With COVID-19 making travel difficult in India, I’ve been looking for other ways to explore this beautiful country. Recently I’ve been checking out some 360-degree tours of Mumbai that were actually a good substitute.
However, 360-degree videos can be tough to make. The videos I often see are too shaky and make my stomach sick. Or they are poor produced, just a guy wandering around with a camera and I have no idea where he is.
But there are a handful of very well done 360-degree tours of Mumbai, so if you want to do some virtual tourism as well, check out these 10 tours.
What Makes A Good 360-Degree Video of Mumbai?
There are a few qualities I’m looking for in 360-degree videos for me to enjoy them. Your preferences may differ, so I’ll list them and briefly discuss them to help you understand what you might most like:
- It should show and/or teach me something about Mumbai!
- Is there a host? I prefer to have someone in front of the camera during the tours. Many videos do not have a host and they still might be okay without one. But a host gives me something to focus on and “lead” me through the location.
- Does the host talk? These are the best videos and the most rare in my experience. Having a host give some information and lead me through the location best resembles an actual tour, which I prefer.
- Is the information given as a voiceover? The best videos have a host and information given in a voiceover. Most only will have a voiceover with information and some don’t even have this, which significantly decreases my enjoyment of the tour because I want to learn about the place.
- Are there titles of locations? Some videos just show you a location without labeling where you are. When I watch these videos, I just feel lost. Other videos have titles scrolling across the screen which is much easier to follow along with.
- Are there many angles? Some tours are too quick and don’t take the time to show me the destination from many points of view. For instance, if I’m looking at the Gateway of India, I don’t just want to see it from afar. I want to be up-close, underneath it, walking up to it, and seeing it from across the city.
- Is there music? I prefer some nice background music. Some videos are dead silent, which can be boring.
- Are the shots stationary or moving? Either one can work. Both can be good for variety. The challenge with stationary shots is they can be boring if the composition isn’t pretty or there isn’t much happening. The challenge with moving shots is you can miss important information because it is moving too quickly. Or it can be too shakey.
- How long are the shots? Some shots just go too long, especially in stationary shots and that can be a bit boring. This is challenging though because you do need time to explore the area.
- Are the shots beautiful? Some tours just walk around a destination and there are a lot of uninteresting shots. But the best tours setup beautiful shots for the viewer so you can take the destination in the same way you would seek out beautiful shots as you explore a place.
- Are there 360-degree photos or videos or both? Both can be done well. Videos offer you more to do, yet can be a challenge to produce well. Photos can be easier to navigate and be beautiful to look at, but you miss those in-between moments which can be informative.
A Mumbai Tour with A Fun Host
Sahil Khattar is one of the best hosts I’ve found in Indian 360-degree video tours, as he not only shares his informative perspective but also makes things fun. He speaks mostly English but throws in some Hindi as well.
He brings in friends along the way and interacts with locals so it feels more like a movie with a story, than a boring walkthrough video.
In this 360-degree tour, he takes us around Mumbai and shows us multiple destinations:
- Juju Beach
- Bat of Honour at Carter Road
- Carter Road
- Amphitheatre Bandra
- Shahrukh Khan’s House, Mannat, in Bandra
- Vadapav Chai Stall
- Bandra Worli Sea Link
- Marine Drive in South Mumbai
- A Mumbai Taxi
- A bar in Mumbai’s nightlife
There is WAY more production value in this video than most others. There is music, information, hosts, and a story, and even the whip transitions between locations help pull the video together.
For these reasons, it’s video I recommend most.
Quick Tour of Main Destinations in Mumbai
If you’re looking for a quick visual tour of Mumbai, this one is also good. The music and text that scrolls across the screen drive a fast pace as you get a few glimpses of the main attractions in Mumbai.
I especially liked the in-car scene as we drive across the Bandra Worli Sealink and the Irani Cafe scene was also a nice touch.
The destinations in this video are:
- Gateway of India
- Nariman Point
- Bandra Bandstand
- Bandra Worli Sealink
- Mount Mary Church
- SRK’s Mannat house
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus
- Irani Cafe
- Mumbai Local Train
- We [HEART] Mumbai photo-op
If you are looking for a quick intro to Mumbai’s tourist sites, this could inspire you to look more in-depth at the places that interest you.
For a similar video, here’s anotherquick tour of Mumbai:
Gateway of India 360-Degree Tour
The Gateway of India is a must-see destination in Mumbai. Once built to celebrate King George V and Queen Mary visiting India, it now has crowds of domestic and international tourists each day.
If you’ve been to Paris or seen pictures of the Arc de Triomphe, this monument will look familiar. The architecture of this monument is an Indian and Islamic style.
This particular video is great because it shows you multiple angles and perspectives of this imposing monument. The host is leading you through a tour as you “walk-around” for a few minutes.
However, the video is only in Hindi, so I couldn’t understand what he was saying. Yet I still enjoyed the video and it one of the most in-depth on this beautiful monument.
Here’s another Gateway to India 360-degree tour: If you’d prefer music, instead of the Hindi voiceover, this one is also an in-depth look at the moment.
A Foreign Tourist’s 360-Degree Experience in Mumbai
This is less of a tour and more of a vlog-style 360-degree video. I liked it because it showed a normal day and what a typical foreign tourist might experience.
The guy goes to the mall to buy a SIM card. He rides in a rickshaw through congested traffic. He goes to McDonald’s in the mall and meets some fans. He is approached by a bunch of aggressive rickshaw drivers who even slap the driver they rode with.
Lalbaugcha Raja Festival in Mumbai
I loved how this 360-degree shows the enthusiasm and festive spirit of the Indian people. You are surrounded by crowds of people and the idol of Ganesh is 18 to 20 feet tall.
Each year this festival lasts for 10 days and 1.5 million people come out to see the idol. It can take between 5 and 14 hours to get through the line to see the Ganapati.
Believer think this idol “fulfills all wishes.” After the festival it is taken to the sea and immersed.
Another interesting 360-degree tour of a festival is the Mumbaicha Raja:
In this tour, you are also surrounded by festive crowds and the main event is a huge Ganesh idol, as the crowds come for a blessing.
Here’s another example of a Ganpati Visarjan festival:
Apparently if there’s a huge idol of Ganesh, I’m interested 🙂
Video creators are still experimenting with 360-degree and virtual tours, so the quality isn’t always that great. With the COVID-19 pandemic though, virtual tours can be a great substitute for traveling and these videos show some beautiful aspects of Mumbai.
If you’re looking for a detailed account of my impressions of India, check out my article: Life in India for Foreigners: Is it Safe & Worth it?