How have you all been? We spent a recent long weekend in Ooty with our family and explored almost all of tourist places. I thought of listing them all for you to plan yours next 🙂
Ooty 4 Day Itinerary | A Long Weekend In Ooty
Day 1: Botanical Garden, Rose Garden
I’m assuming this would be your day of arrival. Since we drove from Bangalore to Ooty (started by around 6:30 am), we reached by 1:00 pm and only started seeing places after 3 pm. We visited the widely known Government Botanical Garden. It has a terraced layout and covering an overall area of 55 acres. It was filled with lush green trees, ferns and grass. It was such a pleasure walking around the green garden. It was super crowded since it was a weekend. Adding couple of pictures for you guys to check out.
Rose Garden was a bummer this time of the year. There were not many flowers! Not that big of a shocker since it was completely off-season. But I would have loved to see more blossomed roses. The architecture of the whole garden is very nice and intriguing. There are 5 terraces, one below the other. One has to climb down to reach each terrace. And each terrace has different species and type of rose flowers planted there. Yearly flower show is held in May and a competition for locals as well (for them to showcase the flowers they grow). I’m guessing you won’t even get 10 sq meter place to take a pic then 😛
But it was a very nice walk indeed. The weather, mist, and the natural beauty added it’s own charm. There are lots of small arches where you can take very nice frame-worthy pictures. Due to the cold, my hands had frozen beyond repair, yet I couldn’t make myself leave the place sooner. I’m sure you would enjoy this place.
Day 2: Doddabetta Peak, Tea Park, Avalanche Lake + Safari, Emerald Lake
Doddabetta peak is a short drive – hardly 7kms from the town. The roads are bad only in the last stretch, but could still be easily managed. This IS the place to see the Sahyadri/Western ghat ranges. Do visit this place as early as possible to avoid crowd (and fog) and get a better view from the place. This too is very well maintained. You could trek to this place too, but our plan got cancelled last minute and we decided to take our car till the top instead.
Tea Park was a treat for the eyes. We couldn’t leave the place without feeling sad that we were. Lush-green tea plantations out of nowhere. And it wasn’t even on “our list” for the day. This is right beside Doddabetta peak (~2kms) and kids (and adults!) would love it here. There is ample space for the kids to play and for visitors to walk around. It’s a very nice place to relax and have a “feel” of being in Ooty.
We literally drag-raced to Avalance Lake from Tea Park as we found out that the Avalanche Safari would close by 3:30 pm (but still weren’t guilty for spending more time in Tea Park :D). It’s not exactly a safari, it’s a 1 hour rough-ride up to Avalance Lake. This would cost around Rs.1,200/jeep. Approx Rs.150 per head. Try to split the fare with other tourists if you don’t mind sharing a jeep with them. Though there wasn’t much water in the lake, it still was a great place to be. The safari isn’t too fun, to be honest. All-in-all, you would need around 3 hours to visit this place. We missed the Emerald Lake which was nearby, as it would close by 5 pm. But you could try to visit that as well.
Day 3: Ooty Lake, Sim’s Park, Lamb’s Rock, Dolphin’s Nose
The visit to Ooty Lake was fun. We did the regular touristy boating 😀 It’s Rs.450 per 8-seater speed boat. Again, you could share this with others, if you are less than 8. The weather was great. Little sun and mist covering the entire place. Usually crowded, but wasn’t that day, on a Sunday! Lucky us. Get a lot of pictures clicked here, comes out great, for sure. Do visit this.
Since we didn’t get tickets for the Toy Train (which by the way, has amazing views/tunnels etc) we drove to Coonoor. The first place we visited was Sim’s Park. It was a hugeeee park, we hardly gottu walk around half of it. Neverthless, good. You could do pedal boating here as well, but you could call it a pond, not a lake.
The drive to the Lamb’s Park (~6kms from Sim’s Park) was crazy, fog-filled, no-view drive. You gottu be extremely careful when it’s foggy. There was no view, as it was completely filled with fog. We couldn’t find the difference between sky, clouds and fog, it was that WHITE everywhere. Hence we didn’t bother to visit Dolphin’s Nose. My tip would be either to visit these places in the morning, or during the season.
Day 4: Kamaraj Sagar Dam, Shooting Point, Pykara Waterfalls, Pykara Boathouse
We found out that the famous Deer park had been closed. This park is right beside the Ooty lake, in fact you can see it if you go for boating. We left for Bangalore and on the way visited some more places. We took a detour via Pykara to Bangalore in order to visit these places. We didn’t go to the official Kamaraj Sagar Dam, instead we gottu see it from a view point on the way. We were satiated by that and hence decided to visit the waterfalls instead.
Shooting Point is in between and worth a visit. You could do horse riding and would definitely be worth it! The views make you feel as though you are surrounded by mountains in Kashmir. Do not miss this, you could visit on the way from Bangalore or the other way like us.
Pykara Waterfalls didn’t have much water but wasn’t so bad either. There was enough water for us not to feel bad 😛 The entrance fees is Rs.5. You have to walk around 700m from the main road to reach the edge of the waterfalls.
Pykara Boathouse is another place next to the waterfalls (hardly ~0.5km from the waterfalls). The view is simply superb and speed boating here is a must! You could sit here, relax for a while and leave for the long journey ahead 🙂
Travel Tips to survive Ooty trip
- Be prepared to shell out money for parking, entrance fees etc. Do keep aside 1k or so just for parking + entrance + camera fees (if you are 3 or more). Apart form Pykara falls, everywhere else it was at least Rs.30-50 for each of the above!
- Do NOT rely on GPS while exploring places within the town. We ended in such a horrible place, wish I had a pic to show. Do ask the locals. We found them very helpful and most of them would be more than glad to help you with the shortcuts, tips, suggestions etc.
- Instead of carrying big padded jackets, layer your clothes! Carry light fleece jackets, sweaters, mufflers etc and layer them when needed or take ém off when not. Do carry woolen socks and gloves if you are traveling in winter. Might come handy.
- Sunscreen is a must! I forgot to apply couple of times and now I have a big sunburn on my nose! Unless you want to be in pain after the joyous trip (or worse, look funny!), do carry a sunscreen with good SPF and USE IT!
- Book the Ooty-Mettupalyam train tickets online, in advance. We had tough time! We ended up driving instead, as we didn’t get tickets in spite of standing in the queue for more than an hour.
- From Mysore, take the bypass road instead of passing through the city. The road is beyond awesome. Its a 6-lane road, nicely maintained. Do keep a tab over the speedometer though. Drive safe 🙂
- Winter wear is cheaper in Ooty, you could go on a crazy shopping spree. You can buy big padded jackets of good quality starting from 1k (good enough to even trek in the Himalayas). And sweaters for as low as 200/250.
- Visit all the hilly places in the morning only. After 11/12 the view-point places are usually covered in fog and you won’t be able to witness any “views”.
- It’s always better to explore a place in one’s own vehicle/rental. Beware of the drivers charging a bomb for a day, do research a bit and then book.
- All the places are very well maintained. The tourist places are clean. You would find restrooms in all the tourist locations. Ooty has scored huge points from my side for being extremely tourist friendly.
A general rule of thumb, kindly do not litter any place. Almost all the places in Ooty are very well maintained and you would find dustbins everywhere. I will definitely go back to this place again and next time it would be either a relaxed stay or more of an off-beat exploration.
You can compare the prices of hotels and book here.
Also, check out the budget hotels in Ooty.
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All pictures courtesy: Harsha Photography