Ooty travel blog: Sitting by the pavements of our campus, we were all excited about the trip we’d planned out – a 3 days visit to Ooty. We all had our phones out, one planning the transport, others calculating the itinerary budget, while I looked for cheap homestays.
However, upon reaching – our booked stay changed, the car we had digested more fuel, and ultimately, the trip was nothing short of an adventure. This is our experience of Ooty, Tamil Nadu – Ooty travel blog.
Ooty Travel Blog: Pictursque Hues on the Peaks
As we drove up the hills of Ooty through the hairpin curves, we couldn’t help but stick our heads out of the window. We even stopped at certain points for pictures where the buildings on the slopes added to colorful backdrops.
Never having visited Ooty before, I couldn’t get enough of the picturesque spot – the simple streets, the narrow curvy roads, and chocolates everywhere we went.
We were a group of 8, all my branch mates from college and also, hostellers like me. Since we had a week off on term end and most other kids had gone home, we had nothing to do on the campus.
That’s when we took off! We hadn’t had a trip in a long while since the pandemic and this was no doubt exciting, to begin with.
Driving to Ooty
Since we were a large group, we decided to rent a car for 6 of us. One guy had a Royal Enfield and he declared to bring that along. The transport got sorted out quickly – 2 on the bike and the 6 in the car.
We drove from Bangalore through Mysore and the Bandipur Tiger reserve down to Tamil Nadu Ooty through the steep hairpin curves.
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It was a 6-hour journey and 3 of us could drive (not me). So they took turns driving, each fighting on who’d drive up the curves on Ooty. In the end, my roommate who’d come along on the trip and not to mention, an excellent drive, took the wheel.
Thank god. I didn’t know how well the others drove, but I knew this guy drove smoothly. So we were in safe hands up the narrow curves after crossing the Bandipur reserve.
I could tell the route wasn’t for amateur drivers as huge buses and trucks zoomed past us by inches on the narrow paths. With blind spots, there were traffic mirrors on every hairpin curve for aid. To add to it was the chilly fog that slowly became denser as we moved up the mountains.
The Other Way to get There
Did you know self-driving rental cars are banned in Ooty? Call up any cab service in Ooty and they’ll offer you a tour with a chauffeur. I asked a couple of drivers myself and they said they don’t rent cars unassisted.
You can’t rent a self-drive car. You can tell the driver wherever you wish to go and he’ll take you. But you’re not driving.Madman, Ooty Travel Blog
With the roads narrow and tourists unused to them, rental cars aren’t allowed in Ooty anymore. Though the Bandipur reserve path was great, the recommended route (that we missed) is the Nilgiri Mountain Railway line (NMR) from Coimbatore. In fact, this train covers one of the best things to see in Ooty with it being a World Heritage site.
This is a 5-hour trip from Coimbatore where you get to land straight in Ooty train station. To say so much of it and we missed it.
We Changed our Stay TWICE!
I’d booked the stay for all 8 of us from Booking.com where we’d stay together. As we’d primarily focused on budget travel, we’d picked the cheapest one as it caught our eye right away.
But that’s where it went wrong. Our stay sure had the facilities mentioned on the site. But it didn’t say where it was. As we reached its address, we had come down a ditch with almost no view of the beautiful slopes we’d crossed.
So we asked our hosts for some arrangements and later got a villa with a beautiful view behind it for a sweet price.
Ooty Travel Tip: Check up the location of your stay and make sure to get one on the higher slopes overlooking the town below – their prices don’t differ much!
Here’s a map with some stays around the Ooty main city I found for you from Booking.com along with their prices and locations. Check out your preferred stay!
Driving Through Bandipur Tiger Reserve
Early at 5 am, I managed to drag myself out of my bed and get ready as we were leaving early. It was a 6 and a half-hour drive from Bangalore and we got all our things into the car and on the bike and we began.
Driving for two hours or so, we had breakfast at a vegetarian restaurant by the road and began our trip again. Renting out a comfortable Innova for our 3 days trip to Ooty was probably the best and most expensive thing on our budget. With its cushiony seats, we didn’t have trouble through the hours.
Besides, the views through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve (also called the Mudumalai reserve from Tamil Nadu) were exciting as we slowly drove through the sanctuary. We weren’t allowed to stop inside the reserve so we kept moving with our eyes wide open to catch a glimpse of an exotic breed.
While we had no luck with tigers, we spotted plenty of deers, some elephants, and peacocks. The drive itself was exhilarating throughout.
3-Days Ooty Travel Diaries
I’ll be building an Ooty itinerary soon. But this is my Ooty travel blog – my experience of visiting the place in 3 days.
Day 1 in Ooty
Less than 3 days to be more accurate. As we reached Ooty, it was already over 12 in the afternoon. Our hosts suggested a place to dine in where it cost us much more than anticipated. We spent around Rs. 350 per person, it was EXPENSIVE.
Rs. 350 for an afternoon meal is great for once in a while, but we decided to be more cautious as we had to spend 3 days here. After all, food wasn’t the only thing we were going to spend on. But I’ve to say the meal was pretty good and some of us could barely finish it.
Our next stop was the villa which we were going to check out for the first time. Located on the higher slopes of a locality in Ooty called Tiger Hills, we had an epic view behind the stay with a garden and pathway out the front.
We made no hesitation – it was perfect! We rented it out right away.
