Ooty Travel Guide: Useful Tips On Food, Stay & Things To Do
Ooty is a treasure trove of incredible natural beauty. It will spellbind you with its soaring mountains, sparkling waterfalls, vast meadows, serene lakes and intense Pine and Eucalyptus trees. It oozes simplicity and is a perfect place to relax and unwind. Excited to know more about Ooty? Here is our Ooty travel guide to help you learn everything about this astounding place.
Ooty Travel Guide
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Best Time To Visit To Ooty
Although Ooty has a lovely climate throughout the year, the best time to visit Ooty is from October to June. The climate is extremely pleasant and this is the best time for sightseeing and travelling. That being said, let’s have a closer look at the different seasons of Ooty.
Summer: The summer season starts in the month of March and extends till June. The weather is quite cool in comparison to the rest of the state making it a perfect getaway for families looking to enjoy summer holidays. Hop on the toy train or visit the Ooty Lake, enjoy the Kalhatti Falls or explore the sheer beauty of Annamalai Temple and you are sorted!
Ooty Travel Guide Tip: Do carry hats and caps.
Monsoon: Monsoons start in July and ends by September. Ooty in monsoons is a visual delight as the heavy rainfalls bring a lot of freshness and gives the amazing green grass beds a new washed look. The trees are way greener, the mountains are much cleaner, the lakes are full and the sky looks beautiful with hues of grey and yellow. Do visit the Ooty Botanical Garden, Emerald Lake and Glenmorgan to have an unlikely time.
Ooty Travel Guide Tip: Be sure to carry an umbrella and a raincoat.
Winter: Winters hit in the month of October and extends till about March. The weather is dry and cold. It is the best time to visit Ooty. The chilly weather, the foggy mornings, the sprawling tea gardens and the misty hills transport you to a different world altogether and make you fall in love with the quaint hill station. Winters are also a great time to visit Ooty for honeymoon. Do visit the Ooty Rose Garden, Pykara Lake and Catherine Falls.
Ooty Travel Guide Tip: Be sure to carry all your woollens.
So, Ooty is a lovely holiday destination which is forever ready to welcome all its visitors. When are you visiting Ooty?
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How To Reach Ooty
Popularly known as the ‘Queen of Hills’, Ooty is a charming hill station which is very well connected to the rest of the country.
By Air: Coimbatore Airport is the nearest airport which is located at a distance of about 90 kilometres. The airport is connected to almost all the major cities of India including Bangaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. International travellers can book their flights till Bangaluru which is approximately 310 kilometres away from Ooty. From the airport tourists can hire a taxi or take buses to reach the hill station.
By Train: Mettupalyam is the nearest railway station located at a distance of 47 kilometres from Ooty. There are several trains from Chennai, Mysore, Bangaluru and Coimbatore connecting Mettapalyam. From the railway station you can hire a taxi or avail a bus service to reach Ooty. Another thrilling way to explore Ooty is by boarding the heritage Nilgiri Mountain Toy Train which takes you through thick forests, valleys and tunnels.
By Road: The best way to reach Ooty is certainly by road. The hill station has very well-maintained state and national highways and the best part of a road trip to Ooty is that you actually drive through a reserved forest area that offers eye-catching scenery. Tamil Nadu State Road Transport Corporation (TNSTC) and many private buses operate on a regular basis. NH 209 and NH 275 connect Bangaluru with Ooty and it roughly takes about 7 to 8 hours to reach.
Travelling Within Ooty
Travelling around Ooty is hassle free and quite easy. Taxis, auto-rickshaws, buses and tourist cabs are available in plenty. Buses are very economical and take you to all important places. In fact, there are conducted sightseeing tours arranged by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation and some private bus operators. Auto-rickshaws are also fairly reliable and dependable. The auto drivers do quote high prices so it is advisable to fix a fair before the trip. Tourists looking for privacy and comfort can hire tourist cabs.
Where To Stay In Ooty
Ooty has a wonderful collection of resorts and hotels that cater to a wide range of tourists. From cosy home stays that offer warm intimate services to expansive resorts that offer amazing hospitality and latest amenities- this place has it all. If you are looking for quaint and comfortable stay that meets all your basic requirements consider staying in budget Ooty hotels like Nahar’s Nilgiris Hotel, Hotel Lakeview, Al Woodland Residency and Hotel Charring Cross. Tourists who are clearly looking for a home away from home should certainly stay in a home stay in Ooty. Bliss Homestay, Mango Tree Bungalow, Marlborough Homestay and Tranquiltea Homestay and Bungalow are the best options of home stays. If super fine interiors and utmost luxury is what you are looking for then look no further than Taj Savoy Hotel, Destiny The Farmstay and Glyngarth Resorts. If captivating views and scenic hills is what you prefer then luxury Ooty resorts will definitely blow your mind away. Safari Land Resorts, Kurumba Village Resort, Fortune Resort Sullivan Court and Danish Villa are some of the best resorts in Ooty.
