Travelling to Chennai on Business

Feb 16th, 2005, 04:14 PM
  #1  
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Travelling to Chennai on Business

Within the next few weeks, my company is sending me to Chennai for a month on business. I'm looking to do sightseeing on the weekends. Any recommendations on where to go and what to do? Are there any chartered tours worth taking?
huddle28 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2005, 01:05 AM
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Chennai has some interesting bits, and a very pretty, wide and very long beach. If you are Christian, St Thomas was allegedly martyred and is buried in Chennai and there is a cathedral and monastery there that is interesting. (Even if you aren’t Christian the fact that St Thomas may have gotten that far is interesting in itself, and the place is worth a visit on an afternoon).

A great weekend trip from Chennai would be to hire a car and driver and go down the east coast from Chennai down to Pondicherry. Great temples, some French colonial bits (like catholic churches and french bread) and interesting sights along the way, very much off the beaten tourist path. The tourist infrastructure is undeveloped compared to places like Rajasthan, so don’t expect luxury. My suggestion is to get the Lonely Planet guidebook, as they know this part of India better than the majors like Fodors. Their “high-end” reccos for hotels and restaurants are usually good and good value for money.

Conde Nast had an article on new hotels in India a few months ago, and may have included some in the Pondicherry area (I know they had some in Chennai.) You might look for the article.

You could also fly to Agra (Taj Mahal) or parts of Rajasthan for a weekend, although a long weekend would be better as you may have to use connecting flights. Weather is great this time of year, cool and dry and the gardens are starting to bloom. Varanasi would be another very interesting place for a weekend, Delhi as well. An excellent Indian carrier is Jetairways, take a look at their website at www.jetairways.com. Indian Air is also acceptable (indian-airlines.nic.in), but I would take Jetairways over Indian Air. There is also a new carrier called Air Deccan, don’t know anything about them, but it has received some good reccos on this site, take a look at http://www.airdeccan.net/airdeccan/home.asp.

Sri Lanka is quite close, and you should be able to fly from Chennai, or take a train down the coast and a ferry over. I imagine they would very much welcome tourists at this point, and the interior tea plantations and jungle areas were not affected and are quite beautiful and would be a change from Chennai landscape and climate.

Chennai has nice weather in the winter months, warm and dry, as opposed to the downpours it gets during monsoon season.
Cicerone is offline  
Feb 17th, 2005, 01:18 AM
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I just did a search and found that Frommers.com has some good basic info on Tamil Nadu (the state in which Chennai is located) and Pondicherry. Take a look at http://www.frommers.com/destinations/tamilnadu/

Fodors, when are you going to cover the rest of India outside the Golden Triangle?!
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Feb 17th, 2005, 05:14 AM
  #4  
 
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I second the idea of the excursion to Pondicherry. I spent some time there about 10 years ago and am looking to return this year hopefully. I am not sure how much the city has been effected from the tsunami - I know the outer villages were most effected but the town itself may still be ok. The sea wall (if you will go you will see) is supposedly what protected the town.
I am not sure how easily you could get to Kodaikanal - maybe a driver would be the best bet - but that is a beautiful area in the mountains with horseback riding, waterfalls, etc. Very nice little town - probably my favorite place I visited.

Have fun!
sclubb is offline  
Feb 17th, 2005, 12:51 PM
  #5  
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Wow! A lot of great advice! Thank you!
huddle28 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2005, 03:28 AM
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Huddle. near Chennai is one of my fav hotels, Fishermens Cove. Is a Taj group property. On a gorgeous stretch of beach. Only an hour and a half drive from the city. From there go to see the temples and old town of Mahabalipuram. Check whether the hotel is operational as it was near the tsunami site. Ponidcherry is a great idea. Neemrana Group - www.neemranahotels.com - has an amazing property there. Agra and Varansai are good suggestions. If you want to stay in the vicinity I would go to Bangalore or Kerala. Some great wildlife parks near Bangalore - Kabini Jungle Resort - is one and tree house type experiences in Kerala - Green Magic Nature Resort in Vythiri. A great place for tea plantations is Munnar or Wayanaad.
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