Journey to Mumbai, India (Podcast)

Hear about journey to Mumbai India because the Beginner Traveler talks to Stephanie Hays of about journey to this crowded, noisy, vibrant metropolis.


With the background sounds of the horns of auto-rickshaws, we discover out why a lady from Chattanooga, Tennessee ended up in India’s largest metropolis.

When Stephanie and her husband missed the expertise of studying one thing new on daily basis they bought jobs in India. “Folks ought to come to India interval. I believe Mumbai will get ignored a little bit. I believe Dehli has extra of the historical past. It’s the capital. There’s tons of web sites. Mumbai as a complete is simply an thrilling vibrant metropolis, nevertheless it’s a little bit bit trickier to find. It’s arms down my favourite metropolis in India.”

We go on a digital early morning bike trip with Stephanie by means of the streets and markets of South Mumbai at 6 am to keep away from the visitors and the warmth of the day. She takes us to the Gateway to India, previous the Taj Lodge and thru Fort. We go Mumba Devi Temple which Mumbai is known as after. We go individuals opening their retailers, showering within the streets, sweeping up bits of gold of the streets of the jewellery space. “A few of these locations if you happen to went again to it at midday, you wouldn’t acknowledge it, you wouldn’t be capable to stroll down the road.”

Stephanie directs us to the cow shelter in the course of town which homes over 300 cows. “You may feed all these cows due to course that is a vital a part of Indian Hindu tradition and never one thing you anticipate finding in the course of a metropolis with 20 million individuals.” Marine Drive is the following cease which is an “iconic 3 kilometer stretch of street alongside the ocean. Mumbai is on the ocean and really lengthy and slim. This can be a sea promenade, so it’s the place you’ll see {couples} hanging out and previous individuals strolling, individuals promoting meals.” It has “loads of Artwork Deco buildings. Generally they name it the Maimi of Dubai.”

Sassoon Docks is Stephanie’s favourite place within the metropolis which is a big wholesale fish market. “There’s a whole lot of individuals promoting fish and peeling shrimp. They exit on these wood boats into the ocean for 7-10 days at a time. It’s a colourful place, filled with exercise and filled with plenty of horrible smells and slimy fish and issues so it’s not for everybody. I’m fascinated by it each single time.”

Stephanie tells us what sort of fruit to purchase on the Crawford Market in addition to what road meals to attempt to what to keep away from. We discuss concerning the Dabbawallas system which delivers lunchboxes throughout town. We glance down on the world’s largest open-air laundry at Dhobi Ghat. We finish our journey with sundown at Chaupati.

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Present Notes

Actuality Excursions & Journey
Gateway of India
Mumba Devi Temple
Cow Shelter
Marine Drive
Sassoon Docks
Crawford Market
Custard Apple
Dhobi Ghat
Girgaon Chaupati
Pav Bhaji
Prince of Wales Museum
NGMA Mumbai
Mani Bhavan
Raj Mandir Cinema, Jaipur
Regal Cinema
Liberty Cinema
Wankhede Stadium
Oval Maidan
Sanjay Gandhi Nationwide Park
Elephanta Caves
Banganga Tank
Worli Fort
Bandra-Worli Sea Hyperlink


My boyfriend and I’ve simply completed an incredible two week trip in Namibia. I wished to drop you a fast observe of thanks for the good podcast you probably did about this nation. Earlier than embarking on the journey we listened to your interview with Jason, Carla and Janie, which not solely cemented our choice to incorporate Namibia in our southern Africa itinerary, however guided our planning. There have been a number of situations over the course of our travels when their experiences got here up in our discussions… we felt like we knew them by the top of the journey as we had had so many shared experiences!


Your podcast is an ideal 2 mile stroll for me. It was additionally the primary podcast that i subscribed. Like it. Thx.



Chris: Beginner Journey Episode 454. In the present day the Beginner Traveler talks about cricket and caves, cinemas and slums, as we go to Mumbai, India. Welcome to The Beginner Traveler. I’m your host, Chris Christensen.

No sponsor at the moment, however one phrase that I did need to get out there may be, it’s the time of 12 months for the Podcast Awards once more. So, if you happen to’re listening to this present when it comes out in 2015 if you happen to may go over to and nominate this present if it’s nonetheless open for nominations or vote for the present. You may vote for the present each day. You may solely nominate one set of podcasts. So nominate to your favourite podcast.

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Chris: I’d prefer to welcome to the present Stephanie Hayes, who’s coming to us from Actuality Excursions and Journey and from Mumbai, India. Stephanie, welcome to the present.

Stephanie: Hello, thanks!

Chris: And if you happen to don’t consider that she’s coming from India, I’m certain that I can already begin to hear the motor rickshaws, or what do you name them?

Stephanie: Yeah, rickshaws.

Chris: The rickshaws.

Stephanie: I believe lots of people name them tuk-tuks from Southeast Asia.

Chris: Proper, Proper.

Stephanie: However right here they’re rickshaws.

Chris: You may hear the horns within the background if you happen to pay attention fastidiously. And I don’t suppose you must pay attention all that fastidiously. So you aren’t initially from Mumbai however you reside there now?

Stephanie: Sure. I’m from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Chris: Which is simply similar to Mumbai, as I perceive it.

Stephanie: Completely. Completely.

Chris: The Mumbai of america, I consider is what they name it.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Chris: What led you to go to Mumbai and why ought to we comply with you?

Stephanie: My first sort of expertise dwelling overseas was in China after school. I used to be dwelling in Shanghai for 2 years and I noticed I actually favored that means of attending to know a spot, by spending a little bit little bit of time there, dwelling there. So after Shanghai, I moved to London with my boyfriend, now husband. And we each had been to India a pair instances and had been simply actually curious and fascinated. And at some point we determined we had been sick of London and wished one other journey. We determined we wished to maneuver to India and begin on the lookout for work. After which I discovered the corporate I’m at now, which was an ideal match, and we got here out right here to get to comprehend it higher.

Chris: So that you had been uninterested in issues shifting in a orderly trend and other people queuing fastidiously?

