This year, you have plans to travel more and more as you have realized what a wonderful idea it is to explore the world, creating lifetime memories. However, you are confused so as to where your next vacation should be? There are certain basis on which we decide our destination of vacation and, time and budget are two very important criteria. A successful vacation requires a proper planning, ensuring that the conditions of budget, interest and time are fulfilled. 



The blog enlists certain tips on how to choose a travel destination:

Interest / Purpose


Do you wish to visit a volcano or wish to spot a komodo dragon, it is not possible at all the places. What you really wish to experience and explore, is probably the most important feature in deciding the place that you are going to visit. This becomes all the more important, if you have interests that are really unique.

Ponder upon what is going to be the general theme of your vacation, as in are you going with your family, is this a vacation with your friends and you wish to indulge in adventure activities, are you searching for a romantic destination to visit with your partner, or is this vacation simply for relaxing after long time of tiring office work? Or you may be you are one of those who just wishes to visit the globe, meet the new people and savor sumptuous delicacies of popular world cuisines.

The purpose of the trip and your interest is very important. Look for the company you will be travelling for, your children, spouse or your friends.

Budget / Cost of your vacation



Most of the time, we chart out a budget for our vacation, after taking all the tentative expenses into consideration. For instance, if you ready to spend one thousand dollars on your accommodation, you are going to get far better options in Southeast Asia instead of Hawaii, and that too for a longer duration. Everything now depends on your preference and pocket. However, travelling to some place during their off-season is going to save a lot of your money due to discounts being offered.

There are websites, such as BudgetYourTrip.com, which contains the analysis of the average costs of several destinations, done at one place, taking into account some real expenses. This gives a general idea of the expenses that you are going to incur during your vacation.

Time of your holiday / Time on your hands


After you jot down names of some destinations in your list, just do little research and look for any public holidays, festivals or other events fall during the time when you are planning your vacation. During such times, it might happen that main attractions are closed, markets would be shut and even public transport would either be too busy or would be shut.

However, there is another side to this. If you are a cultural aficionado and you like to experience new rituals and traditional of other people, the time of festivities would be the best for you. A little research never hurts. Thus, you can alter the time of your vacation accordingly. You can postpone or advance your vacation.

Another thing is the time that you have on your hands. If you somewhere around 1 weeks’ time, you might not want to waste too much time travelling to arrive at your destinations. But, if you have around 15 days and more, the world is yours.

Weather


Not looking for the weather condition during the course of your holidays can actually become a real trouble. Weather is an important factor in choosing the destination where you are going to visit. Before you make a plan to visit a particular destination, check its weather during that time so that your plan is not spoiled. 

For instance, you rounded off on having a beach vacation with your family at Davao City in Philippines, in the month of June. You reach there and what you see is only water all around. Little did you know that this is the rainy season here it rains consistently without a break. You are now going to spend time only in your hotel room.

Language



If you are not really into the idea of learning a need language just for a vacation, do try to know whether the people of the destination that are travelling, know your language or not. For instance, try to visit English-speaking nations such as New Zealand and Canada. You might not like to talk with just a smile or in sign language.

Family / Acquaintance Connections


If you are planning to visit a destination where you family, friends or acquaintance stay, you can think about staying with them. This is going to save a lot of money of yours that you were about to pay for accommodation. The money that you saved can be used on some memorable excursion or on at a popular fine-dining restaurant that was earlier on your list. Additionally, they may also enlighten you about some hidden gems of that place that not many people know about.

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A traveler’s job is to grab more and more experiences of new destinations and places. This motivation of the wanderlust can be well satisfied if he were to follow certain guidelines or we would say some tips in his course of traveling. Luxury traveling, which we in this blog of ours is focusing, need not to be always associated with an expensive tour; provided if you are not a smart traveler.

