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Chennai International Airport

Chennai International Airport is in the far southwest of the city. The international terminal is 500m west of the domestic terminal; walkways link the two terminals.

Transport Options

Bus

From the CMBT, city buses 70 and 170 to Tambaram stop on the highway across from the airport (₹12 to ₹15, 30 to 40 minutes).

Chennai Metro Rail

The Chennai Metro Rail system provides cheap, easy transport between the airport and some useful parts of the city, though its reach is limited. If you need to go somewhere along its route, it's worth taking (₹70 or less). The metro station is between the two airport terminals.

Train

The cheapest airport transport option is suburban trains to/from Tirusulam station, opposite the domestic terminal parking areas, accessed via a signposted pedestrian subway under the highway. Trains run roughly every 15 minutes from 4.13am to midnight to/from Chennai Beach station (₹10, 40 minutes); stops include Nungambakkam, Egmore, Chennai Park and Chennai Fort.

Taxi

Prepaid taxi kiosks outside the airport's international terminal charge ₹550/600 for a non-AC/AC cab to Egmore, and ₹450/500 to T Nagar. Rates are slightly lower at prepaid taxi kiosks outside the domestic terminal, and can be much lower by using Ola or Uber.

Both terminals have Fast Track taxi booking counters, which can be good for long-distance trips.

Flights from Chennai International Airport

  • There are direct flights to cities all over India, including Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Mumbai. Sample fares include ₹4000 to Delhi, ₹4050 to Kolkata and ₹3850 to Mumbai.
  • Destinations within Tamil Nadu include Trichy, Madurai, Coimbatore and Thoothikudi (Tuticorin).
  • Internationally, Chennai has many direct flights to/from Colombo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and the Gulf states. From Europe, Lufthansa flies direct to Chennai, with no need to stop in Delhi or Mumbai. Cathay Pacific flies nonstop to Hong Kong, and several airlines fly (with connections) to Male (the Maldives).
Domestic Flights from Chennai International Airport

Bengaluru

Airlines

AI, SG, 6E, 9W

Time (hr)

1

Departures (daily)

31

Delhi

Airlines

AI, SG, 6E, 9W

Time (hr)

2¾-3

Departures (daily)

28

Goa

Airlines

AI, SG

Time (hr)

1¼-2

Departures (daily)

7

Hyderabad

Airlines

AI, G8, SG, 6E, 9W

Time (hr)

1-1½

Departures (daily)

15

Kochi

Airlines

AI, SG, 6E

Time (hr)

1-1½

Departures (daily)

13

Kolkata

Airlines

AI, SG, 6E

Time (hr)

2-2¾

Departures (daily)

17

Mumbai

Airlines

AI, G8, SG, 6E, 9W

Time (hr)

2

Departures (daily)

26

Port Blair

Airlines

AI, G8, SG, 6E, 9W

Time (hr)

2-2¼

Departures (daily)

7

Trivandrum

Airlines

AI, 6E

Time (hr)

1-1½

Departures (daily)

5

Airline codes: AI – Air India, G8 – Go Air, SG – SpiceJet, 6E – IndiGo, 9W – Jet Airways

Airline Offices

Boat

Passenger ships sail from George Town harbour direct to Port Blair in the Andaman Islands once or twice a month. There's no set schedule, so call for departure dates. The Andaman Shipping Office Ticketing Counter sells tickets – from ₹2825 for a bunk in an 80-bed dorm to ₹10,815 for a bed in a semiprivate room, with several categories in between – for the five-day trip. Book several days ahead, and take four copies each of your passport data page and Indian visa along with the originals. It can be a long process.

Bus

Government Buses

Most government buses operate from the large but surprisingly orderly CMBT, 6km west of the centre. The most comfortable and expensive are the air-con buses (best of these are Volvo AC services), followed by the UD ('Ultra Deluxe'); these can generally be reserved in advance. You can book up to 60 days ahead at the computerised reservation centre at the left end of the main hall, or online (www.tnstc.in).

The Adyar Gandhinagar Bus Stand is handy for bus 588 to Mamallapuram (₹40, 1½ hours, hourly 5am to 7.30pm).

Buses from Chennai CMBT

Bengaluru (Bangalore)

Fare (₹)

585-700

Time (hr)

7-8

Departures

at least 50 daily

Coimbatore

Fare (₹)

570-600

Time (hr)

11

Departures

15 daily

Ernakulam (Kochi)

Fare (₹)

1300

Time (hr)

12-16

Departures

4.30pm

Hyderabad

Fare (₹)

845-1480

Time (hr)

14

Departures

6.30pm, 7.30pm, 8.30pm

Kodaikanal

Fare (₹)

580

Time (hr)

10-13

Departures

5pm

Madurai

Fare (₹)

500-1000

Time (hr)

9-10

Departures

30 daily

Mamallapuram

Fare (₹)

40

Time (hr)

2-2½

Departures

every 10min

Mysuru (Mysore)

