There are many ways to reach Pondi. You can fly down, take a train or a bus. You could drive too.
There are many resorts, hotels, Airbnb stays and hostels one can stay in. I personally prefer hostels now (they allow me to meet new people and offer good value for money as well) and so I stayed at the Micasa Hostel. The hostel is in a good location – it is close to the bus stand, railway station, the beach and many eating joints as well.
Exploring Pondi and things to do
Like any other place, you can explore Pondi on foot or on a car or a motorcycle/scooter. If you fancy it, you can cycle around as well.
I personally feel that one gets to take in a lot more when exploring on foot. Granted, it is unavoidable to use a vehicle to reach a few spots. But I recommend that the exploring be done on foot to take in as much as possible.
Also considering that I was there to shoot and polish my skills behind the camera, I started going around on foot.
I walked around the French Quarter (White Town to be precise), looking for moments and searching for layers in the scene for me to shoot. I walked a lot (the health tracker on the phone must have thought that I had tied the phone to a dog and let it loose) over 3 days (you could plan a longer stay and explore some more – it’s all up to how leisurely you want to be). The weather was not that bad - while it was humid and sunny for the most part (I did not mind the sun - I love it when it's sunny), the rains cooled it down just enough to make it pleasant. Between monsoon and winter should be the ideal time to visit (unless you want to experience the scorching coastal summer).
There are other places to see such as the new lighthouse (the old one is shut) which is open from 3 to 5PM, the Mission street cathedral, the Our Lady Angels Church and the Goubert Market that one can see (I forgot to go to the new lighthouse and did not go to the Mission Street Cathedral – I walked past the cathedral multiple times, but it did not interest me as much). If you are there on a Sunday, there is a Sunday market as well.
Pondicherry is known for one other thing - Auroville - a super-exclusive "experimental" township. Visitors are restricted to certain areas that have a museum, cafes, shops, a path-way to what is called the "Matrimandir" and the Matrimandir itself. You can either rent a car or a bike to get there and return. It is little out of town, so taking a vehicle to reach it is recommended.
While one can see the Matrimandir from a distance, to enter, one has to go Auroville and ask for a pass one or days in advance (I did not do this, so I only saw it from the outside). Serenity beach is on the way back and you can drop in for some surfing lessons (I didn't get any. I still cannot swim properly - still working on getting over my phobia of water).