Chennai is the fourth largest city in India. Formerly known as Madras, the city borders the Bay of Bengal on the North Eastern tip of Tamil Nadu State. The main backpacker areas are Egmore station and Triplicane. Chennai also boasts of several beaches including Marina Beach. Chennai is best explored by road and by the local trains. There are lots of temples and churches in Chennai. The predominant ones being the Mylapore temples and the church at St. Thomas Mount. Not everyone speaks English but it is fairly easy to communicate with locals and get your point across. The city provides a great blend of a more westernized India existing side by side with a more conservative traditional India. Chennai has a rich heritage that can be seen in its architecture as well as its music and theater.
The food is excellent and you would be amazed by the diversity. Different areas have evolved to have different culinary tastes, and it is worthwhile exploring them all! There are many good local food tours that can help you explore more in less time.
Accommodation is easily available and there is a variety to choose from. There are several bars and nightclubs that are a part of the 5 star hotels in the city but most of them close by 12am. However there are a few places which have mid night buffets or 24 hour coffee shops.
The major areas for shopping include T Nagar and Pondy Bazaar. There are a lot of malls in the city too.
Famous beaches include Marina Beach, Elliot's Beach, and Thiruvinmiyur Beach. Marina is the most famous but not the cleanest of beaches. Elliot's Beach is much cleaner and the nearby area has a lot of food place, making it a better option. The activity picks up in the evening. Beach is fairly deserted during the daytime.
There is lots to do when in Chennai as there are lot of short trips that can be done to visit neighbouring places. Some of these include Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry. The drive to these places along the East Coast Road is a great experience.