Water - But Not What You'd Think...
Yes, the water is no good to drink, but it also wrecks havoc on your hair. If you're going to be in town for more than a few days, invest in an extra bottle of mineral water to do a final rinse. (Even the locals do it.)
This is the actual common name of one of the three seasons in Chennai. It's roughly the month of May, and temperatures can top 110F (43?C) with humidity so bad it feels like breathing through a boiling sponge. Schools usually close during this period, that's how bad it gets. If you're not from a hot and humid climate already and you have to be here during hottest, be very aware of how the heat is affecting you.
Have a mosquito repellent when u arrive to chennai.Always drink mineral water..Normally streets become dull after 10:00 pm..Hence not adviceable to roam in streets after 10:30pm.Road crossing is a high riskier job in chennai due to heavy traffic.Aware of street dogs!Aware of pickpokets while travelling!
It's well known that despite all it's recent advancement, India still has overwhelming poverty. Beggars roam the streets in alarming numbers, men, women and children. It can be quite shocking for someone who has not been exposed to it on a daily basis. If you appear to be a wealthy foreigner, then you will be especially targeted by beggars. Some will tug at your clothes, block your path, or surround your vehicle as you try to park or drive away. In this picture taken in Chennai, a mother carrying an infant approached our car at an intersection and was tapping on the window with an empty baby bottle, thus signaling to us that she needed money to feed her child. This tactic of gaining sympathy is commonly used.
As heart breaking as this may be, be warned that if you give money to a beggar then it will only increase the number that will flock to you. Usually, even the person that you give money to will not be content and will try to get more out of you. If you really want to help these unfortunate people, the best way would be to donate or volunteer to a non-profit organization that helps them.
Free Rickshaw Rides to Go Shopping
You might be offered to be taken to shops for cheap or free. For each shop the driver gets 50 rupees. I did hear that some drivers will split the commission with you. (okay I did it with one driver for fun and made 100 rupees though some of the shop owners were a bit pushy. Just never buy!)
- Budget Travel
Rainy season in Madras
The period of October to December is the monsoon season in the south. When it rains in Madras, it slows down everything considerably as the roads get waterlogged and there are puddles of water all over the place. October normally gets the heaviest of rains followed by November and December with a little less.
Atrocious Autos & Terrible Taxis
When in Madras, autos is definitely a tempting option instead of buses to avoid the crowds. However, if you have to use an auto, make sure whether you are getting a flat price or whether you are going to go with the meter running. Most of the autos also have their meter fixed and so if you watch the needle run while you are on board, your heart would start pumping faster and faster.
Taxis are even more expensive than autos and they are actually becoming a rare breed now. Avoid taxis unless you have no other choice. And like autos unless you are getting a pre-paid taxi, get a deal before you board.
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
If you use the Madras metro rail system, you are highly likely to come across beggars including real small kids who go from compartment to compartment. As hearwrenching as it is, do not give them money because it only encourages them further. If you do want to be charitable, be selective and give only to physically handicapped people.
While in Madras, avoid drinking water from the taps directly in any public areas. Bottled water is the best bet for travelers and tourists alike while in Madras.
Also avoid sugarcane juice from roadside vendors. As tasty as it is, its also not very healthy since the canes are crushed in the open in the presence of flies and bugs. But if you can get sugarcane juice from a nice shop, dont miss it. It indeed is really tasty !!!
Airport customs - beware
I know I must have been unlucky but I must not be the only one....
On the flight Singapore Airline Chennai-Singapore, I arrived at Chennai airport with 2 suitcase. Got them both scanned through customs, had them checked at the counter.
Arriving in Singapore, only my "clothes" suitcase came out. The one with souvenirs never appeared...
I think that those who scanned it found what's inside pretty interesting and wanted a closer look...
Update June 03: They were very very interested in the content of my suitcase again, even took note of the electronics inside...be careful !!!
ladies be warned. chennai has...
ladies be warned. chennai has its share of boisterous men. try to travel in groups or with some male company. also, always try and avoid the autorickshaws. unlike the other indian cities, they are operated by thugs here. take the bus, or call a taxi (there are many call-taxi companies in chennai).
Don't use the buses unless...
Don't use the buses unless they are the tourist air-conditioned ones. They frequently breakdown and are falling to bits. When using the auto-rickshaws agree your price before you set off. Have a map handy as they may not know where you want to go to.
1. Only drink bottled water, and when you buy water, check that it is sealed properly
2. Beware of stray dogs
3. Haggle hard with auto-rickshaw drivers