ill, explored a lot of food joints, met a lot of people and lastly walked a lot and explored parts of Mumbai that I hadn’t earlier.
My most recent trip to the City Of Dreams was in 2017 when I spent 8 hours in Mumbai. However, I had never explored the city. Reason? Well, every time I have off days/leaves at hand and I plan to travel, Mumbai is never a destination on the list. I mean holidaying in a city is not something I’d like.
What is Slow Travel?
In the fast-paced world, we are living in, we are always short on time. From getting to work in a hurry to having our food quickly, we do things fast. Even when we travel, we barely spend 2 – 3 days at a place and visit all the spots that we want to. Something these places of interest are tourist spots or offbeat places depending on the person. Time is one of the reasons our holidays are short and money is another reason (probably a bigger reason than time)
When you travel usually, you often miss experiencing the local life. Local life isn’t just about staying in a homestay with a local family, it’s about spending time with local people & understanding the pulse of the place and even exploring the place. That’s what slow travel is all about.
And for a proper slow travel experience, anywhere between a couple of weeks to a few months is good. It all depends on where you are, and how you plan it out. Plus with remote work here to stay, there are a lot of remote working destinations in India where you can visit and experience slow travel.
Slow Travel In Mumbai – The Plan
The first response I got from my parents was when I shared the idea of staying for a couple of weeks in Mumbai was, “Are you mad? You could do your first international trip, why Bombay of all places?” Well, they weren’t wrong. I have a visa stamped on my passport but haven’t taken an international trip yet (Unless Kartarpur Sahib is considered an international trip)
For the reasons listed above, I don’t know if I’ll ever come to Bombay for leisure and hence this was the only opportunity I felt I could do it. Plus with my remote work, things were rather easy from a work perspective.
Stay and Commute
The plan was relatively simple and clear. I needed two full weekends to explore all the places I wanted to – mostly food and museums. I also wanted to experience travelling in local trains, autos, kaali-peeli and just walking on the streets. One of the biggest concerns was the stay. Mumbai is an expensive city (probably the most expensive one in the city)
And since it was going to be a 2-week affair, staying in a hotel was not an option. So I looked out for hostels and homestays. Plus another thing you should consider while visiting Mumbai is the location. Location matters a lot here. Everything from rent to travel times depends on where you stay.
For me, a local station nearby and a central locality were a priority. Hence I chose to stay in a rather posh area – Bandra West. I divided my stay into two halves, the first few days I stayed in a hostel and the next half at a private apartment booked through Airbnb. I’ll share more details about each of them in separate blog posts. Being in Bandra, moving around was relatively easier thanks to the local station nearby.
As for the commute, I spent most of the time travelling using the Mumbai local. It was my first time on one so was scared initially but quite enjoyed it later. I loved it so much that I visited Fort multiple times using the local. Even the autos are one of the best in the country. They run on meters and the prices are quite affordable. Unlike other places where the auto rickshaws demand a bomb, things are much better and easier here.
Being the foodie that I am, not exploring food in Mumbai wasn’t on the cards. Right from the day, I thought of this trip, I had a list prepared of all the places I wanted to visit and the food that I wanted to eat. For the unaware, I’m a big Vada Pav and Missal Pav fan – thanks to my days at New Era Panchgani. Though I find both of these in Hyderabad, they just do not matches the flavours of Mumbai. Hence having a Vada Pav and Missal Pav was on the list.
Apart from these, I wanted to try the authentic Maharashtrian dishes – Kothambir Vadi, Varan Bhaat and the likes. I’ll talk more about my affaire with Maharashtrian food in upcoming blog posts. Thanks to my foodie friends across India and Bombay especially those who helped with the list of places that I must visit.
Budget – How Much Does It Cost to Travel Slow?
I’m sure this must be the question that everyone would have in their minds. How much does it cost to slow travel in Mumbai? Being in the costliest city in the world, I won’t deny that things are expensive here. The major expense of your slow travel would be the stay. And that depends on the area you choose to stay in. You pay less the farther you go away from the city centre – Bandra, Andheri, Santa Cruz etc. Further, if you plan to stay in posh localities, you’ll have to shed out a little more.
If you’re travelling solo, I’d suggest staying in a hostel. While there aren’t many in the city – thanks to covid, there are quite a few that you can try. You can also stay in an Airbnb as well. I spent a few days in a hostel and the remaining few in an Airbnb. I chose to stay in Bandar/Khar since these are quite central locations in my opinion.
So, for the whole 2 weeks stay, I spent about Rs 21,000 only for the stay.
Rest I spent on eating out, sometimes at regular restaurants, sometimes fancy and other times at street food places. So that’s something variable and changes from person to person. Lastly, in terms of payments, I barely paid in cash. All autos, cabs, online Mumbai local tickets and restaurants.
Experience Slow Travel if you haven’t already
This was my first time in the city of dreams and the whole experience of slow travel was amazing. It was also the first time I spent so much time away from home exploring a city. While I was working most of the days, I was able to explore quite a bit. Especially Bandra and surrounding areas as I prefer walking and exploring. I’m surely looking forward to a similar slow travel experience to other cities.