Travel Tips for Smart Luxury Travelers


If you are not one of those and love to play smart, then you can actually save a lot in your next luxury travel. Mentioned below is a list of travel tips which can definitely lead you to be a smart luxury traveler. 
  • Jet lags are quite common and after a long journey onboard, it gets very much habitual for many travelers to develop such a condition. Thus, in a situation like this, avoid going out at the night and instead take a good night sleep as per the time zone you are in.
  • While packing your luggage, do not put your name and address on the tag it carries with itself. Instead rely on your phone number and the postal code.
  • As you get onboard be very much alert about the costs that are occurring because it is quite common for anyone to lose an update on that.
  • It is always good to have your passport renewed as many countries are under the regulation of keeping their tourists for more days.
  • Before visiting any new destination or a holiday spot, make sure you keep a list of the must visit attractions and the things to do. It will help you cover every of the attraction.
  • In order to keep your clothes free from crease, keep a spray bottle of water in your luggage. Use it to rinse the clothes and let it dry in the open.
  • Make use of popular websites to get yourself the best hotel or accommodation deal. ‘Hotels Combined’ can be of very much help
  • If you have a newly bought memory card for your digital camera, make sure to keep a selfie of you saved in it.
  • One of the important things that a smart traveler would never head on without it is an extra photocopy of the passport and a scanned digital copy of it in your email.
  • If your holiday plan includes touring United Kingdom, then keep in mind that the national museums and galleries over there are free of cost to visit.
  • Make use of mobile apps like Momondo, Expedia and Skyscanner to get excellent flight deals. Expedia is also helpful in the case of hotels and accommodations.
  • Although it is advised you must not forget adapters and chargers at home, but if you do so, you can ask for it at the hotel reception for they usually have a spare.
  • Tourists travelling with pet dogs can look for small luxury hotels that offers numerous dog-friendly options.
  • Don’t try to be funny or jovial with the immigration or border control staff for they are not the kind to be humorous with. Just get on with the proceedings straight away.
  • It is a point to understand that different airlines have different names appointed for different class of cabins. They might have names like World Traveler Plus, Premium Voyage and economy comfort, so go research well through these options before you make your purchase.
  • Keep your eyes open for bumper sales at boutique and premium hotels.
  • Other than looking at the website of the hotel, go through different travel agent websites. Such websites will give you a sure better offer in choosing an accommodation.
  • Try to keep your expenses at the minimum during the flight and the journey. So that you can spend with open hands at the destination. Enjoy the city attractions, go on the outskirts. For instance, British countryside includes some of the most wonderful places to visit; you can make your big expenses over there.

  • If you are a fan of a particular airline, sign up for their newsletters. In this way, you will never be away from the news of any sale or special offer.
  • Lavish lounges that you see at the airport are not only for first class passengers, but for other travelers as well. One can buy meals and drinks over there at cost-effective rates.
  • While renting accommodation, keep a check on the hidden charges that are not covered under the price tag. These charges are mainly service costs which would normally be absent on the website.
  • In order to save on different tours, city attractions and restaurant, always check the Groupon deals on the country you are planning to visit.
  • If travelling to a foreign country, learn some translations of words like Thankyou, sorry and please. This can help you in many situations.
  • One must consider the option of shorter trips as sometimes they prove more reliable than the longer ones. Many travel companies have started with arranging their trips in in this way.
  • Sometimes we ask for a little arrangement or a special treatment with an excuse of a wedding anniversary or a birthday. No need to do that, simply ask, as they would be more than happy to do that.
  • Before leaving your hotel, make sure you have the name and address of the hotel clearly in your mind. If you can’t do so, take their business card so that you can catch a taxi or cab easily to return back.
  • If you are in for some major expenses at your trip, make sure you inform your credit company before in hand about the same.
  • Keeping the contact information of your embassy while traveling abroad is a sure sign of a smart traveler.
  • If you can adjust little bit of comfort for the luxuries of a lavish hotel stay, do opt for a low budget airline, as it will help you save your precious money for the hotel.

