A journey to connect more deeply with yourself, others and the world around you

Chennai

DESTINATIONS

CHENNAI

INDIA

Chennai is the capital state of Tamil Nadu and the largest cultural, economic and educational center of south India. Located on the Bay of Bengal, you can find beach life, but still get the feel that you are in India (a little less laid back than the West coast). A great place to start or finish your journey in India.

THE BASICS

LANGUAGE: Tamil, English

CURRENCY: Indian Rupee

CLIMATE: Tropical (wet & dry), Months to Avoid: Wet season: Oct – Dec, Hottest months: Late May to Early June

DRESS CODE: Cover shoulders, Pants below knee

GETTING AROUND: Uber and Ola are most convenient (choose cash to avoid driver cancellations), Tuk-Tuks, Taxi, Bus

COST OF VISITING: $ – Hostels start at $5 per night and street food is a little as $1 to $3 (USD) per meal

TIPPING: Tipping is not expected but up to 10% is appreciated, Some restaurants will include at 10% service fee which is considered gratuity.

SAFETY: Relatively safe. Pick pocketing, begging can be slightly more aggressive than other places in Asia.

PACKING ESSENTIALS: Mosquito repellant, Shawl (to easily cover shoulders when entering temples)

VISA: eVisa prior to entering the country, $100 for 60 days for US passport holders, can also apply for a 10 year visa for the same price (see website for info)

GETTING THERE

CHENNAI AIRPORT

NOTE (Flying to India): India is a country where they often ask for an exit ticket to show you will be leaving the country. Be prepared to show this when checking in to fly to India. Make sure to print out your Evisa as well as your ticket. Even though it is an eVisa, they made me find someone who could print it out which slightly delayed my check in.

UBER/OLA

There is an Ola/Uber designated section if you walk out of the arrivals terminal and head right toward pillar 51. (You should see numbers on the pillars) If you are unsure, feel free to ask a security guard who will be more than happy to help you. To city center it should cost you around $4-5 USD.

TAXI

Local taxis are available outside of the arrivals door. You can’t miss them as they will surround you upon exiting.

WHERE TO STAY

HOSTELS

HOSTEL 11 ELLIOT’S BEACH

55/16, Annai Velankanni Road, 1st floor, Besant Nagar, Chennai, India (Map)

New hostel located right next to Elliot’s Beach. Owner and staff are very friendly and even play your favorite songs while you are there. Clean hostel that feels like you are living at your own house. Not exactly the party vibe but still perfect to meet people.

WHAT TO EAT

FOOD TO TRY

Sit down at a Murugan Idli Shop and order a few idli. Idli are a type of savory rice cake served with a variety of sauces.

Also available from a street vendor or a chain like Murugan Idli Shop, dosa are a type of pancake, coming in many different flavors, made from fermented batter. A savory snack also served with a variety of sauces.

Appetizer dishes that come in a variety of styles and flavors. The problem I had in India was that everything is so cheap, it is hard to know how much food to order, especially if labeled as an appetizer! I found 2 to be sufficient and I can eat a lot. If you want to try more, you can always take the rest away or give your leftovers to someone begging on the street (which is what I did and they happily accepted).

RESTAURANTS

MURUGAN IDLI SHOP

$, South Indian

Multiple Locations

Appetizer dishes that come in a variety of styles and flavors. The problem I had in India was that everything is so cheap, it is hard to know how much food to order, especially if labeled as an appetizer! I found 2 to be sufficient and I can eat a lot. If you want to try more, you can always take the rest away or give your leftovers to someone begging on the street (which is what I did and they happily accepted).

HAVEN SAMPOORNA

$-$$, Indian, Asian

Multiple Locations (Map)

Vegetarian restaurant. So good. Must try their special chai!

WHAT TO DO

SEE THE SITES

ADYAR BANYAN TREE

Schwartz Ave. Theosophical Society,Besant Nager, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, 600090, India (Map)

450 years old, believed to be one of the oldest and largest banyan trees in the world. Belongs to the Theosophical Society, check hours gates are open before arriving.

GO TO THE BEACH

ELLIOT’S BEACH

Chennai, India (Map)

Elliot’s beach reminds me of an abandoned amusement park on the beach that now is only home to birds and stray dogs. There are food stands up with no one occupying them, a ferris wheel not running, and a pretty cool abandoned fort in the middle of the sand. There are people around and it is a cool place to take a dip or for some photos. Honestly not the prettiest beach, but I am a beach snob (blue water only please, thanks. ;))

MARINA BEACH

Chennai, India (Map)

Marina Beach is a natural urban beach, 6 km long running from Fort St. George to Foreshore Estate.

EXPLORE THE CITY STREETS

MYLAPLORE

Mylaplore, Chennai, India (Map)

I didn’t get the chance to go here but really wanted to. Mylapore is one of the oldest residential parts of the city and is known for its tree lined streets, temples, and early architecture.

MEDITATE

COMPLETE A 10 DAY VIPASSANA COURSE @ DHAMMA SETU

 Pillaiyar Koil Street, Thirumudivakkam, Tamil Nadu 600044, India (Map)

Dhamma Setu is located just 30 minutes outside of Chennai and one of the top 10 places to complete a 10-day Vipassana course. This is where I started my journey in India and I could not recommend it more. After flying into Chennai, I spent 2 days exploring the city before heading into isolation at Dhamma Setu.


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