Ooty & Coonoor

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#1 Feb 28th, 2010, 17:56
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#1
We are planning for a trip to Ooty and Coonoor in 1st week of April. We plan to reach Ooty by bus and use Toy train to travel between Ooty and Coonoor.

Could anyone please provide the following information?

1) What are the must visit places in ooty?
2) What are the various options to travel within Ooty to visit the tourist attractions in and around Ooty?
3) What are the must visit places in Coonoor?
4) What are the various options to travel within Coonoor to visit the tourist attractions in and around Coonoor? Do we get any of these options at Coonoor Railway station?
#2 Feb 28th, 2010, 18:00
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#2
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Originally Posted by gautam104 View Post We are planning for a trip to Ooty and Coonoor in 1st week of April. We plan to reach Ooty by bus and use Toy train to travle between Ooty and Coonoor.

Could anyone please provide the following information?

1) What are the must visit places in ooty?
2) What are the various options to travel within Ooty to visit the tourist attractions in and around Ooty?
3) What are the must visit places in Coonoor?
4) What are the various options to travel within Coonoor to visit the tourist attractions in and around Coonoor? Do we get any of these options at Coonoor Railway station?
Is the toy train running at the mo' I heard there was a problem with the track??? KK
#3 Feb 28th, 2010, 18:28
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This board has a lot of information about the questions that you have asked: http://www.indiamike.com/india/udagamandalam-ooty-f147/

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is running at the moment only between Ooty and Coonoor. This will most likely still be the case by the time you come and visit in April. On that sector, the train is haued by a diesel engine, not the classic steam engine.

To see the local sites at Ooty you can cover all the sites within town (lake, gardens etc.) by walk and Auto. You may want to organise a taxi for one morning to see the out-of-town sites such as Dodabetta and perhaps Pykara lake and the touristy sites en-route to there. There are also some package tours by minibus available.

There are also package tours from Ooty which will take you to all the sites of Coonoor. When you are in Ooty, all the travel agencies and hotels will try to get you to do one of these, as this is were the highest profit margins can be made. In my opinion it is much nicer to just go to Coonoor by train and then negotiate a local Coonoor taxi from there to see all the sites. Bear in mind that Coonoor town itself dos not have much to see or do, and that the pretty sites are much more spread apart than those in Ooty. You can not feasably walk around all of these in a day. You will need wheels! There is also no organised minibus package tour available from the station in Coonoor, but you can take local busses to see all the sites if you want to save some money. However most people just negotiate a day-tour (or half day-tour) with one of the Maruti Omni taxis that wait for the train, or if you want to save a little money, you could walk towards the main bus stand area (5mins from train Station), and negotiate with the taxis there which may be a bit cheaper.

The "accepted" sites in Coonoor are Sim's Park, Highfield tea factory, Lambs rock view point, Lady canning seat view point and Dolphins nose view point. The last 3 are all in one line on more-or-less the same road.

Local busses are very frequent to Sim's Park (which is still in town limits) or you could even take an Auto to there for maybe around 40Rs. However the bus connections to the view points I mentioned are poor. Some consider an economical way of seeing Coonoor as first taking an auto from the Bus stand/train station area to Sim's park. Then spend a few hours there, and perhaps have lunch somewhere around there. Then organise a taxi from there itself to take you on a tour of the 3 view points (out of town) and then drop you at the station at the end of the day. If you do it this way, you save the waiting charge of the taxi while you are visiting Sim's Park!
#4 Feb 28th, 2010, 18:38
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Also let me add to that, that Coonoor taxi drivers get very little business, as so many tourists are poached by package tour organisers in Ooty or by Ooty taxi drivers.

I am saying this for 2 reasons. Firstly, they really could do with some business, and secondly, you will often get more economical rates by organising a tour around Coonoor's sites by a Coonoor taxi.

I am sorry, but I do not know what a round trip fare is these days from Coonnor to Dolphins Nose (which is the furthest vie point). When negotiating, this is what you need to ask for, as all the other view points are more or less on the way to there. (Lambs rock is a 1km detour from the main Coonoor to Dolphons Nose Road)
#5 Feb 28th, 2010, 18:51
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That's wonderful information Dacoit Chief. How much time it generally takes to cover the sites near Coonoor including Sim's park? I am just exploring the option of visting Coonoor from Ooty by Toy train in the morning and then returning back to Ooty by Toy train in the late afternoon?

