From August 11th, 2016, MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Department) has been offering guided bus tours for Mumbai Darshan & Ho-Ho Mumbai Darshan Services. These tours cover 12 to 14 main attractions, along with numerous scenic viewpoints, divided into two packages focusing on South Mumbai and Suburbs respectively.
This information provides insights into the covered tourist attractions, starting location (Pick up), online booking process, authorized travel agents, available bus types (AC and non-AC), meal provisions, ticket fees, package details, and essential information for both Indian and foreign nationals (NRIs) intending to partake in the New Mumbai Darshan services organized by MTDC.
MTDC Ho-Ho (Hop-ON Hop-Off) Bus Tour
Following the open-top bus tour, the long-anticipated Mumbai Darshan tour services by MTDC, which were initially planned in 2014 and procured tour buses in 2016, have now been finalized. By the end of December 2022, two buses capable of accommodating 45 passengers each will be conducting tours across key attractions in Mumbai and its suburbs. The following is a list of the featured places and fares, albeit subject to change. The aim is to have a total of 11 such buses operational by early 2023 to serve tourists. Notably, this tour includes visits to certain government sites, a feature not offered by private tour operators.
The unique aspect of this bus tour is the “Hop-On, Hop-Off” (HO-HO) service, which sets it apart from conventional tourism buses that circulate through the city. This implies that visitors are free to disembark at any destination for as long as they desire and then catch the next available bus within the specified schedule, which runs from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
A fleet of 11 semi-air-conditioned double-decker buses with open rooftops is ready to serve tourists on the one-day Mumbai Darshan tour. This initiative by MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) is akin to HO-HO services experienced in other cities like Delhi and Goa.
The tour is designed with a fixed route commencing in South Mumbai and concluding in the northern suburb of Borivali. This Mumbai Darshan tour aims to enhance convenience and offer improved facilities.
These aesthetically pleasing double-decker buses, accommodating 26 passengers, will initiate their journey from CST at hourly intervals. Along the route, approximately 25 tourist attractions will be covered. The upper deck, open to the elements, provides a unique experience during winter and monsoon seasons. However, during summers, passengers can opt for the lower, air-conditioned deck, which features refreshments and restroom facilities. Please note that these details are subject to updates as the HO-HO bus tours become operational.
Mumbai Darshan Ho-Ho Bus Highlights
- Total Tourist Spots: 25.
- Timings: Daily operation timings will be between 8:00 Am & 9:00 Pm. Every hour 1 bus and the Expected timings of one complete tour is 1 Hour as per planned, But practically it will take much more.
- Ticket Charges: Yet to finalize, Yet Per Person charges will be around Rs.500.
- Facilities: Snacks & Toilet facilities inside bus AC section.
- How Different from Other Mumbai Darshan: No time restriction, Get Down at any attraction, Enjoy as much as wanted, and hop on in the next coming bus with the same ticket.
Which attractions takes more time
Following the open-top bus excursion, while each location on the Mumbai Darshan tour boasts its distinctiveness, I wish to suggest and recount my encounter regarding the site that deserves extended attention. In essence, the subsequent list outlines these points.
Quick Move / Less Time-Consuming Tourist Spots
Flora Fountain, Bombay High Court, Gateway of India, Marine Drive Promenade and Girgaon Chowpatty, Mahalakshmi Temple, Siddhivinayak Temple, Mount Mary Church, Juhu Chowpatty.
Below are attractions that will need more time
Shivaji Museum, Taraporewala Aquarium, Hanging Garden, Haji Ali Dargah (Long Walk), Nehru Planetarium, Bandra Bandstand, Aarey Colony, Goregaon Film City, and Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivali.
Regular Old Mumbai Darshan Bus Services by MTDC
IMPORTANT NOTE: While we strive to keep this article up to date with the latest fees, cancellation procedures, contacts, and other information regarding this tour, we cannot guarantee the frequency of updates. For the most current information, we recommend visiting the official Mumbai Darshan website provided by MTDC.
For those unfamiliar with the term, “DARSHAN,” it refers to “SIGHTSEEING” in Hindi. In Indian Mythology, this term is commonly used when witnessing any deity, symbolizing the act of obtaining a divine view.
The Maharashtra tourism department has directed its attention to the treasures of South Mumbai and its notable sightseeing destinations as part of two tour packages. These services are available exclusively on weekends, specifically Saturdays and Sundays. The initiative shows promise from its inception, and with valuable feedback from both residents and visitors, further enhancements are undoubtedly possible. The choice of South Mumbai is rooted in its historical significance, as it marks the origin of Bombay.
This strategic location boasts a multitude of iconic structures, ancient heritages, and remarkable edifices, making it an essential single-day tour for anyone exploring Mumbai. The following sections provide an outline of the two routes included in the tour package.
