SAFE LOCAL TRAVEL, Mumbai
I'm putting this one under both the Warnings and Transportation tips:
Mumbai and its suburban trains are famous for being very overcrowded. Locals hang from the doors and ride on top of the trains. Only for a few hours during midday are the trains less crowded. Be prepared to exit the train before your stop because crowds entering will be pushing you back as you try to exit. Be extremely cautious if you have to travel late at night – you may even consider an alternate mode of transportation.
If you are a woman, get a ticket for the woman’s (only) compartment or at the very least a first class ticket. DO NOT even think of going in a general/men’s compartment. It is so crowded that you most likely will be groped, touched, rubbed against, or molested.
The trains are cheap, on time, and still the fastest way to get into town from the suburbs or vice versa. Just be smart and safe!
1. If not taking a prepaid taxi or a metered taxi/rickshaw, negotiate the fare before taking off.
2. If spending alot of time with a taxi driver (or any driver), it helps if he speaks and understands basic English.
3. Don't drive on highways at night.
4. When travelling by train, chain and lock your luggage under your berth. Don't keep anything valuable near the window. Carry plenty of water and fruit, and don't eat anything offered by a stranger.
5. Be aware of travel warnings. Some areas are considered unsafe for foreigners.
6. Always carry your passport with you. Put a sticky note inside with the local telephone number of your Consulate.
7. Keep a copy of your passport/visa separate from the original.
8. For women, where available, use women's only areas/compartments on public transportation. NEVER ride in the general men's compartment.
9. For women, if travelling alone on the train, request to be accommodated near other women travelers.
The potholes in Mumbai are incredibly large. This is especially true during the summer-months from June through September when the monsoon-rains rip the streets apart. Each winter the roads get repaired, just to fall apart again with the next rains.
These potholes can make a ride, especially a rickshaw-ride, quite an unpleasant experience, of which one often emerges bruised and in pains. I was wondering where all the purple bruises on my legs came from until I realized that it happened during rides when banging my legs into the rickshaw.
Bad road conditions are an ongoing discussion between politicians, and the Mumbaikers grumble in discontent. During our stay we saw an article in the Bombay-times which warned that "Elderly and pregnant women should not take rickshaws due to the road conditions."
Aah, those are the joys of monsoon-season...
1) Do not buy rail/air/city bus/movie tickets from individuals but from the counters.
2) Buy Mineral Water from Medical Stores, Buy/Eat packed processed foods.
3)Check and re-check for correct desired information with 3-4 people. Believe in your self.
4)Report harrasment/traffic flirtations/misbehaviour to the nearest local police station
5)City Buses (BEST) Travelling is the best bet for point to point sightseeing
for your 1st question, we all are fine, a little disturbed, but things will be fine soon. more than the terrorist we are angry with our government for not being prepared.
for your second question, at present colaba would have been the best place to stay, since there will be tighter security, any case you could also try bandra, which is in the suburb, it is a nice place for a change.
travel time between colaba-bandra would be 45mins during peak hours
Beware of drug dealers who will alert the Police if you buy aything from them.
The police then gets a cut of the action.
Its a criminal ring. Don't fall for it because you wanna have fun far away from praying eyes !
You do not ever want to to try to drive in Mumbai. The traffic is horrendous and the rules of the road are mystical. Hire a car and driver and enjoy the sites. Allow 3 times as much time as you think you need to get somewhere. Sundays are the best days to site see without as much traffic. A car and driver hired from a top hotel will cost around 1900 R for six hours.
Be careful of Chatrapati Shivaji. The main station in Mumbai (CST - Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus) and the airports, national and international, are named after him. so, clearly mention that you have to go to Chatrapati Shivaji train terminus. or you may find yourself at the airport instead. Incidently, the train station was called Victoria Terminus, the domestic airport Santacruz airport and the international airport Sahar airport.
: Avoid travelling in local trains and buses DURING THE RUSH HOURS- you may end up gasping for breath as soon as you board the bus/train(if at all you do manage to get in) Here are some mind-boggling facts: 6 million people commute daily on the train network ....average peak hour load being 4500 – 5000 commuters per train ...commuter density inside the trains reach 9-14 persons/meter square The picture should tell the story!
Avoid travelling in local trains and buses DURING THE RUSH HOURS- you may end up gasping for breath as soon as you board the bus/train(if at all you do manage to get in)
Here are some mind-boggling facts:
-6 million people commute daily on the train network
-average peak hour load being 4500 – 5000 commuters per train
-commuter density inside the trains reach 9-14 persons/meter square
The picture should tell the story!
Don't walk around at night and don't drink publicly alone...assumptions will be made about you being one of those easy whorelike western women that are portrayed in the media...Getting wasted whilst travelling alone is dangerous and stupid...
Wear a wedding ring and make up a *** story about how you are meeting your husband in a few days.
Even if it is damned hot, dress modestly...no cleavage or minis in other words..Shirt and long skirt fine...
"THE DAYS OF JIM CORBETT ARE HERE AGAIN........DIFFERENT TIME .....DIFFERENT PLACE........IN MUMBAI CITY!!!!!!!
As Bombay (Mumbai) city expanded it did so in a northerly direction , into two main groups of suburbs - the western suburbs and the central suburbs.
Bang in the middle and seperating these two groups of suburbs is a huge forested area called the Sanjay Gandhi national park ( Borivali national park)......and its teeming with leopards...the hardiest and the most fiesty of the large felines of Africa and the Indian sub-continent.
As Bombay city expands and eats away at the jungle.....from all around.....there has been an exponential increase in the number of encounters betweeen man and beast in the areas of the city bordering the national park...and these areas , mind you , are bustling cosmopolitan areas with concrete roads ,rail lines , fly-overs and sky-scrapers !!!!
Leopards usually attack dogs and other prey animals but have been known to lift children ....in fact a few months ago a young child was lifted from the parking lot of a modern residential tower complex... after the cat had scaled the high walls.
However , as shown in this front -page news item in a leading Bombay newspaper (Times of India-Sunday-20-june-2004).... .....they are now going after lone adults too
As a nature lover, I really hope that the government takes stricter measures to protect the habitat of our cats so that such unfortunate encounters are prevented....
Needless to say as a tourist you should not be wandering alone thereabouts at night !!!!! ( i.e. the areas of the mumbai suburbs bordering the national park)
We have a second leopard attack on an adult man in MUMBAI CITY in three days...!!!!
But again....these occur only in the areas immediately bordering the park......the vast majority of mumbai's population in unconcered and the government apathetic.
for details click on picture...and see earlier tip on this subject too.