Things to do near Chennai Airport

Maximize your layover at Chennai Airport. Explore top things to do near Chennai Airport, dining, and relaxation options while you wait at the Chennai Airport. Read here to know more!

Sep 22, 2023
5 mins read

Top Things to Do On A Long Layover At The Chennai Airport


Before we check out the list of the top things to do on a long layover at Chennai Airport, let's clarify what a layover is. A layover is a scheduled stopover at an intermediate airport between your departure and final destination. It's a part of air travel that many travelers experience. The importance of making the most of a long layover cannot be overstated. Instead of idly waiting at the airport, you can turn this waiting period into a mini-adventure by exploring new places and creating lasting memories. Now, let's see the exciting things to do near Chennai Airport during your layover.

Preparing for Your Layover

Researching Your Layover Duration

The first step to making the most of your layover is to know how much time you have to spare. Research the duration of your layover, which can vary depending on your flight itinerary. This information will be crucial in planning your activities.

Checking Visa Requirements

If you plan to venture outside the airport during your layover and explore the vibrant city of Chennai, checking the visa requirements is essential. Depending on your nationality, you must apply for a visa to enter India. Ensure that you have the necessary documents to make your excursion hassle-free.

Packing Essentials for a Comfortable Layover

Packing smartly for your layover can make a world of difference. Here's a list of essentials to pack in your carry-on:

  • Chargers and Power Banks: Keep your electronic devices charged to stay connected and entertained.

  • Travel Pillow and Blanket: Rest comfortably during your layover.

  • Snacks: A small stash of snacks can come in handy if you get hungry between meals.

  • Change of Clothes: Always keep a spare set of clothes. They come in handy in case of spills or if you want to freshen up.

  • Entertainment: Books, magazines, or digital entertainment to pass the time.

  • Travel Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, and facial wipes for a quick refresh.

Explore the Chennai Airport

Overview of Chennai International Airport

Chennai International Airport, or Meenambakkam Airport, is the primary gateway to southern India. It's a bustling hub for domestic and international flights. The airport's modern facilities and services cater to the needs of travellers worldwide.

Terminal Layout and Facilities

Please familiarise yourself with the airport's layout to navigate it effortlessly. Chennai Airport is divided into domestic and international terminals, both equipped with essential amenities such as:

  • Restaurants and Cafes: Enjoy a variety of dining options, from local cuisine to international favourites.

  • Duty-Free Shopping: Explore many shops offering everything from souvenirs to luxury goods.

  • Lounges: Discover comfortable lounges to relax, freshen up, and enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages.

  • Wi-Fi: Stay connected with free Wi-Fi access throughout the airport.

  • Currency Exchange: Exchange your money for Indian Rupees if you plan to shop or dine at the airport.

Information on Duty-Free Shopping Options

Chennai Airport is a shopper's paradise. Explore duty-free shops that offer various products, including perfumes, electronics, jewellery, and local handicrafts. Remember to check the duty-free allowances for your destination to make the most of your shopping experience.

Relax and Recharge

Finding Comfortable Seating Areas

Finding a comfortable place to relax is essential after a long flight or during a layover. Chennai Airport provides various seating areas, but if you want added comfort and amenities, consider visiting one of the airport lounges. Lounge access often includes complimentary snacks, beverages, Wi-Fi, and shower facilities, allowing you to recharge physically and mentally.

Tips for Getting a Good Nap During Your Layover

If you're feeling fatigued and need some rest, follow these tips to catch a quick nap:

  • Use Travel Accessories: Travel pillows and eye masks can significantly enhance your nap.

  • Find a Quiet Spot: Seek out quieter areas away from the hustle and bustle of the terminal.

  • Set the alarm: Ensure you wake up in time for your next flight.

  • Secure Your Belongings: Keep closely watching your belongings while you rest.

Enjoy Culinary Delights

An Overview of Dining Options at Chennai Airport

Exploring the culinary scene at Chennai Airport is a delightful experience. You can savour various cuisines, from traditional South Indian dishes to international fast food. Here are some dining options to consider:

  • South Indian Delights: Taste local specialities like dosa, idli, and biryani at restaurants like Kaaraikudi and Sankalp.