Fare (₹)

670-1020

Time (hr)

10

Departures

7pm, 7.45pm, 8.40pm, 10.05pm, 11.30pm

Ooty

Fare (₹)

600

Time (hr)

12

Departures

4.30pm, 5pm, 7.15pm

Puducherry (Pondicherry)

Fare (₹)

250

Time (hr)

4

Departures

every 15min

Thanjavur

Fare (₹)

380

Time (hr)

Departures

every 30min

Tirupati

Fare (₹)

200-350

Time (hr)

4

Departures

every 15min

Trichy (Tiruchirappalli)

Fare (₹)

370

Time (hr)

6½-7

Departures

every 30min

Trivandrum

Fare (₹)

1000

Time (hr)

14

Departures

6 daily

Private Buses

Private buses generally offer greater comfort than non-AC government buses, at up to double the price. Their main terminal is the Omni Bus Stand, 500m west of the CMBT, but some companies also pick up and drop off elsewhere in the city. Service information is at www.redbus.in; tickets can be booked through travel agencies.

Parveen Travels services to Bengaluru, Ernakulam (Kochi; Cochin), Kodaikanal, Madurai, Ooty (Udhagamandalam), Puducherry, Trichy and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) depart from its Egmore office.

Car

Renting a car with a driver is the easiest form of transport and easily arranged through most travel agents, midrange or top-end hotels, or the airport's prepaid taxi desks. One-way fares to Mamallapuram start from ₹2000; to Puducherry you're looking at around ₹4500.

Train

Interstate trains and those heading west generally depart from Central station, while trains heading south mostly leave from Egmore. The Advanced Reservation Office, with its incredibly helpful Foreign Tourist Cell, is on the 1st floor in a separate 11-storey building just west of the main Central station building; go to counter 22. Bring photocopies of your passport visa and photo pages. Egmore station has its own Passenger Reservation Office.

Major Trains from Chennai

Agra

Train No & Name

12615 Grand Trunk Express

Fare (₹)

745/1970/2880 (C)

Time (hr)

31½

Departure

7.15pm CC

Bengaluru (Banglaore)

Train No & Name

12007 Shatabdi Express*

Fare (₹)

775/1435 (A)

Time (hr)

5

Departure

6am CC

Train No & Name

12609 Bangalore Express

Fare (₹)

150/545 (B)

Time (hr)

Departure

1.35pm CC

Coimbatore

Train No & Name

12675 Kovai Express

Fare (₹)

180/665 (B)

Time (hr)

Departure

6.10am CC

Train No & Name

12671 Nilgiri Express

Fare (₹)

315/815/1150 (C)

Time (hr)

Departure

8.55pm CC

Delhi

Train No & Name

12621 Tamil Nadu Express

Fare (₹)

780/2050/3005 (C)

Time (hr)

33

Departure

10pm CC

Goa

Train No & Name

17311 Vasco Express (Friday only)

Fare (₹)

480/1310/1900 (C)

Time (hr)

22

Departure

3pm CC

Hyderabad

Train No & Name

12603 Hyderabad Express

Fare (₹)

405/1070/1520 (C)

Time (hr)

13

Departure

4.45pm CC

Kochi

Train No & Name

22639 Alleppey Express

Fare (₹)

400/1060/1505 (C)

Time (hr)

11½

Departure

8.45pm CC

Kolkata

Train No & Name

12842 Coromandel Express

Fare (₹)

665/1755/2555 (C)

Time (hr)

27

Departure

8.45am CC

Madurai

Train No & Name

12635 Vaigai Express

Fare (₹)

180/665 (B)

Time (hr)

Departure

1.40pm CE

Train No & Name

12637 Pandian Express

Fare (₹)

315/815/1150 (C)

Time (hr)

8

Departure

9.40pm CE

Mumbai

Train No & Name

11042 Mumbai Express

Fare (₹)

540/1460/2125 (C)

Time (hr)

25¼

Departure

12.20pm CC

Mysuru (Mysore)

Train No & Name

12007 Shatabdi Express*

Fare (₹)

910/1815 (A)

Time (hr)

7

Departure

6am CC

Train No & Name

16021 Kaveri Express

Fare (₹)

315/765/1100 (C)

Time (hr)

Departure

9.15pm CC

Tirupati

Train No & Name

16053 Tirupathi Express

Fare (₹)

80/290 (B)

Time (hr)

Departure

2.15pm CC

Trichy (Tiruchirappalli)

Train No & Name

12635 Vaigai Express

Fare (₹)

145/520 (B)

Time (hr)

5

Departure

1.40pm CE

Trivandrum

Train No & Name

12695 Trivandrum Express

Fare (₹)

470/1245/1785 (C)

Time (hr)

16½

Departure

3.25pm CC

Departure Codes: CC – Chennai Central, CE – Chennai Egmore

*Daily except Wednesday

Fares: (A) chair/executive; (B) 2nd class/chair; (C) sleeper/3AC/2AC