If you have been to the Bombay Cook Club, you’ll know how much we adore Bombay. For us, Bombay isn’t just a city; it is an idea, an emotion, a passion and an endless source of inspiration. It is a city where for many hundreds of years people have come from all over to make their fortunes. It is a city in multicolour, of great diversity and culture, where you can eat food from all over India, spicy kebabs and mouth watering street food and the best dosa around.
We invite you to join us on a tour of old Bombay, to spend a week with us in this magical place and experience all the food, sights and shopping this grand old city has to offer. We will stay in a small boutique hotel in Colaba, the historical centre of Bombay, dressed in the most beautiful vintage and bohemian style, and from here we will explore the lanes and alleys of the old city, home to some of the best restaurants and shops in the world.
We will eat vada pav and bhel puri and biryani, spicy Indian Chinese, and Chana Bhatura at Chowpatty Beach. We will enjoy afternoon drinks in the Sea Lounge at the Taj Mahal Hotel, beers at the Leopold Café on Colaba Causeway and late night chicken kebabs at Bademiya.
We will also take a boat trip from Gateway of India to the prehistoric Elephanta Caves, a tour of Dharavi Slum, the largest and most productive of its kind in Asia, have a day shopping at Crawford Market, see a Bollywood movie at the Art Deco Regal Cinema and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at the Cricket Club of India. You will most certainly need to bring empty bags for all the shopping we will do, as we will visit some of the best shops in Bombay for clothes, jewellery and handicrafts.
With five days up our sleeve we will also make sure you have time to rest, a trip to Bombay isn’t a trip to Bombay without the odd afternoon siesta, and we will happily organise massage, beauty and hair treatments at your own cost at the hotel and in your room to energise you for the next shopping trip.
We promise you will finish your trip knowing South Bombay like a local, knowing EXACTLY how to cross a busy road, having had a lot of laughs along the way and wondering how you can get back for your next holiday.
WHAT OUR GUESTS SAID
"Bombay was so vivid in every way, full of contrast and colour and just buzzing with a constant thrum of enterprise. Shaheen and Sultana bought it all further to life, peppering us with their anecdotes and memories all the while getting more and more excited about this city that they so obviously love. We were able to be transported in body, mind and spirit on this Spice Mama adventure where each sight, each mouthful and each memory will resound for years to come."
"I loved the hotel, it was the perfect location, and the staff were friendly and accommodating.... I loved the whole experience. Must do’s were the Slum tour, the early morning markets - newspaper walas and dhobi ghat... everything was great – there is nothing I would suggest not doing."
"The highlights for me were definitely the Dharavi Slum Tour and the early morning market tour (fresh flowers, newspaper and laundry were amazing to see!) Loved all the food and I loved going to see a Bollywood movie at the art deco cinema (we stretched to the $5 ticket and got a seat in the dress circle!)"
"Bombay Dreaming was a trip of a lifetime and I will be eternally grateful to Shaheen and Sultana for convening such a memorable and eye-opening holiday. India wasn’t on my travel list, but I am so glad for the experience of having visited Colaba, Mumbai. We packed so much into a week. I shopped, ate and learnt so much about Mumbai’s history, people and culture. Loved every moment!"
"I would recommend this trip to anyone."
Dates: Sunday 11 November to Saturday 17 November 2018
Number of guests: Eight people (minimum/maximum)
Inclusions: Welcome dinner and introductions to your tour group (October 2018)
Return flights, flying Singapore Airlines via Singapore
Five nights bed and breakfast accommodation
All on ground transport in a private, air-conditioned vehicle
Full day-to-day itinerary, all tours and tour guides
All lunches and dinners (that are part of the overall schedule)
Gift bag on arrival
All group-related tips
Exclusions: Comprehensive travel insurance
Museum and gallery entry (optional tour component)
Transport not covered in the scheduled tour
Incidental expenses like washing
Beauty treatments and yoga
We will arrive in Bombay at 10.30 am and proceed by bus to our hotel in Colaba.
After a quick refresh, we will head out to explore the local streets in the afternoon, giving you a chance to get your bearings and have a light snack; before having a rest, a drink in the hotel and going out for dinner to the lovely Shamiana at the Taj Hotel.
We will meet at 7am and go for a walk to watch the sun rise over the Gateway of India and the Taj Hotel, providing an excellent opportunity for photos and a chance to walk around Apollo Bunder, watching the morning traders make their chai and serve up an array of delicious street snacks before the days crowds arrive.
After a spicy breakfast at the hotel, we'll walk to the Khala Goda precinct nearby, visiting the incredible Sabyasachi designer boutique and some great local shopping destinations like Kulture Shop and Chunilals, for great quilts, fabrics and textiles.
In the afternoon we'll head back to the Sea Lounge at the Taj for their famous high tea, before being picked up to head out to some of our favourite shops: Anokhi for incredible handcrafted textiles, Kala Niketan for saris and scarves and Lucknow Chikaan for embroidered kurtas and clothing.
