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What You Should Know More About Chennai

  • Travel advice

    • Chennai is cosmopolitan, but there are some strict rules with regard to smoking in public places. It is against the law in Chennai to smoke in public areas.

    • Learn a few words in Tamil to negotiate better in the native language of people in Chennai. People in Chennai are passionate about Tamil, and prefer to speak in this language only.

    • Do not travel by autos in Chennai, they will charge you multifold times, and never use the meter attached to the auto.

    • Chennai is super hot, and always carry a water bottle along with you, and stay hydrated, wherever you go within the city.

    • Nightlife in Chennai is still at a primary stage and you have a few bars and pubs at this place.

    • Resort stays are available mostly on the outskirts of Chennai. Although you will find many hotels and budget accommodations in the city.

    • Do not wear short or skimpy clothes in Chennai, else you will invite unwelcome stares from public.

    • Never ever poke fun at the gods of Chennai who are movie stars. Especially, Rajinikanth, and other actors are revered like holy deities in this city.

    • When in temples, do not ask too many questions and disturb the pilgrims in the temples.

    • Many restaurants in Chennai do not serve alcohol, although you can buy from shopping centers and malls.

  • Drinking Laws

    Chennai has been a dry state for the longest of time, so do not expect flowing imported liquor in the city. A few hotels and restaurants still sell liquor, many don't. Although you can buy branded alcohol from the malls and shopping centers.


  • Our Recommendations: What you can’t afford to miss?

    Beaches and amusement parks
    You can wake up early morning and go to the Marina beach and enjoy the view of the sunrise while you take a walk there. There are no water sports or any other activities available within Chennai. People come here either in the morning or evening to spend some quiet time. The Marina beach ends at the Edward Elliot’s beach at the Besant Nagar in Chennai. You can also take family trips to the Queensland amusement park in Chennai. At the Arignar Anna Zoo park, you can take the deer safaris, and get a view of white tigers, otters, chimpanzees, and go on lion safaris. 

    Temple tours and cathedrals
    Chennai is a sacred place for pilgrimage as well. You will find temples like, Kapaleeshwarar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvathi. It is said that Goddess Parvathi worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of peacock at this place. The Parthasarathy Temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. This is an 8th century old vaishnavite temple. The Church of Our Lady of Light is a Roman Catholic shrine built with Portuguese architecture. The San Thome Basilica in Chennai was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The Vadapalani Andavar Temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the son of Lord Shiva. 

    Mini excursions and water sports
    You can visit museums, crocodile bank that is close to Mahabalipurm, 44 kilometers away from Chennai. For water sports like canoeing, boating, and all backwater activities, you can visit Muttukadu which is only 36 kilometers away from Chennai. It has a lot of greenery and landscape that you can go sightseeing. You can spend your holidays here amidst peaceful atmosphere and serene nature. 60 kilometers from Chennai is Pulicat, also known as a seashore town. At Pulicat, you can enjoy bird watching of many migratory birds, the Dutch Fort, and enjoy the view of Bay of Bengal. The Covelong beach that is 40 kilometers away from Chennai offers many water sports and adventure activities as well. 

    Historical and heritage tours
    You will find many historical buildings spread across Chennai and also places near this city. Thanjavur district near Chennai has sculptures and monuments from the Chola dynasty. You can find many significant temples and monuments that have an esoteric architecture from 13th century AD. 

  • What you will like there?

    Beaches and mini excursions

    Chennai has many weekend getaway options for tourists and people living in the city to relax and enjoy these activities. The beaches are serene, and only beaches away from Chennai have water sports activities. You can also take mini trips to places near Chennai.


    Shopping and eating out

    You can go shopping for authentic and a variety of silk and cotton fabrics and clothing. They are famous for ethnic kanchiveram sarees. You can gorge on the rice dishes, sambar, idli, snacks, and many other spicy dishes served across Chennai. There are also many restaurants that serve continental, European, and cuisine of other ethnicities.


    Religious tours

    You can visit temples and cathedrals as they are considered the most revered and sacred in Chennai. The architecture and the rituals here are entirely different from that of other places in India. Elaborate pujas are performed by the temple pundits and sanctity is maintained at all the temples.