Do you have any idea (tentative) about the charges for Day Sight seeing trips in Coonoor and Ooty (Dodabetta, Pykara lake and other sites)?

Also if you were to recommend the must visit sites near in and around Ooty and Coonoor, which ones would be on top of your list considering 2-3 days trip?
#6 Feb 28th, 2010, 19:38
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#6
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Originally Posted by kullukid View Post Is the toy train running at the mo' I heard there was a problem with the track??? KK
The toy train is running between Coonoor-OOTY, NOT MTP-OOTY. Good wishes.
#7 Feb 28th, 2010, 22:06
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Originally Posted by gautam104 View Post That's wonderful information Dacoit Chief. How much time it generally takes to cover the sites near Coonoor including Sim's park? I am just exploring the option of visting Coonoor from Ooty by Toy train in the morning and then returning back to Ooty by Toy train in the late afternoon?
It all depends on what you are into, and how quickly you want to do things. For 95% of visitors to coonoor, they finish off all the sites in just a few hours. Therefore the option you mention of coming in the morning and leaving by late afternoon is feasable to most people.

Not my style though... personally, I like to walk/explore a lot more, and like to take my time.

Quote:
Do you have any idea (tentative) about the charges for Day Sight seeing trips in Coonoor and Ooty (Dodabetta, Pykara lake and other sites)?
Sorry no idea. I think TN tourism is planning on running some form of a fancy glass-bus inthe season! It is supposed to be very reasonable. Sorry, apart from reading about it in the paper I have no other info.

Quote:
Also if you were to recommend the must visit sites near in and around Ooty and Coonoor, which ones would be on top of your list considering 2-3 days trip?
Not really too sure! Everyone has different tastes. I would certainly recommend Dolphins Nose; Lambs rock; a visit to any tea factory... (which doesn't have to be the highfield one near Coonoor as that one almost only exists for tourists now.. ). Ooty is nice for a little wandering around, "tourist-watching" and shopping, but the sites have become way too crowded. There are some nice walks on the other side of the lake. Dodabetta is certainly nothing special. If you have time, some of the further special destinations are a trip to Kodanadu beyond Kotagiri; and Mudumalai wldlife sanctuary.

But then again, these are only opinions. Others will stringly disagree! Did you read my post at Is Ooty really worth a visit?
#8 Feb 28th, 2010, 22:46
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#8
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Originally Posted by gautam104 View Post ......

Do you have any idea (tentative) about the charges for Day Sight seeing trips in Coonoor and Ooty (Dodabetta, Pykara lake and other sites)?

.........
The tour operators in Ooty offer one day trips combined Ooty Coonoor for around 300 onward per head on seat in coach [mini bus] basis. You will find these tour operators everywhere, in fact you cannot avoid them!

Pykara falls & lake is offered as a separate half day trip with Wenlock downs, or as a full day trip with Mudumalai for more or less the same rates.

If you are more than one person, it would be worth paying a bit more to rent a cab or jeep for the whole day, you can spend more time where you like, and less time or avoid what does not look so interesting. The jeeps are negotiable from near the bus station where you will find plenty of them. Matheen travels opposite the Ooty station was reasonably priced, otherwise just negotiate a suitable fare with any of the multitude of private cabs on the streets.

Oh yes, you MUST read Dacoit Chief's "Is Ooty really worth a visit" - most entertaining but be warned that it may deter you from buying Ooty chocolates!
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#9 Mar 1st, 2010, 08:47
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Thanks Dacoit Chief and Snonymous.

It does help us plan our trips much better. Well I understand it differs from person to person about individual tastes / likings. I have been to Munnar, Kodai and Coorg earlier and even though many folks won't recommend to go to Ooty / Coonoor, its definitely on my cards this time just to explore a new or different place.

@Snonymous : I would definitely like to explore the option of renting a Cab for whole day to cover nice tourist places in and around Ooty. Could you please let me know the typical charges for these cabs (Omni / Indica) for a day there in Ooty?

