Although I have been to Ooty countless number of times, this one is special. Because I had gone to Ooty this time with my GF :) . And also this is the first time am going out with her. I wasn't aware of anything what married couple would do or up to in a trip like this. I mean not the usual thing what couples do ;) but things like where to stay, what to take with you, will it be safe there and all things like that. Probably its nothing much but my paranoia of visiting places with a girl. Anyway lets leave that around and I will carry on with my lil gyan for anyone who is planning to visit Ooty.
I had done extensive search on the Internet about the places to visit once we are there and also had collected details of many hotels where we could possibly stay. Depending upon your budget you can select them from this site itself. They have many hotels listed in this website. I would also post some which I had collected over the internet.
Ooty is regarded as the Queen of Hills, Kashmir of South India. Since I have already spoken about the places to stay , now I would just be telling you how to reach there and the places that we visited.
How to Reach Ooty by Air: The nearest airport from Ooty is Coimbatore (100kms). The domestic airport is connected to major airports in India, like: Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore.
How to Reach Ooty by Road: Good road network connects Ooty to many important cities in Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore etc.
How to Reach Ooty by Rail: Ooty has a railway station of its own which is connected by narrow gauge tracks to Mettupalayam, You would have to take a train to Ooty from Mettupalayam. Mind you the frequencies of trains are very less , hence make a call before coming to Mettupalayam.
Distance to Ooty form some cities:
535 km from Chennai
89 km from Coimbatore
187 km from Calicut
290 km from Bangalore
281 km from Kochi
We had reached Ooty in the evening and since I had planned this trip in off-season I haven't booked any rooms prior to my visit. But this is not a good option during season times. The rooms are all booked during season times and its very difficult to find one. Booking rooms prior to your visit has its pros and cons. I had fumbled on this without knowledge. The hotel where I stayed charges nearly 50 % extra if you book their rooms over the internet. That is a interesting fact and since I hadn't booked any I managed to save some quick money :)
i have found these details on the internet and had collected them for reference. Just pasting them her for your info:
Darshan Hotel , Ooty , India--800Rs
Address: Woodcock Road, Near Lake Boat House , Ooty , Tamil Nadu
Phone: 0423-2443378, 2443807, 2452288
Hotel Silver Oak, Ooty, India
Address: Ettines Road, Near Alankar Theatre, Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Phone: 0423 245174, 2447148
Hotel Sarkar Palace, Ooty, India
Address: 5/C, Doddabetta Road, Ooty, Tamil Nadu
TTDC, Ooty, India
Address: Tamil Nadu Tourism Coropation, Charing Cross, Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Vinayaga Inn, Ooty, India
Address: 36 C, Garden Road, Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Phone: - 2444395
Velan Hotel Ritz, Ooty, India
Address: Ritz Road, Bedford, Upper Coonoor, Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Phone: - 0423-4028153, 2381038
Preethi Classic Towers, Ooty, India
Address: Coonoor Road, Charing Cross, Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Phone: 0423-2223666, 69
Danish Villa Sheddon - Mahindra Holidays, Ooty, India
Address: Sheddon Road,Nilgiris Dist,Ooty,Tamil Nadu-643001, Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Hotel Lakeview, Ooty, India
Address: West Lake Road, Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Phone: 0423 2443904, 2443580
So we planned to stay at the TTDC Hotel in Charring cross. The Deluxe room which I had taken was extremely beautiful and it was double worth the money that I paid. I have also pasted the photos of the rooms for you but please don't mind I hadn't got time to clear off my belongings before I took these photos. The rooms are really good and worth the money. Please ignore the stuffs there and just look for the room:) If I had to get such rooms in private hotels I would have to shell out nearly double the amount. Don't go for the Double Room which is there as its not very good for a couple. Just select anything from the Deluxe and above. The Deluxe Double comes for 800 Rs incl taxes .