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Places To Visit In Ooty
Ooty, one of the most popular hill stations in South India is filled with mountains, waterfalls, lakes and tea plantations. There is so much to visit and admire that you will be in a fix. So, to ease you a little, here is a list of some of the top places to see in Ooty. Read on!
1. Ooty Lake
Surrounded by the picturesque Nilgiri Hills, Eucalyptus trees and greenery all around, Ooty Lake is one of the most visited Ooty tourist place. It is an artificial lake which was built by John Sullivan in 1824 AD. Covering an area of 65 acres and with a depth of 40 metres, the lake is filled with beautiful water birds and proves to be a perfect place for photography. It is also a fun filled place with numerous paddle boats, motor boats and rowing boats that can be hired from the boathouse. Boat races and other entertaining events are organized in the Summer Festival in the month of May. There is a mini garden with an amusement park and a toy train for the children to take a swift tour of the lake. The shooting of the movie Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani in the year 2009 has made this Lake even more popular.
Ooty Travel Guide Tip: The visiting hours of the Ooty Lake are from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
2. Ooty Botanical Gardens
Located on the foothills of Dodabetta Peak, Ooty Botanical Gardens is one of the most charming pick among the Ooty attractions list. Spread over an area of 22 hectares the park is beautifully landscaped and divided into several sections like Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, the Conservatory and the Nursery. The garden is home to a large variety of plants, shrubs, flowers, herbs, bonsai plants and trees. The uniqueness of the place is the collection of rare species of trees such as the cork tree, the paperbark tree, fossil tree and the monkey puzzle tree. A major attraction here is the Toda tribe settlement on the top of the garden which gives the visitors an insight into the lives and culture of the Todas. It is an excellent place for ardent bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. In the month of May every year, a flower show is organised that is conducted for two days and flower arrangements, vegetable carvings, flower rangoli and flower decorations are the major highlights of the show. With so much to do and see it is beyond doubt one of the finest places to visit in Ooty.
Ooty Travel Guide Tip: The Ooty Botanical Garden is open from 7:00 AM to 6:30 PM.
3. Kalhatti Falls
Situated on the slopes of Kalhatti Mountains, Kalhatti Falls is a gorgeous waterfall which is located at a distance of 14 kilometres from Ooty. It is one of the top Ooty sightseeing places and is considered to be a great place for trekking. The water graciously descends from a height of 120 feet and it is a sight to behold. The lush greenery and the lovely calm atmosphere of the place make it a wonderful place for picnics. It is also a bird watcher’s paradise as it gives a bird point view of the whole valley. The Kalhatti-Masinagudi slope is rich in wildlife and animals like elephants, Panthers, Wild Buffaloes, Spotted Deer and Sambars can be easily spotted. The falls offer best views during monsoons. Your Ooty trip will be incomplete without visiting Kalhatti Falls.
Ooty Travel Guide Tip: Since the trekking trail runs through wildlife reserves, tourists interested in trekking have to take permission from the Forest Department.
4. St. Stephen’s Church
Nestled in the Upper Bazaar Road, St. Stephen’s Church is one of the most popular places to visit in Ooty. Built in the 19th century by the British it is one of the oldest churches in the Nilgiri district. The painted glass windows, the intrinsic wood carvings, the wooden elephants acquired from the palace of Tipu Sultan and the remarkable Gothic architecture of the church will leave you absolutely speechless. The painted windows depict various scenes like the crucifixion of Christ and the figure of Mother Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms. The church also has a beautiful garden that is filled with lovely colourful flowers and a cemetery at the back. The peaceful atmosphere and spiritual vibes cleanse your soul and heal you inside out.
Ooty Travel Guide Tip: The church is open on Monday to Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. On Sundays, it is open from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM.
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Things To Do In Ooty
Are you seriously wondering what to do in Ooty? Well, Ooty has a lot of fascinating things to do that will surely keep you busy and entertained.
1. Go For An Exciting Nilgiri Mountain Toy Train Ride
How about riding a toy train and that too under the lap of nature? Fun, isn’t it? Well, the Nilgiri Mountain Railways is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a key attraction in Ooty. Built by the British in the year 1899, it is the steepest track in Asia and continues to charm all its visitors till today. It covers a distance of 46 kilometres finding its way through picturesque views, stunning landscapes, dense forests, dark tunnels and flowing rivers. The ride starts from Mettupalayam and takes about 5 hours to reach Ooty. The charming journey is an unmatched activity and an experience of a lifetime that you will certainly cherish forever.
Ooty Travel Guide Tip: There is no washroom in the train and you will have to wait for a stop in case you need to use it.
