Chennai

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Shmerel, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. Shmerel

    Shmerel

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    Hi guys
    I want to ride (bitumen) from 6 - 18 January, starting and ending in Chennai. Maybe a ride south to Kerala or such like.
    Any suggestions on where I can hire (not buy) a reliable Enfield at a reasonable price>
    Any other tips?
    Thanks in advance.
    Gadi
    #1
  2. Aargee

    Aargee Been here awhile

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    Welcome to my country & especially to my city :) Pls let me know what you expect as I'm very familiar with Tamilnadu & Kerala & most places in Karnataka.

    Let me give you some options to choose...
    1. Do a coastal ride all way from Chennai upto Sulthan Bathery in KL, get into Bandipur Forest & then land up in Mysore (Karnataka) & then to Bangalore & then back to Chennai completing one full circle anti clockwise (or may be clockwise too)

    2. Select specific places, like wild life

    3. Ride through mountains; route will be Chennai(TN)-Bangalore(KA)-Mysore(KA)-Ooty(TN)-Kodaikanal(TN)-Munnar(KL)-Kochi-Alleppey(KL for the back water)-Trivandrum-Kanyakumari(the bottom most part of India where 3 oceans meet) & ride back to Chennai

    I've no personal experience because I'm from Chennai. But heard these guys are good...
    Vicky - +91-9952100400 (rent-a-bike)
    Another - +91-8925480447
    http://www.squidoo.com/two-wheeler-rental - +91-9952100400

    Here's a little tip - Pondicherry used to be a French colony which is just 130 Kms (80 miles) or about 2-3 hours drive from Chennai where you can rent almost any bike sold in the country & there're thousands of rental shops. So you may want to rent one from there; but the downside, you WILL have to return it there.

    Pls let me know if you need any more information & I can help you as much as I can.

    (TN) denotes state of Tamilnadu
    (KL) state of Kerala
    (KA) state of Karnataka
    #2
  3. Shmerel

    Shmerel

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    thank you thank you thank you !!!

    i arrive on 28 december. and leave 18 jan. i want to go to a couple pf ashrmans in between.

    i haven't decided where to go (hotel) on the first day, 1st time to india and not sure how it al works.

    i will follow up on these leads.

    Gadi
    #3
  4. Aargee

    Aargee Been here awhile

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    Regarding Ashrams...sorry, I'm not much of interested with all fake people around, we loose respect for our own people these days. I leave this choice to you.

    Nothing to worry; if you want, I can help you with itinerary & you can take your time to verify upon things.

    On Hotels, I'm not really sure how much of comfort & luxury you expect because we have good & safe hotels (and pls insist on the standard 10% discount any hotel). The prices...will work out cheap in your currency too.

    For example...you opt for this - http://www.radissonblu.com/hotel-chennai or http://www.leroyalmeridien-chennai.com/Location.html, the prices are exhorbidant & so does the beautiful ambience & exotic food

    But if you opt for something like http://www.hotelshanroyal.com/ or http://www.hotelaadithya.com/ they work much less in price but the comfort & convenience (like A/C, hot water, good & hygenic food) is something equivalent to Econo Lodge etc.

    Anyway, here's the list of good hotels in Chennai - http://www.hotelsinchennai.org/

    Let me think through the day & post something on your travel plan. I'm sure it might not suit because you've plans for visiting Ashrams & I seriously don't know where they're located (sounds funny isn't it)

    Since you've about 3 weeks in hand for a ride, I'll device a route for about 2 weeks & the remaining one week you can use to stay at Ashrams or for extending a day or two at few places. Hope its OK with you.
    #4
  5. Aargee

    Aargee Been here awhile

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  6. Shmerel

    Shmerel

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    Over th e next few days I will research your leads and then post some thoygts for your consideration.

    I was planning low range hotels /inns, so long as they're clean and safe.

    Re the ashrams, i had 1 maybe 2 in mind that are not the tourusty fake ones.

    My objective is to get into the local life, and not too many plans. I want to experience the place and the people I meet will move me to where I go.

    I have no idea how much to budget for.

    I also don't know the climatic conditions that time of year and what riding gear to bring, or not.

    :ear
    #6
  7. Aargee

    Aargee Been here awhile

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    Ok, take your time, I'll keep waiting.

    Sure; but remember, they're off the internet. Again...if you don't mind letting me know your bugget, I can tell them upfront what to expect & not.

    I don't trust any of them; to me God is everywhere & I'm not atheist.

    Well...that's good...but a word of caution; not all localites are good & friendly like USA. This is East & most people exort for money. Again, not everyone exort for money & dishonest either.

    For the trip or for the hotel? Let me quote something closer to reality...
    I assume you're from North America. Then $1 = INR (Indian currency) 47 approximately
    So places like 3 to 4 star hotels costs about $63 a night without discount
    If you opt for little economy like good & economical should work out $42 a night
    Anything lesser than this but still good & hygenic will cost about $25-$30 a night
    Anything less than this, you'll have to come down in person & hunt for one.

