Some questions on Coorg in the monsoon
capt_mahajan
India > States in India > India Travel > Karnataka
#1
| In charge, navel affairs

Some questions on Coorg in the monsoon

Planning a three or four day long trip to Coorg within the next couple of weeks, which means monsoon.

Never been in monsoon, never been sightseeing there. But my wife is a tourist, so....must do's: Buddhist thingy (Bylakuppe, I think) and the usual hill station tourist spots and falls and similar crap.

Critical: Long walks/treks in greenery, waterfalls.
Peace and quiet

So, for now, just three or four questions for ze experts: (there will be more if...)

-Worried about monsoon, do the walks or hikes stop?
-Recommended good homestays? (may or may not have a car with me)
-Should I take a car?
-Is Taj Vivanta worth it?

Many thanks in advance to those who reply.
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32 Replies

#2
| Humble Genius
I've been to Coorg thrice, never in the monsoons though. They do get heavy rains but this year, it's deficient everywhere.

For peace and quiet (2 km from the nearest road via a jeepable track in a forest and plantation area) look at this place: http://honeyvalleyindia.in/. Plenty of hikes to nice waterfalls in the area nearby.

I haven't stayed at the Taj (I think we were put up at a nice hotel once but I didnt like it much). Once we stayed at the place I've mentioned above and third time was in a different part of Coorg (near Dubare elephant camp).

ETA: For reaching honey valley, earlier there was no way for a car to go. One had to park at the post office of Kakkabe and honey valley would send their own jeep. To get to other places, a car is recommended. Bylakuppe is half a day at best since after the bigger statues in diamond monastery, nothing else sticks much. If you're lucky you'd hear prayer chants in the rooms nearby and it's fun to sit in those with all the instruments playing.
#3
| Maha Guru Member
I saw a food/travel documentary on the Honeyvalley estate. Marvellous! Family run and the food looked amazing. Where is the monsoon this season?
#4
| In charge, navel affairs
Thanks.

Monsoon- may be weak so far but absolutely need to be able to go for long walks in the bush, so wondering if rains will rule this out.

Honey Valley seems like the kind of place where one should not be planning to go out much.
Reading good things about Vivanta but dunno if I want an artificial atmosphere around me.

It is my understanding that Bylakuppe can be done en route. It is a short trip.
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#5
| Humble Genius
In general in coorg, it's best to avoid places that create an artificial atmosphere, so recommend staying far from Madikeri towards Virajpet / Kakkabe belt. I think Honey Valley has a newer sister estate called Chingaraa which is more upmarket.

In a different part of Coorg, Orange County used to be very good (10 years ago though) and PolliBetta coffee plantations run by Tatas are recommended by others but neither of those have the setting of Honey Valley - that place has its own private waterfall !
#6
| In charge, navel affairs
Yeah to the artificial.

Have you stayed at Honey Valley, Vaibhav?
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#7
| Humble Genius
#8
| In charge, navel affairs
Plan is to drive through Nagarhole and Madikeri either on the way up or down. Visit Irupu and maybe Dubhare. And walk.

Am going to try and talk to some homestays today, but have still to answer the q about the feasibility of walks/small hikes etc in the monsoons.

Also, though Honey Valley sounds good, more recommendations are welcome. Don't mind spending more, since have only one wife.
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#9
| Member
Check out Sand Banks. I stayed here a few years ago and enjoyed the hospitality. You can check out reviews of it on Trip Advisor under "Comfort Homestay Sandbanks".
#10
| In charge, navel affairs
Thanks. This looks good (too)

Choices, choices. And some spokes being shoved into my plans at home :mad:
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#11
| In charge, navel affairs
Just returned after a hectic, but thoroughly enjoyed, four day trip.

Thanks, vaibhav_arora. Honey Valley was much enjoyed by all, even though leech attacks were common.

