Almost every season has its own charm in this quaint little hill town in the Nilgiris. However, the most popular time to explore Ooty tourism is from March to June. The average temperature during summers is around 25°C and though the days can be a little hot, mornings and evenings are pleasant. This is also the best time to travel if you want to include treks and visits to tree plantations in your Ooty tourism itinerary. The occasional rains during the summer months help bring the temperature down drastically.
On the other hand, the monsoon in Ooty is mesmerising. It may not be the most popular season but that just implies that budget travellers and solo backpackers can have a memorable trip. Wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers can expect lush scenery and reduced prices for hotels during the monsoon months of July, August and September.
Winter is popular among backpackers and budget travellers who want to explore Ooty tourism. Since the temperatures are low, most travellers prefer avoiding Ooty during the months of December to February. The mountains are covered in mist and trekking is almost impossible. Unless you are heading out to explore another side of Ooty tourism, we suggest not planning your trip during winter. However, if you happen to be in Ooty during January, you must attend the three-day Tea and Tourism Festival that is organised by the Tamil tourism department. You can taste different varieties of tea and learn more about local traditions.
Ooty Lake is among the top places on offer by Ooty tourism. Just like any quintessential lake in the mountain, Ooty lake is surrounded by verdant greenery and promises beautiful views. It is located a couple of kilometres from the city centre and takes about ten minutes to reach. The foundation of the lake was laid down by John Sullivan in 1824.
One of the major attractions of Ooty lake is the wide array of activities it offers. You can go boating or choose to relive your childhood by booking a short cycling tour. The path surrounding the lake is filled with cyclists and the sight is quite pleasing. If you are travelling with little ones, you don’t need to worry about them getting bored. There is a mini-train, small amusement park and of course, boating to keep children occupied.
Shopping enthusiasts must keep aside sufficient time to explore the shops around the lake. Not only does this give you an opportunity to pick up a few local souvenirs but it also dramatically boosts the local economy. Ooty lake has served as the backdrop in many popular Bollywood songs including ‘Dil Deewana’ from the classic Maine Pyaar Kiya.
There is a small canteen in the boathouse located next to Ooty lake where you’ll find snacks and beverages.
Located in the beautiful Emerald Village, Emerald Lake is a popular spot offered by Ooty tourism. The lake is a little far from the main city and you may need to plan ahead if you want to include this in your Ooty tourism itinerary. Since the lake is a part of the Silent Valley National Park, you can expect pristine views. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city crowd, Emerald Lake is where you can enjoy a leisurely picnic.
If you are a photography enthusiast, you’ll be in for a surprise owing to the breathtaking views of rolling tea plantations, the varied population of birds and the vibrant sky. Mountain biking and trekking are popular activities at Emerald Lake and if you are interested in adventure activities, we recommend including a tour in your Ooty tourism itinerary.
Ooty Rose Garden
Imagine spending a day amidst rows and rows of red-hued roses. Ooty Rose Garden is a favourite amidst nature lovers and if nature is what you seek on a vacation, this should definitely be a part of your Ooty tourism itinerary. The mesmerising rose garden is sprawled across the Elk Hill slopes and was established in 1995.
The garden garners attention since it is maintained by the Horticulture Department of Tamil Nadu and is among the most popular botanical gardens in the country. If you are interested in the different varieties of roses, you will be quite surprised by the collection here. We recommend taking a picnic basket along since the garden is an ideal spot to enjoy a lavish picnic. The best time to visit the rose garden is between March and June since most flower shows take place during these months.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Train journeys in the mountains are always special. That's one of the reasons that Nilgiri Mountain Railway or Toy Train needs to be on your list of things to check out while exploring Ooty tourism. One of the most popular activities offered by Ooty tourism, a ride on the toy train will take you through some of the most picturesque places in the area.
The toy train was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005, a fact that pulls more visitors to explore this beauty. The toy train started in 1899 and continues to charm locals and tourists ever since. We recommend keeping aside an entire day in your Ooty tourism itinerary to enjoy this beauty since the ride takes about five hours. Covering a distance of 46 kilometres, the journey begins from Mettupalayam. Gradually, the train travels through lush plains to craggy mountains. The places that you cover on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway are Mettupalayam, Kellar, Coonoor, Wellington, Lovedale and Ootacamund. Nilgiri Mountain Railway is among the steepest tracks in Asia and if you are exploring Ooty tourism, you simply shouldn't miss it.
A visit to Avalanche Lake promises an enviable combination of adventure, natural beauty and serenity. The lake is located 26 kilometres from the main city and it’s best to take a jeep to the tourist spot. Among the most popular tourist attractions in Ooty tourism, the lake is situated amidst a mesmerising landscape. The verdant greenery around is spellbinding and you’ll be inspired by the natural beauty surrounding Avalanche Lake.