Talking about the rooms they were comparatively very huge and had a large bathroom with a independent geyser. They had provided us with Towels, Blankets and soaps. The Deluxe room also had a independent sit out kinda area for that romantic moments in the night :)
Now coming to the food at the place, it was really bad. We just had a meal from there once and we called it quit. Since the hotel is in the center of the city you should have no problems in getting what you want for food. Just head to the Charring Cross Main Rd and you will have plenty of options to dine. The breakfast over there is OK and you might wanna try that in the morning because getting ready and going down early in the morning would be much more than pain.
Once in Ooty you can visit various places like the Botanical Garden, The Lake, The Rose Garden, The Dodbetta peak etc. Apart from the Dodbetta peak rest all the places are in accessible locations and you should have no problems getting there if you don't have a vehicle of your own. If you take a public bus to the peak they will drop you 3Kms far away from the peak and apart from private vehicles nothing plies that route. This was the case with us and then we had to negotaite a deal, rather a costly one with the Jeep Wallas standing below to take us to the peak. But I should admit there are some breathtaking views of Ooty from this peak.
People who do not have a vehicle of their own should select a Hotel which is in the City Center so that they can get access to the number of buses that connect to different places in Ooty.
The Botanical Garden as usual is a place to relax and enjoy the evenings. We mostly had spent our evenings in the park. It was such a good time over there. The next big attraction is the lake where its mostly good for the kids to have a merry time on the small trains , the boating and the dashing car etc. You can try your luck with the horses that are present there for a ride. Those horses are quite big and they have huge power in their legs. So if its one of those days then don't think of getting on them. I am just kidding and anyway, since I was afraid, I hadn't hopped on to any.
Now the next best attraction near Ooty is of couse Coonor. It is situated 20 Kms far away from Ooty and has the second highest peak compared to Ooty. Getting to Coonor in a bus is very simple but if you want to take the special train that's found in Ooty then you would have to find the timings before you get going. The frequency is very less from Ooty. We rather opted to take a bus to Coonor and then on our way back we had took the train. This was our first time in the train and I should say that it was really a one off experience.
The places to vist in Coonor are the Lambs Rock , Dolphin's Nose and the Sims Park. I should admit that the Dolphins Nose and the Lambs Rock are one off places and you should definitely visit them if you are in Ooty. The Sims Park though is just a normal park nothing big about it. And there are this numerous Tea Plantations on the way to the Dolphins nose which are really lush green, you would want to take a photo down here definitely. The Dolphins Nose I suppose is the dead end of the highest peak in Coonor. When I was there I was literally standing on clouds. I wasn't able to see anything below me at all.
You can either take a tourist car from Ooty for Coonor sight seeing which would cost you 800 Rs or you can reach Coonor and take a Car to visit these places which would cost you below 500. If you have to travel in that Ooty train then you definitely gotta forget the former option. The last train to Ooty from Coonor is at 4: 20 PM and you can cover all the places in Coonor in just about 3-4 hours. So just plan accordingly and finish you sightseeing by 4 so that you can reach the station on time. Alternatively you could also check with your hotel staff as they might be arranging for a mini bus trip for sightseeing which is one of the cheapest options available.
There is also a tea factory in Ooty where we had gone. They would demonstrate to us how Tea was being made from the green leaves that they pluck from the garden. The various things that you would like to shop when you are in Ooty are things like Flavoured Tea, Eucalyptus oil, sandalwood oil, Olive oil, Almond oil , Ooty chocolates and various other kinds of cosmetics which are preapred without any harmful ingredients. Make sure you try at least some of them. You can find shops selling these things throughout Ooty. The government stores are also there if you doubt that you might end up buying fake items from outside.
Ooty is a very small place, so its highly impossible that you would loose your way. Just take any bus that goes to the Ooty Main Bus Stand and from there you will get the buses which will take you out of the City. You can get Buses to Mysore, Bangalroe or Coimbatore and from there its quite easy to make your way home. The road which connects Ooty from Bangalore is extremely good in condition. So you would definitely love the ride.
These are some of the common places that I had visited and for the exploring types places are a plenty. The climate over there in this off season is extremely good. Its so cold down there in the nights and early mornings. A perfect place for newly weds and of course unmarried couples like us.
I wish you all a great time in Ooty.
C Ya Al Soon