Mumbai is a city of outdoor markets: flowers and furniture, meat and maps are sold in bazaars littered with junk and studded with jewels, thick with aggressive hawkers and sharp-eyed shoppers. For newcomers, even the most civilized of these can be overwhelming. Don your most comfortable shoes, hold your wallet close, and just dive in: even if you don?t end up buying anything, you?ll leave with stories aplenty.
Perhaps Mumbai?s most frequented street shopping destination, locals and tourists alike head to this ?Thieves Market;? its is name derived from the fact that a lion?s share of the goods on sale here are stolen. Most popular are the shops that sell antique furniture and old gramophone records, but visitors will also find more easily transportable goods like intricately carved ivory artifacts, kitschy Bollywood memorabilia, and even the meters taken off the ubiquitous auto rickshaws that zoom around the city.
Begin at Mini Market, 33/31 Mutton Street, Chor Bazaar, Mohammed Ali Road, call+91 (0) 22 2347 2427
Lining downtown?s most central road, one can?t help but pass by the chaotic Colaba market. You might as well pause and take a look around, rummage through countless tiny stalls for Wonderland-esque pocket watches, pop-colored wooden bangles and straw-bottomed flip flops made famous by the Osho Ashram in Pune. Remember to bargain fiercely for your spoils: start at under half of what the shop owners ask, and settle at about 60 percent of the original quoted price. Deal or no deal?
Starting point at Caf? Mondegar, Metro House, Colaba Causeway
Olive Bar and Kitchen and Vie Lounge
Tea lights flicker under a setting sun as you browse through pretty scarves and organic jams. You gladly fork over the exorbitant price for the woven straw bag that you just have to have. This is, after all, not the kind of place where you haggle over money. Catch the luxe flea markets hosted by swish restaurants Olive Bar and Kitchen and Vie Lounge between October and December every year, at the peak of the tourist season.
Olive Bar & Kitchen, 14 Union Park, Khar (W), call +91 (0) 22 26058228; Vie Deck and Lounge, 102 Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, call +91 (0) 22 26603003. Inquire in advance for dates and times.