Trying to figure out what to see and what to miss in Chennai can be really confusing, considering that the city boasts of quite a large number of attractions and worthwhile experiences. An increasing number of tourists are looking to guided tours as a way of having the best experience with minimal planning. So if you’re heading to Chennai, but don’t want to put a whole lot of effort into research, here are the best-guided tours you can take in the city to get the best experience for your money.
This local experience-based company specialises in cultural tours that revolve around neighbourhoods in the city with a distinct and unique culture such as Mylapore, Georgetown, or the old Madras heritage district. The tours, which are called trails are undertaken on foot with an expert guide taking you around different important spots in each neighbourhood. Among the popular trails are the Peacock Trail, which explores the temples and culture of Mylapore, the Bazaar Trail, which focusses on marketplaces such as Burma Bazaar in Georgetown and the British Blueprints trail, which takes a tour of colonial-era heritage landmarks.
Duration: 3 hours
Contact: +91 9600080215
Indian Expeditions is a guided tour provider that is well-known for tours around Chennai that are more informative and educational about the city’s culture than just recreational. Popular among foreign tourists visiting the country, a day tour with Indian Expedition provides for a well-rounded itinerary with most of the must-see attractions covered. Among the usual destinations included are Fort St. George, Santhome Cathedral Basilica, Mylapore Temple and the Marina Beach.
Duration: 3-6 hours
Contact: +91 97910 38068
TTDC Day Tours
The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) Day Tours are a standard affair that provides a safe and complete experience. The most popular day tour provided by the TTDC in Chennai is the Chennai-Mamallapuram tour, which takes tourists on a chartered bus along the scenic East Coast Road to Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram). The highlight of this tour is that it covers almost all the major attractions along the ECR between Chennai and Mahabalipuram such as the Murundeeswarar Temple, Iskcon Temple, Muttukkadu Boat House, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Dakshin Chithra.
Duration: 10 hours
Contact: +91 44 25333850 Extn: 208
Operated by Milesworth Travel, a popular travel company in Chennai, the Coromandel Journeys day tour is mainly aimed at packaging theme-based itineraries based on specific interests. Among the most popular tours are the Faith Tour, which takes tourists on a journey across the most important temples in Chennai, the Beginnings of an Empire tour, which focusses on Chennai’s British legacy, and the Karadi Malai wildlife tour, conducted with noted conservationist Rom Whitaker in Chennai’s part of the Eastern Ghats.
Duration: Approx. 5 hours
Contact: +91 44 24320522
5 Senses Tours
This tour operator covering major South Indian cities has a number of great day tours within and from Chennai. However, their most interesting and popular tour is the Kanchipuram Silk tour, which takes tourist on a day trip to Kanchipuram, where they can interact, observe, and learn first hand the art of weaving silk. The trip also includes visits to the greatest architectural landmarks of Kanchipuram.
Duration: 10 hours
This operator specialises in personalised walking tours which focus on unique cultural themes related to various neighbourhoods in Chennai. Some of the most popular walking trails conducted by this operator are the Adyar Food Trail, which provides a quintessential culinary experience of Chennai and the George Town Bazaar Walk, which focusses on roadside shopping markets near the Fort St. George. Another popular day tour from this operator is the Home Cooking Tour, which takes participants to the home of a local resident for a home-cooked traditional meal.
Duration: Walking tours – 2 hours/ Home cooking tour – 3 hours
Contact: +91 98677 07414
Blaffer Food Tours
This new tourist startup by students of IIT Madras has quickly become one of the more popular tour providers in the city thanks to its exclusive focus on food trails. Unlike large-scale tour aggregators, Blaffer curates its own specialised food tours on different cuisines and preferences within Chennai that include a Street Food trail, Dessert Trail, Kebab Trail, and even a Pub-Hopping trail. The tours are reasonably priced, although food is not included in the cost.
Duration: 2 hours
Contact: +91 9003222077