We'll end the day with a walk and a street food dinner at Chowpatty Beach.
After breakfast and some free time, we'll take our transport and head to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly known as Victoria Terminus), a historic railway station and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we will watch the famous Dabbawala's of Bombay prepare to deliver lunches all around the city.
We'll then visit the Crawford Market precinct for some shopping, before heading to Dhakshnaya, a tiny homestyle restaurant for the best dosa we've ever had. After lunch we'll explore Baan Ganga, a sacred water tank and prominent tourist attraction in Bombay, dating back to 12th century, forming a part of Walkeshwar temple complex in Malabar Hill.
We'll continue on to the beautiful Good Earth showroom and shop in Phoenix Mills, and then return to Colaba for drinks and dinner at Jia, a delicious local Indo-Chinese restaurant.
You can choose to wake up early this morning and head to the local yoga studio for a much recommended and invigorating session.
After breakfast, the incredible guides from Reality Tours will collect you and take you to Dharavi Slum, for one of the most eye-opening experiences of your life. Prepare to be humbled by the grace and resilience of the occupants of Bombay's largest slum, and stock up on some of the locally produced leather goods made there.
When you return to Colaba just after lunch, the rest of the day is unscheduled, so you can go shopping, or have a nap or a massage. In the evening, you can go for a beer at the famous Leopold's a Bollywood movie at the Art Deco Regal Cinema, and we highly recommend kebabs at Bademiya, the very famous street side kebab shop.
Today we are going to take a ferry to visit Elephanta Caves, a collection of cave temples on Elephanta Island, about 10 kms east of the city. The origins and date when the caves were constructed have attracted considerable speculation and scholarly attention since the 19th century, which date them between 5th and 9th century, and attribute them to various Hindu dynasties.
In the afternoon we will head to the Oberoi Hotel for some more shopping (beautiful quilts and pashminas and then enjoy our last dinner at the famous local seafood restaurant, Trishna.
This is our last day, and it is going to be busy! We will ask you to wake up at 5.30am so that we can embark on one of our favourite tours, to the local newspaper vendors, flower markets, vegetable and fish markets. Bombay is a hive of activity at this time, and you will marvel at the beautiful scenes you encounter. On our way back from this tour, we will visit the Afghan church and Roman Catholic churches.
Later in the morning after a sustaining chai or coffee and some breakfast, we will head to the Prince of Wales Museum and Art Gallery. For those who are not keen, this trip is optional and you are welcome to spend the morning shopping instead.
We will then visit the famous Cricket Club of India for a traditional high tea, before returning to the hotel to get ready for our trip home.
We recommend you save some money for the airport, which has some amazing shopping and dining opportunities... we will definitely have time for one last gin and tonic and a dosa or two.
Single room: $4,226.00
Twin share (one room only): $3,777.00
Luxury queen with rollaway bed added (one room only): $3,935.00
HOW DO I SIGN UP?
Due to the high level of interest in this fabulous trip our waiting list will get first preference in booking. Please e-mail Shaheen Hughes at ilovespicemama.com.au to ask questions and discuss participation.
TOUR DETAILS AND CONDITIONS
Deposit and specific cancellation charges can be discussed with our travel agents.
All participants need to ensure their passport is valid for six months from the date of return to Australia and that they have the necessary visa to enter India.
All participants are required to take comprehensive travel insurance for this tour. You will need to show proof of travel insurance and provide contact details to the organisers as a condition of participating in this tour.
We highly recommend that you talk to your doctor about any vaccinations and medications that you may need to take prior to and during the trip.
We recommend that you change money into Indian rupees prior to arrival to save time; however we can organise a money changer to be available at the hotel on the day or arrival (the exchange rate will be set by the money changer). You can use credit cards in major shops but security is an issue.
There is a fair amount of walking included on this tour, please take this into account if you have any health issues.
We recommend that you dress modestly on the tour (short sleeves and below the knees clothing) and carry a scarf. We also recommend closed, old shoes for the Dharavi Slum and Early morning tour: preferably that you can either wash or leave behind.
We use WhatsApp to communicate with the group prior to departure and on the ground, and the hotel provides mobile phones for use in Bombay. We also recommend you download the Singapore Airlines app to manage your bookings, and we will set up a shared ICloud account for photo sharing while we are on the ground.
The day-to-day tour itinerary may vary to suit travelling conditions and participant preferences (for example: if you need to go back to ‘that shop’, we will do our best to oblige!)
In the event that the tour is cancelled due to circumstances outside of our control (such as war, threat of war, riots, terrorist activities, civil disturbances, industrial disputes, natural and nuclear disasters, adverse weather conditions, hurricanes, floods, unavoidable technical issues with transport, epidemic, pandemic and similar), the organiser will hold not liability on behalf of participants.
No compensation, payments or expenses, including the cost of securing alternative accommodation or flights will be paid by the organiser.
Your deposits are not refundable once they are paid so please ensure your travel insurance will cover the costs of cancellation.