The Best Chennai City Tour: Storytrails Walking Tours
Chennai (formerly Madras) isn’t a city packed with must see sights, and the lonely planet doesn’t give it the best review, so I didn’t have huge expectations when I visited Chennai but it was a city that soon got under my skin.
I believe that the best way to get to know a city, to get to the heart of the city and to begin to understand it’s people, history, culture and way of life, is to simply walk and soak it all up. Walking can connect you with the sights, sounds and smells of a place unlike any other way and is usually where I begin my exploration of a new city.
But to really start to understand a place meeting local people really adds to the experience and that’s why taking a walking tour is often one of the first things I do to get my bearings and to start to understand a city.
Storytrails are different from other city walking tours that I have taken – each tour is based around a theme and takes on an innovative and captivating story telling approach – it’s not so much a city sightseeing tour, but it’s a meander through a city, with a local friend who can weave in the history, myths, legends and fascinating little known facts so that you develop and understanding and a connection with this city.
I took the Bazaar Trail, one of the most popular tours. Especially in India, the heart and pulse of the city are often found in the bustling markets and the Bazaar Trail took us through bustling marketplaces in the most historical part of Chennai – Georgetown. I loved how we visited the ‘ordinary’ places like the bazaar, and some off the beaten track secret gems like the Armenian Church that I would never have found on my own.
Our guide Lakshmi cleverly weaved in stories that bought to life the interesting history of Chennai, the myths, the legends and the daily life that made me understand and enjoy Chennai so much more.
India can be a complex country and culture for an outsider to understand and I can’t emphasis enough how much having a local friend or guide can really enhance your experience and understanding of this fascinating culture, even better when it’s done with story telling.
Story telling really brings the place alive, the history, the legends, the interesting and little known fun facts, the lives and loves of the people who live here. Chennai (formerly Madras) isn’t so big on tourist sights like Delhi or Rajasthan, the best part of Chennai was actually the people and their stories and the most fascinating and enjoyable aspect of my visit was talking an innovative walking tour with Storytrails – it’s the best Chennai city tour in my opinion.
By the way: Storytrails kindly hosted me on this tour but all opinions are my own. I wish every city in India had tours like this and that I had more time to check out the other trails in Chennai and Madurai. Don’t just take my word for it – Storytrails are an award wining company – check out other reviews on Trip Advisor.