Mahabalipuram bus stand ECR or town bus station. public transportation. Chennai to Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry. Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram to Chennai. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India travel blog

 

So you’re backpacking around South India and Mahabalipuram is on your list of places to visit! 

 

Mahabalipuram bus stand. Things to do in Mahabalipuram. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Bus can be a good way to get to/from Mahabalipuram when you’re traveling along the coast (like to/from Chennai or Pondicherry). 

 

Mahabalipuram bus stand. ECR road. Chennai to Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry. Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram to Chennai. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

When it comes to Mahabalipuram and taking the bus to/from Mahabalipuram, there are basically 2 bus stands to know about:

  • Mahabalipuram bus station in town
  • Mahabalipuram bus stand on ECR (East Coast Road)

 

 

Mahabalipuram bus station in town

Mahabalipuram bus station in town. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Mahabalipuram bus stand on ECR

Mahabalipuram bus stand on ECR road bypass. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Well, there are 2 ECR bus stands – one for each direction, on opposite sides of the road!

 

 

So how to you know which bus stand is best for you?!

 

 

Bus station in town OR bus stand on ECR?!

I’ve traveled between Chennai and Pondicherry, so this will be about going between:

  • Mahabalipuram and Chennai
  • Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry

 

In this area, I’ve gone:

 

In short:

  • If you are going to/from Chennai, it can be either the bus station in town OR the ECR bus stand
  • If you are going to/from Pondicherry, the ECR bus stand is the one you’ll take the bus from or get dropped off at

 

 

Mahabalipuram bus station in town

For Chennai

Mahabalipuram bus station in town. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Good for:

  • Arriving on a bus from Chennai to Mahabalipuram
  • Getting a bus from Mahabalipuram to Chennai

 

If you arrive to the bus station in town, you’ll find rickshaws around if you want to get one. 

 

Mahabalipuram bus station. rickshaw. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram bus station. rickshaw. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

If you’re looking to go to Chennai from Mahabalipuram, you can head to the “inquiry office” to ask about bus timings.

If no one’s there, you can also ask other people around who seem to be in-the-know (like people in uniform such as bus workers or rickshaw drivers) about when the next bus to Chennai is. They will probably know.

 

Mahabalipuram bus station in town. Ask about bus timings to Chennai. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram bus station in town. Ask about bus timings to Chennai. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

I asked at the Mahabalipuram bus station, and I was told there are NO buses from this Mahabalipuram bus station to Pondicherry. 

So you have to go to the ECR bus stand to get a bus to Pondicherry.

 

 

Mahabalipuram ECR bus stand

For Chennai and Pondicherry

Mahabalipuram bus stand. ECR road bus stop. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Good for:

  • Arriving on a bus from Chennai
  • Arriving on a bus from Pondicherry
  • Getting a bus from Mahabalipuram to Chennai
  • Getting a bus from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry

 

Basically, no matter which direction you’re going, you can get a bus from the ECR bus stand! 

 

Mahabalipuram bus stand. ECR road bus stop. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

 

Arriving at ECR bus stand (drop-off point)

If you take an ECR bus from Chennai or from Pondicherry to get to Mahabalipuram, you’ll be dropped off a little bit away from town.

You can either walk (about 20-30 minutes) or you can get a rickshaw.

 

When you’re dropped off, you can look for the sign pointing in the direction of Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram). 

 

Mahabalipuram bus stand ECR to Mahablipuram town, shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram bus stand ECR to Mahablipuram town, shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

You can start walking that way.

You will soon be approached by a rickshaw, or you will see a rickshaw stand basically within seconds of starting down the street. 

 

Mahabalipuram bus stand ECR. Rickshaw to Mahablipuram town, shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram bus stand ECR. Rickshaw to Mahablipuram town, shore temple, unesco sites, beach. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

 

Departing from ECR bus stand (pick-up point)

If you are taking an ECR bus to Chennai or to Pondicherry, the main thing is to make sure you’re standing on the correct side of the road.

You can ask around, or you can consult Google Maps.

But basically…

 

 

ECR bus stand to Chennai

If you are going TO Chennai, you want to walk across the road to the other side. The bus stand is on the side away from town.

 

Mahabalipuram bus stand ECR to Chennai. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram bus stand ECR to Chennai. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram bus stand ECR to Chennai. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

 

ECR bus stand to Pondicherry

If you are going TO Pondicherry, you want to stay on the town side of ECR.

 

Mahabalipuram bus stand ECR to Pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram bus stand ECR to Pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram bus stand ECR to Pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Look for the “ECR” bus

And then, when trying to figure out which bus that passes by you should get on to get to Chennai or to Pondicherry…

You’ll be looking for a bus that says “ECR” on it.

 

Mahabalipuram bus stand. ECR government bus. green. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram bus stand. ECR government bus. blue. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

This is a bus traveling along ECR (East Coast Road) with destination Chennai or Pondicherry, depending on which direction you are going!

It might be a green bus or a blue bus.

 

Mahabalipuram bus stand. ECR government bus. green. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram bus stand. ECR government bus. blue. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Then once you’re on the bus, confirm that it’s going to your destination!

 

 

Map of Mahabalipuram bus stand locations

Click on one of the 3 bus icons for the brief info about each bus stand.

You can also click the icon on the top left of the map below, and click on a bus stand name in the list to see more.

 

 

 

Mahabalipuram bus stand. ECR road. Chennai to Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry. Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram to Chennai. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

HAPPY MAHABALIPURAM BUS RIDE!

 

The need-to-know India travel tips!
If it's your first trip to India, be sure to see these tips for getting around India on a budget, and more! You might wait until India to buy this mosquito repellent that works for many foreigners! Also be sure to see how to spend one month in South India and 2 weeks in North India, as well as tips for the Golden Triangle. And, overnight sleeper bus travel isn't so bad, and neither is traveling in general class on the train! Also see the easy way to get an e-visa. And this is the easy way to book train tickets online as a foreigner. I've used it, and it's simple! You can just show the e-ticket on your phone.

There are affiliate links on this page that lead to partner websites.


How to book India train tickets online as a foreigner
If you don't want to go through the complicated process of setting up an IRCTC Indian railways account as a foreigner...
Then the most convenient way to buy train tickets online is through this booking website. I've used it, and it's super simple! You buy the ticket, and then show the electronic version on your phone once you're on the train. Compared to buying directly through an Indian ticket booking website (IRCTC account required) or directly at the train station in India, there is a small convenience fee, as well as a less flexible cancellation policy, though!

India tourist visa tip!
Access to India as a foreigner seems to be getting friendlier! There's an e-visa now and this visa fee is far less than it was before. See the current cost of an e-visa by selecting your country. That's a partner website to make the evisa application process less stressful - it's possible to apply on your own too. See about your options on how to get an e-visa for India.

Travel insurance for India - just in case!
You get travel insurance hoping that you'll never have to use it. But if you do end up needing to use it, chances are that you will be VERY happy that you did get it! See how to figure out the cost of travel insurance for India.

  Backpacking India travel guide, South India travel blog: Best places to visit in India itinerary - one month, 3 weeks. India travel blog with best places to visit in India Backpacking Kerala travel guide, India: Best places to visit in Kerala itinerary - one week, 7 days, 10 days. Cochin, Alleppey, Varkala, Munnar. Kerala India travel blog with top Kerala tourism destinations. Backpacking Kerala travel guide, India: Best things to do in Kerala backwaters activities - canoe, kayaking. Kerala India travel blog.