    On the other hand, I'd suggest considering any of the Govt run accomodations like TTDC (Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation) & KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) & KDT Karnataka Department of Tourism. The service will be below average, but vouch for highest safety as no one bothers you. But the only downside is you can't bargain much as their prices are little less than industry standard as they're subsidized by Govt.
    Websites - http://www.tamilnadutourism.org/ & http://www.ktdc.com/ & http://www.karnatakatourism.org/

    On the prices of gas, it varies from every state, so I'll leave that to you. Generally it cost about Rs 70 (INR) for 1 litre (or Rs 231 for 1 US gallon). If you rent a Royal Enfield the FE (Fuel Economy) is about 35-40 Kmpl.

    Well Dec to Mar/Apr is ideal riding season in South of India; but with rains prevailing until Jan last year (which I've not experienced in last 30+ years & Thanks to Global warming), I'd suggest...
    1. Separate Rainwear + boot cover (like tourmaster's one piece etc, not mandatory, but giving you an example)
    2. Mesh Jacket (preferable with inner lining, IF you feel cool not cold) & riding pants
    3. Helmet, gloves, riding boots and/or other protection to your comfort
    4. Bedsheets, pillows, tents are all up to you; if I were you, I'd rather get rid of them & carry a laptop for logging the trip
    I can bet you'll not need winter clothes like that you need in Winters of Minnesota or Michigan :D; I'll try to post some essentials in the forth coming days.

    Carry a mobile phone (it works dirt cheap to buy in this damn country); you can use it for accessing internet in the middle of no where too.

    You can wear shorts, TShirts, regular shoes when you don't ride; but if you try entering into any temple or place of worship (exception probably Church), you might be prohibited with this costume.

    Local language in Tamilnadu is Tamil (pronounced Thamizh) & Kerala is Malayalam (palindrome) & Karnataka is Kannada; some basics for you in...
    Tamil - http://www.phrasebase.com/archive/tamil/5897.html
    Malayalam - http://www.learn-malayalam.com/Basic-Malayalam-Phrases.html
    Kannada - http://www.villagevolunteers.org/PDFs/Travel%20Documents/FYI/India/Kannada%20Language%20Guide.pdf

    Feel free to ask if you need anything more :)

    Edit - Last but not the least, NEVER, EVER, EVER get involved even in a mildest brush against someone or something that makes it appear like an accident. That's the last thing that you need in this country; its not that difficult to get out because as long as you pay & keep people happy, you will not even be charged legally. But people are ridiculous to utter some nonsense numbers out of thin air. Keep the number 100 in handy which is like 911 (but don't expect the services or loyalty of 911) it helps you to keep off the mob attacks. Pls don't take this as threatening, but just as a friendly suggestion & don't let this deter you from visiting my country :)
    #7
  8. Shmerel

    Shmerel

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    hi aargee,
    you're very helpful, thanks.
    my paln is get into Chennai at a pre-arranged 3-4 star hotel at midnight 28/12. that's easy.
    note i'm australian.
    once there, i'll head to ramana ashram (http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/) and taste it. there are plenty of local hotels there which i can negotiate on site.
    then I can decide what to do.
    for i/net, i will bring my iphone and buy a sim card once there. no laptop, too bulky.
    i will only have a tiny backpack (underwear, odds 'n ends, 1 change. i can always buy stuff there, who cares?).
    i plan to travel in punjabi clothing and flip flops/sandels. i prefer to aovoid bikewear except helmet (which I prefer to buy there cheap).
    yes, hotels will be in the $30-$60 category. clean and safe are what i want, nothing else. i'm not chasing fancy shmansy stuff, got it here up to my eyeballs.
    food will be loca, subject to my stringent heigene rules.
    if i travel altogether 30 or 3000 miles doesn't matter, absorbing the culture and ambiance is what it's abouut for me.
    and lots of music, dancing, and exploring people.
    i will carry an SLR, photo mad. that's the passion.
    i'm very cautious but not overly concerned with safety, i have martial arts training and am 196 cm tall.
    i am still researching. it will take another month. i am presently about to get all my booster shots.

    am i crazy?

    btw, you around then? would love to catch up.

    gadi
    #8
  9. Aargee

    Aargee Been here awhile

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    Sounds fine Shmerel; but remember, even a single star hotel is good & hygeine will work out only 3/4th to half the price of a 3-4 star hotel.

    I'm not sure if I'll be around; I'm actually frustrated due to work pressure & my CBR 250R parked in garage waiting for sprocket change for over a month now. So I've been dreaming & only dreaming about a long ride & there's lot of plans...all on papers :eek1. Meanwhile, family is pestering me for a drive to state of Karnataka for a holiday or go out as family trip.

    So the earliest I get sometime off (Christmas season being more apt as most people from US go on vacation & I get one too :clap+ my Son's school closes for Winter vacation during this time) I'd jump on my CBR & run away or drive with family or worst case, hang around with work :cry

    On the safety aspect, let me assure you, you'll not need even 0.0001% of your martial arts skill. Reason being that...
    - Unless you mess up no one bothers & I'm sure you'll not do that
    - People only try to extort & swindle away with your money rather than harming & snatching the money & remember, they don't do it at the place where you stay. Mostly they do it at over crowded tourist spots & mostly it is with stealing slippers, grab your attention towards something & flick your wallet or promise to give you something hifi for some good money & give you some bogus things. So if you stay cautious, you'll 100% DO NOT need to worry on safety aspects.

