Chennai (Madras) Warnings and Dangers
The coastal city of Chennai was once known as Madras has been renamed Chennai. When visiting, pay close attention to certain problems such as problems with food and drinking quality.
While Chennai (Madras) makes an ideal place to get a sense of vibrant, modern India, it also poses dangers including lack of quality drinking water, beggars and wild dogs.
Pay Attention to the Water
If at all possible, avoid drinking tap water. It can harbor parasites that can make you very ill. You should use bottled water at all times, including when bathing. This is particularly important during the monsoon season from October to December. During this time, there are frequent periods of heavy rain in Chennai (Madras). Rain clogs the sewers in the city and brings mud into many places. Bring an umbrella, a raincoat and thick rubber boots. Watch where you step when walking the local streets as they may flood. There is a beach here but should think twice about bathing in it as the currents are very strong and the water is not always clean.
Be Careful Where You Eat
When eating in Chennai (Madras) is best to be picky. There are many street vendors. Don’t eat the food unless you’re absolutely confident it looks clean. All fruit and vegetables you purchase should be washed in bottled water.
Many of the first Europeans to visit the area were startled at just how hot. Even a short excursion during the later afternoon may startle you with the intensity of the heat. Keep to shaded areas at all times and make sure you have enough water with you so you don’t get dehydrated. The air in this crowded city is also polluted so bear that in mind if you have underlying breathing problems.
When walking in the city, be mindful. Dogs are common in this area but they are not kept as pets so they run wild. Do not pet them or go near them. When crossing the street, keep in mind you will encounter bicycles, scooters, cars and buses, all of them trying to get somewhere fast. Walk as cautiously as possible as streets crossings are not always marked. If you do decide to rent a car or another method of transport, remember that they obey English rules and drive on the left not the right. Traffic can be very heavy. If you decide to take a bus instead, they are cheaper but they are often not air-conditioned so expect to endure the heat when you’re inside. You may not get a seat, particularly on the more heavily traveled bus routes. Beggars are legion on the streets here and may include young children. Do not give them money or you will be followed everywhere you go.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings or dangers in Chennai (Madras).
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