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Mumbai, a vibrant and bustling coastal city, has always oozed style and sophistication. A port city overlooking the Arabian Sea, it is famous for its mega-population (16 million people packed onto a curving promontory), its dhobi wallahs or tiffin carriers and the extremes of wealth and poverty. Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is in fact an island, divided from the mainland by a narrow meandering creek, and its prosperity soared with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Typically, fashionable Mumbai swirls around Colaba, to the south of the city centre, but the northern suburbs are becoming popular nowadays too.

The city is famed for its glittering film industry. “Bollywood” produces on average 364 Hindi films annually and helps to render India as the world’s leading film provider. Stars of these films are looked up to with intense fervour and, as they light up the cities trendiest bars and restaurants, emanate an air of glamour that permeates the entire city.

Indeed, this glamour is aided by the fact that Mumbai has also become the beating heart of India’s financial services sector. The wealth and financial opportunities that are available have drawn a huge number to the city, not just from within the domestic sphere but internationally as well, with the city boasting the country’s highest number of millionaires and billionaires. What results is a city with a hugely cosmopolitan nature, culturally more akin to the West than you will find in other Indian metropolises. It is also notable for holding one of India’s largest Parsi communities – an ethnic group of Persian descent who fled persecution during the Arab invasion of Greater Persia between the 8th and 10th centuries, and who now run several cafes popular among local Mumbaikars.

It is fair to say that Mumbai is a city impossible to get bored in. There are bars, restaurants, shops, movies, nightclubs, parties and festivals everywhere: it truly is a city that never sleeps. Sights include the Taj Mahal Hotel – an early 20th century gem that was the first luxury hotel to allow Indians to enter, the Chhatrapati Shivaji (formerly Victoria) Terminus, one of the world's most spectacular railway stations, the Gateway of India, Crawford Market and Chor Bazaar. Marine Drive makes an ideal evening escape, and you will be joined by hundreds of other people strolling by the sea. Should you want to go further afield, you can also enjoy a boat ride from the Mumbai Gateway over to Elephanta Island, where you can find magnificent cave temples dating back to 450 AD.

>> Read our blog: Mumbai Moments: Insider Culture

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I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.
Bill Bryson

So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
- Mr David Wallace, North India
We have been on expensive and luxurious holidays in the past, but the service and communication Ampersand has provided has far exceeded those offered by other agencies.
- Susan Ford, India

From our Instagram

Sunsets at the @gallefacehotel are the best welcome to #Colombo, especially when watching their flag ceremony from the iconic checkerboard terrace with a G&T in hand 🌅
We also love the wonderful @maniumpathy_boutique_hotel, which is truly an oasis of tranquility within this city 🌿
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Intense colours of #India are the perfect antidote to the Monday blues 🇮🇳🌺🌼
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Perched up high in the Himalayan Kingdom, the new #SixSenses lodges sit in prime positions in #Bhutan
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Misty layers, endless plains and silhouetted trees stretch as far as the eye can see
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(📸 @chris_fischer_photography)
✨Brand new blog post curated by one of our specialists: ‘5 Unmissable experiences in North India’✨
Follow the link in our bio to read about some of Ampersand’s favourite cultural experiences in #Varanasi, #Calcutta, #Delhi & #Mumbai 🇮🇳
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Set within an inviting oasis of elegant palms and eucalyptus trees, #Amanbagh stays true to its name 🍃(‘Peaceful garden’ in Sanskrit and Hindi) 🇮🇳
One of @jamesjayasundera’s favourite hotels in the world, #Ampersand believe that there’s no better place to enjoy rural #Rajasthan than this luxurious idyll
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The exhilarating city of #Tokyo has a world-renowned culinary scene & rightfully so! 🇯🇵
Be tempted to join ‘salarymen’ for an evening drink and #yakitori in restaurants and bar likes this 🏮🏮
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‘Traditionally to welcome the coming of spring, this joyful festival is filled with colour, music, dancing and great energy’ @the_ampersander
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