Adventure enthusiasts can enjoy a range of activities including rappelling, open-jeep drive and horse riding. We recommend taking a package for all the activities since that will help you stay within budget. If you are exploring Ooty tourism with children, you can’t miss a visit to the lake. The lake is open till 6 pm in the evening so ensure that you reach in the morning to enjoy an entire day here.
There are numerous trekking trails around Avalanche and you can choose to explore one, depending on your skills. We recommend not heading out without a tour guide since the terrain is unpredictable and there is no network in a few areas. If you are interested in trout fishing, you can hire fishing gear from vendors nearby. In fact, fishing is the second most popular activity here after camping. If you are in the mood for a short trekking tour, we suggest heading up to Upper Bhavani Lake. A lesser-known tourist attraction, it’s the ideal spot to enjoy a quiet picnic amidst nature. If you would like to set up your own camp here, it’s best to take permission from the local authorities.
Dodabetta peak is situated around ten kilometres from Ooty. It is among the most sought-after tourist attractions as part of Ooty tourism. Known as Big Peak, the mountain is perched at a height of 2,623 metres above sea level. The highest peak in the Nilgiri Hills, it’s a delight for adventure lovers to explore. Not only can you admire panoramic views of the mountains but you can also indulge in photography, especially during sunset. Travel guides claim that on a clear day, you can see as far as Mysore.
The good news is that Dodabetta is accessible by foot as well as a vehicle. The trek is not challenging and will take you a couple of hours, depending on your fitness level. There are no camping sites at the summit and that’s why the site is sparkling clean. The top of the summit is known as Dodabetter viewpoint and offers awe-inspiring views of the surrounding.
We suggest keeping aside sufficient time in your Ooty tourism itinerary if trekking to Dodabetter is in your mind. Besides the actual trekking time, it can take about a couple of hours extra if you are in the mood to picnic and spend a few hours amidst natural beauty.
Learn more about the tea making process at the Tea Museum
It’s not very often that you get an opportunity to learn about tea-production. The activity should feature in your Ooty tourism itinerary if you have a couple of hours to spare. Situated amidst lush tea plantations, the Tea Museum is a break from usual sightseeing lists. The factory tour at the Tea Museum takes you through the entire process in two hours.
You will see everything from selection and collection of tea leaves, machines at work and the final process of getting the product. The tour also gives you a chance to learn more about the different tea leaves in the region and the production process. What adds charm to this exciting tour is the different varieties of tea you can taste, and take back home. The souvenir shop shouldn’t be skipped.
Trek to Kalhatti Falls
There are two reasons that bring people to Kalhatti Falls. One is the popular Lord Shiva temple that sees people from across the country and the second reason is the surreal beauty surrounding it. The waterfall is located away from other tourist sites so you can expect peace and serenity. Since the waterfall is in the midst of a forest, you might spot monkeys, elephants and deers.
Adventure enthusiasts book their trekking tour in advance since it’s best to travel with a tour guide. You can find out more at the Ooty tourism office if you want to book a camping tour. The camping site is 40 kilometres away from the waterfall and you can choose from the numerous camping tours available. We don’t recommend travelling with children, especially if you plan to explore the trekking routes around the area. While there are a few shops around the waterfalls, we suggest carrying your picnic baskets and making minimum use of plastic.
Go shopping in the city
If you thought that there is no opportunity to shop in Ooty, it’s time to reconsider. Ooty tourism has made considerable efforts to bring local products and vendors at the forefront. There are numerous government shops at Commercial Road that offer a range of products such as homemade chocolates, fresh spices, tea leaves, cheese products and aromatic oils. If you head to the Tibetan bazaar, you can take home woollen clothes and handmade hair bands and mufflers.
We recommend bargaining when you are exploring the street markets but rest assured that the products will be genuine. Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan, Municipal Market and Super Market are a few places that you should include in your Ooty tourism itinerary.
Trekking enthusiasts will be exceptionally pleased while exploring Ooty tourism. In fact, one of the major attractions for travellers exploring Ooty tourism is trekking. There are a number of treks that you can choose depending on your skills and interests.
Among the popular treks that are part of Ooty tourism, we suggest exploring the trek to Parsons Dam. The trek starts 11 kilometres ahead of Ooty at a point known as Sholur Junction. This trek is also known as the Parson trek and is extremely popular with enthusiastic trekkers. You will be able to admire rows and rows of wild fields and will have an opportunity to meet locals. The trek takes you through the valley and you will cross places such as the Toda Tribal Village and Thirthor Bett. This trekking route is among the most famous in the hill station and we promise you wouldn't want to go back. Besides the numerous vantage points, there is a hearty dose of adventure to keep you busy. The trek takes about eight hours and can be quite strenuous. We recommend carrying enough water and snacks for your journey.
Glenmorgan Trek is another popular trek that is situated 16 kilometres from the city. An integral part of Ooty tourism, the trek is quite popular amongst adventure buffs and nature lovers. The trek begins from the ghost village of Pathar and takes you across numerous tourist attractions. The trek is slightly challenging but easy for those who have trekked before.
