Mumbai bombards every sense; it’s an intoxicating mix of the rich elite and the urban poor. Art deco and grand colonial architecture sits incongruously next to slums, and glistening 5* hotels soar above shambolic streets laden with traffic. This chaotic melange of India’s extremes makes Mumbai so unique and there’s really no place like it on earth. The city is made up seven islands, originally inhabited by Koli fishing communities. Its safe harbour attracted the East India Company, and from the 1600’s the city established itself before booming when the Suez Canal opened in 1869. For colonial enthusiasts Mumbai is second to none, with Victoria Terminus (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) and The Prince of Wales Museum ranking among the city’s most elaborate and decorate Raj-era constructions. For others the designer boutiques, chic bars, restaurants and warren of bazaars are all that’s needed here. Once you’ve got past the initial shock, Mumbai’s allure starts to shine and we feel it’s worth dropping anchor here for a night of two at the beginning or end of a trip.