Stephanie: Yeah, yeah. I like London. I like London so much. However we sort of missed that China expertise, that sort of on daily basis studying one thing new, by no means having a routine. However in the identical regard, once I was in China, I used to be educating English. And I’m not a trainer, and that’s not what I wished to do, and my background’s in tourism and journey, so one situation is that wherever we went we wished to do one thing in our fields. So to have the ability to come to India and work in tourism was an incredible alternative. So we packed up and moved out.

Chris: Glorious. So why ought to somebody come to Mumbai?

Stephanie: Folks ought to come to India, interval, I believe.

Chris: Proper.

Stephanie: It’s an unimaginable place. And I believe Mumbai will get ignored a little bit. I believe Delhi sort of has extra of the historical past. It’s the capital. It’s simpler to know what to do. There’s tons of sights.

Chris: Yeah, I need to say when individuals speak about India, they speak about going to the Pink Fort and so they speak about going to the Taj Mahal and people are all locations there. Mumbai I consider as extra of a contemporary metropolis, for one factor.

Stephanie: Yeah. Fashionable relative to India, for certain.

Chris: Fashionable, relative, to make certain.

Stephanie: There’s much less a vacationer sort of itinerary that’s simpler, and so I believe individuals both skip Mumbai or they spend little or no time right here in transit. And I believe that’s a disgrace as a result of I believe Mumbai as a complete is only a actually thrilling, vibrant metropolis. Nevertheless it’s a little bit bit trickier to find, so I believe typically individuals get overwhelmed and head on to the following vacation spot. Nevertheless it’s, arms down, my favourite metropolis in India.

Chris: So, if we came visiting, what would we do? What would you might have us do to method Mumbai?

Stephanie: A variety of Mumbai, I believe, there’s some similarities with New York within the sort of vitality.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: Like, there’s a particular tempo. There’s a tempo you are feeling. The persons are pleasant. So one of the simplest ways to expertise Mumbai, for me, is out on the streets and within the markets. And there’s museums right here and well-known landmarks and issues. However I believe actually one of the simplest ways is to simply get misplaced and wander round, annd get out into the native markets and simply the realm. And get misplaced as a result of, I imply, the best way you method an Indian metropolis is far totally different than you’ll, say, a European metropolis or one thing, as a result of there’s a lot occurring on the road, and it’s up to now, and you can simply simply spend a day strolling round and nonetheless study tons and see cool issues.

Chris: Okay. However, let’s give individuals a little bit extra course.

Stephanie: Certain!

Chris: We’re going to inform them that they’ll get misplaced, however the place are they going to get misplaced? The place are you going to move them off to? Which market, as an example, first?

Stephanie: My favourite method to get to know Mumbai and to have an orientation into South Mumbai, which is among the hottest vacationer areas and the actual coronary heart of town. It’s the place the British structure is. It’s denser down there. And my favourite means to do this is by bicycle, which the corporate I work for gives a bicycle tour, proper, however lots of people would come to Mumbai and that’s not going to be in your checklist. Nobody’s going to stroll out of their resort and say, “I ought to discover this metropolis on a bicycle.” They’d must be a loopy particular person. However you’ll be able to truly do it! In case you do it at 6:00 within the morning. And that’s actually the one time you are able to do it as a result of there’s much less visitors.

And so I might begin by bicycle at 6:00 within the morning, which is hard for some vacationers. And discover South Mumbai, which incorporates the Gateway of India, which is an enormous, well-known monument that the British truly left by means of. There’s the Taj Lodge, which could be very well-known. Then I might head up by means of Fort, which is an previous neighborhood. A variety of exercise within the morning occurring. We’d see Mumba Devi Temple, which is the temple that Mumbai is known as after.

Chris: And also you talked about exercise occurring within the morning. What kind of issues? We’ve bought individuals opening up their retailers?

Stephanie: Yeah, precisely. Showering on the street.

Chris: Okay, effectively I wasn’t anticipating that. Okay.

Stephanie: Yeah. Opening up retailers. There’s people who we go previous, there’s jewellery areas, individuals sweeping bits of gold off the road, there’s breakfast on the market. I imply, something. There’s at all times one thing occurring. However that’s a time of the day that lots of people don’t see in Mumbai and it’s nice as a result of a few of these locations I discussed, if you happen to went again to at midday, you wouldn’t acknowledge it. You wouldn’t be capable to stroll down the road. So it’s sort of bought that calmness of morning however nonetheless loads of exercise, after which individuals beginning their days.

Chris: Okay. And you then had been heading us off.

Stephanie: Yeah. So, then we might head from there to, there’s truly a extremely cool place that’s simply beginning to sort of pop up within the guidebooks and other people find out about, nevertheless it’s a cow shelter in the course of town and there’s over 300 cows there. So that you sort of wind your means again into this shelter and go go to and you’ll feed all these cows as a result of clearly that’s an vital a part of Indian, Hindu tradition, and never one thing you anticipate finding in the course of a metropolis with 20 million individuals. So a cease there may be at all times a bit hit. And that’s certainly one of my favourite locations and all my pals right here, and everybody at all times mentions that as a favourite.

Chris: And also you say a cow shelter. I’m unsure whether or not to anticipate a petting zoo or a temple. It could possibly be anyplace in between there.

Stephanie: Yeah! Type of a cross between the 2. There’s no temple per se, nevertheless it’s a sanctuary in that they’re taking the cows off the road and taking good care of them. After which, as a result of they exist in there, and since they’re so vital in Hindu tradition, individuals will come to go to them, to feed them for good luck, and issues like that.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: So, it’s identical to a little bit, tiny farm in the course of town.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: Yeah, it’s actually hidden. And if you happen to ask locals, typically they do not know it’s even there so it feels actually particular while you get to go to, and it’s a superb factor to drag out for while you’re wandering round with pals that is likely to be completely overwhelmed and exhausted from the exercise of Mumbai. It’s a pleasant little escape.

So after that, I might head to Marine Drive, which is the long-lasting three-kilometer stretch of street alongside the ocean. So Mumbai’s on the ocean and really lengthy and slim and this can be a sort of sea promenade. So area is extremely restricted right here. So that you’ll see {couples} hanging out and previous individuals strolling and other people promoting meals and simply plenty of exercise. Nevertheless it’s the place everybody goes to chill out and benefit from the sea. And it’s nice to, once more, bike down that. It’s a number of the most costly actual property on the earth, I believe, even. And loads of artwork deco buildings. Generally they name it the Miami of Mumbai.

