I made a booking through this internet-based agency to be picked up at the airport of Bombay and taken to a hotel for the first night. It seemed to me quite relaxing not to rush for a taxi at night (1:00 AM) in a strange city. The pick-up was OK, but the 'hotel' they took me too was a rat nest in a 4th floor at the end of a dirty alley. At 2:00 AM I couldn't change, so I spent a dreadful night.
They charged me 45$ for that. Considering a taxi from the airport to Colaba would cost you no more than 300 Rs (7$) and a night in that 'place' couldn't be more then other 300 Rs, think of the price difference!!
Now I know and wouldn't repeat that mistake...
Ok..so you book a ticket on a bus that says it is going to Mumbai,..but then on the outskirts of the city...(or any other city in India) the bus stops and you are told that it is not going where you are staying and that you have to getoff the bus and take a cab the rest of the way...This is utter ***....stand your ground,(unlike me). They must have some kind of understanding with the taxi drivers that they will chuck some unsuspecting and vulnerable traveller off the bus at dawn and get them to pay an outrageous amount to get into the city...I would reccomend that when you book your bus ticket that you make it clear with the travel aganet that the bus IS in fact going to where you want (i.e in my case Colaba)
Unique Suggestions: Swear loudly at the cab driver and tell him that you would rather catch a train or walk..
Tell the cab driver (this is if you have stupidly fallen for the scam and gotten off the bus) that you are a poor backpacker, that it is your last 24hours in India and that you only have 200 rupees left, still have to eat and find somewhere to sleep...then cry.
Fun Alternatives: Catch a train...they are far more comfortable anyway, and you know where they are going.
In some ways you could say the whole of India is a tourist trap. There are higher rates for tourists for National parks, hotel accomodations, air fares etc. You have to be a Resident Indian to get the cheaper rates. The difference at parks can be as high as a factor of 10. Also the tax rate for food and hotel accomodation gets higher as you get better facilities. It is as high as 30% at 5 star hotels.
However prices are still reasonable by North American standards although inflated by local standards.
In Mumbai beware of drivers you hire who will want to take you to their 'favorite carpet/shawl store' where they get a kickback if you buy anything.
There are a lot of bus operators organizing one day tours of mumbai, Mumbai Darshan. unless you want to see all the touristy places in a second, opt out. they take you to too many places in a very short time. not worth it
Tourists may get beguiled when shopping in open markets/tourist places. There are aso a lot of beggars who tend to hound tourists. All in all be alert while travelling in public and while shopping. Bombay is a cheap place to shop so let no one fool you. adjoining pic: Crawford Market
it happens all the time that someone wants to show you something. Like how you make carpets, how to do carwings in marble, how to paint on silk and so on. After you have listened they always want to sell something. This could be nice the first time but after the 20 th time you're tired of it.
in bombay, hundreds of thousands of people share a single activity:work as tourist traps,such as:thieves,or just wait at the airport for lost tourists;they will take you in their car and drive to a very very crowdy and disgusting suburb where you will be offered an awful hostel-room,they can also make worse propositions:drugs,prostitute(adults or teenagers),everything is possible,bombay is a free city
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