Like that of any great city, the soul of Mumbai is captured in its famous bazaars and markets. From internationally renowned haute couture to dirt-cheap, one-season wonders, intricate jewelry and unique antiques to tawdry gifts and fabulous textiles, Mumbai is known as a shopper’s paradise. Whether you’re shopping on the street or in the markets, the key is to take your time, sift and sort, establish authenticity and make sure your haggling skills are razor sharp. Leave the pier by coach to visit one of the famous markets in Mumbai—Crawford Market. En route you’ll stop for photos and view the outside of the Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus—the Rajs’ pièce de résistance, complete with carved stone friezes, stained-glass windows and flying buttresses. Crawford Market is also known as the Jyotiba Phule Market but it was originally named after Arthur Crawford, the first Municipal Commissioner of the city of Bombay. It is housed in a building that looks like something out of Victorian London, but is overrun with a crazy riot of local color, including the chaotic wholesale cloth market with a tremendous variety of fabrics at hundreds of indoor stalls. Your next stop will be at the Zaveri Bazaar—a maze of narrow lanes lined by hundreds of jewelry shops that sell ornaments made of every conceivable gemstone and precious metal. Re-board the coach for a short ride to the Colaba district for some free time for shopping. Barter with the locals at the market stalls or browse in the many shops where the prices are fixed. Afterward, you’ll drive back to the pier and re-board the ship with your day’s treasures.
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We first went to a Crawford Market. The wet market that was interesting but had very little we could purchase. Then we walked across the street to the fabric market (a riot of beautiful fabrics) that looked like it would be really great. The only draw back was that the we arrived an hour before the market opened and then only had an hour to look around. There was one store open, but it only accepted rupee. I think this should be noted on the tour description, because almost every other market in Cochin and Mumbai will accept US $. We weren't able to go to the promised Thieves Market because of traffic. We did pressure the guide in to giving us about 50 minutes at Coloba Market. I don't remember anything being said about Zaveri Bazaar and we didn't see any jewelry except at Coloba Market. All in all most of the participants were upset. I think the arrival time at the fabric market should coincide with open hours. The up side was it was a very inexpensive tour, but who wants to go on a frustrating tour at any price.