So, so much to see there. After which, truly, my favourite place within the metropolis is Sassoon Dock, which is a really massive wholesale fish market. I adore it. There’s simply a whole lot of individuals promoting fish and peeling shrimp. They usually exit on these wood boats into the ocean for seven to 10 days at a time after which they arrive again. And it’s simply such a colourful place, and filled with exercise. Filled with plenty of horrible smells and slimy fish and issues, so it’s not for everybody, however I’m fascinated by it each single time. So I at all times embrace that on the checklist of issues to see.

Chris: And we bought up at 6:00. What time is it now, roughly?

Stephanie: It’s most likely near 10!

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: So, we take our time. Like, we’d cease and see loads of issues. What I like about exploring South Mumbai is that none of those locations I discussed are vacationer highlights. Like if you happen to didn’t go to them and also you left Mumbai, it wouldn’t be the top of the world. You’d have nonetheless gotten the sense.

Chris: You’re not going to go dwelling and anyone’s going to say, “Oh, you didn’t get to the cow farm in the course of town, or one thing.”

Stephanie: Yeah, exactly. However, like, while you go to all of them collectively in a single morning, I don’t know, collectively they type a very nice image and understanding of Mumbai, and I like that as an orientation. However yeah, it’s onerous to explain to anyone that possibly has solely visited cities like Paris and London the place there’s a really clear-cut sort of itinerary of must-see highlights. However what I like about exploring by bike and exploring sort of slowly and stopping and seeing locations like that is that, I don’t know, I believe you get a fuller understanding of the particular metropolis.

Chris: And one of many causes I requested what time it’s, is I don’t know what time of 12 months we must always come. And I’m questioning if we are actually beginning to get into the warmth of the day, which I’m pondering in Mumbai is likely to be quite heat. When would you advocate we come, initially?

Stephanie: Any time between October and February is the perfect.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: December and January is ideal. The times are good and heat and sunny however not too scorching, and the evenings are actually beautiful. However, once more, that’s when everyone comes. So there’s professionals and cons to every aspect. However Mumbai’s not overrun with vacationers, so it’s not an enormous deal. I positively wouldn’t are available April and Could. It’s insufferable and insanely scorching. After which from June to September it begins pouring down rain, which, I don’t know, I don’t thoughts. I believe the monsoon’s a novel time to go to and never so unhealthy, however most likely not everybody’s cup of tea. And never conducive to loads of sight seeing or bicycle using.

Chris: And after we say pouring down rain, I consider some locations that get the morning rain or the afternoon rain, and it’s fantastic the remainder of the day. Is it that, or is it raining all day?

Stephanie: It sort of relies upon. Some days it rains all day, nevertheless it’s extra dumping it down a couple of instances a day.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: However at all times sort of moist and humid.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: And nonetheless very popular.

Chris: Yeah. Steamy.

Stephanie: Undoubtedly, December-January is right. It’s excellent climate.

Chris: Okay. And what will we do after that? You talked about markets.

Stephanie: Yeah, in order that space, loads of these areas I simply talked about are markets. Truly one of many issues we might have seen on my bicycle orientation sort of factor is Crawford Market, which was the most important wholesale marketplace for vegatables and fruits in Mumbai. It’s the primary constructing in India that had electrical energy. There’s a fountain by Rudyard Kipling’s son. There’s lot of attention-grabbing information. However principally, it’s a fruit and vegetable market. So, that’s cool to discover and see sorts of fruits that possibly you haven’t seen earlier than in your life.

Chris: What are we going to be sure that we strive?

Stephanie: Custard apple is a Mumbai favourite. It’s known as sitaphal. Sita is the Hindu goddess and phal means fruit. So it’s Sita’s fruit. And it’s like, I don’t know. It appears to be like like an artichoke. It has like bits of fleshy fruit round these black, like an enormous watermelon seed.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: And also you eat round that. It’s very, very candy. That’s at all times a enjoyable one to strive. Chikoo is one other sort of one I had by no means seen earlier than India. It appears to be like like a cross between a kiwi and a potato. However you chunk into it, so that you eat what could be the pores and skin. Once more, simply actually, actually candy.

Chris: We often consider, in some place tropical or in some place that’s growing, that the same old rule is peel it, boil it, cook dinner it, or overlook it. You’ve bought us consuming the peel.

Stephanie: Oh, that! See, I’m not the perfect particular person to ask for meals recommendation.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: As a result of the explanation I journey is to eat. And I’m largely motivated by meals.

Chris: I used to be simply questioning why we didn’t peel it, why we had been consuming the peel. That often appears like a method to get, I assume the “Delhi stomach” remains to be a factor which you could get in Mumbai.

Stephanie: Yeah, positively. However, once more, I’m not the perfect particular person to ask as a result of I’m an enormous risk-taker in the case of meals.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: Yeah, I sort of weigh the outcomes and often resolve it’s value it as a result of I’m so curious. So yeah. As a basic rule, most likely peeling it.

Chris: If you’ve taken massive dangers like that, when was the time that you simply actually want you hadn’t, and when was the time you had been actually glad you probably did?

Stephanie: Effectively, truly, I’ve lived right here for 2 years now and, contact wooden, I haven’t had an enormous abdomen subject.

Chris: Okay, good.

Stephanie: You could have your bouts of disagreeable bathroom breaks, however nothing, like, couldn’t get away from bed. I’ve gotten each different sort of sick. I’ve gotten throat infections and eye infections, and this and that. However I’ve been fortunate. I believe I’ve skilled my abdomen alongside the best way. However the first time I got here to India, in Delhi, I bought meals poisoning, and it was very, very unhealthy. However I can’t level to what it was.

Chris: Certain.

