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Welcome to Mumbai: getting from the airport to the city centre

Finally, you’ve made the decision to visit Mumbai and explore all it has to offer!

We’ve put together a summary to help you decide how to get into the city upon arrival at Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport:

1) Taxi

This is a straightforward method to get into the city. There are two types of taxis you can take: pre-paid or normal metered taxis. Normal taxis be distinguished by their black and yellow exteriors, whereas the pre-paid taxis are equipped with air conditioning (sometimes referred to as “cool cabs”).

We recommend taking pre-paid taxis over metered taxis to ensure you get a fair rate into the city, irrespective of traffic conditions/travel time.

  • Cost: The average rate is around INR 500 – 600 for pre-paid, INR 625-700 for metered taxis
  • Travel time: 25 minutes to 2 hours

*Note that the time of day you arrive/depart and traffic will affect the length of time it takes for you to get in or out of town.

2) Ridesharing apps: Uber and Ola Cabs

Oh the wonders of technology and ride-sharing apps! Travelling via this option is seemingly effortless: the airport has designated pick-up points for Uber and Ola riders, as well as signage to direct you to these pick-up points.

Ask for the Uber or Ola Cabs counter upon exiting any terminal premises and you’ll be directed accordingly. In case you don’t have either application downloaded on your phone, Uber or OLA representatives at these information counters can help you book a ride. Rates are fair, fixed, and you can rest assured that you’ll be dropped off exactly where you need to be.

  • Cost: The average rate is around INR 250-500
  • Travel time: 25 minutes to 2 hours

3) Auto Rickshaws

These are the beloved black and yellow, compact three-wheelers that roam Mumbai’s streets. We daresay that autos are the most popular and cost effective means of travel around the city. Moreover, Mumbai’s auto-rickshaws are always metered, so there is no need to fret about price negotiations.

Auto rickshaws in Mumbai, however, only operate in the suburbs and cannot enter South Bombay (Colaba, Fort area). The only terminal where you can catch an auto to reach the suburbs of Mumbai is from Terminal 1B, domestic departures. If you’re thinking of catching an auto from Terminal 2, the only way you’d be able to get one is to get to a nearby train station first.

4) Bus

This would be a difficult to navigate if you aren’t familiar with train travel in Mumbai; however, there are bus services that connect both international and domestic terminals to  train stations nearby—making it a cost effective means of getting into town.

BEST- Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport

  • Bus Route number 312: stops at Vile Parle (East) and Andheri (East) railway stations
    – Opening hours: 04:50 am to 22:50 pm.
  • To Vile Parle Railway Station include: Bus route 2, 35, 39, 322, 330, 374 and 384
  • To Andheri (East) railway station: Bus route 308
    – Opening hours: 05:10 am to 22:10 pm.
  • Vile Parle East: Bus route 321

*Note that buses do not run overnight. So, if you arrive at odd hours in the morning/night, you’ll have to take a cab/Uber/Ola.

5) Train

Unfortunately, Mumbai’s airport isn’t directly connected to any train station. But if you’re adventurous and would like to make your way into the city centre via Mumbai’s local train system, you can do so by travelling to the nearest station via auto/taxi first. Train travel is the fastest way to get into the city centre during peak traffic hours.

Here are some helpful points of reference:

FROM TERMINAL 1

  • Vile Parle Railway Station: only 2.1 kilometers from Terminal 1, which is about 20 minutes away
  • Other stations include: Asalpha Railway Station (8 km), Sakinaka Metro Station (12 km), Marol Naka Station (6.4 km), Airport Road Metro Station (6.2 km)

FROM TERMINAL 2

  • Andheri East Railway Station: 6 kilometers from Terminal 2, which is about 30 minutes away
  • Other nearby stations: Santa Cruz Railway Station (6 km), Khar Road Railway Station (8 km), Karla Junction Railway Station (13 km)

Happy travels, and hope to see you soon in Mumbai.

Balaji’s Story: Living & Working In Dharavi Slum

My name is Balaji and I am 27 years old. I live in Dharavi and have worked as a tour guide at Reality Tours and Travel for over 5 years now.  As a local from the slum, I have a lot to say about my neighbourhood –  the way it has changed with time and the changes that have happened to me in this time too by learning new skills in my job.  

