How to get from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry - best way, public transportation by bus, train, taxi. Chennai to Pondicherry bus, ECR route. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India travel blog

 

So you’re backpacking around South India, and you’re going from…

 

Mahabalipuram…

 

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry by public transportation bus or train. Best things to do in Mahabalipuram. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India travel blog

 

…to…

 

Pondicherry!

 

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry by public transportation bus or train. Best things to do in Pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India travel blog

 

 

How to get from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry

The quick list:

  • Go to the Mahabalipuram bus stand on ECR (East Coast Road)
  • Look for the bus that comes that says “ECR” (and Pondicherry) on it, and get on that bus
  • Enjoy the bus ride!
  • Get off the bus at Pondicherry bus station! 
  • Visit Pondicherry!

 

 

Go to the Mahabalipuram bus stand on ECR

How to get from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. best way. Mahabalipuram ECR bus stand from Chennai to Pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Look for the bus that comes that says “ECR” (and Pondicherry) on it, and get on that bus

How to get from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. best way. ECR bus from Chennai to Pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Enjoy the bus ride!

How to get from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. best way. ECR road. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Arrive at Pondicherry bus station! 

How to get from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. best way. pondicherry bus station. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Visit Pondicherry!

How to get from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. best way. best things to do in pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

 

So…

When you’re headed to Pondicherry from Mahabalipuram…

 

Go to Mahabalipuram bus stand on ECR

So there is also a Mahabalipuram bus station in town, but this won’t help you in getting to Pondicherry.

I was told there is no bus to Pondicherry from the main bus station.

This means that you do need to go to the ECR Mahabalipuram bus stand. 

ECR stands for East Coast Road but you’ll hardly ever hear anyone call it that. As the name indicates, this is a road that runs along the coast. It’s also a main road.

ECR might be around a 20 minute walk from town, or you can get a rickshaw.

 

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

 

The most important thing here when you get to ECR is to make sure you’re standing on the correct side of the road!

So coming from town (the beach, Shore Temple, etc), once you get to ECR, you’ll see a bus shelter on the opposite side of the road.

 

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

 

You’d have to cross the road for this, and this is NOT the correct side if you’re trying to get to Pondicherry. (If you are going in the opposite direction from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram, it’s the side you would be dropped off at!)

So basically, stay put on the town side of the road! 

 

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

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

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

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

 

You can also ask around or consult Google Maps to make sure that you’re standing on the correct side of the road.

 

And then…

Wait for the bus to arrive! 

 

 

You’re looking to get on a bus that says “ECR” on it

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

 

The bus you’re waiting for is the ECR bus that goes from Chennai to Pondicherry. 

This will be fairly easy to identify! 

 

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

 

And then once you get on the bus, you can confirm that it’s a bus going to Pondicherry.

 

 

What are the bus timings?

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

 

Basically, you don’t really need to be concerned about specific bus timings when you are traveling from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry.

It seems that there are very frequent buses that go from Chennai to Pondicherry taking ECR, which means that you very likely won’t have to wait long for the next bus to arrive. 

I waited like 2 minutes! 

 

 

How much is a bus from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram?

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus ticket cost how much price. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

When I took this bus, it cost 91 rupees (US$1.50). 

 

 

How long does the bus ride take?

So just to give an idea, these were the bus timings when I took this bus:

  • 4:40pm – Depart Mahabalipuram ECR bus stand
  • 5:30pm – Stop for break (10 minutes)
  • 7:00pm – Arrive at Pondicherry bus station

So this bus ride from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry took a little under 2.5 hours.

 

 

Rest area

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. rest area break. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

So, this bus ride did have a break. (This is not always normal on government buses.)

Generally, you won’t expect too much from these rest areas on the side of the road.

You can get small snacks here.

There are usually also toilets here, although again it’s best to not expect too much in cleanliness. 

 

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. rest area break. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. rest area break. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. rest area break. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

 

Now…

The bus ride from Mahabalipuram bus stand along ECR to Pondicherry!

This bus ride was a case in point about why you want to try to take the bus at the starting point of the bus route as much as possible when you’re traveling by bus in India!

It wasn’t possible when starting from Mahabalipuram, so you’ll just want to keep your expectations in check.

And what does that mean?!

It can possibly mean…

 

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus seats interior. Chennai to Pondicherry bus ECR. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Crowded bus… no seats… and you need to stand!

 

 

Do you need to stand for the full 2.5 hours on the bus?!

Well, in my case, I was able to get a seat relatively early on. 

Although it did require having to be a little quick about moving into an empty seat! (And luck with standing near someone who is getting off at an early stop!)

After about 30 minutes of standing, I was able to sit down, although it was still a full bus. 

 

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus seats interior. Chennai to Pondicherry bus ECR. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus seats interior. Chennai to Pondicherry bus ECR. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

But after about an hour from getting on the bus at Mahabalipuram, basically everyone was able to get a seat. 

 

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus seats interior. Chennai to Pondicherry bus ECR. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

 

Scenes along ECR!

Well, most of these pictures I took on my bus ride from Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram, but the scenes are basically the same!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Arrive at Pondicherry bus station!

Once you get off the bus, there’s a rickshaw stand nearby so you can get a rickshaw.

 

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. Rickshaw from Pondicherry bus station. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

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 Chennai 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 from Mahabalipuram, this time a rickshaw driver told me 200 rupees for the same destination. (So double the previous time.)

“Night charge” he said. Um, no. Last 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!)

 

 

And then once you’ve settled into Pondicherry a bit…

 

 

Visit Pondicherry!!

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. visit pondicherry. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

 

Where to stay in Pondicherry

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. Where to stay in Pondicherry french quarter, white town, heritage hotels. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

Pondicherry is largely known for its “French Quarter.”

There are places to stay within the French Quarter itself (also called the neighborhood of White Town), and you can also stay a little outside the French Quarter too. 

 

Put in future dates below (partner website) to see hotel prices in the French Quarter and beyond!

Or, see Pondicherry hotel deals here

And there are also heritage hotels in Pondicherry.

 



Booking.com

 

Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry bus. ECR road to Pondicherry evening timing. Backpacking Tamil Nadu, South India

 

HAPPY MAHABALIPURAM TO PONDICHERRY BUS RIDE!