Stephanie: Everybody sort of comes right here with their very own checklist of issues they’re not going to eat, whether or not it’s uncooked fruit and greens, some individuals say don’t eat dairy, some individuals don’t eat meat. So it’s onerous to say definitively what to not eat. However actually if meals’s not an enormous a part of your travels, yeah, I might keep on with deep fried, actually cooked issues, and this and that. However then, for me, it’s value it to attempt to suss it out and resolve if it’s going to be secure or not.

Chris: Okay. So we tried the 2 fruits, whose names we are going to discover within the present notes, for these of us who’ve forgotten already.

Stephanie: Yeah, so then going again to what time of 12 months you must journey, the draw back to the perfect time of 12 months is that the mango season is sort of carefully related to the monsoon season.

Chris: Oh, attention-grabbing.

Stephanie: So lots of people suppose India, and so they suppose mangoes, and so they suppose they’re going to come back right here and simply eat mangoes on a regular basis. And that’s not the case. There’s ten months of the 12 months the place we’re wanting ahead to mangoes after which they’re right here for about two months, after which they’re gone. So dwelling right here, it sort of forces you to eat seasonally, which is actually thrilling. And you actually admire these mangoes once they’re round. However they’re not round the entire 12 months.

Chris: Attention-grabbing.

Stephanie: In order that, yeah. And at Crawford Market, then I might head again, there’s a meat market which I believe is an interesting cultural expertise as a result of it possibly doesn’t appear to be your native butcher down the street. So I often take individuals, guests, there, sort of for shock worth. After which some individuals positively resolve that they’re going to be vegetarian for the remainder of the journey. Two extra issues I might do in South Mumbai. One is, I don’t know if you happen to’ve heard concerning the dabawallas.

Chris: I don’t suppose I’ve.

Stephanie: Okay, so it’s distinctive to Mumbai, and it’s left over from when the British had been right here and the British troopers didn’t need to eat curry for lunch, so they might have both their wives or their servants cook dinner meals and ship it to them of their places of work in what’s known as a dabba or a tiffin, like a lunch field. And so that also exists now, nevertheless it’s Indian wives cooking at dwelling, after which there’s this elaborate system of dabbawallas, that are like lunch field deliverers, who journey to the properties within the early morning and take these metallic sort of lunch containers, tiffin, dabbas, on the practice. After which get off the practice after which ship them by bicycle throughout to places of work and employees.

And I don’t know the numbers, what number of they do a day, however I do know that they’re identified for not making many errors in any respect, one thing like one in a number of million. And I believe now possibly they’ve cellphones and issues, however they use this elaborate coding system. It appears to be like identical to complete chaos, however they get it proper. And I believe there’s a film that got here out final 12 months known as “The Lunchbox” about these individuals. And it’s truly a few mistake they made and a relationship that kinds over one of many receivers of the lunch field sending notes again to the girl who cooked it, who was not his spouse. It was anyone else. So, actually, actually nice film. However not that correct for the poor dabbawallas since they really don’t typically make errors.

In order that’s one factor I might see. In case you go to a sure practice station known as Church Gate round 11:00 or 12:00, you’ll see them getting off the practice and arranging the lunch containers with the cyclists able to ship them. And that’s actually, actually cool and completely distinctive to Mumbai.

Chris: And also you talked about the practice. Once I hear of Mumbai, I consider a number of the issues that I’ve heard concerning the quite intensive, and a little bit bit scary, practice system.

Stephanie: Completely. So, ten to fifteen individuals die per day on the Mumbai native trains. I believe seven million individuals trip a day. Anyway, that’s not a stat that makes you snug with using them. That mentioned, it’s, arms down, one of the simplest ways to get throughout town. Mumbai is lengthy and slim and really small and dense and that signifies that visitors is horrendous. It’s like attempting to go from Harlem to Wall Avenue in New York, however with out traces on the street and this and that. I can’t even describe it. It doesn’t make sense. So, if you happen to’re courageous sufficient to take the trains, which aren’t essentially as scary as their fame lets on, that’s positively one of the simplest ways to get round.

Chris: And are there methods that we must always know when it comes to confidently and safely transiting the practice system?

Stephanie: It’s not a really intuitive system in the best way that it’s label. You’re at all times going to have a look at an indication and also you truly can’t simply go north or south. It truly can have a letter for the final station. So you must know the stations.

Chris: Certain.

Stephanie: To begin with, there’s tons of individuals right here. Second of all, plenty of them communicate English, so Mumbai is a pleasant metropolis. Simple to ask individuals. I suppose the one tip of recommendation: there’s two lessons. There’s firstclass and second class. And there’s additionally girls’ compartment. So I, for instance, journey second class, however I’m going in a compartment that’s solely girls, which is much less crowded. In case you’re a person that’s touring, yeah, possibly splurging for the primary class. We’re speaking lower than $1 for a 20-kilometer trip, would positively be really helpful as a result of they’ll get actually crowded. They’re not that scary.

When you sort of perceive the system and know which platform to go to and who to ask, and it nonetheless occurs to me two years down the street, if a practice is just too busy, I let it go and I take the following one. I imply, endurance is certainly one thing you must have in Mumbai and time in not essentially an important factor right here. So, if it’s too busy, let it go and get on the following one.

Chris: Okay. And the way are we spending our afternoon right here?

Stephanie: One factor that’s sort of nonetheless thought-about South Mumbai however not as far south as the opposite websites as a lot is named Dhobi Ghat. And that, dobi, means “washerman,” and ghat is like “steps down into water.”

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: In order that’s the place they do laundry. So it’s an enormous area of land. You may view it from a bridge, so it’s sort of down in like a pit. And it’s all these particular person little, I don’t know methods to describe it. It’s the world’s largest open-air laundry. So the motels will ship sheets there. Hospitals will ship sheets and uniforms and so they come and gather them after which they take them to this place and sort of thrash them in opposition to the stone and wash them on this actually old-fashioned sort of means. And so individuals actually take pleasure in seeing that as a result of there’s not loads of locations on the earth the place one thing like that exists. In order that’s at all times value a cease. It doesn’t take that lengthy. It’s temporary. You sort of see it and also you’re performed. However value trying out, sort of between locations.

