Been meaning to post a review since I got back from India a few weeks ago -
The highlight of our 4 day stay in Mumbai was the Bazaar Walk that we did with 'Mumbai Magic'. As promised, it took us right to the heart of the city.
Mumbai can be an intimidating place to visit: not in terms of security (we always felt safe; well, safer than most UK cities), but in terms of its frantic, crazy energy and as many visitors first encounter with India it can be quite a culture shock. Our guide, Freni, took us into the deep, dark alleyways of the city's ancient Bazaars and helped us discover sights, smells, tastes and experience of the real Mumbai, that we wouldn't have had the confidence to find ourselves. It was also clear that, being in the company of an Indian Lady, we didn't receive anywhere as near as much of the 'hard sell' which characterised much of our trip. When we wanted to look at anything, Freni was on hand to keep us right.
A big aspect to the walk was an introduction to some of the diverse communities that make up Mumbai. We visited Muslim, Jain and Hindu enclaves, my favourite being Buleshwar. We also visited the Mumbai Panjra Pole, an animal sanctuary deep within the city's lanes.
Our tour lasted about 2.5 hrs and we didn't rush, nor spend too much time shopping. There was so much to see and take in, my only regret is that I didn't buy a Camcorder in duty free on the way out: a stills camera doesn't really capture the energy and essence of a city like Mumbai.
It was a privilege to get an insight into the everyday lives of Mumbaiker's. For me travel is about interacting with the people and the culture of the place you are visiting: Mumbai Magic facilitated that process for us. Hiring a guide may seem like you are putting a barrier between yourself and a destination, but for us it helped to strip down barriers. I would highly recommend it and wish that we had done so in Jaipur (which in contrast to Mumbai was hard work).
If we ever make it back to Mumbai (which I hope we do) I'll definitely use them again.