  • There are some credit card companies which offer people certain benefits while they travel. There lies the situation of collecting miles/points for a hotel loyalty program or an airline you wish to choose.
  • During the time of overcrowding of the airline, don’t hurry to switch to another one. Wait for the compensation that would be offered to you.
  • One can always leave toiletries at home, for the hotels provide them absolutely free of cost.
  • Many restaurants in Italy are known to offer certain discounts during lunch time. So, if you are vacationing over there, have your meal around that time.
  • Amongst the best ways to save money on a holiday, we suggest the loyalty programs of various companies. It includes flight journeys, hotel stays and even cruise trips.
  • Before booking a hotel room for yourself, make sure you cross check the reviews, blogs and posts on a number of websites. Star ratings are not enough.
  • If you want a high end luxury vacation, countries like Dubai, Mauritius, Bali, Bora Bora and the Maldives can bring the best of that, for they are renowned for the same.
  • Besides, luxury is not only confined to the lands. One can simply book a cruise tour that would be pampering you with its high end luxury service as you move alongside, exploring new destinations.
  • New at a destination and completely unaware about the food joints/restaurants, rely upon the suggestions given by your hotel concierge. They will direct you to the best locations in the town.
  • Rather than enjoying the luxuries of an accommodation, one can just stay in a private room at a hostel or dormitory and spend on the best spas and gourmet cuisines.
  • Definitions of a luxury travel can be different for many of us. It can be a super comfortable accommodation, a premium airline journey or the rich experiences that you get on your vacation. Clear your definition in your head before the journey and make the arrangements as per your priorities.
  • An insurance cover is always helpful on a long vacation. There are many stories of tourists caught in the web of paying excess amount of bills on a holiday.
  • Different hotel websites generate promo codes in their dealings. A smart traveler would always make use of these codes to get himself the best buy.
  • One must travel safe at all costs. Even though a luxury travel is high on comfort, it cannot promise a safe travel. For this, you need to be on guard for yourself and your belongings.

  • Tourists who wish for luxury travel need not to restrict themselves to premium hotels and accommodations. Try Glamping for a change; you will not be disappointed at all.
  • To get the cheapest flight, make a comparison of rates at various sites on the web.
  • Checking-in between 4 pm and 6 pm can certainly increase your chances of a hotel upgrade.
  • To get an upgrade in the flight journey, don’t depend on luck. Instead, get it done in advance. There are many airlines who provide such options. Virgin Atlantic being one of them.
  • One of the most essential qualities of a smart traveler is that it has the element of flexibility in its schedule. The more you will be flexible or adjusting towards choosing travel destinations, the more you are likely to get yourself the best deal.
  • As you would be booking an accommodation for yourself or your people, keep a mindful of any big event or conference going on or scheduled to happen in that area. If this would be the situation, you are most likely to get a hike in the rates of the accommodation.
  • Traveling is all about gaining new experiences. So, when on a vacation at a new place, do not refrain   yourself from trying out new cuisines. To connect with the local culture, eat where the locals do and have what they are having.

Not Just Yet another Beach Destination: Agonda Beach, Goa

The first time, the beach of Agonda was mentioned to me, I sort of liked this beach name as it began with an A and ended with an A. Nice short name for a beach, AgondAhhhh.

Coco Huts at Agonda Beach, Goa
For many years the beach of Agonda was not even discovered, less even noticed even though it was screaming to be seen by the huge hoards of backpackers that flooded the crescent shaped bay beach of Palolem just on the other side of Palolem River.

Not a Secret Beach of South Goa Anymore

A decade ago, it was difficult to find tourists strolling along the white sands of Agonda. Today the entire scene has totally changed. With Palolem beach totally getting overcrowded and commercial, the immediate neighboring beach of Agonda is a great respite most needed for those tourists who love a serene place all to themselves.

A decade ago, Agonda beach was like a best kept secret. Today Agonda beach is like a secret garden that is open and accessible to all beach lovers.

Agonda Beach is the second in the list of preferences after Palolem beach who are enticed to the attractiveness of the large 3 kms beach, secrecy and empty beaches. In the responses of tourists it is highlighted that Agonda is for those who need peace and quiet, nice food, and decent housing at affordable prices. “Serene quiet beach away from the crowds. An ideal place for sun admirers and for those, who want to meditate or read a book” - this is Agonda for many now. 

Olive Ridley Turtle Beach of South Goa: Agonda Beach

The highly endangered Olive Riddley Turtles have blessed Agonda beach by choosing it to be their regular hatching site of their newly born baby turtles. Olive Riddley Turtles are observed to visit only two places One in Eastern India, at Orissa and the other in and one in Southern India at Goa. Agonda has a turtle nesting unit managed by Forests (wildlife) department of Goa.