Ultimately we might head to Chowpatty Seashore, which is definitely a misnomer. Chowpatty means “seashore.” Within the vacationer guidebooks, it’s known as Chowpatty Seashore. However principally we might head to Chowpatty at round sundown. And once more, as a result of in Mumbai there’s no area. there’s nowhere to hang around. There’s not loads of parks. That is one other place the place all kinds of individuals come to simply take pleasure in time with their households, hang around by the ocean, and it’s additionally a improbable space for road meals. Which, once more, I might eat most of it.

Chris: And also you say, “Eat most of it,” however what are your favorites? What’s the one factor that we actually must strive, in your opinion?

Stephanie: For my firm once I got here right here, we didn’t have any excursions to do with road meals, and I labored with a colleague to truly develop a road meals tour due to loads of the explanations you talked about. It’s very onerous to know what to eat and what to not eat right here. So, we developed this tour sort of as a method to share locations we knew had been secure, but in addition give individuals the arrogance to afterward of their travels, know methods to make some safer choices about road meals.

Certainly one of my favourite issues that we eat, and all the guides that work with me, and an enormous favourite in Mumbai is named pani puri. Pani means “water” and puri is sort of a fried ball. It’s identical to a crispy, hole sort of sphere constructed from flour and fried. They fill it with some chickpeas or potatoes, and, that is the place it sounds very unsafe, they dunk it in flavored water. So water flavored with like tamarind and mint.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: And you then eat it in a single chunk. Type of like a shot, however you’re consuming it. However you’ll be able to’t chunk into it or else water will spill throughout you. In order that’s a extremely well-known snack, but in addition one which, don’t eat it simply anyplace. I don’t even eat it on the man downstairs from my residence as a result of I’m unsure the place his water is coming from, however we do have a vendor on Chowpatty that makes use of bottled water and has been actually secure. And I’ve eaten it a whole lot of instances. So, that’s good, to have the ability to strive one thing that you simply see, that’s one individuals see in all places. So once I’m with new individuals and so they lastly get to strive it, it’s actually thrilling as a result of they’ve sort of questioned what it’s strolling across the metropolis, after which, yeah.

Chris: If you say, “They dunk it in flavored water,” the flavored water is tepid. It’s not boiling water?

Stephanie: No. It’s chilly.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: Room temperature or chilly. Yeah, yeah.

Chris: In order that’s why it’d higher be bottled water?

Stephanie: It’d higher be bottled water. And that’s one which even I received’t eat simply anyplace.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: So, that’s a preferred one. The opposite actually, actually well-known Chowpatty snack is named pav bhaji. Pav is sort of a bread that bought right here, I believe, from the Portuguese. As a result of it appears to be like identical to a bread roll, like a typical dinner roll.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: It doesn’t look significantly Indian. And bhaji is greens. And it’s mashed up. It originated, there’s loads of previous mills in Mumbai, and so a very long time in the past when the mill employees wanted a quick, fast, low cost lunch, and so restaurant house owners would take leftover greens from the evening earlier than and mash them up into this type of, I don’t know, it turns into like a purple mushy sort of mashed potato texture. I’m probably not promoting it.

Chris: Okay, Type of a paste.

Stephanie: Yeah, a little bit bit chunkier than a paste.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: So they might mash it up, I suppose so that you couldn’t acknowledge that they had been leftover greens, and eat it. However now that’s grow to be certainly one of Mumbai’s well-known snacks, and it’s a meal by itself now. And that’s actually well-known to get on Chowpatty. And so that you sort of take the bread roll and scoop up this potato combination and there’s tons of butter. It’s actually scrumptious however fairly hearty. In order that I might positively strive there.

After which the very last thing that Chowpatty is actually, actually well-known for is named Kulfi, which is like Indian ice cream. Which persons are possibly a little bit bit extra accustomed to. You will get it at Indian eating places again dwelling. Nevertheless it’s Indian ice cream, nevertheless it’s not churned so it’s way more condensed and onerous, however actually creamy and scrumptious and loads of nice flavors, like there’s rose and pistachio and mango, and yeah. In order that’s actually good, and that’s so well-known from this specific seashore space that apparently there’s a saying in Mumbai. They’ll say “Go get Chowpatty kulfi,” even if you happen to’re nowhere close to this specific Chowpatty, it’s so well-known that if you happen to mentioned that, it means, like, go get me the perfect kulfi. And everybody likes ice cream, in order that’s at all times simple.

Chris: Glorious. What do the guidebooks advocate? You’ve been taking us on extra of a real-world Mumbai.

Stephanie: Certain.

Chris: If I had been to choose up a guidebook, the place would they inform me to go and what’s your opinion of the locations that they might direct me?

Stephanie: I imply, the factor about Mumbai is that it’s not. . .

Chris: It’s not a vacationer city.

Stephanie: Yeah. So the guidebooks, they get it pretty proper for probably the most half, I’d say. However they might let you know the straightforward locations. So they might let you know to go to the gateway of India, which is nice. However you can wander out, see it your self, performed. Checked off your checklist. They might let you know to go to Dhoby Ghat, which I discussed, the laundry space.

Chris: Proper.

Stephanie: After which they might let you know to go to loads of museums, that are nice, however not essentially going to provide the full impression of Mumbai. They might let you know to go to Marine Drive, the realm alongside the ocean.

Chris: Proper. If I did need to go to museums, the place are are they going to inform me, or the place would you inform me, higher but?

Stephanie: Value of Wales is the massive well-known one within the south.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: There’s a contemporary artwork museum that’s, I imply this isn’t an enormous trendy artwork hub, I might stick to truly the galleries. There’s loads of cool galleries within the south. There’s a small Gandhi museum, however I might say if you happen to’re going to Delhi, put it aside for there.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: Yeah. After which they might let you know stuff like Marine Drive and Dhobi Ghat and these items that sort of are all unfold out across the metropolis and don’t essentially take a very long time to see. So, I believe for a vacationer, it’s onerous, as a result of it’s like “Go right here, go there,” however you then don’t essentially know what you’re or methods to get between the 2, or possibly it’s a web site that takes 5, ten minutes to see.

Chris: Certain.

Stephanie: In order that’s why I sort of encourage simply spending day trip and about and strolling round and utilizing the trains and all these items that mean you can get sort of a greater image.

