Staying safe and keeping good health in Chennai is just like when traveling in a new place. It can only be accomplished with foresight by gaining knowledge of the area through information books, websites and other reference materials. It is important to be knowledgeable about the transportation rates, the currency value and the right places to go to for security reasons. Aside from knowing such facts, travelers need to be dressed accordingly, especially for women travelers, to detract probable unwanted attention from local men.
Staying safe and healthy in Chennai is easier than in some areas in India. The metropolitan area is generally safer in terms of crime. There are still however the occasional pick-pocketing, mugging and robberies that are typical to most urban areas. Travelers, most especially foreigners, would find themselves being charged with higher transportation fares by auto-rickshaw drivers if one is not familiar with the going rate. Auto-rickshaw drivers are notorious for fleecing their customers, regardless if they are foreign or local. It is best to have information about the going rate and make a deal for a fixed fare before boarding the vehicle.
Since traffic can be extremely heavy on the streets, where traffic signals are generally ignored by drivers, it will be best to be alert with your surroundings when walking because it can be difficult to see where to go to when caught among a large crowd. It will also be best to use underground crossings that are locally called “subways” by Chennaites when crossing the street. However, it is recommended to avoid walking along the subway at dark.
Just like traveling to any other foreign country, it will be best to drink only bottled water to stay healthy. Do not even trust water offered in small local restaurants since it may come from tap which can be extremely dangerous to a traveler’s bowel movement. It is also recommended not to drink anything cold or iced which are not commercially sold.
It is largely advisable to be aware of food sold on the open. Fruits and vegetables that have been sitting outside where insects like flies and other bugs have already landed on must be avoided since it can be unhealthy. Only eat fruits or vegetable sold in the open that will still require peeling of the skin such as bananas or coconut since they are relatively safe to eat. Beware of eating along roadside shops since food prepared here are mostly unhygienic. Drinking hot beverages such as coffee, tea and other local specialty beverages are supposedly safer.
Having a ready bottle of water at all times is recommended when in Chennai. Since weather conditions in areas closer to the equator are hot and humid, people are most likely to suffer from dehydration during summer months. In Chennai, the hottest time of the year is usually during the later part of May until June. It is best to keep hydrated and have some oral hydration salts like Electral that can be bought from pharmacies around the city.
With around eleven notable hospitals around, having good health in Chennai is easy since it is considered to be the medical capital of South East Asia. But of course, prevention is always better than cure and it is important to take note of the above pointers to keep illnesses away and enjoy your stay in Chennai.