Chennai airport to Pondicherry. How to take Chennai to Pondicherry bus. Backpacking South India travel blog, Tamil Nadu.

 

As a major metro city, there is more than one way to get to any place.

And that includes getting to Pondicherry and the French Quarter (aka Little France!)!

 

Best way to get from Chennai to Pondicherry. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu.

 

So, this is just one way that you can get from Chennai Airport to Pondicherry.

The way I did this seemed the simplest from the information I had found at the time I did this trip.

Well, the absolute simplest would be getting a taxi from Chennai airport to Pondicherry.

But… $$$

So aside from taking a taxi, the way I did it felt like “easiest” way to get to Pondicherry. 

 

And, if you’re just looking to go from Chennai to Pondicherry, and not specifically from the airport, you can just skip the first airport part, and it’s one way to get from Chennai to Pondicherry!

 

 

In short…

This is the best way to how to get from Chennai Airport to Pondicherry:

  • Pre-paid taxi from Chennai Airport to CMBT Koyembedu bus station
  • Bus from Chennai bus station to Pondicherry bus station

 

Or this is what seemed seemed to be the best way to me at the time anyway!

 

 

Also it might be important to note that there seem to basically be 2 routes to get from Chennai to Pondicherry by bus:

  • Mainly along ECR road
  • Mainly on bypass roads (more interior)

This will only be something you’ll need to further look into if you’re looking to get off somewhere between Chennai and Pondicherry.

But if you’re headed to the bus station in Pondicherry, then it shouldn’t really matter which bus you take, as long as it’s a bus to Pondicherry!

And once you’re in Pondicherry, a day trip you might consider is taking the bus from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram

 

 

Now first…

How much does a taxi cost from Chennai airport to Pondicherry?

Chennai airport to Pondicherry. How much does a taxi cost? Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu.

 

According to the Pondicherry hostel I stayed at, the cost to get to Pondicherry from the Chennai airport would be around 3,000 rupees. 

 

 

Now…

Things to remember to go from Chennai Airport to Pondicherry

If you decide to do it the same way I did!

 

The quick list:

 

1. Get a pre-paid taxi from airport to CMBT Koyembedu

Best way to get from Chennai airport to Pondicherry. Take prepaid taxi from airport to chennai bus station. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu.

 

2. Go to area of platform 1 or 2 at bus terminal

Best way to get from Chennai airport to Pondicherry. Go to Chennai bus station - CMBT koyembedu. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu.

 

3. Get on the bus to Pondicherry!

Best way to get from Chennai airport to Pondicherry. Take Chennai to Pondicherry bus from CMBT koyembedu chennai bus station - express government local bus. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu.

 

 

Bus timings for Chennai to Pondicherry

The bus timings seem frequent enough that I don’t think you really need to be all that concerned about exact bus timings if you’re traveling during the day.

It seems that there are plenty of buses that go the route of Chennai to Pondicherry.

 

To give you an idea of how my timings were for this journey:

  • 4:10pm – Departed Chennai airport to bus station by taxi
  • 4:40pm – Arrived Chennai bus station
  • 5:00pm – Departed bus station to go to Pondicherry
  • 8:40pm – Arrived Pondicherry bus station

 

 

Places to stay in Pondicherry

Have a look at the map below (partner website) for hotels in Pondicherry’s French Quarter and beyond.

Or see some hotels deals here.

 



Booking.com

 

 

Now…

A bit more of the details on how to go from Chennai Airport to Pondicherry

 

Is CMBT Koyembedu the best place to get the bus to Pondicherry?

It does seem as there are many places from which you can get a bus to Pondicherry from around Chennai.

From what I read, these seemed to be mostly be places along the side of the road.

And not knowing Chennai well (or… really not at all…), I didn’t want to be waiting on the side of the road (even if it is a main bus waiting area) and wondering if each passing bus was the one I should be getting on… or even trying to figure out where these main waiting areas are.

Although, if you do decide to do this, Puducherry (another name for Pondicherry) is written on the bus in English. (From what I’ve seen, many local government buses in Tamil Nadu only have the destination written in the local language of Tamil.)

But to me, it seemed the easiest to board the bus from the bus terminal in which the bus originates.

The bus to Pondicherry will basically be sitting there waiting for you.

And it seemed easy to be able to go “CMBT Koyembedu bus station” as you can also find this on Google Maps, so it’s pretty clear where you need to go. 

So I went for what seemed easiest to me based on the information I could find at the time.

If you find other information and feel confident on how to get there… go for it! 

 

 

Pre-paid taxi from Chennai airport to bus station

So it does seem there are other ways to get from the airport to the bus station. (It seems you can get there by public transportation by taking the metro or taking the bus.)

In this situation, especially because of luggage, I felt the easiest would be to get a taxi to the bus station from the airport… and specifically a pre-paid taxi so I didn’t have to deal with the chaos of finding a taxi upon exiting the airport.

I arrived to Chennai on an international flight, and I went to the pre-paid taxi counter before exiting the secure area (and right after you pass through customs). 

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - prepaid taxi from Chennai Airport. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

There’s also an ATM in the baggage claim area, so if you need cash, this could be a good place to get some money! (There are also foreign exchange desks before the exit.) 

I told the guy at the pre-paid taxi counter that I wanted to go to the CMBT Koyembedu bus station and was told the fare for an AC taxi to Koyembedu was 500 rupees (US$7). 

So I paid the taxi fare at the counter. (This means that unlike the pre-paid taxi from the Goa airport in which you pay the driver directly, from the Chennai airport, you actually do pay before you get in the taxi!) 