  • Recommended reads for destination

    Website :

    Tamil Nadu Tourism

    Books :

    Madras Rediscovered by S Muthiah


  • When is the best time to visit Chennai?

    Due to its proximity to the sea, Chennai enjoys tropical weather for most parts of the year. Except for a few hot months during summer, it’s pleasant to visit anytime of the year. But if you want to really want to enjoy the city and experience its rich and vibrant culture then the best months to visit are December and January.

     

    • December and January: This period is commonly referred to as the Madras Music Season and the Chennai Music Festival is held during this time too, so it’s going to be double treat for you.

  • How to reach Chennai?

    Chennai is a big Metropolitan City and therefor can be accessed by Air, Bus, Road and Train.

    • Air: The Chennai International Airport is only 7 km’s away from the city and is called the Anna International Airport. It has two terminals and most Domestic and International carriers have direct flights to the city. It is also well- connected to most International Airports.
    • Bus: The CMBT is amongst Asia’s largest and busiest bus terminals. Seven state owned bus services operator busses from various locations in South India to and from Chennai. Depending on your budget you can chooses from a range of busses such as deluxe, semi deluxe, sleepers etc.
    • Train: Chennai is the headquarters of Southern Railway and has three main railways stations. Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore connect intercity and interstate trains. The third station is Tambaram which caters to the local suburban area. Chennai is well connected to ll major cities in India by way of express and super fast trains.
    • Road: Chennai has an excellent and well-connected road network with most of the neighbouring towns. It is connected to 5 national highways leading to major cities like Kolkata, Bengaluru, Madurai, Tiruvallur, Nellore, Vellore and Pondicherry.  

  • Which are the best places to visit in Chennai?

    Although there is an endless list of amazing places to visit in Chennai, here is our pick of the best amongst them all:

    • Marina Beach
    • Breezy Beach
    • Marundeeswarar Temple
    • MGR Film City
    • Arignar Anna Zoological Park
    • VGP Golden Beach
    • Valluvar Kottam
    • Akkarai Beach
    • Ashtalakshmi Temple
    • Vivekananda House
    • Santhome Cathedral Basilica
    • Dash ‘N’ Splash (Water Park)
    • ISKCON Temple
    • Elliot’s Beach
    • Connemara Library
    • Prakasam Salai

  • What are the different things/activities to do in Chennai?

    There is so much do in Chennai, but here is our pick of the best things and activities to do in Chennai.

    • Surfing and Paddle Boating
    • Visit to the Arignar Anna Zoological Zoo
    • Attend a Folk-Dance Performance
    • Take a Traditional Massage
    • Fishing
    • Visit the MGM Dizzee World
    • Off roads Sports
    • Scuba Diving
    • Parasailing
    • Laser Tag
    • PaintBall
    • Boating

  • Which are the best places to experience local cuisine in Chennai?

    Here is our pick of the top 10 restaurants in Chennai to enjoy the local cuisine.

     

    • ID Meal for two here cost approx. INR 600 and 10 USD.
    • Prems Graama Bhojanam meal for two here cost approx. INR 300 and 5 USD.
    • Mana Andhra Meal for two here cost approx. INR 600 and 10 USD.
    • Madras -  The Raintree meal for two here cost approx. INR 1800 and 30 USD.
    • Andhikkadai meal for two here cost approx. INR 300 and 5 USD.
    • Welcome Hotel meal for two here cost approx. INR 250 and 4 USD.
    • Sangeetha Veg Restaurant meal for two here cost approx. INR 450 and 7 USD.
    • Maplai meal for two here cost approx. INR 100 and 15 USD.
    • Mahamudra meal for two here cost approx. INR 700 and 10 USD
    • Dakshin – Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park meal for two here cost approx. INR 1800 and 30 USD

  • What are the best public transport modes to commute around Chennai?

    • The best public transport system in Chennai has got to be its local busses. The CMBT is one of Asia’s largest and busiest bus exchanges. It is located in the city on the inner ring road. Around seven state run bus services operate from here connecting all the major parts of the city.

    The buses are very cheap and fares start at approx INR 4 Per Person. There is also the option of Air Conditioned Deluxe and Semi Deluxe busses, although the fares for those are higher. Even then the busses are still the most cost-efficient way to make your way around the city.

     

    • Another good transport mode are the local autos, although you will need to negotiate the fare with them before getting in.

