Yep, I fell for it ! A street vendor came up to me at the Gateway of India brandishing a large (4ft long ?) balloon and offering packs of balloons for sale at INR200. Thinking my young son would love a great big balloon to hit me with, I started haggling with the vendor and got him down to INR100. Of course, when I opened the pack later, the balloons inside were more like 4 inches long !!! Silly me, usually so streetwise, to fall for one of the oldest tricks in the book...
This aint a joke, the police rape women at night. It doesnt matter if you are accompanied with a male companion, they will put that guy behind bars and charge both of you with indecency in public.
So avoid moving around at nights, around Gateway of India alone or otherwise.
when you are in the south bombay area, like fountain, colaba, fort, vt donot walk around in the lonely dark streets. it is not advicable.
also remember when someone offers you girls, like hookers etc. donot accept them, they might take you to a lonely place and can rob you.
beware! please coz i dont want any foreigners to have an opinion about my city with a wrong vibe.
1. Mumbai is not Goa/Kerela, And hence its always appropriate to dress modestly.
2. Mumbai beaches are not for Sunbathing and you will see women bathing in Water fully covered. Secondly its not as safe as Goa beaches where the shackowners take care of the security of women .So Bikinis is out of Question, Not even a swimsuit. Mostly beaches are dominated by groups of men who come here to take a dip after getting heavily intoxicated On Sundays and Vacations. So Women Travellers are hereby advised to be cautious in order to avoided being mobbed and molested. As most of the Indian males are not used to see too much of flesh, they go Berserk.
3. Avoid Isolated spots as the chances of getting harassed is high. There are many beautiful picnic spots but never be temped to go there either alone or a couple as these places are also dominated by Intoxicated men and if you find yourself being mobbed. MAY GOD HELP YOU. Go with a police protection and that too with an armed policemen if you want to enjoy these beautiful picnic spots.
4. During New-Year Day celebrations, NEVER MAKE A MISTAKE of venturing out when huge crowds of men (Mostly from Slums) come over at popular spots after heavy Intoxiction the chances of getting mobbed & molested is very high and you will be easily out numbered. Its always safe to remain indoors. In Hotels where youre staying or At family parties.
BOTTONLINE: Mumbai is a safe place during daytime, but at night BE CAUTIOUS.
It's better to stay away from beggars at railway stations & other crowded places, as they tend to flock around you if you help even one of them.
The autorickshawallahs, and cabbies too are smart enough to rip you off on the roads. Check the meter reading and the fare list (keep a copy with yourself).
Do not look through a telescope at the Sun and Mercury Transit without protective and safe solar filters!!! You may lose your eyesight permanently and not even feel the pain!!! See my picture of the Mercury transit of 7th May 2003 taken through a 150mm dia / 1500mm F/L telescope and Pentax camera. Get prepared for a much bigger event in June next year when the planet Venus will transit the Sun's disk and it will be visible to the naked eye!!!
You may find some locals even laughing or smiling at you. Dont get annoyed. They don't mean to be rude even though you may feel that way. They are either just surprised seeing someone with a different skin color or maybe find it amusing to see a foreigner wearing an Indian outfit. This usually occurs when you roam around the slums/shanty town areas and other poor localities where the level of education among the locals is very low.
Staring is okay - Staring at strangers is a Western cultural taboo that does not carry the same weight here. Many people feel quite free to stare at anything, or anyone, different. Most Western visitors, at some point in their time here, will experience intense, and disconcerting, staring. Interpreting this as rudeness is unproductive. What you look like, what you do, and how you behave will generate intense interest. Don't get angry or try to "educate" people on the idea that staring is rude. It will only increase curiosity, and frustrate you. Relax. Let people look. After all, you are doing your own exploration of the people and places here. What you are reacting to is not so much the staring, but your cultural interpretation of the action.
Not related to mosquitoes, but extremely annoying is the problem of bed bugs. This is not a widespread a problem as one would suspect in cities like Mumbai, considering the look of many low-end hotel rooms, perhaps because many such hotels anticipate the problem and spray rooms and beds regularly. Most hotels will let you have a look at the room before you check in. Look in the cracks on the bed or under the mattress for dead bugs. If you find your room does have bed bugs, move immediately to another hotel.
watch out for the following:
1. men who offer you help in finding hotels or restaurants. they are touts hired by hotels to bring in customers. best way to find restaurants is to ask the tourist desk in the railway station or airport.
2. beggars. there are too many for you to help. so please don't encourage them.
3. ladies travelling alone at night. not advised at all.
4. please ask for the tariff card in autorickshaws and taxis. they inform you as to the amount to pay. the meter indication is not the amount to be paid.
5. do not travel in local trains at peak hours. it is way to crowded and unpleasant.
6. short skirts and women in shorts and sleeveless t-shirts are not tolerated in many temples.
7. do not try to find drugs or marijuana in the city. they are illegal and may bring you unpleasant company (the police).