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Useful information about the flight from Abu Dhabi to Chennai
Chennai, formally known as Madras is a large, vibrant hub with strong transport links. Modernity and history sit comfortably side by side in Chennai, with some stunning examples of Raj architecture, next to the glamour of the Tamil Kollywood film industry.
Best time to travel for weather and festivals
Chennai has a tropical climate and experiences the highest temperatures from late May until June, at times as high as to 40°C. The coolest time of the year is January which is around 25°C. The Monsoon season is between mid October and mid December, visitors should be aware that cyclones can occur during this time.
There are plenty of festivities to be witnessed. For three days in January there is a harvest festival called the Pongal. During November to December, the Karthikai Deepam full moon festival takes place. This has light displays and firecrackers. In September, the Vinayak Chaturthi festival that honours Ganesh goes on for 10 days, culminating in a procession on the last day. From mid-December to mid-January, the Chennai Music and Dance Festival takes place, this celebrates all classical music from south India.
Things to consider before you travel
A visa is required (see Indian High Commission Website) and travellers should be in possession of a passport with 2 blank pages and 180 days till expiry (from entry date). The official language here is Tamil, but English is also widely spoken. There is a low risk of Malaria, but visitors should have up to date routine vaccines if needed. Other jabs are recommended: especially Hepatitis B, rabies and Japanese encephalitis vaccinations for some travellers. It is advisable to drink bottled water and to peel or cook fruit and vegetables. Chennai has very low living costs, for example, a cheap meal is around Rs 20.
Getting around Chennai and accommodation
To get from the airport to the city centre, there is suburban train that costs ca. ₹ 5. This goes to Chennai park and Egmore. Trains leave from Tirusulam station which is 500m from the airport. For prepaid taxis, pay at booths (the taxi number will be written on receipts); this costs around 300 rupees to central Chennai.
Finding a place to stay should be easy: single rooms in a hostel or boarding house will cost around 400 rupees. Hotels in the mid-price range are about 1000 rupees.
Auto rickshaws are metered but still often overcharge if you are unaware of the going rate. Prices should be about Rs. 25 for 1.8. km. But note that journeys take a long time in heavy traffic. Suburban trains (faster than rickshaws or buses) have the cheapest fares at about Rs.5. For buses, MTC have the cheapest fare - about Rs3. A days bus pass costs from about 50 rupees. Weekly passes are about 300 rupees (for all services). A minimum taxi fare will cost about 100 rs (no air conditioning) for 4 km, then ca. 12 rupees per km.