Agonda 2nd on the List of Top 25 Beaches in Asia

The top 25 best beaches in Asia according to Travel Portals are as follows:
1. White Beach, Boracay, Philippines
2. Agonda Beach, Agonda, India
3. Railay Beach, Railay Beach, Thailand
4. Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island, India
5. Phra Nang Beach, Ao Nang, Thailand
6. Nai Harn Beach, Karon, Thailand
7. Cavelossim Beach, Cavelossim, India
8. Otres Beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia
9. Secret Lagoon Beach, El Nido, Philippines
10. Yapak Beach (Puka Shell Beach), Boracay, Philippines
11. Kata Beach, Kathu, Thailand
12. Varkala Beach, Varkala, India
13. Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand
14. Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam, India
15. Long Beach, Ko Lanta, Thailand
16. Mandrem Beach, Mandrem, India
17. Baga Beach, Calangute, India
18. Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam
19. Padang Padang Beach, Bali, Indonesia
20. Yalong Bay, Sanya, China
21. Kamala Beach, Phuket, Thailand
22. Chishingtan Beach, Hualien, Taiwan
23. Haeundae Beach
24. Candolim Beach
25. Freedom Beach, Patong, Thailand

Best Way to Experience Agonda Beach is in a Coco Hut


Agonda is the only beach where I came across many beach huts as being called as Coco Huts. Many of the beach accommodations that I visited during my stay at one of the local guest houses, I found that most of the beach huts or beach cottages owners prefer to call their accommodations as coco huts. This was something new and peculiar only with this South Goa beach of Agonda.

Hand Made & Hand Built Herbal Coco Huts, Back to Nature at End of the Season.
In South Goa, due to the regulations of the local government agencies called the Panchayat, not even a single person or private company is allowed to build permanent beach huts on beach region that comes under the designated area of CRZ or Coastal Regulation Zone. Hence all the Coco huts or beach huts at Agonda beach are natural, eco-friendly and dismountable in the Monsoon seasons.

All the coco huts at Agonda beach are totally made from natural materials such as coir, wood, sticks, cane, palm leaves, bamboos, ropes and any other eco-friendly materials. Also every year in the month of May these temporary beach huts also called as coco huts of Secret Garden have to be compulsorily dismantled and the Agonda beach shoreline left back to its original state.

Agonda beach leaves a definite imprint on the mind mainly because of its distinctive 3 bays that make up the entire stretch of Agonda beach. The most imprinted image of Agonda beach on my mind is the strewn rocks on the entire stretch of Agonda like sprinkled salt on my seafood platter.
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Fondly referred to as The ‘Queen of Hill Stations’, Ooty is one of the best destinations of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located in the Western Ghats zone at an altitude of 2240 m above the sea level, this hill station is equally popular amidst family vacationers as well as honeymooners. The place boasts of a number of charmers such as lush surroundings, salubrious climate, aromatic tea estates, natural as well as manmade wonders, World Heritage Site of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and more. The blog enlists top 30 things to do in Ooty:

1. Doddabetta Peak

Doddabetta is the highest mountain in the Nilgiri Hills at 2,637 metres.
Doddabetta Peak -  the highest mountain in the Nilgiri Hills
 Standing at an altitude of 2623 m above the sea level, Doddabetta Peak is the highest point in the hill station from where one can savor panoramic views of Ooty and its surrounding places including highlands of Mysore and plains of Coimbatore. Just 10 km away from the main city, Doddabetta Peak is known to be one of South India’s highest peak that is quite popular amid tourists too.
Do not forget to click some memorable photographs here. On a clear day, the views are even more mesmerizing. There is also a Telescope house (with 2 telescopes) at the Peak, managed by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation so that the tourists can get a better view from the top. A trek up to the Peak is not a challenging one. The peak is enveloped by a reserved forest area that has several endangered species of flora and fauna.

 See also:
Best Hill Stations in India
The Best Hill Stations in South India for Honeymoon
 

2. Botanical Gardens


Government Botanical Gardens, Ooty
Botanical Gardens in Ooty
Spread in an area of 22 hectares of rising slopes on a hill, the well-maintained Botanical Gardens are placed at an altitude of 2400 m above the sea level. Arranged by the Marquis of Tweedale in the year 1847, it is one of the main tourist attractions in Ooty.

The garden is a treasure trove of lovely shrubs, flowering trees and rare colored lilies. Maintained by the Horticulture Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu, there are well- maintained verdant lawns, a monkey’s puzzle tree, a 20 million year old fossil tree, a huge variety of flowers, plants and bushes, an Italian - style garden bordering, a fern house with a vast variety of orchids and ferns, a pool and more.
Apart from tourists, the park is widely popular amid students studying plant science. The garden becomes the venue of Summer Festival, which is held here every year in May.