So after I paid, I made my way to the exit, and since I was holding the pre-paid taxi receipt, someone approached me immediately to lead me to the correct spot. 

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - prepaid taxi from Chennai Airport - tipping?! Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

You can expect this guy to ask for a tip. I gave him 20 rupees. I know nothing about tipping, sorry.

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - prepaid taxi from Chennai Airport. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

And then…

I arrived to the bus station pretty easily! 

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - prepaid taxi from Chennai Airport. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - prepaid taxi from Chennai Airport to ctmb koyembedu bus station. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

It was about a 30 minute drive, in some Chennai traffic.

 

 

Arrival to Chennai bus station

CMBT Koyembedu

This Chennai bus station is pretty expansive, so there are a number of points you may enter from.

There was a sign at the place I was dropped off by taxi.

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to get to chennai bus station. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to get to chennai bus station. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

And that will take you into the bus terminal. 

And then basically, you are looking for the area of platform 1 or 2. This is where you can find the buses to Pondicherry.

From where I entered, it was at the far end.

If you have doubts and see the “enquiry” counter first, you can ask there for direction. 

I went to this counter, the guy there appeared to be happily chatting away with his good friend on the phone. The only way to get your question answered seemed to be to interrupt him, and he did not seem to mind. 

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. bus reservations ticket counter to buy tickets. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. bus reservations ticket counter to buy tickets. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. bus reservations ticket counter to buy tickets. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

 

How to find the bus to Pondicherry

So once you get to the area of platform 1 or 2…

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. which platform to go. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. which platform to go. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. which platform to go. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. which platform to go. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. which platform to go. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. which platform to go. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

You can find someone who looks like they work for the bus system and ask them…

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

Or you can keep walking until you find a sign for Pondicherry (Puducherry)…

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

This is one of the only destinations that’s written in English!

 

Or you can look at the front of each individual bus for the sign that says Pondicherry…

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - local government bus to pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry - express pondicherry to chennai. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - local government bus to pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry - express pondicherry to chennai. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

Or you can listen for someone who’s repeatedly yelling out “Pondy Pondy Pondy”!

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - how to find bus to pondicherry at chennai bus station. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

 

And then…

Get on that bus to Pondicherry!!

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - local government bus to pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry - express pondicherry to chennai. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - local government bus to pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry bus ticket seats - express pondicherry to chennai. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - local government bus to pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry bus ticket seats - express pondicherry to chennai. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

 

How to buy the bus ticket

So with local government buses like these, you pay for the bus fare once you get on the bus. 

At some point after the bus departed, the ticket worker came around.

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - local government bus to pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry bus ticket fare how much cost price - express pondicherry to chennai. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

The cost of the bus ticket from Chennai to Pondicherry was 130 rupees (US$2). 

 

 

And then…

Enjoy the bus ride to Pondicherry!!

Or try to anyway. 😉

 

To start with, you will be going through loud Chennai city traffic. 

And then you’ll be on some faster roads too. 

 

This turns into a full bus.

That’s another one of the perks of getting on the bus where the route originates. 

You will likely be able to find an open seat!

You can generally find a spot to put your luggage at the front of the bus if it won’t fit with you in the seat or on the luggage rack if it’s available.

I was sitting in a one-seater at the very front of the bus, so I felt pretty comfortable for much of the ride! 

Well, as comfortable as a bus ride like this can be. 😉 

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry bus ride. local government bus. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry bus ride. local government bus. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry bus ride. local government bus. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry bus ride. local government bus. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry bus ride. local government bus. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - express chennai to pondicherry bus ride. local government bus. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

 

Arrive at Pondicherry bus station

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - pondicherry bus station. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

And then there are rickshaws right at the bus station that you can take to get to your hotel! 

Now, unfortunately, there are some rickshaw drivers here (not all) that will try to take advantage of tourists ($$). 

So it’s a good idea to try to figure out how much is appropriate to pay before you arrive. (Like asking the hotel you’re staying at.)

The first time I took a rickshaw from Pondicherry bus station (after arriving from the airport), I was quoted a price that was around what I was told. Well 30 rupees (US$0.50) extra, but that’s okay – 100 rupees (US$1.50) instead of the 70 rupees I was told.

When I returned back to the Pondicherry bus station (coming back from Mahabalipuram), this time a rickshaw drive told me 200 rupees for the same destination. (So double the previous time.)

“Night charge” he said. Um, no. The first time I took a rickshaw, I arrived later and it was the weekend!

Then he asked me how much… I said 70, he said 100, and that was that! (I don’t like having to “bargain” like this… but double is a bit ridiculous!)

 

Chennai airport to Pondicherry - rickshaw from pondicherry bus station. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu

 

 

Where to stay in Pondicherry?!

See the map below (partner website) for prices of hotels in Pondicherry’s French Quarter heritage district and beyond.

If you don’t see a map, see some Pondicherry hotel deals here.

Also have a look at heritage hotels in the French Quarter of Pondicherry.

 



Booking.com

 

 

Where to go from Pondicherry?!

 

1. Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus

Chennai airport to Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram bus. Places to visit in Tamil Nadu by public transportation. Backpacking South India

 

2. Pondicherry to Madurai overnight bus

Chennai airport to Pondicherry to Madurai bus. Places to visit in Tamil Nadu by public transportation. Backpacking South India

 

 

Best way to get from Chennai to Pondicherry. Backpacking South India, Tamil Nadu.

 

HAPPY CHENNAI TO PONDICHERRY BUS RIDE!

 

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