Want to know all the best Chennai attractions and have access to a full Chennai travel guide? Good news, we did the work for you and have compiled all the information you need into one helpful article. In this Chennai travel guide we will cover the top attractions in Chennai, a list of Chennai festivals, the best modes of transport, some Chennai travel tips and the best places to stay!
- Chennai Attractions
- Chennai Festivals
- Chennai Travel Tips
- Chennai Transport
- Chennai Accommodation
Chennai, the laid back, but culture dense capital of Tamil Nadu south India. When we think of our time in Chennai we get the warm fuzzies. We spent a total of 5 months travelling across India and to be honest Chennai was not a place on our must see list. We only visited Chennai because our flights to Sri Lanka were departing from there, but we ended up spending 8 incredible days in this beautiful city and we are so glad we did!
We took an instant liking to Chennai, when first arrived the main thing we noticed was the tropical vibe. The city was warm and humid with so many lush green trees and the smell of beautiful fresh jasmine flowers filled the air. (south Indian women wear fresh jasmine in their hair)
This coastal metropolis has held a tight grip onto its cultural way of life and if you want to experience an authentic south Indian city that has some great attractions, but has not been over run by tourism, then Chennai is a great place to visit.
It’s fair to say that Chennai is a truly off the beaten path tourist destination, and we love getting off the beaten path, it's one of our favourite things to do! When we visited we saw no other foreigners for the entire 8 days and we noticed the food was not tamed down for tourist and there were no touts or scammers in sight!
Perhaps the most memorable thing about our time spent in Chennai was the people. They are truly so kind, honest and helpful. We actually Couchsurfed with a local family in Chennai which also made our time extra special you can see that video here:
As a travel destination we 100% recommend to add Chennai to your south India adventures and we hope this travel guide will help you have the best Chennai trip possible
Some things to look out for during Pongal are the making the Pongal Kolam, beautiful murals drawn on the floor using coloured rice flour. You will also notice cows and farm animals are elaborately decorated on the third day of the festivals called called Mattu Pongal.
Upcoming dates for the festival:
2019- 4 -9 Mar
2020- 21-27 Feb
2021- 11 -16 Mar
2022- 28 Feb - 5 Mar
Chennai Travel Tips:
Our hosts took us to drink a Chennai speciality called rose milk, it was literally like drinking a rose flavoured milkshake, delicious! You will find food in the south has a lot of coconut flavours and dishes are lighter than in the north. For a more detailed guide to South Indian cuisine, we found this great article.
- Thank you
- How much?
- What is your name?
- My name is
- Nice to meet you
Rumor has it, a few hundred year ago or so, a french man gained the trust of locals and became a hindu, only to eventually steal a precious diamond from the temple and take it to France.
Please also note you will be required to have your shoulders and legs covered before entering any temple grounds within India. Shoes are also not allowed to be worn inside any temples across India.
Nov-Feb: Considered Chennai's winter months with temperatures ranging from mild to hot. Cooler temperatures makes this a great time to visit Chennai and it is also considered the festive season for the city.
Mar-Jun: Summer in Chennai, this is when we visited and it was VERY hot and humid. However you can expect to find cheap hotel deals during this time.
Jul-Sep: Monsoon season in Chennai and you can expect heavy rainfall and strong winds with temperatures cooling down. Chennai has also been prone to floods in the past so we suggest to avoid visiting during these months if possible.
For more travel tips to help you with your India trip you can read our other helpful articles
Indian trains explained
15 tips for travelling India
How to avoid travel scams
Transport in Chennai:
Travelling by Rickshaw is super fun and cheap, but it can come with its challenges, such as the language barrier and having to negotiate. It's important to ask a trusted or unbiased local what a fair price would be before you start negotiating.
It's also important to have a clear landmark so your driver knows where you are heading, it's very rare that drivers will know street names & numbers. So if your destination is 50 metres from the Chennai Marina Lighthouse then tell your driver this and advise them where to drop you when you arrive.
Bonus tip: Use the phone app Mapsme (works offline) to navigate while in the rickshaw to ensure your on the right path.
Uber is super popular in Chennai and its the preferred mode of transport for many locals. This is probably the most convenient way to get around if you have a local sim. You can even order a rickshaw via Uber in Chennai! Uber gets rid of all the hassle of needing to negotiate or explaining your destination, so it's a great convenient transport option.
Recommended Chennai Accommodation:
We have done the research for you and found these top recommended accommodation options in Chennai.
We hope this Chennai travel guide was useful! If you have any other questions please let us know in the comments section below and we will be happy to answer as best we can, we are here to help!
Cheers, Native Travellers
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We are Reti & Bianca a couple of adventure seekers from Aotearoa New Zealand. Welcome to our travel stories hub, we are super happy you are here! We share our experiences and provide travel guides, tips and inspiration for anyone who wants to get intrepid!
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