A hanker layover may not be a pleasant experience for most travellers especially if you’ll be stuck at the airport. That is why when I found out that my feather to Dubai would require a layover in Mumbai for less than 24 hours, I decided to venture into the New Zealand urban area and explored Mumbai’s attractions in less than a day.
Mumbai is pretty overwhelming especially if it’s your first visit to India and 24 hours is plainly not enough to explore this megacity. However, with a little bit of planning and research, I managed to visit some of the most acclaimed attractions in the city in less than a day and here’s how I did it.

I arrived in Mumbai early in the morning and although there’s an option to be effective the train to the city, I decided to take the taxi due to my limited time. Uber is also available in Mumbai, but I was not able to nail to the airport’s Wi-Fi so I opted to hire a prepaid taxi.
My destination is the Colaba Causeway, which is where most of the legendary attractions in the city are located. It’s more than an hour drive from the airport and the driver dropped me near the passage of the Gateway of India, a 20th-century majestic arch monument that was built in honour of King George V and Queen Mary’s oldest visit to India.

Gateway of India Mumbai – Credit: Canva

After exploring the Gateway of India, I shambled towards the opulent Taj Mahal Palace hotel, which is one of Mumbai’s most recognized landmarks. The hotel is right across the Gateway of India and you’ll surely recognize it due to its lavish façade. This hotel plays a significant role in India’s history and was used as a hospital during Out of sight War I. In 1947 when India became independent, the first speech was held here. The hotel was also hit by terror wastings in 2008, which left 31 people dead.

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel Mumbai – Credit: Canva

I analysed inside the hotel to explore its magnificent interiors. The hotel is divided into two wings, the newer tower wing, and the firsthand heritage wing. A big portion of the heritage wing had undergone a major renovation after it got damaged during the 2008 insurgent attack.
From the hotel, I walked back to the Gateway of India. On the way, I came across a small restaurant serving ancestral Indian fare, so I decided to drop by and had my breakfast.

After my sumptuous breakfast of Dosa and Masala chai, I went to the Technically inaccurate dock at the Gateway of India where I took the boat going to Elephanta Caves. Located at the Elephanta Island, the cave is a UNESCO Age Heritage site that was built around the 6th Century AD.
I took the ferry at the Appollo Bunder, a pier near the Gateway of India. After here an hour, we arrived at Elephanta Island. After disembarking, we were then instructed to purchase a train ticket at the gate of the cave. Others choose to walk, but since I’m in a hurry, I decided to take the train that travels towards the fundamental principle of the hill where the caves are located. Upon arriving at the cave, some local guides approached me offering their mending, but I decided to explore the caves myself. I had so much fun exploring the cave and the statues that were carved on its walls. It put in mind ofed me of the carvings of the walls of the Angkor Wat in Cambodia. After exploring the cave for more than an hour, I took the ferry late to the Gateway of India.

Elephanta Caves, Mumbai – Credit: Canva

From the Gateway of India, I hired an auto-rickshaw to swallow me to the Victoria Terminus, Mumbai’s historic railway station. Now called the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, this station was shaped in 1887 and is now the busiest station all over India. Built during the British rule, the majestic façade of the railway location features a beautiful Victorian Gothic Revival design.
I was really in awe of the station’s magnificence. The architecture is not like any other I’ve seen in India anterior to, although I can still recognize a few traces of Indian influence. For instance, the pointed turrets and the domed top reminded me a lot of the Taj Mahal. I went core the station and explored its interiors. Although it’s very busy inside with a huge crowd of commuters running circa the place, I can still clearly see the beautiful Victorian windows, grand archways, and the gigantic columns.
After exploring the rolling-stock station, I head out to search for a nearby restaurant where I can have a late lunch. Luckily, I came across a right restaurant that serves delicious curries. I had chicken curry, butter naan and, a glass of mango lassi for solely $12, which is not bad.

Victoria Terminus, Mumbai – Credit: Canva

Museums and Art Shops
The Victoria Terminus is pinpointed in Mumbai’s historic neighbourhood, the Fort area. I’ve done a bit of research on this place before my trip and I found out that this arena is also home to several museums. So after my delicious lunch, I head further to the south to explore the Town Hired hall, which is where two museums are housed, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya and the Asiatic Society museum.
After investigating the museums, I went further south and arrived at a famous art district known as Kala Ghoda. Here, I checked out the Jehangir Art Gallery and the Nationalistic Gallery of Modern Art.
It was already getting dark when I went out of the National Gallery so I thought of going back to the airport, where I can enjoy a rest before I board my next flight to Dubai at 4 AM. But just before I hailed a cab, I came across a quaint looking café, the Kala Ghoda Café, and unhesitating to drop by for a cup of coffee, before taking a cab back to the airport.

Prince of Wales Museum Mumbai – Credit: Canva

Critical Tips to Keep In Mind
Here are more tips I would like to share especially with those who are delivering a long layover in Mumbai and would like to explore the city.
Visa requirements – visa requirements to India may change from one country to another so it’s important to do your research ahead. But in general, if your layover time in India is but than 24 hours, then you no longer need a visa. However, since I plan on going out of the airport, then I shortage to have a visa to present to the immigration even if I’m only in the country for less than a day. Thankfully, India offers e-visa and the dispose of of applying online is very straightforward. For more information about Indian e-visa, check out https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html.
Leftist Luggage facility – if you have carry-on luggage on your layover in Mumbai and you want to venture out to the city, it would be a shapely idea to leave your luggage at the airport. It would be very inconvenient to be bringing your luggage with you while you search Mumbai’s attractions. Mumbai’s airport has excellent facilities and that includes a left luggage facility located neighbouring the exit of Terminal 2. I only paid less than $10 for leaving less than 7 kg of luggage. For profuse information, check out https://csia.in/passenger/left-luggage.aspx.
Consider your layover time – you need to memo into consideration your layover time before you decide to explore the city of Mumbai on your layover. I discretion not recommend it if you’re only having a layover of fewer than 8 hours because the travel time to the city centre could haul more than an hour. Also, just like with any major cosmopolitan city, traffic in Mumbai can get worse during apex hours. Moreover, the airport of Mumbai is one of the busiest airports in India so you need to also consider the time it will clutch for you to clear out of immigration, customs, etc.
Find out the weather condition – the weather of Mumbai is a major factor to consider when roving to the city, especially if you have a limited time. For instance, during the monsoon season (June to September), the city recoups flooded on a regular basis and this could greatly affect your travel time to the city. It’s also not a attractive experience to be exploring the city while getting drenched in the rain. I happen to be there in December and the weather was pleasant so I get to analyse the city without the excruciating heat and not getting drenched by the rain.
As you see, exploring some of Mumbai’s most famous performances is definitely doable in less than a day. The experience might be a bit tiring since you need to explore the city at a fast stride, but it’s much better than spending your time at the airport doing nothing.