Also assuming that I have 1 full day to cover attractions near Ooty and 5 hours (11 AM - 4 PM --- between morning and afternoon Toy train) to cover attraction in and around Coonoor, could you please advise me the places I should visit during this trip?
#10 Mar 1st, 2010, 11:38
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@Snonymous : ..... renting a Cab for whole day to cover nice tourist places in and around Ooty. .....the typical charges for these cabs (Omni / Indica) for a day there in Ooty?

Also assuming that I have 1 full day to cover attractions near Ooty and 5 hours (11 AM - 4 PM --- between morning and afternoon Toy train) to cover attraction in and around Coonoor, could you please advise me the places I should visit during this trip?


Around 12-1400 per day for an Indica is what you should expect. If the holidays have started you may not be able to negotiate lower, but try your luck anyway. Jeeps may be cheaper and more comfortable if the roads have not been repaired.

I think Dacoit Chief has covered all the "tourist" places more than adequately in his separate thread. It all depends on your own preference.

The botanical garden at Ooty and Syms Park in Coonoor are both quite nice. There is a small Toda mund on top of the Ooty garden if you are interested. If you dont feel like climbing all the way up top, there is a representative Toda house at the entrance of the botanical garden which you can see.

Dodabetta may be touristy but it gives a nice 360 degree view of the entire Nilgiri mountain range, and you will also see a huge variety of Nilgiri birds in the surrounding bushes there.

I liked the vast meadows of Wenlock downs, there are many places where you can cut through the forest off the main road and enjoy vast expanses to yourself, rather than go to the conventional "tourist points". You get a good view of Mukurthi peak from these meadows.

The Pykara falls are pretty if there is adequate water in them, not sure about April. The lake is beautiful and serene too, much better than the Ooty lake. Assuming of course that it is not crowded and littered. You can walk through the "Pine forest" to the Kamaraj lake shore [Sandy nallah] en route if you want. As I said earlier, you could also nip through the forest to the lake shore further down away from the crowds.

If you are hiring a car and start early enough, you can see the Pykara area and get to Mudumalai in time for the 2pm safari. Whoever you rent the car from will give you more info.

Suggest that you take the train one way, this will give you more flexibility with time. If you were to take the first train to Coonoor, you would have the rest of the day there, rent an auto or taxi to show you all the sights mentioned by Dacoit Chief. Then hop into any of the very frequent buses coming back to Ooty whenever you feel like, or do a package deal with the taxi to show you all of Coonoor, perhaps even a bit of Kotagiri, and drop you back at Ooty.
#11 Mar 1st, 2010, 13:35
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Thanks Snonymous. Actually I find it better to plan for the whole trip in advance so as to avoid any surprises / wrong decisions on the spot [learnings from earlier mistakes :-)]

As I have roughly 3 days for this trip, I plan to spend 1 day in Coonoor and 2 days for places in and around Ooty.

Would you recommend visiting Mudumalai (feedback from various friends visiting wildlife santuries has been mixed as they say all depends on your luck)? What do we generally get to see there in Mudumalai and what are the charges for their Safari?

What are the timings generally for these full day (Pykara falls & lake, Wenlock downs with Mudumalai) and half day (Pykara falls & lake with Wenlock downs) trips? What time they start in the morning?

I don't have any preference for any cab (Indica) as such and as we are only 2 folks, Jeep might best suit us. How much generally are the charges for a Jeep for half day and full day trips?
Last edited by gautam104; Mar 1st, 2010 at 14:49..
#12 Mar 1st, 2010, 13:51
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#12
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Originally Posted by gautam104 View Post Thanks Snonymous. Actually I finf it better to plan for the whole trip in advance so so to avoid any surprises / wrong decisions on the spot [learnings from earlier mistakes :-)]

As I have roughly 3 days for this trip, I plan to spend 1 day in Coonoor and 2 days for places in and around Ooty.

Would you recommend visiting Mudumalai (feedback from various friends visiting wildlife santuries has been mixed as they say all depends on your luck)? What do we generally get to see there in Mudumalai and what are the charges for their Safari?

What are the timings generally for these full day (Pykara falls & lake, Wenlock downs with Mudumalai) and half day (Pykara falls & lake with Wenlock downs) trips? What time they start in the morning?

I don't have any preference for any cab (Indica) as such and as we are only 2 folks, Jeep might best suit us. How much generally are the charges for a Jeep for half day and full day trips?
For the general places you are planning to visit, there are no specific timings as far as I know. it all depends on you.