Chris: What are a number of the greatest methods to work together with the Indian tradition? Music, sports activities, day-to-day life. How would you meet extra Indians?

Stephanie: What my firm’s know for is our Dharavi slum excursions. So we do a accountable, academic slum tour. A two and a half hour stroll within the slums, the place we use 80% of our earnings to fund our NGO which runs plenty of academic initiatives. And what I see from that’s simply having the vacationers that come, they simply admire even having two and a half hours with a neighborhood, younger information who they’ll sort of bounce different questions off of and get sort of an perception to what it’s prefer to reside right here. As a result of truthfully, I believe simply strolling round and stuff, it’s typically onerous to search out that native interplay.

Chris: Effectively, let’s see. Let’s break it down. Let’s say I wished to attach with Indian cinema. What ought to I do? The place ought to I’m going?

Stephanie: Effectively, Bollywood you’ll be able to see anyplace. And I like to recommend seeing Bollywood.

Chris: However my impression is, as an example, if I’m going to a movie show right here, I’m going in, I purchase a ticket, I watch the film, I stroll out. I imply, it’s a quite simple expertise. The identical in India, or totally different?

Stephanie: Yeah, completely the identical. You may stroll right into a cinema right here and really feel at dwelling. The factor is there’s not going to be subtitles.

Chris: Certain.

Stephanie: So the opposite aspect of that’s Bollywood could be very dramatic and you’ll often sort of get the gist of what’s occurring. So going to a Bollywood film is certainly an effective way and I’d extremely advocate it. I might advocate it in Jaipur, there’s a really, very well-known previous cinema. However if you happen to’re not in Jaipur on the Raj Mandir Cinema, in Mumbai there are a handful of cool, previous cinemas that was theaters, so loads of like artwork deco theaters.

Chris: Uh-huh.

Stephanie: And you’ll go in and see films. I believe one of many well-known ones is Regal Cinema. Within the south, there’s additionally Liberty Cinema. Yeah. After which a handful of others. That’s one thing value doing, goes to purchase a ticket to no matter Bollywood movie is exhibiting, not worrying an excessive amount of about understanding it, and going to see it. And if it’s worthwhile to go away midway as a result of you don’t have any concept what’s occurring, fantastic. In any other case, it’s a cool expertise.

Chris: How about sport?

Stephanie: Sport? I’m not an enormous sports activities fan. There’s a well-known cricket stadium, Wankhede Stadium, so on the proper time of 12 months you can get tickets to a cricket match. Which, that’s the sport right here. And if you happen to don’t get tickets and go see it at a stadium, you will notice cricket a dozen instances a day on the road.

Higher but, truly, pondering of it, I might, there’s a spot in south Mumbai known as Oval Maidan, and it’s an enormous subject. And there, at any given time, are a dozen cricket video games occurring. And that’s an important place. And it’s actually lovely. It’s close to Mumbai College. Stunning previous buildings and Rajabai Clock Tower and an important place to hang around and watch cricket if you happen to’re interested by cricket.

Chris: So that you’ve been dwelling right here for some time now. When have you ever awoke and mentioned, “This is rather like dwelling?” and when have you ever awoke and thought, “What planet am I on? That is so totally different from dwelling?”

Stephanie: I don’t essentially make direct comparisons, however I’ve been stunned at how comfortable I really feel right here and the way snug I’m and the way some issues that felt loopy possibly two, three weeks in once I lived right here, really feel utterly regular, as a result of it’s.

Chris: So, two or three weeks in, what was the factor that felt loopy?

Stephanie: I imply it’s nonetheless loopy. It is dependent upon your day, proper. I imply, dwelling someplace like this, you might have “good India days” and you’ve got “unhealthy India days.” And I’ve most likely 95% “I like India, it’s the perfect place on the earth days.” After which the opposite 5% I simply lose my grip on life from issues that wouldn’t essentially make me upset later.

So, visitors is a type of. I might say 99% of the time, the visitors doesn’t hassle me. I don’t hear the horns. I simply go on about my day. After which sometimes, I don’t know why it’s or what occurs, however you might have a day the place you’re caught in a rickshaw on the best way dwelling from work, and I simply need to scream at everyone and I can’t recover from that they’re not utilizing lanes and that this man has simply reduce into this man, however then dwelling right here you study to tune it out. However I believe visitors is what I discover.

I like having guests right here. We’ve had a few dozen pals and previous colleagues come go to whereas we’ve lived right here over the 2 years. And it’s nice as a result of I believe one of many shames about dwelling someplace like that is you do get used to it and the stuff that was loopy turns into regular. So having a good friend come and watching their reactions to sure issues is actually, very nice, to sort of remind you of how distinctive it’s. So visitors’s at all times the primary one that individuals freak out about. And also you sort of must remind your self that this isn’t how individuals drive all around the world.

The toughest to get used to is you want loads of endurance right here and issues don’t essentially occur that shortly. For instance, if anyone says they’re going to come back meet you in an hour, it’s going to be two or three. Or, when you’ve got a gathering scheduled at 9:00, it is likely to be 9:30, 10:00. However I believe that’s a superb lesson too as a result of it’s made me sit back a bit and grow to be much less excessive strung.

Chris: Whereas I’m in Mumbai, what sort of day journeys would I need to do to the encompassing space?

Stephanie: Day journeys in Mumbai is one thing I haven’t performed loads of. There are loads of nice hill stations, they’re known as.

Chris: Subject hill forts.

Stephanie: Yeah, and I actually am not an enormous nature particular person. I like cities. That’s why I’m in Mumbai. So I’ve been to at least one hill station close to Lonavla. Obtained there, went tenting for a good friend’s birthday. That was actually enjoyable. However so far as, there’s a nationwide park a little bit bit exterior of town that I haven’t truly been to, however I haven’t additionally heard nice issues. The factor about individuals touring right here is I believe most individuals are doing Mumbai as half of a bigger journey to India.

Chris: Certain.