  • International Chains: Familiar names like McDonald's and Pizza Hut offer quick, familiar bites.

  • Cafes and Bakeries: Enjoy a cup of South Indian filter coffee or grab a pastry at various restaurants.

Local cuisine is an excellent way to taste Chennai's culinary culture without leaving the airport.

Retail Therapy

Exploring the Shopping Opportunities at the Airport

Chennai Airport's shopping options are more comprehensive than duty-free stores. You can also explore a variety of retail outlets offering souvenirs and gifts. Here are some popular items to consider:

  • Silk Sarees: Chennai is famous for its silk sarees; you can find a beautiful collection at the airport.

  • Spices: Take home the flavours of India with aromatic spice blends.

  • Jewellery: Adorn yourself or buy exquisite pieces as gifts.

  • Handicrafts: Discover unique handcrafted items that showcase India's rich culture and artistry.

Tax-free shopping and Duty-Free Allowances

One of the perks of shopping at the airport is the opportunity for tax-free and duty-free shopping. Be aware of the allowances and restrictions that apply to your destination to maximise these savings.

Cultural Experience

Information on Art Installations and Exhibitions

While at Chennai Airport, take some time to appreciate the local art and culture. The airport often hosts art installations and exhibitions that showcase the talents of Indian artists. It's a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the region's vibrant culture.

Learning About the Local Culture Through Airport Displays

Chennai Airport is more than just a transportation hub; it's a gateway to the culture and heritage of Tamil Nadu. Explore displays and exhibits that provide insights into the rich history and traditions of the region.

Sightseeing Options

Quick Excursions Near the Airport

If your layover allows extra time, consider taking a quick excursion near the airport. Chennai tourist attractions in close proximity, such as:

  • St. Thomas Mount: Visit this historic church and enjoy panoramic city views.

  • Guindy National Park: Explore the serene beauty of this urban national park.

  • Phoenix Market City: Shop for more souvenirs or enjoy a meal at this nearby mall.

Transportation Options for City Exploration

Chennai Airport is well-connected to the city, making it convenient to explore. You can opt for taxis, app-based rides, or even the Chennai Metro to delve deeper into the city's offerings. Plan your time according to the places to visit in Chennai correctly to ensure a smooth return to the airport.

Must-See Attractions in Chennai

If you have a more extended layover and wish to venture into Chennai, here are some must-see attractions:

  • Marina Beach: Enjoy a stroll along one of the longest urban beaches in the world.

  • Kapaleeshwarar Temple: Visit this stunning Dravidian-style temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

  • Fort St. George: Explore this historic fort and the museum within its premises.

  • Mahabalipuram: If you have several hours, visit this unique UNESCO World Heritage site in Mahabalipuram, known for its temples and rock-cut sculptures.

Useful Tips and Reminders

Making the Most of Your Layover Time

To ensure you make the most of your layover at Chennai Airport, remember these tips:

  • Plan: Know your layover duration and prioritise activities accordingly.

  • Stay Informed: Always keep note of the flight updates and gate changes.

  • Manage Time: Allocate sufficient time for security and immigration procedures.

  • Safety First: Always keep an eye on your belongings and stay cautious.

Security and Immigration Considerations

When leaving the airport during your layover, be aware of security and immigration requirements. Ensure you have the necessary travel documents and plan your return to the airport with ample time.

Staying Organised and Informed

Lastly, staying organised and informed is key to a successful layover experience. Use airport apps or information desks to access up-to-date information on your flights and services at the airport.


Chennai Airport offers many opportunities to make the most of your long layover. From exploring the terminal's facilities to indulging in local cuisine, shopping for souvenirs, and even venturing into the city for sightseeing, you have a world of experiences. Don't let your layover be a mere wait between flights. Use this time to explore, relax, and savour the unique offerings of Chennai and its airport. Your layover can transform into a memorable part of your journey.

As you embark on your layover adventure at Chennai Airport, we wish you safe travels and hope your time here is filled with unforgettable moments and discoveries. Enjoy your layover to the fullest, and make it a part of your travel story. Chennai, with its rich culture and warm hospitality, awaits your exploration.

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