An Ooty travel experience, discover “the queen of hill stations”:
On the way to Ooty:
My journey to Ooty started in Madikeri. I did not bother checking the distance nor the time of the ride between the two cities, i just knew that Ooty is somewhere to the south, i went to the bus station and caught a bus (a spontaneous start for that Ooty travel experience).
The bus ride started and i was enjoying the scenery of the Kodagu district (more on that area in the Madikeri post), at some point i felt that we were going east, and not south as expected. The local guy who was sitting near me asked me what was wrong, i told him my thoughts, and he confirmed, the bus actually was on its way to Mysore (Eastern part of Karnataka state). The guy told me that the final stop of the bus was Ooty (good news), the bad news were that Mysore is in a completely opposite direction, which meant that my bus ride was going to be longer than i though it would be. I did not care much, I still had around 9 months of travel time left, so I made myself comfortable on the seat, smiled and got into a conversation with my bus ride mate.
The bus ride was really long, a one and a half hours stop in Mysore, few more hours on the road, a stop on the entrance to “Bandipur wildlife sanctuary” from 2AM-6AM and..
I arrived to the “Queen of the hill stations” at about 10AM, which summed up a total of sixteen hours bus ride and the official beginning of my Ooty travel experience. The Ooty central bus station is close to the cheap accommodation area called the Bazaar Road, even the budget guesthouses are still a little more expensive in Ooty if compared to other parts of India. Expect to pay at least 400INR for a double room. I wanted some “luxury”, so i got a room in “Hotel Manek” for 600INR, which included a big double bed, T.V with many channels and hot water buckets for shower at any time of day.
Ooty has amazingly fresh air and cool climate, great for exploring and walking around. I had no prior information on sightseeing places in Ooty, so i just followed the saying “right is right“, and turned right at the hotel exit. The walk was tremendous and what i noticed fast was that Ooty travel experience can be sweet, literally, because Ooty is a kingdom of chocolate! Many sorts of homemade chocolate are sold around town, cheap prices and great quality.
Around 40 minutes into the walk i bumped into the Ooty “The Government Botanical Gardens”. The Botanical Gardens are divided into 6 sections namely Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, Conservatory, Fountain Terrace and Nurseries. There i met some Indian guys from Kerala state, they were on their last day of the Ooty trip. After spending around am hour admiring the beauty if the gardens with the gang, the guys offered me a ride to the Ooty lake.
Ooty lake is an artificial lake constructed by John Sullivan, in 1824. A nice place to chill and enjoy some of the lake activities, like boating facilities with paddle boats, row boats, and motor boats. It also features a garden, a mini train and an amusement park.
From the lake it took me about 30 minutes to get to the Bazaar Road, by that time it was getting dark and the temperature dropped fast. The evenings in Ooty are pretty cold, the nightlife is non-existent, so my suggestion is; grab a cup of hot beverage and crawl under the blanket!
Out of Ooty on a local bus:
Day number two of the Ooty travel experience started with Masala Dosa, a popular South Indian dish, and a cup of South Indian coffee. In the hotel restaurant i met a woman named Galia, she was a solo traveler like me. Her plan was to go and visit sightseeing attractions out of Ooty, on a local bus. We teamed up and got on a bus towards Gudalur, there are four main sightseeing locations on the way, The shooting medu, Pykara falls, Pykara dam and Frog hill view-point. From Gudalur it is possible to take a bus to Theppakadu, where you can find Mudumalai National Park. Galia and I only had the chance to visit the Pykara falls and the shooting medu, on the way back to Ooty we also visited the Chocolate Museum.
The shooting medu is a place with cool green scenery and where many Bollywood movies have been filmed.
The Pykara falls are water falls in the Pykara river.
And finally the Chocolate Museum!
I highly advise on taking the local bus and seeing all of the locations mentioned above, you won’t regret it! For the next day, the plan was to take the Nilgiri Mountain Railway to Coonoor town.
Ooty – Coonoor, a simple WoW!
This next day trip out of Ooty took place in Coonoor, a municipality in the Nilgiris district. Coonoor is located at an altitude of 1,850 m above sea level, and is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiri hills after Ooty, famous for the Nilgiri tea and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, which is one of the oldest mountain railways in India and was declared by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The train to Coonoor costs 10INR and it takes about an hour to reach the town. The scenery on the way is unbelievably beautiful. You will see hills, grasslands, villages, waterfalls and more! Make sure you get the window seat!
After arriving to the Coonoor train station, Galia and I hired a rickshaw to go around Coonoor area. The main sightseeing spots are:
- Sim’s park – a beautiful park with botanical gardens in Coonoor.
- Lamb rock – a sightseeing spot high in the hills.
- Laws falls – waterfalls spot. Good for chilling.
- The Dolphin’s nose viewpoint – a viewpoint of the Catherine falls.
- Lady Canning’s seat – a viewpoint.
The price for covering all the locations mentioned + a tea factory is around 500INR for a rickshaw. With luck not being on our side that day, the town was covered with hard fog, so we could hardly see anything.
The day trip was great, the fog kind of let us down, but not completely. We still enjoyed each other’s company and were overall happy by the rickshaw tour. Besides the sightseeing spots mentioned above, Coonoor does not have much to offer. There are local dhabas and some western restaurants in the city center.
After coming back to Ooty i had to say bye-bye to Galia, she went off to Madurai the next day and i continued to..
The next destination after Ooty was Tiruvannamalai, a city that should not be skipped if traveling in Tamil Nadu state, India.
This sums up my Ooty travel experience, thanks for reading friends!