Visiting the Ooty Markets
It was already late in the evening as we unpacked and left our villa again for a tour. So we decided to pay the markets of Ooty a visit. I think the market, unlike my assumptions, was the sweetest market I’ve visited.
With the plastic ban in Ooty, no junk skims on the roads, coffee shops offer hot chocolates in ceramic mugs rather than disposable cups, and the cold makes the smokes of grilled corn makes all the more pleasing.
Woolen attires including beanies with pom-poms, hot street-side delicacies, local chocolates and coffees, and exotic plants are some of the beauties one’s bound to see while strolling here.
After a couple of hours of roaming, buying some chocolates, and trying hot coffee, we called it a night and returned to our stay.
Day 2 – Touring the Town
While most of our team woke up lazily as the sun rose, I along with another guy who owned an iPhone (the same guy who drove really well), decided to stroll up the hill we were staying on. We passed by a few local houses, kids playing with firecrackers – yes in the morning, and then… bingo!
We hit a beautiful offbeat viewpoint towards the end of the path. The road ahead was blocked with the sign ‘Tiger Reservoir ahead, no trespassing allowed. But right before it was a high point overlooking the city down the valley.
With no vehicles and no soul around, we took in the mesmerizing air of the unperturbed wind. Not to mention, we got some amazing shots of the scenery.
Returning from the morning viewpoint, we freshened up for the day’s itinerary. We decided to visit the Doddabetta peak point first.
Since there were many things to see, we planned to see the places nearby to any attraction to visit. So heading up the curves of the Doddabetta Peak, we found a chocolate and tea factory and put it on our checklist.
Before the Doddabetta point, there was a road intersection with a steep view on one side where people had stopped to take pictures. Curious, we stopped here too only to find an amazing view of the tea plantations running down the hills from where we stood.
We decided to turn around from here as the road to Doddabetta went further down and felt like the view wouldn’t differ as much from our current spot.
Tea & Chocolate Factories
We turned back to the chocolate factory. For a mere Rs. 30 or so for each person, they took us for a tour around the processing of cacao to make chocolates and the tea processes… and we got a bar of chocolate each! Some white and some dark chocolates.
With so many chocolate and tea factories in Ooty, it’s difficult to describe which exact one did we visit. But to pinpoint, it lay next to the Eagles Dare Adventures – a site for sports like Sky Bridge walk, ziplining, and wall-climbing.
With none of the activities here in our budget, we headed to another nature spot after the tour – the Pykara Lake. We didn’t know what to expect from the place, but it wasn’t very exciting. Sure the pine trees loomed high making iconic Tyndall effects and the monkeys swung above us.
But you can find this elsewhere in Ooty – you need not visit the Pykara Lake for it.
Ooty Lake Boating House
The Ooty lake stands as one of the most popular spots to visit and the boating house even more. This is a fun-vee spot for kids with features of an amusement park, a tiny train track, and paddle boats.
There were more like shooting range spots. But it stood on the expensive range of activities. Moreover, it didn’t seem worth it as we could find all of these activities back home.
We did go for the paddle boat though making it a great end to the day.
However, it didn’t stop there, did it? Heading back to our stay, we stopped by the markets to pick up food and drinks for the evening – ultimately staying up late by a campfire, barely sober, and spilling out old honest stories.
Day 3: Visiting Coonoor
No, unlike the previous day, we hadn’t any energy to go for a quick morning walk up to Tiger hills. We all woke up late and lazily packed up the car again. We planned to visit Coonoor, another town 20 km from Ooty, and then head back to Bangalore.
However, with less time in hand for Coonoor, we could only visit one spot. And we chose to visit the Dolphin nose viewpoint.
Dolphin Nose Point Coonoor
Coonoor’s very similar to Ooty with its cacao and tea plantations. The Dolphin nose point, as its name suggests, is a point at the edge of a narrow peak with steep drops on either side of the road.
At its tip ‘The dolphin nose point’, you’ll hear the gush of waterfalls beneath you and if you’re lucky, you’ll see them through the mists below. We arrived at the point early when the shops still remain shut and other visitors slowly started flocking in after us.
We didn’t waste time any further as we’d had to drive back for 6 hours and make it back before dark. While an idli shop opened up here, it wasn’t worth the prices. So we headed back into the town of Coonoor and had lunch at a local dine-in at affordable rates and began our drive straight away.
Conclusion and Trip Budget
We came back to our Uni campus in time, a little over 7 in the evening. It was an exhausting ride back but it was an experience worth all of it. We got to see another elephant in the reserve and yet we wished we took a ride on the Ooty toy train.
But overall, the trip was worth it. We kept the whole plan dutch as the trip would get more expensive as we went.
We spent around Rs. 6000 per person and most of it was unsurprisingly for car fuel. The villa was much cheaper (around Rs. 300-400 per person per night) and the food got a little expensive. Some activities like boating and the entrance fee to many of the activities contribute to the rest of the expenses.
The extra expenditure went on some of the street side food like corn, and carrots, and not to mention the irresistible beanie pom beanie caps. I got two myself!
That sums up my Ooty travel blog. I’ve been reading a lot about travel lately and the next time I visit Ooty, I’ll keep an eye on more offbeat places.
I hope this post on the Ooty travel blog made your day better. Do me a favor and share it with your friends! Hope you have a great day :)