  • Which are the best places for shopping in Chennai?

    Here is our pick for the 8 best places to shop in Chennai

     

    • Nagar: This is a favourite among the locals and you will find everything from a Pin to an Elephant here.
    • Sowcarpet: If you are looking for some North Indian style street shopping then this is the place to visit.
    • Ritchie Street: This is the place to visit to buy all your electronic good, although it's best to take a local so the vendors don’t fool you.
    • Spencer Plaza: This is the oldest mall in Chennai and sells everything from art, curtains to pashmina at very competitive prices.
    • Pondy Bazar: This is the ultimate street shopping paradise in Chennai.
    • Parry’s Corner: If you are looking to buy in bulk and save some money head here as this is the wholesale market of Chennai.
    • Nungambakkam: This is a high-end shopping district of Chennai. Although expensive you can shop at some amazing stores as well as enjoy fine dining in the area.
    • Mylapore Luz corner:  More than buying this place is the answer to all your alteration needs.

  • What are the famous beaches near Chennai?

    There are many beaches in Chennai to enjoy a evening stroll and watch the gorgeous sunsets. Top ten beaches in Chennai are as follows:

    • Covelong Beach
    • Elliot’s Beach
    • Marina Beach
    • Neelamkarai Beach
    • Thiruvanmiyur Beach
    • Breezy Beach
    • VGP Golden Beach
    • Santhome Beach
    • Pebble Beach
    • East Coast Road Beaches

  • Which are the best beaches for surfing near Chennai?

    Although there are numerous beaches in Chennai the best beach to surf would be the Kovalam Beach. You can also surf on the beaches in East Coast Road on your way to Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram.

  • What are the famous walking tours one can take around Chennai?

    Walking Tours are very popular in Chennai. The top tours include:

     

    • Peacock Trail and Walking Tour in Mylapore cost approx. 23 USD Per Person or 1500 INR.
    • Cultural Chennai Tour and Healing Temple Visit duration is around 4.5 hours and costs approx. 69 USD or 4500 INR.
    • Bazaar Trail is organized by Storytrail, they conduct the tour 4 times a day.
    • Once Upon in Madurai again organized by Storytrail, they conduct the tour 4 times a day.
    • Potters Trail a visit to the potter’s village organized by Storytrail, they conduct the tour 4 times a day.

  • What are some best places for jungle Homestays near Chennai?

    There are excellent wildlife resort option in easy drivable distance for a much-needed weekend getaway from Chennai.

     

    • The Wilds at North Hay at Masinagudi.  
    • Inn The Wind at Masinagudi.
    • Bamboo Banks at Masinagudi.
    • The windflower at Bandipur.
    • Dholes Den at Bandipur.
    • Gorukana at BR Hills.
    • K Gudi Wilderness Camp at BR Hills.

  • What are the famous camping destinations near Chennai?

    Camping is a popular activity in Chennai, enjoyed by locals and tourist. As a result, there are numerous places in and around Chennai if you want to scratch that camping itch.

     

    • Nagalapuramand the best time to visit is June to late January.
    • Tada Falls, and the best time to visit is June till November.
    • Yercaud, best time to visit is June to Late February.
    • Mahabalipuram, good to visit all year just except summers.
    • Gingee Fort, best time to visit is November to February.

  • What are the famous places for adventure activities near Chennai?

    If you are an adventure junky, then there are numerous places in Chennai for you to go and satisfy your need for adventure.

     

    • Take Diversion
    • Mudstacle Run
    • Planet Adventure Paintball
    • Windertrails Adventure Club
    • Off Road Sports

  • What is special about the zoo in Chennai?

    The Chennai zoo is India’s largest zoo in terms of area covered. It was first setup in 1855 and was India’s first Public Zoo. The zoo undertakes conservation of endangered species preventing their extinction. In addition to this, it also carries out research to promote wildlife conservation and management.

Traveller Tales from Chennai

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Udit Sethi

07 January 2016

We went to this resort this new year. It has become one of the most memorable new years of my life. It is located in such a beautiful place..the sea, sand, the pristine beach. Everything was perfect. The food was delicious. We had such a great time...I would strongly recommend people to try out this place...especially if you live anywhere in and around Chennai.

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Listings in Chennai