Mumbai Darshan Tour/Itinerary 1 (CST to SOUTH MUMBAI to CST)
Tour Dates: The MTDC updates its tour dates online for the current and upcoming months. To view the available dates, registration and login on the official website are required.
Days: Tours are conducted only on weekends, specifically Saturdays and Sundays.
Starting Point: The tour commences from CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Bus Depot).
Timings: The tour operates from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Fees: Detailed tour package rates per person are provided for adults (above 12 years) and children (3 to 12 years), inclusive of all taxes. Children under 3 years enjoy free entry. Some attractions on the Mumbai Darshan tour may have separate entry fees, impacting the package charges. Opting for the Silver package with lower fees might necessitate obtaining individual entry tickets at destination counters, which could be time-consuming. Fees may vary over time.
Bus Service: The tour uses BEST AC Buses. Refer to BEST bus routes.
Languages: The bus guides are proficient in Hindi, Marathi, and English. However, there have been instances of guides lacking in-depth knowledge about attractions and bypass locations.
Meals: Though the MTDC website states that meals are not included, recent tourist experiences indicate that snacks and lunch are provided within the package fees. Additional costs apply for items like Siddhivinayak Temple Prasad (Rs. 50) and personal food purchases. For updated information, refer to the website.
Ticket Cancellation: Cancellation deductions vary based on the proximity to the tour date. Cancellations made before 15 days entail a 5% cost deduction, 8 to 14 days prior result in a 25% deduction, 4 to 7 days prior allow for a 50% refund, and cancellations within 4 days of the tour receive no refunds.
Tour Brochures: Unfortunately, no informative brochures are provided, which could greatly assist tourists in locating and understanding the covered sightseeing spots. Foreign nationals and first-time visitors from other states often lack awareness about city attractions.
Tourist Attractions and Destination Covered
The tour begins and ends at CST Bus Depot. The destinations covered in this one-day bus tour include various attractions like Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Dhobi Ghat, Mahalaxmi Race Course, Shree Siddhivinayak Temple, Bandra Bandstand, Bandra Worli Sea Link, Nehru Science Centre, Nehru Centre, Mani Bhavan, Hanging Garden, Girgaum Chowpatty, Taraporewala Aquarium, Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya, Taj Mahal Hotel, and Gateway of India.
For more comprehensive information about these places and attractions, refer to the provided links in our blog. Although there are additional places to explore beyond the scope of this one-day tour, you can stay connected with us through social channels and this blog to gain further insights.
The following attractions from the list have associated entry fees:
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya at Fort.
- Nehru Science Centre at Worli.
- Taraporewala Aquarium at Marine Lines.
- Bhau Daji Lad Museum Dhobi Ghat Byculla.
- Shree Siddhivinayak Temple at Dadar.
- Mani Bhavan, Grant Road West.
Mumbai Darshan Tour/Itinerary 2 (DADAR to SOUTH MUMBAI to DADAR)
Tour number 2 commencing and concluding at the Dadar East MTDC Counter maintains identical details concerning the package, schedule, and expenses as tour 1, with the exception of the starting locations and bus routes, as well as the journey destinations.
The following locations are consistent:
- Shree Siddhivinayak Temple
- Bandra Bandstand
- Bandra Worli Sea Link
- Nehru Science Centre
- Nehru Centre
- Mani Bhavan
- Hanging Garden
- Girgaum Chowpatty
- Taraporewala Aquarium
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya
- Taj Mahal Hotel
- Gateway of India
- CST Terminus
- Bhau Daji Lad Museum
- Dhobi Ghat
- Mahalaxmi Race Course
Other On The Way Drive by Locations and Attractions to Peep On From MTDC Bus
In addition to the primary Darshan attractions, the bus route will take you through various other noteworthy destinations that are popular among tourists and should not be missed when visiting Mumbai.It’s essential to stay attentive while on the bus to catch sight of these places, as the bus won’t make stops there.
I suggest asking your guide to assist you in identifying the following spots during the journey. Here is the list:
- Haji Ali Dargah (Located near Mahalaxmi Race Course and before Nehru Centre).
- As you pass Mahim (before the junction), you’ll spot Makhdoom Ali Mahimi Dargah on the left and the renowned Mahim Church on the right.
- Continuing on to Mumbai’s well-known lover’s point and the picturesque Bandra Bandstand, you might catch a glimpse of Bandra Reclamation after passing Mahim. While on the Bandstand route towards the fort, you can see Salman Khan’s residence and SRK’s Mannat in both directions. You can find videos about these places through the provided links.
- Take a quick look at Worli Fishing Village connected to the Bandra Worli Sea Link.
- When you’re near Taraporewala Aquarium (refer to the linked video), make sure to also check out videos of Nariman Point and the Queen’s Necklace.
Stay vigilant to make the most of these attractions during your bus journey.