3. Stone House

Stone House was the first bungalow constructed in Ooty.
Stone House in Ooty
The first bungalow built in Ooty, Stone House was commissioned by John Sullivan (the founder of Ooty) in the year 1822. The official residence of the Principal of the Government Arts College of Ooty in the present times, it was called Kal Bangla by the Tribals from whom Sullivan had acquired the land for constructing this structure. In the front of the bungalow is a tree, called the Sullivan’s oak. The architecture of this bungalow is quite similar to a British Cottage. The roof has a slanting hut-like shape that is colored green. The area around the bungalow is covered with lichens, pine and orchid trees.

4. Rose garden

The Government Rose Garden is the largest rose garden in India.
Rose Garden,Ooty - The largest rose garden in India
Lying in the heart of Ooty, Rose Garden or the Centenary Rose Park covers a lush land of 10 acres. Maintained by Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department, the garden is spread in the form of a terrace with bowers, tunnels and pergolas. In the year 2006, the garden has been the winner of ‘Garden of Excellence’, awarded by the World Federation of Rose Societies.
The garden boasts of housing the country’s largest collection of roses with over 3600 Varieties like miniature rose, hybrid tea rose, ramblers, floribunda, roses in several colors including green and black. The different variety of roses here have been brought from different places. The park is open from 8:30 AM to 6 PM. Rose Garden is the largest rose garden of the country.

5. Ooty Lake

Lake in Ooty, India

Placed near the Railway station, right behind the Central Bus Stand of Ooty, the very popular Ooty Lake is an L-shaped lake with a length of 2.75 km and a width varying from 100 m – 140 m. An artificial lake, it was established between 1823 and 1825 by John Sullivan. The mountain streams from the Ooty Valley provide water to the Lake. The Lake originally was filled up the present-day market and only ferries were used for commuting from one side to another.

As the lake shrunk- bus stand, race course and mini garden came up. The farthest end has the Boat House offering boat rides, from 8 AM to 6 PM. There is a Children’s Park too here that has a toy train. From the Lake, you can treat your eyes to the lovely views of the encircling shrubs and eucalyptus trees. Right adjacent to this attraction is a deer park. Local ponies are also available outside the boat house for you to enjoy ride.

6. Fernhill Royal Palace

Fernhills Royale Palace - one of the best heritage hotels in Ooty

The erstwhile summer residence of the Maharaja of Mysore, Fernhill Palace has now one of the finest heritage hotels in Ooty. Replicating the structure of a Swiss Chalet, this bungalow was constructed in the year 1844 by Capt. F. Cotton. The property spreads in 50 acres of lush land and comprises of 19 spacious royal luxurious suites. 

Guests can enjoy a comfortable stay in amidst world-class modern conveniences clubbed with impeccable regal hospitality. Ornamental cast iron and carved wooden bargeboards add a character to the Palace. Fir and cedar trees in the manicured gardens of the property look beautiful. Within the premises, there is an indoor badminton court and a church too.

See also:
Best Luxury Hotels in Ooty

7. Nilgiri Mountain Railway

Nilgiri Mountain Railway traversing over a bridge
Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Ooty - UNESCO World Heritage Site
Built by the British in the year 1908, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Ooty is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also called the ‘Toy Train’ of Ooty, it was operated by the Madras Railway in the beginning. This railway still runs on steam locomotives and is a major attraction, equally popular amidst children as well as adults.

The Nilgiri Passenger train during its journey covers a distance of 46 km, traversing through 16 tunnels, 250 bridges and 208 curves. This journey is covered in a duration of around 4.5 hours. This route also consists of the steepest track in Asia. The Nilgiris toy train connects Ooty to Mettupalayam where one can treat his eyes to the mesmerizing natural surroundings.

See also:
Mountain Railways of India: The Toy Trains
Top 25 Scenic Train Routes in India
30 Mind Blowing Facts About Indian Railways
How to Book Train Ticket in India 

8. The Ooty Tea Factory

The Ooty Tea Factory

Covering an area of around 1 acre of land, the Ooty Tea Factory lies amidst the blue hills of Nilgiris.  Located at a distance of 4 km from city center, this tea factory is placed at an altitude of 1839 m above the sea level. This factory also has a museum where one can get to known about the origin of several types of tea leaves, which are used all around the world. The museum also offers information about the history of tea in India as well as its start-up in the Blue Hills.
Visit the processing unit where you can learn the complete processing method, from cutting to twisting to curling and finally packaging. If you love tea, do not miss this place. The tea factory of Ooty also has a small souvenir shop from where you can get on interesting tea keepsakes such as tea cups and plates with Tea Museum emblem. You can also get your hands on special homemade chocolates like fruit and nut, rum and raisin, sugar-free chocolate, milk chocolate and more. Do not miss relishing a hot cup of tea while enjoying the lovely surroundings.

9. Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake is an important tourism destination in the Nilgiris
Avalanche Lake in Ooty
Around 28 km from the main hill town, Avalanche Lake is a must-visit attraction in Ooty. This lake got its name due to of a huge avalanche (landslide) that happened in the area in the starting of 1800s. Mountain trekking is one of the most popular activities here. The Lake was formed naturally after this event.

Waterfalls streaming down from the bounding mountain offer a lovely view. The Lake, also known as Avalanchi, is surrounded by thick forests. During the monsoon months. One can enjoy trout fishing here. Camping at the shores is another popular activity amid tourists. Prior permission is required from Ooty’s forest office, as the lake lies in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

10. Mukurthi National Park

Mukurthi National Park in Ooty

Placed on the south eastern curve of the Nilgiris Plateau, the Mukurthi National Park is spread in an area of 78.46 square km. A decent population of the Nilgiri Tahr calls this national park their home. Other important animals are the endangered species like Asian Elephants, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri marten and Royal Bengal Tiger.

Even the vegetation seen here is quite similar to the ones found in the higher altitudes of Southern India. A part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the first International Biosphere Reserve of India, this park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the park was founded for the protection of Nilgiri Tahr, it was originally known as Nilgiri Tahr National Park.

11. Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake is one of the most popular attractions in Ooty
Emerald Lake in Ooty
Placed in the upper plateau region of the Nilgiri hills, Emerald Lake is one of the most popular attractions in Ooty, which is 25 km away. Lying in the Silent Valley region, it is placed adjacent to the Red hill nature resort. The lake is popular as a picnic spot. Visitors can spot ducks and colorful birds here. Sunrise and sunset by the lake are memorable. Verdant tea plantation surround the Lake. Do not miss clicking photographs here. Enjoy fishing, bird watching and biking around the lake.

12. Kamaraj Sagar dam

The Kamaraj Sagar Dam (also known as Sandynalla reservoir) is in the Nilgiris district
Kamaraj Sagar Dam in Ooty
Also known as Sandynalla reservoir, Kamaraj Sagar dam is an ideal spot to plan a picnic in Ooty, amidst the lofty Nilgiris. Frequented by locals as well as tourists, it is an artificial reservoir that is formed quite close to the dam. The beautiful scenic surroundings have been captured in a number of movies.

Savor the peace that is spread all around. One can also indulge in fishing here. Do not miss clicking some memorable photographs here. The dam is located 10 km away from the Ooty bus stand. A popular tourist attraction in Ooty, the dam is placed in Kandala town.

13. St Stephen's Church

St Stephen's Church, Ooty
St Stephen's Church in Ooty
One of the oldest churches in the Nilgiris, St. Stephen’s Church was erected in the year 1829. Placed in a picturesque location of being surrounded by lush greenery, this church has used timber, stained glasses and main beam right from the palace of Tipu Sultan. The architecture and carvings of the church are wonderful. The foundation of the church was laid down on 23rd April 1829 by the Governor of Madras Stephen Rumbold Lushington who felt that there was a need of exclusive British Church in Ooty.The date was chosen to match the birth date of King George IV. The sanctification of the church was done on 5th November 1830 by John Matthias Turner, Bishop of Calcutta.

14. Ooty Golf Club

Encompassing a large mass of greenery, the Ooty Golf Course is a delight – both for golf players as well as for nature enthusiasts.

Placed an altitude of 7000 feet above the sea level, Ooty Golf Club spreads itself in an area of 195 acres of lush green land. Owned and maintained by the Gymkhana Club, it is a must-visit attraction of Ooty if you are a golf enthusiast. An 18-hole golf course, it is sprinkled with oak, fir, eucalyptus and rhododendron trees. The golf course was founded by the then Secretary of the Blue Mountains Tennis and Cricket Club, Colonel Fane Sewell, in March 1891, with 9 holes.

This golf club becomes the venue of a number of golf tournaments. Except on the days of tournaments, the golf club is open on all the days of the week. Well-equipped, spacious cottages and deluxe cottages are available as accommodation.

