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Expats moving to Mumbai are sure to have plenty of queries and concerns about their soon-to-be home. Here are a few answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Mumbai.
Is Mumbai safe?
A level of petty crime and scams can be encountered in Mumbai. It's best to take general precautions such as not walking alone at night and being vigilant of others.
Terrorist attacks in 2008 and 2011 killed dozens of people. Many of the targeted locations are still frequented by foreigners, although the attacks weren't specifically aimed at them. Increased security measures in the wake of the attacks mean that Mumbai is generally safe and most expats live there without incident. Although the last major terrorist attacks were a while ago, it is important to understand that the nature of terrorist activity is unpredictable.
Where's the best place to find affordable accommodation?
Generally, properties get cheaper the further they are from the city centre, but there are exceptions. For instance, inner-city apartments could be cheaper than large freestanding houses in the suburbs. Many expats find that sharing accommodation in Mumbai is the surest way to save.
Will it be difficult to adapt to life in Mumbai?
Many new arrivals experience culture shock in Mumbai. But those who are open to learning about the local people and their customs find their time in India more worthwhile.
Do I need a car in Mumbai?
Unless they live close to work, which is rare, most people in Mumbai will find they need a car. Mumbai is vast and accommodation is often easier to come by in suburbs far removed from business districts. Bad driving and congestion make for long commutes, but it's often easier to endure traffic jams in a private vehicle than on public transport in Mumbai. Many expats hire a driver and lease a car instead of buying one.
What are the schools like in Mumbai?
The standard of education in Mumbai is high, particularly in private and international schools. International schools are the most popular among expat families; they usually offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities, school-bus services and special-needs education support. Note that these schools are costly and waiting lists are long – it's best to start the school search and application process as early as possible.