2. Experience Trekking And Camping At Avalanche Lake
Located at a distance of about 26 kilometres, Avalanche Lake is a famous tourist spot in Ooty. The lake was created naturally due to a massive landslide and proves to be a perfect place for trekking and camping. Surrounded by dense forests, amazing landscapes, stunning waterfalls and blossoming flowers, this place is a heaven for nature fanatics. The lake and its surroundings are popular for mountain trekking, camping, rafting and trout fishing. Tourists can also indulge in rappelling, horse riding and open jeep driving at the lake. The enchanting views along with an array of fun filled adventurous activities make it one of the most desired things to do in Ooty.
Ooty Travel Guide Tip: Since the lake is situated in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, it is mandatory to take prior permission for camping from the Ooty Forest Office.
3. Get A Chance To Meet Our Heroes At The Wax World Museum
Nestled at the 130 year old Colonial Mansion, the Wax World Museum is one of the best things to do in Ooty with kids. The museum showcases life sized wax statues of renowned personalities from the Indian history like Mahatma Gandhi, A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, Mother Teresa and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Apart from these it also displays wax copy of traditional Indian villages, local lifestyles and rural landscapes. Interesting, isn’t it?
Ooty Travel guide Tip: The museum is opened from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
4.Learn To Extract Honey At The Honey And Bee Museum
The Honey and Bee Museum in Ooty is an exclusive attraction and among the best things to do in Ooty. The museum is a treasury of knowledge and explains about the structure of a bee, the process of making honey, modern and traditional ways of extracting honey, bee keeping and processing. The tour is exceptionally beneficial and an informative one. The museum also has a children’s activity room as well as a knowledge resource unit on bees, environment and people. Tourists can also buy organic honey from the store present in the museum grounds.
Ooty Travel Guide Tip: The museum opens at 9:30 AM and closes at 6:30 PM.
Nightlife In Ooty
Although Ooty is not very popular for its nightlife, but the quaint hill station does offer some unexpectedly fun nightlife experiences. There are quite a few pubs, restaurants, discos and bars like Alto Espirito, Selbournes Bar, The Cheers Bar and Wild West Bar that are open till about midnight. Tourists can enjoy drinks, music and dancing or simply sit back and soak in the lively atmosphere. For all those who love shopping at night the Central Bazaar and the Tibetan Market are the best places to hang out. Adventure seekers can enjoy night jungle safaris at Madumalai National Park to find all kinds of wild animals roaming freely. Honeymoon couples can enjoy candle light dinner, tent camping and campfire. So, Ooty nightlife has something for each and every one!
What To Eat In Ooty
Ooty is a storehouse of many wonderful surprises for all foodies. There are many restaurants serving different cuisines like North Indian, Sooth Indian, Chinese and Italian. In fact, Ooty is also a hub of bakery items like buns, biscuits, cakes and homemade chocolates. Here is a list of a few ‘must try’ delicacies of Ooty.
- Begin your culinary Ooty expedition by a stewed vegetable preparation, Avial. This nutritious dish is a mix of vegetables that are fried in coconut oil and garnished with grated coconut.
- Do try Varkey, a special Ooty biscuit, chocolate fudge, buns and cakes. All of them are super tasty.
- You cannot leave Ooty without trying Koi Udakka, a delicious chicken curry served with steamed rice.
- Kozhukkatta is a special sweet dish comprising of rice flour dumplings stuffed with grated coconut and jaggery.
- Do not forget to taste the farm fresh strawberries, pears and peaches.
- You have to try tea in Ooty. Nothing can beat its taste and aroma.
- Tasting vine from the local vineyards is an absolute must.
So, Ooty is not only about mountains, hills and valleys, it is also about binging!
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Money In Ooty
The currency of Ooty is same as that of whole India, Indian Rupee. Notes come in the denominations of 2000, 500, 200, 100, 50, and 10. Almost all major debit cards and credit cards such as American Express, Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. ATMs are widespread. Currencies can be exchanged at the airports, banks, hotels and money exchangers.
Ooty Travel Guide Tips For Your Trip
Our Ooty travel guide is filled with essential tips and information.
- Keep your identity proofs and other important documents handy.
- Keep a digital copy of all your important documents in your mobile phone in case of an emergency.
- Although the local language is Tamil, but English is widely spoken.
- Electricity is 220-240 Volts.
- Be sure to drive slow on your way uphill to Ooty as there are high chances of spotting animals.
- Beware of monkeys in a tourist spot.
- In case of an emergency, dial 100 (Police) or 102 (Ambulance).
By now, we are quite sure that you have plenty of sweet reasons to visit this delightful paradise in Southern India. So, plan your Ooty holiday soon and do not forget to keep our useful Ooty travel guide handy.
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