The Best Things To Do In Chennai In 2024

If you’re looking for things to do in Chennai, and places of worship aren’t your thing, you might be a little disappointed. But, there is hope for you. You just need to find the right tour guide. 

Things to do in Chennai in 2023

Disclaimer: There are some affiliate links on this post. Meaning I may earn a (very) small commission if you buy something after clicking a link. This is at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer here.

The Best Things To Do In Chennai

After 3 weeks in glorious Goa, our next stop was the city of Chennai. This was real India. We had no idea if there were fun or interesting things to do in Chennai, and the only recommendations the concierge at our hotel had for us were 5-star hotels and shopping malls.

It wasn’t looking good.

We were way off the backpacker path that we’d settled nicely into. But on the other hand, we were now surrounded by a completely new culture, and were excited, if also a little apprehensive. 

The best daytime activity in Chennai – The $1 city tour

After walking the streets for two hours, we saw little more than two statues and two thousand bike repair shops. We were really struggling to find things to do in Chennai.

Tuk-tuk drivers had begun to circle us, knowing that our apps were giving us nothing, we were clueless. Like lame wildebeests, we knew the vultures would take us soon enough. Then one made a move on us:

“City tour, one dollar”

Could it be true, or was it just a mirage, created by our tired brains? It was worth checking out. He confirmed one dollar for a tour of the city,  so we jumped in.

The driver was fun, knowledgeable and desperate. Desperate for us to buy something from each of the shops he took us to in between the many temples and churches around the city.

“If you buy something they give me a shirt”

Unfortunately for him, we didn’t need any giant statues of Ganesh, but we did buy a little gold frog and a shawl. Hopefully, that earned him some new pants at least.

Yes, there were many shops for us to visit, but he did take on the role of tour guide with full gusto and gave us the experience to remember. 

His tour was the best dollar I’ve ever spent.

So if you find yourself wondering what to do in Chennai I recommend finding a $1 tour. To try to track down our guy, head down to the big Gandhi statue near the ocean. Then just start to look like a lost tourist. He’ll find you from there.

Other Chennai Things To Do :

Okay, okay, I get that flagging down a tuk-tuk and asking for a $1 tour might not be what you’re after. But don’t worry, you’re in luck. There are a few official tourist trips and excursions that you can pre-book and get collected from your hotel. The best place to check out these tours is at Get Your Guide. They have tours to the amazing temples in Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram and if you want to visit Marina Beach they have that sorted too.

When is the best time to visit Chennai?

The best time to visit Chennai is over winter. Anytime after the monsoon is over, which is usually late October, all the way through to February offers the best weather. Once you get into spring the humidity rises and you’ll be hot a sticky mess.

Want more travel tips?

If you’re hungry for more travel tips and stories head back over to my blog or check me out on Instagram.

the sketchy traveller
About the author – The Sketchy Traveller

I’m not really a stickman, but it seems that I like portraying myself as one.

I’m an English guy who’s been travelling since 2017. I was never good at taking photos, sketching just seems to work better for me, and in my opinion, why do you want to see other people’s 4K videos and pictures of the world? Surely it’s better to see it for yourself. You can get in touch through the contact page or Instagram.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy travelling.

The Sketchy Traveller