15. Pykara Lake and Waterfall

Pykara Lake is the largest river in Ooty
Pykara Lake in Ooty
River Pykara flows from Ooty to Mysore, forming Lake Pykara in Ooty. The lake is around 20 km away. Bounded by Shola forest, the lake boasts of immensely beautiful scenery. At the end, the River gushes down from 2 varied heights, one from 55 m and the other from 61 m. The name given to these falls is Pykara falls, around 1.5 km away from the Lake. The shores are a popular picnic spot, frequented by locals as well as tourists. Boating facility is also offered by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation. There is also a restaurant, a boat house and a rest house. Enjoy leisure walks and fun activities.

16. Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary

The Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary also a declared tiger reserve, lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills, in Nilgiri District
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary & National Park in Ooty
Located at a distance of just 2 km from Ooty amid the Nilgiri Hills, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary spreads over an area of 32,155 hectares. Placed on the confluence of the Western and Eastern Ghats, it is also a popular Tiger Reserve. The first sanctuary in South India, it was founded in 1940.

One of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India, Mudumalai is home to exotic wildlife species such as Mouse deer, gaur, barking deer, elephants, tigers, spotted deer, sloth bear, jackal, Bulbul, Brown Dove, Mynahs, bonnet macaque and more. Apart from wildlife, the park’s vicinity also has Mayar waterfalls and Theppakadu Elephant camp. In this camp, there 23 elephants where elephant lovers can have enjoyable sessions. Trekking is another popular activity here.

See also:
Best Places to Go for Wildlife Safaris
3 Tips for planning luxury safaris in India
Wildlife Holidays in India 

17. Toda Huts

The Toda are one of the most ancient Indian tribes found exclusively in the Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu.
Toda huts in Ooty
Toda huts in Ooty are a representation of the original residencies of the aboriginal people of Ooty. These remaining citadels of the Toda people are positioned in the Botanical Garden. Todas were the original residents of Ooty before it came under the rule of the East India Company. These huts, though no more are the homes of these people, but they are a proof of interesting ethnic architecture of South India. These dwellings are inverted u-shaped huts that has no windows but a small entrance.

18. Tribal Museum

Exhibits at the Tribal Research Centre Museum, ooty
Tribal Museum in Ooty
A part of the campus of Tribal Research Center, the Tribal Museum Ooty is a popular tourist attraction of the hill town that showcases the culture and the remnants of the aboriginals of Tamil Nadu and, Andaman and Nicobar Island. The museum also has a collection of some rare artifacts that belonged to the tribes in the Nilgiris. This museum is located on the Mysore Road. The timings of this museum is 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 2:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Government tribal museum is just 10 km away from the main city. Houses of Kota, Toda, Paniya, Kurumba and Kanikaran tribes are also on display here.

19. Deer Park

Deer Park in Ooty
Deer Park in Ooty
Located around 1 km away from of the Ooty Lake, Deer Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Ooty. A beautiful animal park, it is an ideal place to see flora and fauna in its natural habitat. Though the complete area is 22 acres, 6 acres is open for general public. Founded in the year 1986, this park is maintained by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. 

This park houses a decent population of Sambar Deer species, along with other animals and birds such A Chital, Rabbit, Hare etc. One of the most popular wildlife reserves in India, it is perched at an altitude of 2240 m above the sea level. The park also has a rich collection of floral species and several kinds of trees.

20. Pine Forest

Pine Forest in Ooty
Pine Forest in Ooty
Featured in a number of Bollywood movies such as Saajan, Sadma, Deewana, Dil and Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, the pine forest of Ooty is blessed with lush and serene environment. Sandwiched between Ooty and Thalakunda, this forest offers you a chance to spend some peaceful moments with your loved ones. The towering pine trees form a wonderful sight. These forests expand over a small downhill area and the orderly fashion in which the trees are arranged, the sight looks lovely. Colorful birds and butterflies can be spotted flying freely.

21. Kalhatti Falls

Kalhatti Falls in Ooty
Kalhatti Falls in Ooty
Located at a distance of about 13 km from the hill town of Tamil Nadu. Kalhatti Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Ooty. Placed on the Ooty to Mysore Road or Sigur Ghat Road, the waterfall gushes down from a height of 1200 feet. The falls are near Kalhatti village after which one has to cover a distance of 2 miles on-foot. During the monsoon season, the waterfall cascades down in its full vigor. The place is also popular for activities like bird watching, hiking, and trekking. Do not forget to click photographs.

