Young Thais are drawn by the big city lifestyle
While there are plenty of hotels where business travellers might “do” their deals, the Taj Mahal Palace, with its lively lobby full of fine restaurants and bars, is where a local will bring you to celebrate once the deal is done. You have plenty to choose from too: if the weather is nice, sit in wicker chairs in the covered patio by the sumptuous pool area, nibble on light snacks and sip gin and tonics -- like something out of colonial times. Some of the best Indian food in the city is served at Masala Kraft where chefs have lightened traditional fare using extra virgin olive oil instead of butter. To celebrate the closing of a really big deal, duck into the posh, European-inspired Zodiac Grill, considered one of India’s finest. Or, take the elevator up to Souk, located on the hotel’s roof, to see the sunset over Mumbai harbour, or watch chefs prepare pungent Middle Eastern dishes in the open kitchen.
Do not do this!
Do not worry about the confusion over the name of the city. Officially, the anglicized name “Bombay” (considered by many to be originally derived from Portuguese words bom baia, or “good bay”) was replaced with local-language version “Mumbai” in 1995. However, when speaking English, most locals still refer to the city as Bombay -- and you can, too. It is not considered offensive, but when in doubt, go with Mumbai.
Off the clock
Mumbai is a mélange of extremes. Great wealth and great poverty. Striking new design and ancient ruins. Mansions and slums. Superhighways and dark alleyways. Gorgeous perfume-like scents and putrid squalor. Hot curry and ice cream. Also like New York, there is something for everyone here, and trying to take it all in on a short business trip is a big mistake. The best advice for a business traveller with limited time is to hire a local guide (via your hotel concierge or travel agent) and focus on one or two things that appeal to you.
Chris McGinnis is the business travel columnist for BBC Travel