The first question that pops up in anyone’s mind when u plan a vacation is how do we reach our holiday destination..? Based on the city you are from, there are multiple options to choose from. As we are here to talk about our queen of hills let’s discuss the multiple options.
- By Road / Self drive
Of course this is the simplest option to choose from if you’re located around few kilometers from Ooty. But this depends on how well you enjoy your road trip. Not to forget the company that has to keep you going for at least 4-5 hours. So if you choose to drive, also be wise enough to choose your company. If this is your family vacation, be well prepared for all the facilities you might have to provide along with the fun drive. If you have kids travelling with you then you might have to carry their toys or books to keep them busy throughout the journey. If your company is just a bunch of friends, then the package comes along & your music system to keep it going will be much enough.
Since Ooty is in Tamil Nadu, it shares borders with Kerala & Karnataka and easily connected with the cities here. Especially Bangalore is the best option to drive to Ooty as the road trip is quiet scenic with the lovely peak mountains and tea plantations on the way. A number of pit stops for the pictures can be added fun. The hills can be consequently reached by travelling through a heavily forested area and sharp hair pin bends. Keep in mind to cross these areas are closed during night so plan your journey towards the daytime. Make your trip more fun by taking the Bandipur route where you get to experience the wild life especially the elephants at the Madumalai stretch.
From Coimbatore: 90 kms
From Chennai: 550 kms
From Bangalore: 270 kms
- By Train
The next option being the train, there are few pros and cons. When you travel by train, you get to chill a bit more. You will get to spend actual time with your family on the journey. The view of the nature is much better and you don’t have to worry about the traffic issues. Your kids might make some new friends while on this trip. More time to socialise. But of course, you don’t get to choose your stops or your routes for the break. The cons being that you have to carry the packed food in advance, or buy the once that’s available. The choices are constrained. Let’s explore this option of reaching Ooty.
The nearest railhead is Mettupalyam, 40 kilometres from Ooty. There are trains from Chennai, Coimbatore, Mysore and Bangalore connecting Mettupalyam. Some of the popular trains are Ooty Udagamandalam Passenger train, Mettupalyam Udagamandalam Passenger train, Mangalore Mail and Mangalore Express. From here on, you can also board the heritage toy train known as the Nilgiri Mountain train which takes you uphill on an exciting journey. However, if you wish to reach faster, take a taxi from the railway junction. Also Ooty Railway station is well connected and situated on the major New Delhi- Coimbatore railway line and is linked with the cities like New Delhi, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Chennai, Kochi, Mysore, Lucknow, Chennai, Kanyakumari, Puri, Ahmedabad and Jaipur.
- By Bus
Coming to our next option, traveling by bus might not be a fun option but sure there is lot of advantage to it. To name a few, if you consider traveling by bus you reduce the carbon footprint on this planet. Even a difference of one single car makes a lot of difference. This way you make a contribution to the greener planet. And think about all the parking spaces you have to worry about while driving. Also you save a lot of time in finding a new place to eat. While traveling by bus everything is taken care by the travel agent guys. There is less hustle bustle and much safer. Also you get to take a nap and enjoy the drive along the country side. And comparatively a cheaper means of transport.
There are various options to travel by bus and shared taxis that is available from Coimbatore. Plenty of buses leave from Bangalore & Mysore as well. The frequency via Mettupalayam is convenient for your last minute plans. From Kozhikode (Calicut) there are two government buses daily, leaving 05.00 and 07.00, travel time is about 6 hours. Mysore is served few times a day, too. From Kannur there is a KSRTC Bus starting at 7.30 am everyday and a Tamil Nadu Bus at 10PM everyday reaching Ooty at 4PM and 7am next day respectively. You will get both government and luxury buses from Bangalore, Mysore and Chennai to Ooty. These are overnight buses and the journey is quite comfortable. Note that a special government bus leaves daily at 5pm and 7pm from Calicut and it takes just 6 hours to reach Ooty.
- By Air
Of course this is the only option if you are travelling from far of distances or abroad. This is the fastest means of transport you could opt for. Or even if u have elders traveling with you, then it’s advisable to choose this option to reach your destination safer & at the earliest. Secondly the comforts that is available on a plane. You don’t have to worry about the food, the luggage, everything is taken care of while you can sit and relax while you finish that pending book or engage in playing games with your kids. Considering these factors obviously this is an expensive option and you might not be able to enjoy the view or feel the essence of the local areas unlike by other means of transport. But you get to enjoy the view of the clouds and that dream sunset while you sip on your coffee.
The nearest International Airport is Coimbatore International Airport, roughly two and a half hour drive from Ooty, about 88 kms drive. Coimbatore Airport is well connected to a spectrum of cities like Delhi, Kozhikode, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad via Air Arabia, Air India, Indigo, Jet Konnect and Spice Jet.
I guess that’s pretty good information with the pros and cons of all the travel options. Every family needs are different and hence the options. Choose you company first and then plan accordingly. Whatever your choice is be sure to have fun, after all it’s a vacation at the queen of the hills!