    So nothing serious; infact people in smaller towns like Udaipur (in Rajasthan, personally experienced), most place in Kerala & tier 2 cities in Tamilnadu, would be more happy to help rather than seeing you as an unwanted stranger. Remember, when more people gather around you, they're only interested with you & not to extort you. You should be more careful at Tier 1 cities such as Chennai, especially with tourist spots; ensure not to leave anything unattended & you'll be safe.

    But yes, if I'm here, I'd love to catch up with you & help you with some local places & ride with you on ECR scenic drive.

    Some more pointers for you...
    - Try some authentic vegetarian food at Hotel Saravana Bhavan/Murugan Idly shop. The food is 101% safe, hygenic & clean. But a little expensive.
    - Other place where you can try non-veg (since I'm vegetarian, I only have hear say), Anjappar Restaurant
    - Visit the Marina beach which is second longest beach in the world
    - Visit little mount & St Thomas church
    - If you're interested in animal life, then you can visit Arignar Anna Zoological park + Snake & Croc park
    - Dakshin Chitra & ride through ECR

    Last but not the least, how's your bike rental coming up? Were you able to visit the other link I showed you? There're good points discussed over there.
    #9
  10. Shmerel

    Shmerel

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    i haven't yet contacted anyone re bike rental. i am too busy with work a.t.m. maybe next week or week after i'll call india. i assume there's no rush.

    i have noted all safety and accom issues. thank you. i have also ordered lonely planet of sth india to get an overview.

    i am 'vegequarian' (fish with scales + veg, no meat or crustations). i am not concerned and will follow thru on your tips.

    You are very helpful and I appreciate it. I can see I will fall in love with India and its people.

    I will return to this thread soon.

    Gadi
    #10
  11. Aargee

    Aargee Been here awhile

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    Tip time :D - If you just call once (or email), ppl in India think, you're just a casual caller asking for pricing; so they quote standard (read it high) price; but when you keep calling them often saying, you'll get back, you need to work out the cost, you didn't expect to be high, can you provide discount, I can stretch dates (spiced up talks), you're sure to be identified as genuine customer & then the things on discounts open up for you. So I'll leave it to you to decide if you need to rush or hurry up :D

    Hmm...that was quite unnecessary expense though; my point is, you could get these stuffs as free download from internet.

    For sea food restaurants, I'd suggest you try Pondicherry rather than Chennai; though coastal, you find just one or two (or may be I don't know). Here're some good suggestions in addition to what I suggested posted by real people & their experiences - http://gearheads.in/showthread.php?3412-Mouth-watering-eat-outs-in-and-around-Chennai

    This is what I'd expect - arrive safe, enjoy your tenure & leave with memorable happy moments :)

    Also, appreciate if you can post your experiences & procedure in obtaining Indian tourist visa. Tks.
    #11
  12. Dr. Benny

    Dr. Benny Enjoying the Journey

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    I've been lurking on this thread - thanks for all the advice! I'm headed to Kochi and Chennai next week on business. I'd like to rent a bike but time is short so it'll probably have to wait until the next time around. I'm looking forward to hearing about your adventures - be sure to post up the photos! :deal
    #12
  13. Aargee

    Aargee Been here awhile

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    Welcome to my country :) Pls do not hesitate to let me know if you need any route places or site seeing (other than just the regular stuff) at both Kochi as well as Chennai & I can help you with all possible suggestions to make your stay memorable in my country :)

    Kochi & bike rental!!! Hmm...not heard though. How about hiring a car this time? How long is your stay? You can hire a good cab (Tata Indicab) for site seeing [​IMG]

    If you bargain little harder, you get a non A/C cab (Tata Indica above) for Rs 800 a day for 100 Kms or 10 hours (whichever is earlier) & will be charged Rs 50 for additional 1 hour (not per Km). Now if your drive involves outside the city, say for long distance, then they charge Rs 7-8 per Km & if it involves more than 200-300 Kms, the prices are around Rs 6-7 per Km.
    #13
  14. Dr. Benny

    Dr. Benny Enjoying the Journey

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    Thanks for the advice. The company partners have drivers so I won't need to rent a car. Although, it would be nice to hop on a bike and explore. Unfortunately, it's a quick trip and there won't be much time for a exploration. Hopefully next time!
    #14
  15. Shmerel

    Shmerel

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    Getting my first booster shots this week.

    Next week I start telephoning India regarding bike rental ...
    #15
  16. Aargee

    Aargee Been here awhile

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  17. Amra khan

    Amra khan n00b

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    In Dubai if any one need Chauffeur Services Dubai please do connect us. We offer premium private ride. Your ride with us will be amazing and enjoyable.
    #17