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A Bargain Hunter's Guide to Shopping in Mumbai

by ElizabethGourd February - last edited February

For the seasoned shopaholic, there’s nothing more exhilarating than bargain hunting in the sprawling, cosmopolitan city of Mumbai. Whether you’re in the market for designer discounts or shabby antique gems, the Hindi expression, sab kuch milega – ‘you will get everything’ – rings true: Mumbai has it all.

 

Flea Market | A Bargain Hunter's Guide to Shopping in Mumbai

Assorted flea market wares © Martha Bayona/iStock/Thinkstock 
 

 

Following a prolific economic history in textile production and export, Mumbai is now a goldmine of factory rejects and outlet stores. The latter concept is still relatively new, but savvy bargain-hunters will only benefit from this amateur market. Head to the eponymous Fashion Street in South Mumbai, where you’ll find hundreds of shops and stalls inundated with reject export goods (i.e. minor defects at major discounts). Prepare to do some serious bartering over brand-name clothes, shoes, and accessories, and never agree to pay more than half of what is first offered.

 

Indian Shoes | A Bargain Hunter's Guide to Shopping in Mumbai

Indian shoes for sale at market stall © mariusz_prusaczyk/iStock/Thinkstock
 

 

If cutthroat haggling isn’t your forte, Linking Road provides a more temperate retail experience with wholesale discounts. Located in the trendy suburb of Bandra, West Mumbai, the street is an intriguing mishmash of fashion trade, as market vendors pitch their wares alongside corresponding brand-name shops. The best bargains will be had at the bazaar, as ever, but some shoppers will prefer to swap and change between the two.   

Phillips Antiques | A Bargain Hunter's Guide to Shopping in Mumbai

Phillips Antiques is an institution in Mumbai © Phillips Antiques
 

 

Be careful with those rupees, meanwhile, and don’t spend them all at once: discounted international brands are just the tip of the iceberg when shopping in Mumbai. Don’t miss the world-renowned antiques store Phillips in Colaba: a veritable treasure-trove of old prints, maps and engravings. Established in 1860, it sells many colonial-era items left behind by the British, including East India Company china and lacquerware, as well as ceremonial wooden masks, Nizam-era royal silver, and various other enticing miscellanea.

 

Colaba Causeway | A Bargain Hunter's Guide to Shopping in Mumbai

Brightly-coloured bangles for sale at Colaba Flea © Marco Zanferrari/flickr
 

 

Nearby in Colaba Causeway, otherwise known as Colaba Flea, you’ll find an eclectic array of market stalls rammed with indiscriminate items of brass, local handicrafts, jewellery, and crystal. This place is always worth a quick rummage, and serves as an effective warm-up for the notorious thrift den that is Chor Bazaar. Don’t leave Mumbai without experiencing this.

 

Chor Bazaar | A Bargain Hunter's Guide to Shopping in Mumbai

It can be hard to differentiate trash vs. treasure at Chor Bazaar © Cory Doctorow/flickr
 

 

Famously one of the biggest flea markets in India, Chor Bazaar is located in a dense area of bazaars north of the fort, selling antique and vintage items among piles of trash and treasure. The name, which translates to ‘thief market’, is generally thought to be a British mispronunciation of the original title Shor Bazaar (‘noisy market’), although one can’t help wonder where this sheer volume of bric-a-brac came from. Force your way through the chaos down narrow, grimy alleys to unearth some of the best second-hand bargains Mumbai has to offer, with everything from iconic Bollywood posters to authentic Victorian furniture and spare car parts.    

 

Vintage Bollywood Poster | A Bargain Hunter's Guide to Shopping in Mumbai

Pick up a vintage bollywood poster for a bargain © Meena Kadri/flickr
 

 

Virgin Atlantic operates daily flights to Mumbai. Book your flight today.

 

Have you ever been shopping in Mumbai? Where’s your favourite place to hunt for bargains? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

 

Written by Elizabeth Gourd


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About the author: ElizabethGourd

Elizabeth Gourd

Elizabeth Gourd suffers from an acute case of the wanderlust, which no amount of travelling or adventure can cure. She has lived in London, New York, and Berlin; experimented with nomadism in North America, and climbed to the freezing heights of Kilimanjaro on a whim. Future travel plans include getting lost in South Africa, keeping a menagerie in Europe, and finding herself in India before she is old.