As expected, it’s not much of a traditional tourist town. I stayed mostly to get acclimatized to India (and of course, my flight landed here, as I wanted to start in south India). Two full days (and a half morning) was more than enough, and the pollution was getting to me (sore throat); of course, walking 10km in one day didn’t help.
Chennai (pronounced “chen-neye”) is the 4th largest city in India at 6.4 million people, but doesn’t really have a “downtown” per se – lots of sprawl.
My hotel was in the Triplicane backpackers area, a 15 minute walk from the beach.
The weather was good – sunny every day, only cloudy one morning, with temps of 22-32°C
– the MRTS commuter train is quite handy for popping around town, as it avoids traffic and is cheap (Rs3-6 ~ $0.12 for short trips); the doors (and windows) are always open, which made for a breeze when moving
– one interesting temple, at which a guide Hindu-fied me (the white and red marks represent something, I couldn’t understand him well)
– one of the 3 Catholic churches built on a tomb of an original apostle (the others are in the Vatican and in Spain)
– the very wide beach (nice breeze) which is floodlit at night; forget about western beach attire or swimming though
– meandering the bazaar
– I did enjoy the food, which apparently was North Indian food for the most part (huh?)
here is a photo of a masala dosai (a crispy lentil flour “pancake”) filled with some aloo/potato, which comes with 4 standard sauces (red is spicy, green is something, brown is dal/lentils, and white is coconut) this breakfast item cost Rs18/$0.45, plus that tea is Rs7/$0.18
See what I mean – not a big tourist hotspot!
Virtually all the travellers I met in and near this town were heading to Chennai for an international flight out of India – I think I was the only one who started there!