In parts of India women are not seen out in the evening, their skin must be covered in public and they generally stay at home playing the dutiful wife. However, Mumbai is very westernised and women seem to have more freedom. Many wear western style clothes and go out at night to party. Being a solo female traveller in Mumbai doesn’t pose any problems.
People did stare at me a lot due to my white skin, blue eyes and curly hair but no one bothered me. Mumbai is too crowded to get into serious trouble in public. If anyone did anything I could easily ask a passerby for help.
While I felt totally safe in Mumbai and had no issues, I have put together some tips, which might help you feel at ease.
1. Get a local SIM card. This is fairly straightforward. Find a Vodafone or Atol phone shop. When you go to the shop you will need: your passport, an address and telephone number of someone in India (you can use the hostel or hotel details) and a passport sized picture (not always needed). The SIM packages are cheap. You can get 1GB data per day, 250 minutes and 250 texts for a few pounds per month. It should be between 500 and 1,200 rupees
2. Download Uber (taxi app). It is a cheap, great way to get around if you are not confident in the tuck tucks.
3. Don’t arrive too late on your first night. Walking around at night is generally fine. I was with others when going out for dinner or to a bar in the evening. There were never any issues. However, when you arrive you may feel more confident during the day.
4. Don’t make eye contact. You will get stares. It is best to look at the floor, the buildings around or your friend. Eye contact can be considered flirtatious and people may engage with you.
5. Don’t be afraid to be rude. It is totally fine to ignore people or just say no and walk on. If you don’t feel safe or like engaging in chat you don’t have to. However, some of the time people are just being friendly so don’t be scared of everyone.
6. Relax and take it as it comes. In India you just have to go with the flow. Things happen, plans change, transport is crazy. Be open minded and enjoy every moment.
Have fun, be happy and travel Mumbai!