Mumbai: The home of Bollywood has much to offer travelers

  • Home to millions, Mumbai is an all out assault on the senses and it takes some getting used to when arriving for the first time as a tourist.
  • "The whole essence of Mumbai is functionality, nobody has time to sit around and talk, everybody is just going somewhere," said Kevin Lee, a reporter for CNBC TV18 who has lived and worked in the city for several years.

Home to 21 million people, Mumbai is located on the west coast of India in the state of Maharashtra. This megacity is an all out assault on the senses and it takes some getting used to when arriving for the first time as a tourist.

For the locals, however, the city is organized chaos.

"It's a great place to work, maybe not the greatest place in India to live," said Kevin Lee, a reporter for CNBC TV18 who has lived and worked in the city for several years.

"The whole essence of Mumbai is functionality, nobody has time to sit around and talk, everybody is just going somewhere," he said.

Even the city's legendary street food is made for people who are on the move.

The Mumbai skyline on June 18, 2018.
Samson Tupdal | Hindustan Times | Getty Images
The Mumbai skyline on June 18, 2018.

It was originally borne out of necessity as the city's factory and mill workers needed quick and cheap food on the go. Many of the factories have closed, but you'll still find the streets of this 24-hour megacity buzzing with thousands of hawkers dishing out cheap eats late into the night.

As one of the most densely populated cities in the world and a hive for businesses, the city's main challenge is mobilizing its workforce.

Mumbai's suburban railway is fast but overcrowded, with 11 million people using the city's public transport every day. However, a new Mumbai metro network nearly 150 kilometers long is opening up with the aim of boosting the city's rail capacity and reducing traffic congestion.

Today, the city is India's economic powerhouse and the birthplace of Bollywood, helping the country become the world's leading film market.

Mumbai is fast-paced and busy. That can be overwhelming at first, but by meeting people who live and work here, you understand that they all thrive off that energy — and it's infectious.