Flight chronicles of the backpacker Tutubi, with travelogues, pictures/photos/videos, travel guides, independent and honest reviews, affordable, recommended resorts and hotels (including inns, guesthouses, pension houses, lodges, hostels, condotels, bed and breakfast and other cheap accommodations), commuting guides, routes (sometimes street maps and GPS coordinates/waypoints) and driving directions to answer "how to get there" questions, information and tips on tourism, budget travel and living in Philippines, Exotic Asia and beyond!
Backpacking, independent travel, and flashpacking are cheaper than the "cheapest package tours" and promotional offers around but you can also use travel information for family vacations, even romantic honeymoon destinations.
More than the usual tourist spots and "places to see," this blog advocates heritage conservation, environmental protection, and history awareness for Filipinos, foreigners, and ex-pats wishing to explore Paradise Philippines and Exotic Asia!
Tour of Mumbai: Gateway of India, Taj Mahal Hotel, Elephanta Cave, Rajabai Clock Tower, Victoria Terminus
My greatest difficulty in exploring India came from my meager allowance of $100 given by my stingy lolo for my entire 3 week stay there (For comparison, my present employer gave me $100/day allowance in my foreign trips). Me and my companions ate breakfast at the hotel where I grew tired of almost the same set of food day after day, Indian and european/american that the waiters already memorized what I always order particularly omelet with cheese, tomatoes, onions, chili (yes, chili) and a little salt, lunch in the datacenter provided by my lolo and dinner at the Ming Yang Chinese restaurant at Taj Land’s End. Imagine me ordering our food without even bothering to get the menu since I already memorized it.
What I lacked in financial prowess I made up in creativity.
Since we’re assigned a service car to take us to work, I made arrangements for us to explore the city at night and even during Sundays for sightseeing tours.
Mumbai is so much like Manila having a fine natural harbor and circumferential road Marine Drive, popularly called Queen’s necklace, akin to Manila’s Roxas Boulevard.
Nearby Chowpatty beach offers a stroll on sandy shores and spicy bhelpuri, made up bhel base and finely cut tomatoes, onions and chili. Bhelpuri is not for the faint-hearted owing to its being sold on hawker stalls served on cardboard plates aside from giving you a spike of its piquant flavor.
On one end of Marine Drive stands the majestic Gateway of India, built to commemorate the visit of King George and Queen Mary and incidentally where the last soldiers of British Raj passed through when India won her independence. Nearby is the magnificent Taj Mahal hotel offering a spectacular view of the Mumbai harbor with the Gateway of India in the foreground. I only noticed that the splendid hotel has its back against the sea.
A ferry station took us to Elephanta Island, a UNESCO world heritage site. Thought to be built in the 9th to 13th century, the caves of Elephanta were carved out of solid rock with massive columns. Marauding iconoclastic Portuguese destroyed much of the beautiful reliefs, sculptures and temple of the Hindu god Shiva with her usual androgynous depiction. This island is a popular getaway even for the locals who just stroll or take a picnic to provide a relief from the bustling megalopolis.
(picture below of the massive columns carved from solid rock inside one of the caves)
Back in Mumbai, you can see the remnants and still maintained Victorian architecture exemplified by an exquisite train station-- Victoria terminus – which is another UNESCO world heritage site.
A visit also to a house previously occupied by Mahatma Gandhi now turned into a museum provided a peek into the revered leader's life.
Overall, Mumbai has it’s historic past still intact not like Manila who lost much of her historic landmarks during the war (due to Japanese demolition and American carpet bombing and what remained are rapidly disappearing—a classic case of the old giving way to the new)
A drive thorough Mumbai’s streets will give you a glimpse of modern everyday life amidst a backdrop of marvelous colonial buildings like the supreme court building, Mumbai universities with Rajabai clock tower.
Indian Women still wear their traditional sarees while men typically don long sleeve shirts and trousers in this scorching land near the sea. Surprisingly, people here also peddle books on the streets at bargain prices. People really do love to read. Indians also are mild-mannered and full of humor not like the Koreans (who went with us) with their I-want-this-now attitude and looking down at the Indians
I spent a total of three weeks in India without shaving so just imagine how I looked like with my moustache. Upon my return to Manila, the first thing I looked for, quite surprisingly, is Jollibee for their burgers and corned beef. Remember in India -- there’s no beef!
I've been here in Mumbai for 3weeks already but still have no chance to roam around. I was surprised that you have not shaved for 3-weeks, hehe! I did brought my shaver with me and not planning to not shave because it does not look well on me with a mustache. Beef? fortunate for me, it was being served for breakfast in our hotel with chicken and bacon, medyo purga na nga ako eh.
So glad you enjoyed Mumbai! The part of the city you stayed in is the best one: historic, filled with character, frenetic yet fun, and the most expensive real estate in this sprawling city. Once you enter the suburbs, the mood changes, and it's no longer fun. The suburbs are where I live and work, vying for traffic space with thousands of other Mumbaikars.
Let me know when you plan to return here, para I can take you to other intersting places!