Chennai - Post Report Question and Answers

What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Really is not much to do in the immediate area. A long weekend to Pudicherry is relatively fun (better food, alcohol available), also weekends down to Mahabilipuram is ok, and closer. Anything other than that is 6+ hours away (hill stations, flights, drive to Bengaluru). - Jan 2024

Not really. I would not want to give the impression there were hidden gems. Definitely leave to visit some real hidden gems. - May 2023

There are no hidden gems in Chennai. It is hard to see the beauty here due to the greyness and the infrastructure is so bad that really no places are hidden or gems. The close proximity to other countries for travel was one of the bonuses for this posting. You don't even need to see Delhi or Taj Mahal. Go other places in Asia and give yourself a deserved break from India for a bit. - Apr 2023

Flying out of South India. - Aug 2021

Traveling a little bit south of Chennai and doing surf lessons, visiting Pondicherry, flying to Kerala and visiting Munnar and the backwaters. - May 2019

Trips to the beach resorts on the ECR. A few nice restaurants in some of the 5-star hotels. Cheap spa services. - Aug 2018

Depends on how adventurous you are. Ash Vita was my favorite restaurant. For the adventurous, there's a little restaurant on the side of a rice paddy with a pond where you catch your own fish and they cook it for you. They also make a great BBQ chicken. But don't expect them to cater to western tastes. They don't. It's great. Street food abounds, but don't eat it unless it is steaming hot. I drank coconut milk out of the shell almost whenever I went out. - May 2016

Chennai does not have much to do. Driving 1 to 1.5 hours south there are beaches that are clean enough for swimming and surfing. Beach access is often available through hotels if you eat lunch at their restaurants, book an appointment at their spas, or pay for a day pass. - May 2016

The beaches and hills are real gems. It is fun to be able to visit exotic destinations like tea gardens and all every other day, when you find the time for it. - May 2015

Mylapore temple, Saint Thomas Church, Story trails tour, Cooking class by local celebrity chef, Sari shopping (fabric shopping), and going to the beach (one hour away from Chennai city). - Mar 2015

Drive about an hour south for swimmable beaches, visit Mylapore Temple, take a tour with Story Trails. - Oct 2014

It's easy to travel around India so the choices are endless. - Oct 2014

Travel to Kerala and take a houseboat tour or go to the beach. Plan escapes, they are needed. If you are interested in Indian culture, South India has a lot to offer. - Jun 2014

Walk around the pretty grounds of the Theosophical Society. Take a tour with Storytrails - a great way to get to know the city. Explore the crumbling but charming Government Museum which houses exquisite bronzes and a quirky Zoology department. Visit the ancient stone carvings in nearby Mamallapuram. Hidden gem: go to Ram's Farm for incredible pizza in a unique atmosphere (Google it) - just remember to book ahead. - May 2014

Visit the local temples and San Thome Basilica. There are swimmable beaches about an hour away. Trying south Indian food at different local restaurants is fun. Story Trails is a great tour company to learn about local things here in Chennai. - Aug 2013

There are often cultural exhibitions held at different halls and hotels in the city, and it is a lot of fun to shop for Indian fabrics and jewelry. It is also nice to go to the beach. You can go right in the city but if you want a clean, swimmable, beach then you have to travel about 1 hour south of the city. - Jul 2012

Beach, swimming, food of a quality and range of cuisines that I understand exceeds even that of Mumbai, visiting Pondicherry, surfing lessons at Pondy. - Aug 2011

San Thom Bascilica is in the city right on the beach. It's claim to fame is having the relics of Saint Thomas. Beautiful and interesting. There is also Saint Thomas Mount on the way to the airport where Saint Thomas was killed. About an hour drive south is Mahaballapuram where there are stone temples that were carved in 754 still standing. Nice drive on a decent road. There are also several resort hotels on the beach in Mahabs where many people would take a weekend get-a-way. - Jun 2010

Mahaballipuram is a great temple to visit and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. St. Thomas's Cathedral is also interesting. Beaches nearby are more like busy city parks, but are a nice, colorful, breezy break. The beach resort in Temple Bay is a nice place where you can swim. There are so many places to visit near by - Pondicherry, a three hour drive is -- is a good weekend destination. Flights to many historic cities are low cost. - Sep 2009

There are 2 theaters which are the best I've ever been in. There are local temples and shopping to do. The best thing, though, is to leave. Pondicherry is around 4 hours away. There are 5 star resorts on the beach around 1-2 hours away that are not covered in human feces. - Aug 2008

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