Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is the most populated city in India and despite any preconceptions you may have it is also amongst the wealthiest of all Asian cities. Although that isn’t to say that amongst the group of seven islands that make up the city there isn’t pockets of poverty – it almost at times seems like a city of two extremes, billionaires living their cosseted lifestyles protected from the reality of life in the very poorest of areas.

Despite the extremes of wealth Mumbai is filled with a joy of life, an excitement and a vibrancy; everything is that little bit brighter, the sights and smells that little bit more intense – Mumbai is where you come to sample the extreme highs that modern India gives but it is also a place to reflect and to see how when embracing the new the old is sometimes best left in the past.

Mumbai has a great mix of accommodation with plenty of luxury hotels and a good selection of cheaper hotels, B&B’s and hostels all catering for the backpackers that pass through the region. The prices are generally very reasonable and often the high end hotels are even more luxurious than is expected.

Many of the worlds best known names are represented in Mumbai and the Hilton is no exception, this luxurious hotel is part of a chain that you really can trust; five star luxury filled with chandeliers and classically styled rooms gives you a hotel that not only wears the name of this most famous of groups but that wears the name with pride.

The three star Hotel Suba Palace might not offer quite the same kudos but it does offer a great location, large airy rooms, modern bathrooms and a sense of peace. Highly recommended by all that stay in one of its great rooms this hotel is a great budget option.

The seafood of the region is excellent and when combined with other favourites such as aromatic curries and Indian breads is sublime, but as befits all cosmopolitan cities Mumbai has so much more to offer.

Fresh local seasonal produce is widely available and no matter which style of cuisine you choose should always be the main ingredient of choice.

Trishna is said to serve the best seafood in town, crab and shrimp cooked in various piquant sauces, each and every dish is brought to your table to be approved, although the thought of rejecting this lovingly prepared food never crosses anyone’s mind.

For a bit of colonial history and the sense of stepping back in time try the Tea Centre, some of the finest teas from the region are perfectly complemented by the old world surroundings and a selection of home cooked light meals, an oasis in the madness of the city.

Talk an accompanied tour around the highlights of the city, travelling in taxis and on buses experience the Mumbai of the locals, see the colonial buildings and the heritage that has been left behind; visit historic Temples and Mosques with their Hindi and Muslin styles of architecture. A beautiful half day tour for those that want to see the Mumbai that history has created.

Visit the world Heritage site of Elphanta Island, a whole series of temples have been carved from the rock that is integral to the Island itself, the pure silence of the inner courtyards adding to the sense of peace and serenity that this Island is famed for.

If you visit Mumbai between the months of November and April then a visit to Mahalaxmi Racecourse is a must, the larger races attract the wealthy giving them a means to showcase their social position amongst the Mumbai elite.

Mumbai has a tropical climate and enjoys seven months often without a drop of rain but when the rains come they do it in style, the months of June to September are monsoon season with extremes of rainfall expected throughout.

Religious festivals are taken very seriously in Mumbai and joyous as they are protocol is always followed, the city may appear to grind to a halt during some of these festivals, so it is always best to check how this may impact on your travel plans.