Bokkapuram, Masinagudi and Mudumalai Sanctuary are a few places that you can spot when trekking on this route. Like with all treks in Ooty, we recommend heading out with a guide since it’ll make your trekking experience smoother and hassle-free. Keep in mind that there are no shops on the way and you will have to go prepared with food and water. This is a lesser-known area in Ooty so we recommend informing your hotel about your whereabouts.
The trek finally ends at Pykara Junction from where you can head back to the city. The trek is full of pit stops which will give you much-needed breaks while trekking.
Other popular trekking routes in Ooty tourism are Kotagiri- Elk and Doddabetta Peak.
Whether you want a sprawling luxurious resort or a comfortable, budget room, Ooty tourism doesn't disappoint. Owing to the increase in tourist population, the hill station is more than equipped to fulfil the growing needs of travellers. There is an accommodation option for every budget and every traveller, all you need to do is look out for discounts and book your Ooty tourism packages well in advance.
Luxury resorts in Ooty
The luxury hotels that are part of Ooty tourism certainly live up to their name. While the location is the hero in any luxury property, you can't complain about the impeccable service and heartwarming hospitality. Let's take a look at some of the best hotels in Ooty tourism.
Mid-budget hotels in Ooty
If budget is a constraint when you are planning your Ooty tourism itinerary, we recommend booking your hotel in advance. Most mid-budget hotels in Ooty tourism are comfortable and offer efficient service. However, we suggest going through the reviews before you book your stay. Here are a few mid-budget hotels that are part of Ooty tourism:
Budget hotels in Ooty
Often travellers refrain from booking budget hotels in fear of unclean rooms and no service. However, Ooty tourism will surprise you. There are numerous hotels that are designed to serve backpackers and budget travellers. Offering everything from local experience to comfortable rooms, here are a few budget hotels that are part of Ooty tourism.
The cuisine of a place offers you a glimpse into the culture and one of the most important travel tips by frequent travellers is to taste the local dishes. The cuisine of a place depends on the location, the weather and the local product. When you are exploring Ooty tourism, you can try a variety of dishes that are native to the region and a few that have been added over time.
Chicken chettinad, kozhi varutharachathu and avial are a few dishes that are available in all restaurants. The local food in Ooty is spicy and has a hearty dose of fresh spices such as cinnamon and star anise. If this is the first time you are trying the local food in Tamil Nadu, we recommend telling the chef to go easy on the spices. To offset the spiciness, you can try a variety of homemade chocolates and cheese products. Varkey is a variety of biscuits that you will find in local confectionaries. Easy on the palate, the biscuits are unlike any other. We recommend trying mango, fig and strawberry flavours when you are browsing through the chocolate varieties.
Kingstar Confectionery, Nahar Restaurant, Sidewalk Cafe, Kabab Corner and Ooty Coffee House are a few places that are highly recommended by locals and tourists alike. If you are craving Chinese, Italian or North Indian cuisine, you can head to the main market and try one of the many restaurants. Shinkows Chinese Restaurant, Quality Restaurant and Hyderabad Biryani House are some of the popular restaurants in Ooty.
Figuring out local transport in a new place can take up a large chunk of your time. The time that could have been utilised visiting a new place. However, Ooty tourism has made it easier for travellers to explore the hill station. If you want to travel short distances, you can rent a cycle. The per-hour costs of renting a cycle is Rs 20 but if you rent for the entire day, it can be anywhere between Rs 400 to Rs 500.
Autos are another popular means of transport when exploring Ooty tourism and you can hire one from the main market. If you are planning an entire day of sightseeing, it’s best to negotiate the cost beforehand. For long-distance travel, the best means of transport is a jeep. You can approach approved travel agencies and book transport according to your Ooty tourism itinerary. Taxis will cost much more than autos but if you are travelling in a large group, not only is it more convenient but also budget-friendly.
Planning a trip implies extensive research and if you are aware of the costs beforehand, it remarkably aids your cause. While exploring Ooty tourism is not expensive, the amount you spend will depend on your travel style. If you choose to stay in a luxury resort, be aware that the cost of your trip can exceed your initial budget. Let’s take a look at per day costs when exploring Ooty tourism.
If you are a luxury traveller exploring Ooty tourism, you can expect to spend between Rs 4,000 and Rs 7,000. This amount includes food, transport and sightseeing costs.
Mid-budget travellers can save their money if they opt for cheaper means of transport such as local bus and auto. A mid-budget traveller can expect to spend between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000 while exploring Ooty tourism.
Budget travellers are cautious when spending on a trip. They opt for group tours and local transport which means reduced per day costs. If you are a budget traveller who is planning a trip to explore Ooty tourism, you can expect to spend between Rs 500 and Rs 700 per day.
Written by Kirat Sodhi. A proud mom of three cats who lives for lemon tea, a good book and spontaneous travel plans.