Stephanie: So, there’s often higher locations. For instance, one of many issues the guidebooks speak about so much is Elephanta Caves, and that’s like an hour ferry trip from the tip of Mumbai. And it’s these previous, intricately carved caves. I went in 2010 once I was a vacationer and I haven’t been again. I believe when you’ve got a bigger journey to India, there’s higher locations to see previous carvings, like Hampi and even going out to Ellora and Ajanta which is a little bit bit farther from right here. So, day journeys, I don’t know. It’s not the perfect location, apart from hill stations, which I, to be trustworthy, haven’t explored.

One of many issues that’s nice for Mumbai as an expat dwelling right here is you will get to Goa in an in a single day practice. So you’ll be able to go away at 10:00 at evening and be in be in Goa at 7:00, 8:00 the following morning. And be on a superb seashore someplace. So within the regard, Mumbai is a superb location. However I haven’t truly explored loads of the hill stations, day journeys, something I’ve performed goes to be an in a single day practice or longer.

Chris: Okay. Effectively, is there anything we must always inform people who find themselves planning a visit to India and interested by going to Mumbai, earlier than we get to my final, say, 4 questions?

Stephanie: One of many issues I believe you shouldn’t miss while you come to Mumbai is there’s a spot known as Dharavi, which you’ll hear it in guidebooks as Asia’s largest slum, which is definitely an outdated reality, nevertheless it is among the largest slums in Asia. It’s a few sq. mile. And there’s one million individuals dwelling inside it. So it’s actually a metropolis inside a metropolis.

It’s clearly a controversial factor, slum tourism, however the motive my firm does what it does is to vary. Our mission is sort of two-fold. So it’s to vary perceptions about what it means to be from a slum or an underprivileged group and present people who possibly what they’re picturing shouldn’t be that correct. And the opposite is the price of the tour, we use 80% of the earnings to fund an NGO. So while you come on the tour, you get to see the place your tourism {dollars} are going and the way it’s making a distinction. So, we’re educating guests however then additionally utilizing the cash to enhance the group.

However one of many causes I believe that’s vital to do while you come to Mumbai is, firstly, I imply, the stats are all totally different, however someplace round 55-60% of individuals on this metropolis reside in a slum. So if you happen to come to Mumbai and also you don’t no less than try to know that a little bit bit, you’re lacking a serious, main sort of facet of city life in India. And that’s what we attempt to present.

The opposite factor about Dharavi is there’s unimaginable trade. So there’s an enormous, enormous space of recycling and leather-based trade. They make poppadom, which is Indian meals. Simply all kinds of trade. And the realm truly has a turnover of 650 million US {dollars} a 12 months. So it’s an extremely productive place, which isn’t one thing individuals anticipate from a slum in the course of town. So I believe positively dedicating a while to come back and examine that out and see what we’re doing and see how that aspect of Mumbai life is. And most of our guests are actually stunned and so they say “I come and I anticipated no one was working and this and that” and I don’t know, their opinions actually change. And I believe that’s an vital sort of lesson in India, is to maintain an open thoughts.

And every thing is complicated right here. I believe the one factor about India, and also you hear it on a regular basis, is there’s tons of complexities and it’s a extremely vibrant place and also you see each features. You see unimaginable wealth and excessive poverty and this and that. And nowhere higher do you see that than someplace like Dharavi. So I wouldn’t miss that in Mumbai. And I believe, to be trustworthy, I imply, it’s in all of the guidebooks now. Folks come right here with a curiosity, and that is the perfect place to attempt to perceive that. And our tour does a improbable job. It’s two and a half hours and it’s an enormous quantity of knowledge and historical past and positively value seeing.

Chris: Okay. We’ve talked about visitors. We’ve talked concerning the crowds. And one factor that, even figuring out all that, goes to shock me, once I come to Mumbai?

Stephanie: I believe, for me the most important, not shock, however the largest factor that Mumbai has going for it’s the persons are so pleasant. And I believe particularly, Indian individuals on the entire I believe are actually pleasant. India has a nasty fame, however on the entire, Indian persons are pleasant. And in Mumbai, tremendous pleasant in comparison with someplace just like the north. I simply love how sort of accessible it’s. Individuals are keen to speak to you and the tradition’s very open and if you happen to stumble throughout a marriage, they’re going to ask you in.

It’s only a very nice group and I believe it’s a simple place to get to know, as a result of the persons are so heat and pleasant. On that observe, one factor that stunned me, is I really feel secure anytime right here. I take rickshaws 1:00, 2:00 within the morning alone, which is one thing you’ll be able to’t say about loads of cities. And I’ve heard that Mumbai’s actually the one metropolis you’ll really feel secure doing that. So I believe that’s an enormous factor Mumbai has going for it.

Chris: Glorious. As we go to wrap this up, you’re standing within the prettiest spot in Mumbai. The place are you standing and what are you ?

Stephanie: Banganga Tank, which is that this very non secular, like a Roman bathtub.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: Like an enormous bathtub, nevertheless it’s once more, in all places in Mumbai’s actually chaotic. And you then stroll right down to this Banganga Tank and it’s completely peaceable and there’s temples throughout it and it’s simply this massive, massive pool. It has significance within the Hindu tales. They suppose it’s the Ganges that flows from the Ganges which is on the opposite aspect of the nation, however a very nice story. However a really, very cool, peaceable, picturesque place to hang around. The second place, which I don’t even need to say as a result of it’s such a secret and even my guides who’ve lived right here their complete life, I took loads of them for the primary time.

Chris: It’s simply you and me right here.

Stephanie: We cycled in a single day and we completed at Worli Fort. So, the primary people who inhabited Mumbai had been the kolis, and koli means fisherman, so there’s fairly a couple of koliwadas, which means “fisherman group,” all through town, however one of many oldest is on this neighborhood known as Worli. And so that you wander in. It takes ten to fifteen minutes strolling by means of this previous fishing village which has a extremely village really feel, not as city as the remainder of town.

After which you find yourself at this previous British fort. And while you climb as much as the fort, you might have a view of Worli which is sort of a enterprise space, nothing to actually see as a vacationer, however has a pleasant skyline. After which on the opposite aspect, you might have the Sea Hyperlink, which is a well-known bridge they constructed to hyperlink the neighborhood I reside in, known as Bandra, with this neighborhood, Worli. And at dawn, it’s a extremely, actually, actually particular view.

