As you may know, I am lucky enough to be visiting India in a couple of months to trek the Himalayas and I absolutely can’t wait to experience India for the first time. I wont be taking my family on this trip, but that’s not to say India doesn’t make for a good place to visit for families. Chennai is a popular tourist destination among the locals as well as far-off tourists. Tamil Nadu’s capital may surprise you because of its diverse neighbourhoods and outstanding sights. It is seen as the keeper of the artistic, religious and culinary traditions of South India.
If this is your first trip to Chennai, well, you are just on the right page. I’m going to be sharing some comprehensive information as a travel guide on the vibrant cultural centre of the south, which is also an important business and educational hub.
Chennai Travel Guide.
When to visit – The best time to visit the city is during the winter months from November to February, when the weather is pleasant. Avoid the hot and humid months during summers and the monsoon season that lasts till August.
How to reach – As Chennai is well connected by air, road, and rail, it is easy to reach the modern city. Chennai’s Anna International Airport connects the city to the rest of the country and the world via domestic and international flights. Several super-fast and express trains connect the city to many cities and towns. A wide and extensive network of roads and highways keep Chennai well connected to all the major cities of India.
Where to stay – It is a good idea to book hotels in Chennai well in advance as there is always a heavy rush because of the increasing influx of tourists and travellers. However, there are plenty of options for you as you can stay in a heritage property and luxury boutique hotels. There are cheaper hotels and backpackers’ hostels that are sure to charm you in their own way.
What to do and see – Chennai offers an interesting mix of architectural wonders and historical temples that are sure to keep you busy as a tourist. There is plenty to do and see here as there is an eclectic mix of temples, mosques, churches, parks, and forts within the city.
Some of the must-visit sites include:
- Government Museum with a stunning British-era architecture
- Guindy National Park for wildlife spotting
- Kapaleshwar temple for the Dravidian architecture
- San Thome Church, a neo-Gothic cathedral
- Marina Beach for stunning views
Tourists love to explore the water parks in Chennai such as the Queensland Water Park, Dash-n-Splash Water Park and Kishkinta Theme Park. Get ready for hours of fun and splashing in these water pools and water slides.
Where to shop – Shopping in Chennai is indeed a unique experience, and both locals and tourists explore the city to know what it has to offer. It is a haven for shopaholics who will be in for an unforgettable shopping experience of the traditional and the contemporary. Perhaps you’ll be tempted to shop for a beautifully-woven silk sari. Besides that, you can shop for handicrafts, jewellery and local artefacts at popular spots like Central Cottage Industries, Lalitha Jewellery, and Craftlink. Chennai boasts of several shopping mall and plazas for brand lovers.
Where to eat – Chennai has no shortages of restaurants, cafes, street food, and one has ample choices when it comes to embarking on a gourmet journey. Explore the numerous eateries well known for offering local fares as well as international delicacies. Arabian kebab centre and Barbeque nation are popular to try out the non-veg options. For those looking for the best South Indian food and dosas, head for Podi dosa kadai and Carnival restaurant’s Raja bhogam. Amelies Café is popular because of its extensive Italian and continental menu. And Sukhubai biryani is the spot for you if you are a beef lover.
Chennai indeed makes for a fascinating experience, and there are a host of old and new sites that have been here for many years now.
Have you ever been to India as a family, or solo traveller? I’d love to hear your advice!