"Chennai Revisited" Top 5 Page for this destination Chennai (Madras) by tayloretc

Chennai (Madras) Travel Guide: 461 reviews and 937 photos

I have a strange relationship with Chennai. I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere except Boston, and it’s the only place besides Boston I’ve ever moved back to.

I left Chennai in May, not thinking I’d be back so soon, so it’s with disoriented pleasure that I moved back in November, for another year. This time, I’m living in a swank residential area a few minutes walk from the beach in Thiruvanmiyur (southern end of the city), and working in one of the nearby Tech Parks, so if my comments were skewed before they’re bound to be much more so now. Between the flat and the office, if I wanted to I could forget the hassles and unpleasantness of daily life altogether.

The photo above is from the rooftop of my apartment building looking south (north looks the same, but with big water towers blocking the view). Like many other parts of the city, Thiruvanmiyur used to be a town in its own right before it was swallowed whole – there’s a large, old temple, and the streets in what used to be the center are narrow and lined with narrow houses painted bright colors and stoops worn from generations of visitors stopping in.

What I wrote in the now-travelog of my former stay is still mostly true, and I think describes my initial experience of the city pretty well. Then, I went through the expat cycle of fascination, confusion, hate, and acceptance (much stronger in India, where nothing is halfway); this time I’m simply back in a familiar place. A place with still shifting and often baffling ground rules, but familiar. It’s still changing fast, and not always for the better (the traffic is even worse than before), but it’s still as delightfully/frustratingly different from anywhere else as it ever was.

I’ve left a collection of photos taken on random auto rides posted on another site, and will add to it as I go around. Since the plans this time include buying a moped, this collection could grow quickly, as new things are noticed, or it could not grow at all, as I focus on trying to not die while driving.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Where to begin?
  • Cons:Where to begin?
  • Last visit to Chennai (Madras): Oct 2009
  • Intro Updated Nov 27, 2009
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Reviews (47)

Comments (22)

  • wabat's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2016 at 5:33 AM

    Got started with your things to do tips, will be back for more.

  • anilpradhanshillong's Profile Photo
    Nov 4, 2015 at 8:56 PM

    Hi! You sure have a sense of humour. Just loved reading your reviews of Local Customs and Warnings & Dangers!
    You still in Chennai?

    • tayloretc's Profile Photo
      Nov 5, 2015 at 2:08 AM

      Hi - I'm glad you enjoyed them - I really loved being there, every day an adventure... Sadly, my work in Chennai finished a few years back. I do hope to get back there one of these days, though.

  • thamnaga's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    Hi,after reading your page i think you're the right person i can ask this.Im from Malaysia and would like to visit Chennai somewhere in June. I dont go with this tour packages all coz i prefer it to be like free and easy trip. But i would need a tour guide just for 2days to take me around to the temples,historical places,beaches and also the shopping spots. Could you tell me on how to go about it? Im worried on appointing the guides there. On top of that i dont know anyone in Chennai. Pls advise. THanking you in advance for your quick reply. I will stay there for 5days and 4nights.

    • tayloretc's Profile Photo
      Mar 20, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Hi - I've sent you a message. Let me know if you have other questions!

  • RickinDutch's Profile Photo
    May 10, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Wonderful writing. Reminds me of my adjustment period when I moved to Calcutta. Nicely done! (Just back revisiting - thought your local tips seemed familiar)

  • Paris92's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Love your pages! Congrats on the Barney nomination!

  • illumina's Profile Photo
    Dec 14, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    I'm kind of glad to see that we're not the only ones who had our shoes stolen at that temple! Your tips are informative and amusing - I'll be back to read more!

  • Callavetta's Profile Photo
    Dec 5, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    "but the donkey is tied up and the dogs are friendly!" Headed to Chennai for business on Tuesday. Your writing is fun!

  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2010 at 6:27 AM

    Hi Taylor - having my morning coffee and cracking up reading some of your tips! Ahhh, memories!! Will be back to rate them. :-)) Hope you are enjoying fall.

  • regina.williams's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    I am amused to know it -- Aren't the people particular about the time? What did you feel when you actually exprienced it for the first time....

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Aug 26, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    Fascinating, informative and entertaining tips! It's evident you've spent quite some time living and working in Chennai. (And you even returned for a second round!) Actually I don't think I'd enjoy living in a place with a season called Hottest.

tayloretc Used To Live Here!


“The true delight is in the finding out.”

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