Chris: So was that, getting again to my query of you’re standing within the prettiest spot?

Stephanie: The prettiest place? Yeah!

Chris: Okay, okay.

Stephanie: Effectively, it might be a type of two locations. They usually’re not that removed from one another, so you must do each.

Chris: One factor that makes you giggle and say, “Solely in Mumbai.”

Stephanie: The top bobble. It deserves dialogue.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: The sort of the sure, however shaking their head no.

Chris: The sure, however I don’t actually imply sure?

Stephanie: Yeah, it will possibly imply every thing. What else do I like? There’s all kinds of head issues. There’s this head factor the rickshaw drivers do which appears to be like like a no, however actually is them jutting their head, which means, “Get within the again, let’s go.” However yeah, the top bobble, I believe. It’s cliché, nevertheless it’s humorous each time.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: It’s funnier that while you reside right here, you begin doing it. I do the top bobble on a regular basis and I do it on the cellphone, which is the craziest half. My husband will catch me wobbling my head whereas speaking to anyone on the cellphone and remind me that they’ll’t see me and it doesn’t imply something. So, yeah.

Chris: One factor you must know, and one factor you must pack earlier than you go to Mumbai.

Stephanie: You want endurance and a way of journey and also you sort of simply should be up for issues. Like, I might simply say, “Sure,” to something. And simply having an open-minded angle right here is nice, but in addition I believe it’s worthwhile to know that you must be very alert. Mumbai’s not the sort of place the place there’s sidewalks and you’ll wander round and it’s very simple going. I believe it’s a extremely stimulating place, and to acknowledge that you must be alert and also you most likely will probably be exhausted on the finish of a day of sightseeing might be good to know.

To pack. Bug spray, if you happen to’re coming a time throughout mosquitoes. But additionally, I believe for girls, particularly if you happen to haven’t traveled someplace like this, I believe individuals hear Mumbai and it’s a really cosmopolitan metropolis and also you’ll see individuals carrying each sort of factor and you can exit at evening and see individuals carrying miniskirts and excessive heels. However, typically, you’ll really feel way more snug and it’s respectful to cowl your ankles, cowl your arms, cowl your chest, in most components. A) You’ll really feel extra snug, and B) Folks will respect you a large number. And I believe that’s one thing you inform individuals and so they’re sort of like, “Actually?” and it’s 100 levels exterior. Folks need to pack shorts and tank tops. However I haven’t worn shorts in two years.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: That’s one thing value noting.

Chris: Final two questions. End this thought. You actually know you’re in Mumbai when what?

Stephanie: I believe you’d know you had been in Mumbai when everybody’s telling you ways nice Mumbai is. And that’s what I like about it. It’s the identical like with New Yorkers, I suppose, is that persons are actually happy with their metropolis and Mumbai being the perfect metropolis in India, which is factual. It’s.

Chris: The most effective at what? All the things, so it’s like New York? Okay.

Stephanie: Simply every thing! The most effective meals. Good individuals. Nicest metropolis. Yeah, it’s simply the New York of India.

Chris: Obtained it.

Stephanie: For certain. I that’s what I like. I like individuals’s ardour about Mumbai. I like the sense of tempo. Everybody’s going someplace, doing one thing. I simply, I don’t know, I like. It’s a extremely onerous factor to explain to anyone, however there’s this intangible sort of vitality and tempo of town that I haven’t seen in plenty of others. Not even simply India. On this planet! I believe I like London, however there’s not the identical vitality and the tempo and, it’s a vibrant, thrilling metropolis.

Chris: Glorious. And, final query. In case you needed to summarize Mumbai in simply to a few phrases, what three phrases would you utilize?

Stephanie: Energetic.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: Complicated.

Chris: Okay.

Stephanie: I’m going to go pleasant! I believe it’s a pleasant place.

Chris: Okay, wonderful.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Chris: Our visitor, once more, has been Stephanie Hayes. We’ll put a hyperlink within the present notes to Actuality Excursions and Journey in case anyone needs to affix Stephanie on a motorcycle trip by means of town or no less than pals of Stephanie’s on the bike trip. Is there anyplace else that you simply write about journey that we must always let individuals know?

Stephanie: No. The web site’s nice. We’re going to have a weblog quickly that can have way more recommendation within the vein of this. Much less, sort of “go on this tour, go on that tour,” and extra basic Mumbai recommendation as a result of on the finish of the day, we’re simply attempting to assist individuals like Mumbai and it’s not a simple place to understand by yourself, so yeah. Thanks for having me.

Chris: Glorious. And thanks for coming.

In information of the group, I heard from Christy from St. Louis, who responded to a publication article that I’d put out. I’ve truly printed 1,000 episodes of assorted podcasts, which I didn’t notice till it was already handed. It occurred someday on the finish of final 12 months. However, Christy wrote these encouraging phrases, “You’re podcast is an ideal two mile stroll for me. It was additionally the primary podcast that I subscribed to. Like it. Thanks.” Thanks, Christy!

After which I additionally heard from Nicole, who mentioned, “My boyfriend and I’ve simply completed an incredible two week trip in Namibia. I wished to drop you a fast observe of thanks for the good podcast you probably did about this nation. Earlier than embarking on the journey, we listened to your interview with Jason, Carla, and Janie, which not solely cemented our choice to incorporate Namibia in our southern Africa itinerary, however guided our planning. There have been a number of situations over the programs of our journey the place their experiences got here up in our discussions. We felt like we knew them by the top of the journey, as we had so many shared experiences. Finest needs for an important 2015. Nicole.”

Thanks a lot! It’s at all times nice once I hear that persons are utilizing the present and that’s one thing that I can use once I’m reaching out to sponsors or to locations to allow them to know that individuals use the knowledge that we have now within the podcast.

With that, we’re going to finish this episode of the Beginner Traveler. Keep in mind to go vote at You probably have any questions, ship an e-mail to host at or higher but, go away a touch upon this episode at You may comply with me on twitter @Chris2x. And as at all times, thanks a lot for listening.

Transcription sponsored by JayWay Journey, specialists in Central & Jap Europe customized excursions.

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