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Manoj’s Story: Making A Dream A Reality

My name is Manoj Ramesh Medwal and I was born and brought up in Mumbai. My parents both come from Delhi and I have one elder brother and one younger one. We live together with my mum. My elder brother is married and has two wonderful children. I’m really proud to be a nice uncle. We live in Mahalaxmi, an area in the South of Mumbai, not too far from Dhobi Ghat, the famous open-air laundry place of the city. This is my story… (more…)

What Would The Neighbours Say? A Study Into Community Perceptions Of Slum Tours In Dharavi

Slum tourism has become extremely popular in the 21st century, especially in Mumbai. With its escalating use, throughout media and existing scholarship slum tourism has generated a heated and critical debate especially concerning ethics and its so-called ‘voyeuristic’ nature. However, scholarly research on slum tourism remains limited and fragmented.

Reality Tours & Travel began, first and foremost, to serve the Dharavi Community. To bring people here to challenge the negative stereotypes they held about ‘slums’ and sensitise them to the multilayered, multifaceted cultures, communities and lives being played out in ‘Asia’s largest slum’. To turn the profits we made from taking these tours into tangible, positive change through our sister-NGO, Reality Gives. (more…)

What The Dabbawallahs Of Mumbai Can Teach The World About Sustainable Business

Freshly cooked dalokra, rice and roti are packed safely into a metal tiffin when the doorbell rings. A white capped dabbawallah is anxiously waiting for the lunchbox but he is sure to flash a smile before he speeds away on his bicycle.  At the local train station, he adds six more lunch boxes to a wooden plank that is hoisted onto his colleague’s head. It weighs 65 kilograms (143 pounds). Fighting the remainder of rush hour commuter traffic, the second dabbawallah steps into the luggage compartment of a Mumbai local, sets his cargo on the ground with the help of two colleagues and chats idly as the train pulls out of the station.
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Five TED Talks We Love, And Why We Love Them

Since 1984 ‘Technology, Entertainment, Design’ (more commonly known the world over as ‘TED’) have been sharing ‘ideas worth spreading’ relating to all things, from education to business, science to development. In the last 30 years, they’ve shared over 2,400 talks in more than 100 languages which have been viewed 500 million times.

These talks are a regular source of ideas, information and inspiration here in the Reality Group office – here are a few we love, and why we love them. (more…)

What’s Life Like When The Monsoon Comes To Mumbai?

The months of monsoon bring joy to millions of people not only in Mumbai but all over India. The torrential rains arrive after a torrid, long and tiring summer. The monsoon begins during the first week of June in the southwest coast. It then travels up through the Indian state of Kerala, up towards the North and usually reaches the city of Mumbai around the second week of June. (more…)

Ganesh & The Story Behind Maharashtra’s Favourite Festival

India is a very diverse country and every city has its own rich history and culture. A particularly striking aspect of this is the range of different festivals celebrated throughout the country.

One of the biggest festivals celebrated around this time of the year in Mumbai is “Ganesh Chaturti”. Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is one of the most famous Hindu Gods and easily identified by his elephant head. He is known as the God of Wisdom and Intellect, but also as “Ek Dant”- one tooth – and “Vighnaharta”- vanquisher of obstacles. (more…)

How Dharavi Makes A Difference: Eight Surprising Facts About Mumbai’s Largest Slum

Your average Mumbaikar might wonder why Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, has survived, slap bang in the middle of India’s burgeoning financial capital, for so long. As the city has grown and expanded, Dharavi has come to occupy a prime piece of real estate. Why not bulldoze it down and start again?

What people across Mumbai might not know is the way that the slum is influencing their lives; how the million people and over ten thousand businesses Dharavi is home to are a vital part of the Maximum City, rather than a blight upon it. (more…)

Anyone For Cricket?

Since the British were finally forced to retreat from India many of the reminders of the colonial period have also gradually been pushed aside. From statues of royalty being taken down to city names being changed, in general as a hard fought single nation pride has begun to develop so too has the confidence of independence and desire to break the connection to an imperial past. One aspect brought over by the British that Indians will likely never send back across the sea though is their love for a game involving a ball, a bat and some sticks to knock over… (more…)

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