Moving to Mumbai
Choosing to relocate to Mumbai is a choice to relocate to the fourth largest city in the world, to live among a population of over 20 million people in a city of concentrated wealth and widespread poverty, to settle in the economic and financial hub of India and live among a chaotic but invigorating blend of cultures, languages and cuisines.
The city formerly known as Bombay is located on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent, in the Maharashtra region, on an island formed by the Thane and Vasai creeks of the Ulhas River as they drain into the Arabian Sea. The natural harbour formed by Salsette island made Bombay an important trading port, first under Portuguese and then British rule.
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Mumbai is split into two distinct parts - the Mumbai City district at the tip of the island and Mumbai Suburban district to the north. The city district is replete with all the trappings of a major global city - a financial district with towering skyscrapers, a busy port, museums and galleries - as well as sheltered beaches and palatial hotels.
The suburban district features lakes and mangrove forests as well as part of the Sanjay Ghandi National Park. It’s also where you’ll find the slums in which more than 60% of Mumbaikars live, highlighting Mumbai’s status as a city of stark contrasts.
Moving to Mumbai from the UK
The booming economy of India stands in sharp relief to the anaemic one of the UK, making Mumbai an increasingly attractive relocation destination for Brits with valuable skills. Recent estimates are that 40% of white collar workers flooding into the city are of UK origin.
With shared cultural connections owing to over two and a half centuries of British rule, Mumbai and the UK have much in common, including the almost exclusive use of English in the workplace.
But there are of course differences too. Former residents of the UK might be shocked at how the very wealthy and the very poor live side by side in Mumbai, with slums abutting expensive gated compounds. They might also do a double take when looking at house prices, which have soared in Mumbai in recent years.
Mumbai is India’s most expensive city for real estate and house prices continue to rise there despite having dropped off in other parts of the country. Average house prices are around Rs. 200,000 (£2,000) per square meter though in wealthy Bandra West, a popular choice for expats, prices are more in line with Rs. 350,000 (£3,408) per square meter.
It’s advisable to rent in the short term while you get your bearings - Mumbai covers an area nearly three times as large as Greater London.
Comparing Mumbai vs London
Mumbai has a tropical climate which is hot all year round. Average high temperatures fall within a narrow range of 30 °C to 33 °C. The record low temperature in Mumbai is close to a spring high for London: 14 °C, recorded in 1962. Mumbai has a monsoon season though and sees heavy rains bombarding the city between June and September, in contrast to the other months which are almost completely devoid of precipitation.
As well as more affordable property prices and rents, Mumbaikars also enjoy substantially lower prices for groceries, consumer goods, utilities, meals out and entertainment. Mortgages are more expensive though with typical APRs of 11%.
On average Mumbai residents report feeling safer than Londoners, but see slightly lower standards of healthcare, much more pollution and spend more time commuting.
Though operating in a completely different spectrum to that of London, cultural life in Mumbai is equally diverse and vibrant. The home of Bollywood has a large number of cinemas, hosts an International Film Festival and has a growing theatre scene with productions in Marathi, Hindi and English.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya and the National Gallery of Modern Art are world class examples among Mumbai’s long list of museums and galleries.
The city celebrates a festival, often loudly, in almost every month of the year.