First thing first, Mumbai traffic is as horrific as it's known for. Honestly the best way for tourists to get around is not with public transportation but with Uber or Ola.
From airport into the city:
- the moment you get out of the airport, there are people trying to get you to use their taxi service. I felt rather disoriented looking at all the both, there are also a LOT of people even at midnight
- I decided to take a Uber which was much cheaper than a pre-arranged taxi (about 2/3 of the price) There are designated areas for Uber or OLA cars, but they are not together, so follow the signs. Uber's is on the left, a few hundred meters walk on the second floor of Parking lot. OLA's is on the right hand side after you leave the arrival hall
- We stayed in Bandra West, the new hippest area of town, somewhat rustic too. The traffic was very hectic, you need to be super alert and careful when walking around, there are hardly any traffic lights or sidewalks - most people walk on the actual streets instead of sidewalks, what I'm suspecting is that the sidewalk is full of stray dogs and their poopies.
- For me the best way to get around is with an Auto Rickshaw (like the Tuk Tuk in South East Asia), they are super cheap (during the day starting price at 18 rupees, night starting at 23 rupees ) and they can get around jammed traffic like a snake! - you just hail them and they use a meter, but better you have a google map loaded as they don't always know the route and not all speak english)
- Uber OLA or taxi are alternative means
- There are buses, but everyone suggested us not to take it so we didn't bother. They didn't look as bad as I imagined when I saw them passing by though - I believe the question is less about safety but more about the convenience, only locals take the buses and not all speak english
- We took a uber from West Bandra to South Mumbai (the more touristic area), the ride was about 30min with mild traffic costing around US$6-7. There is also a train but looking for the station is not so easy so we didn't bother
- There are no Auto Rickshaws allowed in South Mumbai, only Uber or OLA or taxi. The walk around is quite nice, streets are wider, things are a bit more organized than the Bandra area, but still very busy place!