by Shabna Cader
When in need of a short but quick vacation, it’s best to choose to go to a country that is situated close by.
On this week’s Travel Guide, we give you a tour of a city in the southern region of India known as Chennai.
The city is certainly full of life, hustle and bustle as well as those quiet poignant moments.
How to get there
Visiting India requires a visa. The Visa Commission is located down Galle Road and provides a travel visa for a period of six months (sometimes only a single entry one, whereas on occasion it could be multiple). Various airlines offer tickets for a price that is quite decent.
Sri Lankan Airlines offer flights to Chennai on a daily basis, and it takes only one hour and ten minutes. The same flight time is also offered on Jet Airways. Spice Jet offers a flying time of one hour and forty minutes.
What to do
As always, even if it’s just a short flight away, have a planned itinerary and budget for your holiday destination. Planning on what to do in Chennai is really simple. Many tend to visit the city to enjoy shopping in their well-known bazaars and shopping malls. But if you are also looking for a bit of sight-seeing, a slightly different itinerary and budget plan needs to be drawn up.
Plenty of websites online have listed interesting sights to visit and this could include a park, a museum, possibly a library and the beach. Depending on what you list down, plan the budget accordingly. Many entrance tickets to tourist attractions are not too expensive so you need not worry about a bulky budget.
Where to stay
If you’re not ready to roughen it up, then much of your budget would possibly be spent on lodging. There are international chain hotels in this part of India. The Marriot, the Hyatt, The Park, Lemon Tree, Taj Connemara and the Residency Towers are a few top-notch hotels in Chennai, but you can also fine apartments that can be rented for up to a week for a decent price. Be sure to find lodging close to the areas you will be exploring the most.
What to see
The city is quite vast and each region of the city is diverse in its own way. Be prepared to see a lot of traffic! From the minute you hit the road after landing until you reach your hotel, the streets will be swarming with traffic. By day two, you will just go with the flow.
You will also notice the great amount of ongoing development in the city, with massive highways, flyovers and underground metros being built
History and culture enthusiasts will find the Egmore Museum a beauty in its own right. As much as it is a museum that houses many artefacts, the main building, with its unique architecture, is of great importance. The Connemara Library is known to be one of the oldest in India, founded sometime in the 1800s.
Again, the architecture of this structure is unique and just as interesting as the array of books inside. The Anna Nagar Tower is the highest and biggest park tower. The Birla Planetarium is a fully computerized planetarium. One last must-visit historic site is Fort St. George, built in the year 1653 by the British East India Company.
Where to eat
Roughing it out is best, even when it comes to having meals. Do not confine yourself to eating at the hotel you are staying. Explore the streets nearby and check out some of the well-known saivar outlets.
Anjappar is a well known restaurant and certainly one of the best chain restaurants that Chennai has to offer. Saravana Bawan is another good place to try. Of course, there are also plenty of places like Burger’s King, McDonald’s and Barista for the usual round of western meals.
Where to shop
This is a tough one. The question is, where can you not shop? From famous streets like T. Nagar to the biggest malls like Express Avenue Mall, Chennai has got it all. For the greatest bargains from clothes to shoes, from electronics to fabric, be sure to visit the street vendors first and then hit the high-end stores.
Spencer Plaza is a good place to start. You can pick up interesting reads, CDs, magazines, electronics, stationery, as well as home-ware, and of course, clothes. Shopper’s Stop and Globus are two high-end clothing stores where you will find shalwars and sharwanis that are truly one of a kind. courtesy: CeylonToday