Another highlight: saw a tiger thirty metres away while just driving through Nagarhole. (Sorry no pics, wasn't a priority at the time). What are the odds of that happening?
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#12
| In charge, navel affairs
Honey Valley has some great walks, is sprawling and is far away from everything. The last few kilometers can only be done in a four wheel drive, or on foot. (they have jeeps)

Nice people running it; down to earth and interesting guests (including an Australian regular who had broken his arm there and with whom I was having a very interesting conversation right upto the time a leech attack disrupted proceedings) and is a very nice getaway. Their waterfall was great too, even after leech attack no 6. Romantic, pulling off leeches from your wife's ankles.

Do not expect luxury (We were not). Rooms are clean but basic. Insects at night if lights on. Thin walls. But 24 hours hot water, no electricity issues.

On our way back, we stayed for a day at a more upmarket place in Madikeri also recommended by an indiamike member but outside the board- Silver Brook Estate. Suited our needs perfectly for a day, but is not for those who want a homestay with a large estate and great walking around. Good for those looking for a more manicured time in Madikeri in what is essentially a large and very well maintained bungalow. Nice food.

http://honeyvalleyindia.in/
http://www.silverbrookestate.com/


PS: By the way, the leeches in HV are only a monsoon phenomenon (I was told) and attack you only on your walks (the Australian leech episode was near their garage, though, and was a surprise). But there is a couple of kilometer long stretch higher up above the homestay that I called Leech Marine Drive.

And they are much more aggressive than the other leeches I have met elsewhere. The Indonesian leeches are gentlemen in comparison. Maybe they prefer blondes.
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#13
| Maha Guru Member
It sounds great Capt (apart from the leeches!) and how wonderful to have seen a tiger.

Can I ask about the leech attacks? How aggressive were they? Does it hurt much when they attack, and does it hurt when you pull them off? Any particular leech pulling-off techniques? In a Mahabaleshwar thread it was mentioned that one could use tobacco, or salt :confused:
#14
| Maha Guru Member
Better a leech attack than a tiger attack methinks. Great that you went ahead Cap'n and had a swell time. A tiger sighting is rare, and rarer in Nagarhole. The pakshu (animal) gods were smiling upon you.
#15
| In charge, navel affairs
Julia, it is better to mix a salt and lemon combo and use this, or mosquito repellent, eucalyptus oil or something like that on your legs and arms before you venture out for a hike. Unfortunately, it was raining a lot of the time and when we did this (once) it all washed away. Also because we walked through the waterfall in thigh deep water.

The leeches in HV are small, thin sprightly things, look like three or four inch worms. Tough to get a grip on them (they shrink when you try to grab them, my son used a leaf) but easy to yank off once you did. (Techique is pinch and yank and throw far away, all in one second) A moment of two of excitement once or twice after that because you have to fling them away fast, else they latch on to your finger. They got inside shoes, on our legs, under sandal straps etc. Only on our legs and feet, fortunately, we did not walk in any dense foliage or grass.

I have burnt off leeches in the past with a lit cigarette, they drop off. But in the rain, and with wife hopping around (and simultaneously a) trying to get a cellphone signal to talk to our daughter who was at home, b) hanging on to her umbrella- I was using a plastic sheet wrapped around myself, like the local workers there do), this was not possible.

When they attach themselves to you (my use of the word attack is an exaggeration) you usually don't feel anything or, at most, a slight itching later. It stings very little when you pull them off, and there is often a small trickle of blood for sometime afterwards. And you don't realise, usually, that they have attached themselves to you, unless you feel a slight itching sensation later (which is tough to feel in the rain. My wife thought there was a stone or something in her shoe once, or maybe the laces were too tight. But..)

The leeches were part of the fun, actually.

VishVa, the tiger was something, because we had resigned ourselves to seeing no elephants but saw a huge numbers of deer and birds. It was so close to the road too, initially just a face peeking out of the grass next to it. (My wife saw it first and gasped. I thought she had seen my profile and was overwhelmed again by how good looking I was. And this was before my first drink of the day)

I stopped the car and made the mistake of trying to reverse it a bit for a better view. It got up, looked at us for a long while and then turned its back on us and walked slowly into the forest.

Irupu falls was next. Pouring like hell but what a view! Took a short video; will post it here sometime if I can manage it.
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