Coonoor and the toy train ride to Ooty was always in my travel list from a very long time and made it there along with a friend in December of 2019. This trip gave me a different perspective about hill stations unlike the very popular Ooty and Munnar which are everyone's go-to destination.
I'll narrate the trip in 2 stages- Planning stage and execution stage.
Planning stage includes all the prep works like booking tickets, research and making the itinerary. As the main motive behind the trip was to experience the toy train ride, rest all plans were secondary. I thought the best option to experience it would be from Coonoor to Ooty which is a 1 hour 15 mins ride and rest of the time we could spent in exploring Coonoor.
1st class- Rs 290
2nd class- Rs 85
You can also take tickets from the counter on the day of travel but it's tiring and all about luck.
Once the train ticket is confirmed, you can book the tickets to Coonoor immediately or later. I booked it only 1 week prior. There are a lot of KSRTC buses to Coonoor from Bangalore which you can book through the KSRTC website and the return was booked from Ooty. It costed me Rs 1450 for round tickets. Make sure to book overnight buses so that you get good sleep and can wake up fresh the next day.
As we all know, Coonoor is situated in the Nilgris state of Tamil Nadu and is popular for it's tea estates. It is one of the 3 hill stations of Nilgris-the other 2 being Ooty and Kotagiri. I did a little research on Coonoor, the places to explore, how to commute, where to eat so that we can make our day worth the visit. I found out most people hire autos from Coonoor town to roam around from different articles and vlogs (Of course we have to bargain:D) so kept that as an option as most places don't have public transport accessibility.
Execution stage/ The day of travel
We started our journey on 14th night from Shanthi Nagar bus station at 10.00 pm. We had booked a sleeper bus and slept comfortably until the hair pin roads woke us up the next day to the serene views outside. It's a 1o-12 hours journey and by around 9 am we reached Coonoor town. We decided to have breakfast and freshen up before starting off. Found this veg restaurant called Hotel Shri Lakshmi, an average decently priced restaurant with restrooms.
Next plan was to hire an auto to explore the places around. We moved towards the auto stand and started bargaining. They started off with Rs 900 for 4 hours trip which will cover 4-5 places around with 15 kms. After showcasing some great bargaining skills, we finally found our Ibrahim bhaiya who agreed for Rs 700. He was so kind and patient enough to tolerate all our endless question