I found that it was not easy to negotiate with drivers in Chennai. But, do persist and decide on the rate and destination before you get in. There are many to choose from, so if not happy, try the next one, they will surely give you a good price then.
As Chennai is so spread out, I did find it useful to hire a rickshaw and driver for a few hours to show me around and take me to specific sights.
- Budget Travel
Pre-paid taxi service
Do make use of the pre-paid taxi service at the airport. There are about three operators to choose from; I made use of the Government-approved operator.
A trip from the airport to Egmore only cost Ind Rs 250 (January 2008).
Flying between Mumbai and Chennai with Kingfisher, was absolute joy. Departure from the domestic terminal in Mumbai was easy, as only two airlines operated from the specific terminal at that stage.
Staff members meet you as you enter the airport building and assist you all the way with friendliness.
The tariffs are very good, when I booked; the fare was about one third of competitors. Bookings can be made on the internet.
Also impressive is the in-flight entertainment – you can watch many different channels of live satellite TV.
I would recommend this airline anytime!
Air and rail
Chennai is an international airport connected by several international airlines while the domestic traffic is handled by Indian Airlines. There are regular flights to several cities around the world from the International Terminal. There are also daily flights to all important centres in India from the Domestic Terminal. There are two major railway stations in Chennai. Chennai Central is the bigger one and connects the city by broad gauge as also broad gauge trains to all major cities and towns of India. The Egmore station is the starting point for both meter gauge and broad gauge trains proceeding to destinations within the state as well as trains to neighbouring Kerala. Chennai is also accessible by road from any part of India.
Air: Kamaraj National and Anna International Airports are situated at Meenambakkam about 20 kms. from city. Can also be reached by suburban train services.
Rail: Chennai is connected by rail with all major towns and cities in India. Main Railway Stations: Central and Egmore. Central linking north and west and Egmore south.
Road: Chennai is connected by good network of roads with all important places in Tamil Nadu and other parts of India. You may rent a car with private cab owners. Pre-paid taxis and airport coaches are available at airports.
Driving in & around Chennai is chaotic. Everyone drives like mad guys with little respect for traffic order. Cars honking everywhere. It's better to sit down, relax and let the locals to drive you around. Beware of motorcyles & autos. And oh yeah, nobody wears helmet and nobody wears seat belts here. Most people drive with the windows open to get 'fresh' air from outside. Also, just close your eyes if you can't take it when the car overtakes and runs over kerbs or road dividers. It's perfectly normal.
* These are fun to ride in (a.k.a terrifying) and even more fun to see how many people you can fit into one. The price should be around 40-50 rupees (as of summer 2006), but at night the price will go up understandably. As a foreigner you'll get charged more. Don't try to pit rickshaw drivers against each other in a bidding war, it won't work, they stick together.
Street names change. Frequently. Street signs are usually painted onto buildings at just below eye level, and I think are always yellow with black writing. Tamil and English are usually on the same sign; if not, check the other side of the street. Although the names won't match anything on your map, so it doesn't really matter…
The photo is the sign for a major road, whose name actually shows up on several maps. Many signs are located better than this one is, but most are not.
If you are expecting someone at chennai airport.no need to rush headlong into parking lots.they charge you and there is no shade.
i will suggest you an alternative.just outside the airport is the airport road with lots of shade due to trees and a small hillock overlooking the airport.
some local trains pass by so that you can while away your time in comfort.when your arrival comes you can see the plane taxiing in to the parking bay.in a few moments your loved ones can call u on your cell. ask them to wait at arrivals. drive down in your car and pick them up.
at no other airport i have this convenience. thats why i love chennai airport.
especially useful to people expecting their bosses by the incoming flight.
you can get a good view of takeoffs from this point too.
- Road Trip
gas station (petrol station/pump)
well travelling in chennai in an auto can be a nightmare.meter system does not exist even if the meters are there on autos.
you will be quoted a fixed price for moving from one point to another.most indians cant speak tamil except tamil indians.so language itself becomes a problem. but i was surprised to know how many auto drivers could understand and converse basic english and hindi.
in INR 700 you can hire the auto for an entire daymoving anywhere in the limits of chennai.
point to point travel will be quoted at a price.and once the autos know you are not a local person they have already made up their mind to fleece you.
befriend a local person and ask him to strike a deal with auto fellas and you will get some respite.
in the morning the first thing an early customer will experience is that the auto will go to a gas station for filling up petrol.
the gas stations in chennai are neat and clean as sen in the pic.
as the day gets busy they buzz with activity.
Be prepared to fix flat rates with autos before you go, and it shouldn't be the rate the driver quotes you first. (An Indian friend told me that for him to go a certain distance would be 50 rupees. Us together was 70. Me alone was originally quoted as 120.)
- Budget Travel
Road networks of Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation make it easy to access the tiniest village by comfortable and deluxe buses. Interstate buses operate at regular intervals from Chennai. Many private operators are available for domestic and interstate transportation.
Chennai is the headquarters of Southern Railway, a division of Indian Railway. The city is connected to other cities and towns of the state and the country. Chennai has a local electric train network to connect different points of the city. Trains operate from Egmore Junction to different parts of the state while interstate trains originate from Chennai Central Station.
Chennai has one of the four major international airports of India. Many major international airlines have regular direct flights to Chennai. Domestic airlines operate daily flights to all major cities of the country from the domestic terminal. Both air terminals are located at Meenambakkom. The city has representation of almost all airlines of the world.
As in most large cities throughout Asia, the streets of Chennai are filled with auto rickshaw taxis (known as tuk-tuks in Thailand). If you are just traveling short distances within the city, then this is probably your best option. You can go just about anywhere for between 20 to 80 ruppees (0.50 to 2 USD). You can flag one down almost anywhere, and the drivers are quite adept at weaving in and out of Chennai's congested streets. Just make sure that you negotiate the price beforehand, as they are keen to overcharge foreigners.
- Budget Travel
Available for hire - 1 Plane in original condition
Flying into Chennai may not seem that unusual to everyone but alas India is India and to me it had it's own quirks.
Quirk number 1
The Air India planes are definitely not new. Infact they're still in original condition. The walls had that wallpaper like look on the interior. and the panelling was out of a bad 1970's set, so too the seating.
Sure it may have been fairly safe but alas there was no doubt the plane was mutton being dressed up at lamb.
For a population of close to 1 billion they don't fly much. There was only one flight out of Vishakhapatnam to Chennai I knew of in the scheduling. And Vizag is a major centre. Go figure. Even with the rich poor divide I would have thought there'd be more flights. (apparently Vizag is getting a new airport which will boost flights etc)
You can't just sit in the terminal are for a few hours before your flight. Even if you are to be a passenger. You can't even enter the terminal until 3 hours before your flight.
Having said this my suggestions are:
1. If you have a big gap between flying in and flying out then go shopping. Do not check into a hotel for just 6 hrs. It's just not worth it.
2. Check your luggage into the storage centre at the international airport over in the carpark. It costs only 50 rupee.
3. Know where you are going from the airport. If you say Spencer Centre then don't accept anything but the Spencer Centre.
- Budget Travel