Things to do in Mumbai | My unforgettable first trip to India

I watched the airline official standing by the door as he sprayed the aircraft cabin with aerosol that was too fragrant to be an insecticide. Turns out, the World Health Organization (WHO) requires airlines flying to certain destinations to deinsect. We just sat down while some passengers were still passing through the aisles looking for their assigned seats in that big airliner bound to India. This is my unforgettable first trip to India, and the things to do in Mumbai that we did.

As a solo traveler flying into a foreign country, I savor the breathtaking feeling seeing the friendly smiles of two people waiting for me as I exited the airport in Mumbai. During my month-long stay another local was going to be the Indian driver who will show me around India’s most populous city. 

hotel in Mumbai close to Juhu beach

Things to do in Mumbai hotel


We stayed in a hotel that’s just a short walk away from Juhu Beach in the western suburbs of Mumbai. Juhu Beach is the most popular beach in Mumbai among both the tourists and locals. It is teeming with people and endless food kiosks selling local delicacies. At 5 km, it is the longest beach in Mumbai.

Every afternoon thousands upon thousands of people walk to the beach to hang out. It’s amazing to see the multitude as you wonder where they all came from all of a sudden at the same time!

Things to do in Mumbai juhu beach
Things to do in Mumbai juhu beach


India is a right-hand drive country. Our good driver was named Paul. My host had a connection with Paul’s boss. The rest is history. So I was grateful for his Indian Boss’s graciousness.

Things to do in Mumbai


Things to do in Mumbai

The Gateway of India.

We didn’t waste time, the next day we went to the Gateway stone arch. The Gateway of India is a must see for those interested in marvelous structures and history. ‘Erected to commemorate their Imperial Majesties King George V and Queen Mary’s landing in India on the Second of December MCMXI’ was written on the gateway inscription. At 85 feet high, it was indeed an impressive structure that lived up the hype. Bucket list checked. We came back here again during my second trip.

gateway of india
Gateway of India inscription

Gateway of India

Entrance Fee: Free

Taj Hotel

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is a luxury hotel located on the Colaba peninsula in Mumbai which was opened in 1903. It overlooks the harbor and is adjacent to the historical memorial Gateway of India. With distinctive onion domes and pointed arches, the hotel is one of the most recognized city landmarks with rich history. 

Taj Hotel Mumbai

You can choose to enjoy the view of the Taj from the Gateway of India, which is located nearby.

Taraporewala Aquarium 

Taraporevala Aquarium is India’s oldest aquarium and one of Mumbai’s main attractions. It hosts marine and freshwater fish, and includes sharks, turtles, morays, and varieties of coral fish.


The aquarium was built in 1951 and is set to be demolished. However, a new “world-class” aquarium is to replace it. So, yayy!

It turns out, our friend here, Paul, liked to go places also. What a great travel buddy even though we used sign language sometimes. Our next stop was somewhere interesting.


Behind him was a panel depicting Ravana shaking Mount Kailash, from Dhumar Lena (Cave #29), Ellora, Maharashtra, India, ca. 7th century A.D.

Hanging Gardens of Mumbai

The Hanging Gardens in Mumbai is a terraced garden situated at Malabar Hill, opposite Kamala Nehru Park. The park has several hedges carved into animal shapes, an attractive flower clock situated in the middle of the garden, with different types of plants and flowers. We relaxed amid the picturesque confines of this peaceful park, and enjoyed the sweeping views of one of Mumbai’s most-loved beaches. The garden is a refreshing change from the concrete Mumbai.


As per the latest news reports, the iconic 136-year-old Hanging Gardens in Mumbai is facing potential demolition due to a reconstruction.

Nehru Planetarium.

Nehru planetarium is amongst the few in the world, so it is a popular tourist attraction. The interior of this planetarium has a dome shaped theater and a projector. The Sky theater show explained about the journey from the earth to space. It showed the solar system, constellations, galaxies etc. It was great to learn about space and the entire universe. The sky theater was a fantastic experience. I was really amazed and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. The planetarium, situated in the heart of South Mumbai in Worli, is ideal for astronomy enthusiasts and school-age kids. 

Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Sanjay Gandhi National Park is the only National Park in the world located within a city. This beautiful national park spread over 103 square kilometers, has a number of natural trails that lead trekking enthusiasts to beautiful corners and spaces of the park; all worth the views. 

Things to do in Mumbai


Pedal Boating


The park is a surprisingly large green space and has a decent set of animals as well. The Buddhist caves are a highlight of this visit.

Kanheri Caves

The Kanheri Caves are a group of caves and rock-cut monuments cut into a massive basalt outcrop in the forests of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The caves contained large number of clay tablets inscribed in 10th century A.D. characters of the Buddhist creed.

Things to do in Mumbai
Things to do in Mumbai
Riding a bus in Sanjay Gandhi NP
Sanjay Gandhi National Park Lion


We went to some other places, and despite the busy-ness of Mumbai, Paul was able to navigate safely, and I really appreciate his inside knowledge and graciousness in showing me around these places that I will not forget. Oh, how they normally honk their vehicles in India, where in some countries it is akin to asking for trouble and road rage. Oh the beauty of different cultures!

I wonder where the people I met in India are now. One day I hope I will meet them again or hear from them, or that I will be able to make it up to them and say thanks a many, again. 🙏 

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