Expenditure: INR 5,500 /-
Duration: 4 days
Nilgiri Hills Travel Guide
When we started planning for Nilgiri hills, finding good and reliable information seemed tough and though we asked a lot of people, yet a concrete answer to all our questions still seemed hard to find. So, for all of you travelers out there with Nilgiri Hills yet on their bucket list we’ve put together a comprehensive travel guide you must read. This guide talks about how to reach this amazing hill station in India, things to see and do here and a few cost-cutting tips to make the most of your trip.
Best Time to Visit Nilgiri Hills
Our Recommendation: August
Almost, all online sources will suggest you visit Nilgiri Hills in March – June, and September – November but for those in love with rainfall like us, August is the ideal time to visit.
You will see that the hills are greener and the weather is mostly pleasant with occasional rainfall which does not last for more than half an hour really. Also, prices are much cheaper and you would find the place less crowded.
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One of my favorite places of all times! Kotagiri is a small district near Ooty and is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. You won't find a lot of people here which makes it a peaceful place to explore. The green mountains and the blue sky makes it no less than a paradise. We had quite a journey in this place. We walked for 10 km, got drenched in the rain, kept walking, fought along the way and almost missed our return bus. One of my most memorable journey of all times. . . . If you want to know how to travel around Nilgiri hill station, just read our blog post at nomllers.com. You can also check out our new post on trekking, link is in the bio. 🙂 #throwbacks #Nomllers
Stay in Nilgiri Hills
Tip: Make Advanced hotel bookings
There are many cheap hotels in Ooty but we recommend advance bookings as it is a very attractive tourist spot and tourists and locals tend to drop by from nearby places such as Coimbatore, Bangalore, etc. every weekend and thus can be a little packed. That being said, cheap hotels don’t necessarily mean good hotels so do not expect too much. Our hotel cost us around 1500 INR for 4 nights which was shared by 2 of us.
Food in Nilgiri Hills
Must Try: The Roast
There are lots of normal places to eat. I would advise sticking with South Indian food here as it is better cooked and will cost you less too.
You can find north Indian food here too but the taste wouldn’t be the same and it would be a little costlier coming around to 400 INR for 2 people. Best thing to try here would be the Roast which would cost you just 30-50 INR.
Transportation in Nilgiri Hills
Tip: Avoid cabs, stick to buses
This was one of those areas for which we really struggled a lot while planning our trip, so not to fret we have the perfect information for you. There are loads of buses between Ooty, Kotagiri, and Coonoor which you can take and which will take you to all the main points in less than 25 INR.
Do not hire cabs if you are traveling solo or in a group of 2, they would just rip you off. Buses are your best bet and they are not too slow either.
Points of Interest in Nilgiri Hills
Do not visit clichéd places.
Frankly, there isn’t much to see in Ooty unless you are interested in gardens, but you can easily walk through Ooty and discover new people to talk to.
This is a good place to visit but as it is not in Ooty and some 25 km away, you will need a taxi to go there as no buses take you there. Just make sure to bargain well before hiring a taxi, because they do tend to quote high prices like 1800-2200 INR.
We convinced our cab driver for 1600 INR. Also, if you aren’t sure about a taxi, do not take them to your hotel because if you try to cancel then, they ask you 500 INR for driving through that small distance. (Like seriously! Can you even believe this?).
You could also hire Scooty if you have a driving license and are good at driving in hills. On the way to Avalanche, you will see many tea plantation sites which are a sight to behold. Once you reach, you will need to pay an entry charge and a vehicle charge of 150 INR per person. There are Sumos and buses which take you around the forest and stop at a few chosen points.
This is a must-visit place, as it is surrounded by blue mountains and you can visit other points from here too. You can take a bus from Ooty bus stand which leaves at every hour for Kotagiri and costs around 15 rupees per person.
It will take you an hour to reach Kotagiri. You can eat around here and just enjoy the view from here for some time. Trust us, it is really blissful as you can see from the below picture.
Kodanad View Point
Next on the list is Kodanad viewpoint. To reach this point, you can get a bus from Kotagiri which costs around 10 INR to Kodanad viewpoint.
You can start walking a little from the viewpoint and you will come across many locations which give a better view, some 1 km away from the viewpoint. You get buses from here back to Kotagiri at every half an hour’s interval.
Kodanad Tea Estate is a nice place to stroll. You can just get down from your bus and enjoy some time here and catch the next bus to Kotagiri.
It is a small village lying between Kodanad and Kotagiri. It provides an amazing view and you can walk for some time at your own pace and appreciate your surroundings.
Once you reach Kotagiri, you can take a bus to either Catherine falls or head back to Ooty. Buses to Ooty leave after every 1 hour and are usually a little jam-packed.
Do stop near this gorgeous place which lies between Ooty and Kotagiri and provides an awesome view of tea estates and sunset.
You can visit all the other places which Ooty is famous for by bus or cab which includes Dodabetta peak, Dolphin’s Nose viewpoint, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Pykara lake, etc.
Please Note: Mukurthi National Park has been closed for tourists and travellers now and so it is not possible to get a permit for this place.
On the other hand, you can still visit Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary but you would require a permit from the Forest Reserve Department which is easy to obtain in Ooty itself. Just visit the Forest Reserve office there and get your permit. But make sure you don’t arrive there on a weekend for a permit because, on weekends, the office is closed so it will be difficult for you to get the permit. If you are going on a weekend, you can opt for prior permission by visiting Chennai.
You can contact here for more information about Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
Reception Range Officer,Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary & National
Things to Try in Nilgiri Hills
The Nilgiri Hills Toy train
This is surely must-do activity in Nilgiri Hills. The ticket costs just 30 INR and takes you from Ooty to Mettupalayam or you can choose to stop at Coonoor. This ride is pretty high in demand so the seats get sold out pretty fast. You can try advance booking 4-5 months before or you can reach the station an hour before departure.
Only limited seats are available so do make sure you turn up before and wait in the queue. (We had to wait for 45 minutes in the queue before the ticket counter even opened!!!). But it’s all worth it, especially the evening train at 6 as you get to see the sunset too. You can take a bus back from Coonoor to Ooty, so no worries there.
Chocolates and other items
These are a must try for all chocolates and beverages fans. You can take any combination of chocolates but they have a minimum selling weight of 250g which costs around 100 INR on an average. So, I would suggest Crunchy chocolate, as that was our favorite.
Also, try Chocolate cookies sold here, they are to die for and you can find unlimited number of shops for these so, don’t worry. You can also get coffee beans, flavoured tea powders, and coffee powders from here so, make the most of this opportunity.
How to reach Ooty
So, we started our journey from Bangalore and booked a bus via Paytm to Coimbatore which cost us around 700 INR each. We couldn’t take a direct bus as our timings didn’t match. But, if you can take a direct bus from Bangalore to Ooty then the last bus leaves at 10.30 p.m.
From Coimbatore, we took a bus to small bus stand which cost us around 9 INR per person. From this bus stand, we got a bus to Ooty for 50 INR and it took us 2.5 hours to reach Ooty.
In total, we spent 5000-5500 INR per person on our 4 days trip to Nilgiri Hills.
Did you find the guide helpful? Did we miss out on something? Write to us in the comment section below.