Flights & Travel Guide
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Why fly to Chennai?
Chennai sits on the Bay of Bengal. The capital of Tamil Nadu province. It has a storied history that dates back to the early 17th century when it was founded by a British trader.
Evidence of the British colonial days is apparent in various parts of the city. The Fort St.George complex provides a glimpse into life in the city in the 17th century. Head to the fort gates and as you step through you will see a slightly different Chennai. This is where you will find St Mary's Church as well as numerous other buildings that played a central role in British life in India.
The city boasts a strong performing arts culture and is known through India for its unique classical southasian dance shows that are lit up by Carnatic music. In fact the city hosts the renowned Chennai Sangamam Festival in January where the best in the Indian art and dance world come together to celebrate and appreciate the unique southasian flavor and style. If you visit the city during this time you are in for a treat.
There are numours opportunities for shopping in the city, you can head to Western-style malls if you would like although visiting the smaller bazaars is much more of an experience. The fruit and market bazaar provide a chance to see how locals haggle and trade, once you've taken that in, head to the rows and rows of Indian fashion houses.
For women, sari shopping is a must-do. The fabrics are beautiful, the colours vivid and the glitter over-the-top,but once you put one on, you will feel like a beautiful Indian rani, ready to strut your stuff on a Bollywood stage. The various shops also house beautiful materials for traditional Indian men's clothing as well as the western-style suit. You can have yourself fitted and suited within a few days at a fraction of the cost of a purchase in the west.
Food in the city is delicious and spicy. From vegetable curries to potato samosas and tamarind sauce, you can't go wrong with what you eat in the city and you have your choice of fine dining or sitting on a stool at a street stand.
Everything in Chennai is bold, the colors, the food and the people. Your experience will be a bold one too.
The summers in Chennai are very hot with temperatures hovering at a scorching bake-your-potato on the sidewalk high 30s. This high heat settles on the city during the heart of summer from June to August. The monsoon season begins in October keeping the city wet until December. The traditional winter months are not so wintery with temperatures usually in the high teens to low 20s.
When to fly to Chennai
Most travelers head to Chennai during the period between the heavy rains and summer. The weather at this time is warm to hot which means a pleasant visit. Ticket prices to Chennai are fairly high from January to April.
Most travelers envision themselves melting into a puddle in the summer heat so visits during the hot months are not very popular This means if you book for the heat extreme months you could find yourself a deal. The rainy season is also not very popular which means flight ticket prices are not quite as high as December.
Getting into Chennai
Your flight will land at the Chennai International Airport. Once you get out in the terminal take a minute, breathe, it's going to be ok. The airport is very busy and can look a chaotic, but there is a system. Now, you can either take the train from the airport right into the city center or alternatively there is the city bus service. Many hotels also provide pickups so check with your booking agent before you leave your home city. The airport also has a prepaid taxi service.
Getting around Chennai
The city has great rail service to get you in and out of the city. Additionally, the city runs extensive public bus service. Taxis are also an option.
- Visit the Fort Museum which hosts a collection of 18th century items like ammunition and weapons.
- Visit the Theosophical Society gardens which houses an ancient Banyan tree that will leave you spellbound. The 400-year old trooper tree is enormous and still appears to be quite strong. Additionally the park is a nice little getaway from the busy city center.
- Head out to the beach for lunch. The beach is gorgeous and is a social hub for just about everything beyond swimming. For lunch, buy some of the fresh fish being cooked-up on the beach and have yourself a merry little picnic.
- If you are travelling with children, a trip to Elliot's Guindy National Park could be both both an adventure and an educational experience. The park is great for exploring and has two beaches as well as a snake park and a children's park.
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