As for visiting Mudumalai sanctuary, here is the official link which gives you the timings and rates. Yes, I guess you have to be lucky.
As far as I know the first week of April will see the flowers in full bloom at the Botanical Gardens in Ooty and Sims Park !

The link to Mudumalai Sanctuary is:

http://www.forests.tn.nic.in/wildbio...ty/ws_mws.html

Good Luck and good wishes.
#13 Mar 3rd, 2010, 11:30
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Thanks Dacoit Chief, Snonymous and Murali for all the help.

I also read the thread "Is Ooty really worth a visit" and found it very interesting although it has raised few queries in my mind.

Could you please provide following information?

1) Ooty and Coonoor has some colorful and photogenic Markets. Can you please provide more info / pointers towards these markets?

2) Is there any tourist attraction in Kotagiri also?

3) What is special about SIMS park in Coonoor? I mean how different is it from Botanical and Rose Gardens in ooty?

4) Where exactly is Pine Forest? Is it within ooty? Is it worth visiting this place?

5) Do we need prior permission to visit Avalanche? Or permission is needed only to stay and we can spend few hours there without any permission?

6) Do we have places by name 5th Mile or 9th Mile which are scenic and are used for shooting films?
#14 Mar 3rd, 2010, 17:31
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#14
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Originally Posted by gautam104 View Post Thanks Dacoit Chief, Snonymous and Murali for all the help.

I also read the thread "Is Ooty really worth a visit" and found it very interesting although it has raised few queries in my mind.

Could you please provide following information?

1) Ooty and Coonoor has some colorful and photogenic Markets. Can you please provide more info / pointers towards these markets?
These are the common municipal markets. To be honest, as an Indian who is used to seeing markets all over India, visiting these is not top priority at all. I just know a lot of 'western' people who have really enjoyed visiting Coonoor Market in particular (especially vegetable section), just as they are not used to seeing these. I have some most incredible photos of this market, that have always received a lot of attention worldwide. However, as you have little time, to you I would say, you have more important things to visit. Don't waste your time.

Quote:
2) Is there any tourist attraction in Kotagiri also?
Well apart from Kodanadu, not really. There is a very nice fenced in Shola (forest) which is good if you like walking and have plenty of time and want to spot animals and particularly birds. This is close to the city. There are also a few waterfalls quite some distance from town, (Elk falls, and Katherine falls) but you get a better view of the second from Dolphins Nose Coonoor.

Quote:
3) What is special about SIMS park in Coonoor? I mean how different is it from Botanical and Rose Gardens in ooty?
More big trees. Beautiful shady walks when you get away from the central area.

Quote:
4) Where exactly is Pine Forest? Is it within ooty? Is it worth visiting this place?
It is about 7km from Ooty, after HPF factory on the way to Pykara. Most local people call it "Penis Forest". or "Pynus Forest". I still do not understand why so many people visit this place. It has only become a stop in the last 15 years or so, after some Film was shot there.

Quote:
5) Do we need prior permission to visit Avalanche? Or permission is needed only to stay and we can spend few hours there without any permission?
You can go. No need for permission. You will only need permits to enter any sanctuary or RF area. But you are planning way too much for your 2 days if you want to go there.

Quote:
6) Do we have places by name 5th Mile or 9th Mile which are scenic and are used for shooting films?
Yes, again on the way to Pykara. These are all areas which are part of the Wenlock downs.
#15 Mar 3rd, 2010, 17:41
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#15
I think you want/need a plan. Here is what you should consider doing:

Day 1: Wake up early, organise a taxi to go up to Dodabetta. This will take you 20 mins from Ooty one way. Aim to spend around 45mins to 1 hour on the top. Then come back and have your driver drop you at the entrance to the Botanical gardens which is on the way. Then do all the local Ooty things (Gardens, Lake etc.). No need for transport for that part. Just take autos.

Day 2: Coonoor

Day 3: Early morning trip to Pykara, (seeing Golf course, Penis forest, 9th mile etc. on the way). Then proceed to Mudumalai for afternoon safari or evening elephant ride. Then return to ooty, or if you are leaving towards Mysore/Bangalore, just go straight from there. No need to return to Ooty.
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