Flights to Chennai

Cheap Flights to Chennai

Delve into the unique culture of Chennai. A centre of historical and cultural significance, this city in India's southern state, Tamil Nadu, has vibrant music and dance traditions. These traditions culminate once a year during a five-week music and dance festival, which is one of the world's biggest cultural celebrations. Chennai is also home to ancient temples, India's longest urban beach, and a phenomenal food scene. No wonder it's one of India's most visited cities.

Airlines flying to Chennai

Flying to Chennai from Australia couldn't be simpler, with affordable flights departing daily from most major cities. Low-cost carrier airlines, AirAsia and Scoot, offer the cheapest airfares, closely followed by Malaysia Airlines. Currently, there are no direct flights available. Flights with a single layover en-route are available with the following airlines:

  • AirAsia via Kuala Lumpur - Departing Perth, Sydney and Gold Coast
  • Scoot via Singapore - Departing Perth, Melbourne, and Gold Coast
  • Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur - Departing Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney
  • Singapore Airlines via Singapore - Departing Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane
  • Malindo Air via Kuala Lumpur - Departing Perth
  • Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong - Departing Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane
  • Emirates via Dubai - Departing Adelaide and Brisbane
  • Qatar Airways via Doha - Departing Adelaide
  • Srilankan Air via Colombo - Departing Melbourne
  • THAI Air via Bangkok - Departing Melbourne, and Sydney
  • Air India via New Delhi - Departing Sydney

Getting to and from the airport

Chennai International Airport is located about 15km from the city centre. It is well connected to the city, with several options available:

Train: Taking the Chennai Metro train from the airport is the fastest and cheapest option. The train operates from 6am to 11pm, and departs every 10 to 20 minutes. Tickets are only about $1AUD, and you can reach Chennai Central station within 30 minutes.

Rideshare: Uber and Ola both service the airport. Using these services is an affordable option, as fares range from $5 to $7AUD. The trip into the city takes about 90 minutes.

Taxi: Pre-paid taxi services are available, with fares between $7.50 and $10AUD, depending on your destination. The trip into Chennai takes about 90 minutes.

Getting to Chennai

Using app-based taxis such as Uber and Ola is probably the most convenient, affordable and fast way to get around.

For a fun and traditional method of transportation, why not try an auto-rickshaw (tuk-tuk)? Drivers may quote exorbitant prices at first, but after some firm negotiation, you can get a reasonable price. Check the average prices with the staff at your accommodation if you're not sure. Remember, haggling is all part of the Indian experience!

There is also a modern, albeit limited, train system. However, if used in the central city, it's a very cheap and efficient mode of transport. Tickets range from $0.20 to $1.50AUD depending on the distance travelled.

What to do in Chennai

Marina Beach: Stretching 13km along the coast of Chennai, is Marina Beach, the second longest urban beach in the world. The beach has a significant history and still plays an important role, as the main leisure hub of Chennai. Enjoy a stroll along the beach at sunset, and don't miss the colourful beach eatery, Sundari Akka Kadai, serving up fresh (and spicy!) seafood dishes.

Government Museum: Founded in 1851, this museum is the second oldest museum in India. The highlight of this museum is its striking bronze exhibition, with dazzling bronze pieces ranging from the 7th Century to the modern-day. The museum is also credited for housing the largest collection of Roman Antiquities outside of Europe.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple: Kapaleeshwarar Temple is an exquisitely decorated shrine to the Hindu god Shiva. It's the religious and cultural centre of the colourful neighbourhood of Mylapore, and one of the busiest temples in Chennai. The surrounding streets are a great place to wander through and shop for souvenirs– with small stalls selling flowers, trinkets, traditional clothing, and jewellery– lining the streets.

What to eat in Chennai

Chennai is the capital of Southern Indian cuisine. Don't leave without trying these authentic specialities:

Idli Sambhar: This dish is most commonly eaten for breakfast. It consists of a steamed savoury rice cake that is dipped into sambar (lentil soup) or coconut chutney.

Masala Dosa: A dosa is a type of thin crepe made from rice flour. It can be enjoyed at any time of the day, but remains a popular breakfast option for locals. Masala dosa is served with sambar, potato or paneer masala, and chutney.

Uttapam: This dish is similar to a dosa; however, all the ingredients are cooked into the batter, resulting in a pancake-like dish bursting with green chillies, coriander, tomatoes, and onion.

Chicken 65: Buhari Hotel in Chennai claims to be the originator of this now world-wide famous chicken dish. There are several theories behind the name, including that the dish allegedly contains 65 chillies. One thing is sure: this Indo-Chinese style chicken dish is delicious.

Check if you need a visa to travel

It is a requirement for most nationalities to have a visa to enter for more than 72 hours.  Visa information can be found here.

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