Hi everyone! 😀
Back again in the $10 series to explore the world within the budget this week. And this week, we’re going back to India to see what you can do in one of the cities there. Anyone could guess which city we’re gonna talk about this week after we covered Kolkata a couple of months ago?!
The city that was once known as Bombay, it is the capital city of Maharashtra state in India. Dubbed as the most populous city in India, you could imagine how big the growth is in the city in terms of economy. But what exactly could you get in Mumbai for $10?
This week, Smita Bhattacharya will be here to cover the city and recommend you things to do within the budget. So, what are they?
How to Spend Your Rupees Like a Local
10 dollars in Mumbai translates to about 700 rupees at current exchange rates ($1 USD = INR 69). Believe me, you will be rich! Although Mumbai is, by far, one of the more expensive cities in India, a lot is available for cheap too.
Have your mouths water aplenty watching the street food vendors (found everywhere) dish out soft idlis (savoury rice cakes), crunchy vada pavs (deep fried potato dumpling inside bread bun), soft chutney sandwiches, fruit salads, and spicy chaats (savoury snacks-several types) onto paper plates for the throngs of office goers and students gathered around them. If brave enough, try the dishes out.
If scared of eating at a roadside food stall, there are also hygiene-friendly inexpensive restaurants that serve the same fare. These are usually found close to the railway stations. Although, here the queues are longer, seating cramped, and the ceiling fans on hot days, not quite enough.
A filling breakfast with tea or coffee: INR 100
Shop till you drop on the roads of Bandra, especially on Hill Road and Linking Road. Here you can find imitations of celebrity designer-ware and the latest fashion trends for cheap. The prices are already quite reasonable, nevertheless, bargain hard. The crowds can get unruly, but it’ll be all worth it when you admire your stash later on.
Another great place to shop is Colaba causeway. It houses a mix of retail stores and small street shops selling everything from jewelry, antiques, slippers, bags, and much more. Tourists, backpackers, and locals from South Mumbai throng the area through the year.
A great chunky necklace or a trendy T-shirt will cost around INR 200.
Have an artisanal local coffee or local beer
Locally-sourced, organic, fair-trade coffee is thriving in Mumbai as is the local craft beer scene. Koinonia and Blue Tokai are my favorite local coffee brands who also operate a series of cute cafes across Mumbai.
Doolally, The White Owl, and Brewbot are Mumbai’s very own craft breweries. Most of these places also hold tasting sessions in their cafes/pubs along with other fun events. Chug a coffee or a beer while you knife-paint or fight it out in a trivia contest. A great place to meet other people too.
An espresso or a pint of beer will cost about INR 200.
Watch a movie, the local way
Mumbai is the land of Bollywood i.e. Indian Cinema. So why not head over to a single-screen cinema hall to watch the latest blockbuster?
A favorite multi-screen movie theatre of mine is Gaiety Galaxy in Bandra; watching a movie here is an experience unto itself. Gaiety is the last bastion of the original cinema-watching experience, complete with rickety seats, old-fashioned hero posters on the walls, salty popcorn in a folded paper, and watery coffee in cracked plastic cups.
Watching a movie here, in particular, a Salman Khan movie—first-day-first-show—is a life-changing experience. Fans dance down below, while you watch with an indulgent smile from the cozy balconies overhead.
Tickets for a movie and popcorn costs about INR 200.
So you see, SO MUCH can be done with $10 in Mumbai. It’s really an all-round-value-for-money city, if you choose wisely and do not mind a few inconveniences.
Contributor: Smita Bhattacharya
Smita Bhattacharya is an author and management consultant based out of Mumbai. She has traveled across much of the world and this year plans to fully discover the Balkans. Yet, Mumbai has her heart.