22. Elk Hill Murugan Temple

Dedicated to the warrior god--Lord Murugan, the Murugan Temple in Ooty - One of the most revered temples in the town
 Elk Hill Murugan Temple in Ooty
Dedicated to warrior god- Lord Murugan, Elk Hill Murugan temple in Ooty is a replica of Batu Caves in Malaysia. Just outside the temple there is a 40-feet statue of the Lord in a standing pose. It is made up of brick and cement. One of the most revered temples in Ooty, it also has idols of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Shakti, Nava Kanikas and Navagraha sanithanams.

Placed on the Elk hill, this temple is surrounded by immense scenic beauty. Every year in the month of January, the temple becomes the venue of Thaipusam religious festival, which is celebrated in the honor of the Lord. A special dance form, Kavadi Attam is performed on this day. Milk in brass vessels is offered to the Lord Murugan on this day.

23. Dolphin’s Nose

Dolphin’s Nose in Ooty

Just 10 km away from the Ooty hill station in Coonoor, Dolphin’s Nose is a popular viewpoint of the region that offers a lovely view of the Catherine Falls. This viewpoint is perched at an altitude of over 1000 feet above the sea level. The viewpoint has been named so, as the unique rock formation resembles the shape of the nose of a dolphin. Sunset and Sunrise views from here are memorable. While going to towards Dolphin’s Nose from Ooty, Lamb’s nose is another viewpoint that comes in the way. The road journey is an extremely beautiful one but with hairpin turns. Treat your eyes to the lovely views of the lush plantations.

24. Lamb's Rock

Lamb's Rock in Ooty
Lamb's Rock in Ooty
One of the best tourist attractions near Ooty, Lamb’s Rock is a popular viewpoint on the slopes of the Nilgiris in Coorg. Treat your eyes to the lovely views of the coffee estates, Hulical ravines, tea estates and the plains of Coimbatore. Named after Captain Lamb, the then collector, this viewpoint is one the way to Dolphin’s nose.

The viewpoint is perched on an elevation of 5000 feet above the sea level amidst lush surroundings. The drive from Ooty to the Lamb’s Rock is a mesmerizing one with stunning sights. Trekking is another popular activity here. Do click memorable photographs.

25. Shopping in Ooty

Shopping in Ooty

The hill town of Ooty is a nice place to indulge in shopping if not something really unusual. Commercial Road is one of the best places to shop where there are a number of government shops, Kashmiri shops and Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan. Ooty sells some excellent tea.

You can not only get your hands on all varieties of tea but before buying you can even taste them. The locals farmers also sell special organic and honey products. Other popular items include handmade chocolates, aromatic oils, fresh spices, and cheese products. Toda handicrafts, Toda jewelry, and Toda shawls are must-buys.

26. Trekking in Ooty

Trekking in Ooty

Trekking in Ooty is a memorable activity as you can also spot some predatory animal species as well. Hiring a guide would be a good idea. Apart from Ooty, trekking enthusiasts can also set their base at Kotagiri or Coonoor. Treat your eyes to the beautiful surroundings, let the fresh air brush past your face while you cover wonderful treks that are mystically hiding in the Nilgiris. The best time to enjoy trekking in Ooty is April to May and September to November.  Nilgiris Green lake trek, Ooty Scottish trail and Mukurthi Trek are some of the popular trek route in Ooty.

See also:

27. Boating Ride in Ooty

Boating Ride in Ooty

Boating in Ooty on the placid waters of Lake Pykara and Ooty Lake is one of the popular things to do amongst tourists. A number of boat types such as pedal boats and motor boats are available for you to choose from. Enjoy cruising, savor the tranquility and admire the lush beauty around you. The timings of boating in Ooty is from 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM

28. Horse Riding in Ooty

Horse Riding in Ooty

If you like riding on a horse’s back, Ooty is the best place to enjoy horse riding. The wonderful hilly terrains of this serene hill town are going to be charmers. The cost of horse riding for per person is somewhere between INR 50-150. North Lake Road is the best place to enjoy a horse ride. You can opt for a long ride or a short one.

29. Tea and Tourism Festival 

Organized by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department and Ministry of Tourism in the month of January, the annual Tea and Tourism Festival attracts visitors from all around in huge numbers. As you enter the venue, a wonderful mix of aromas fills your nostrils. There are packed samples too so that you can taste and take them home.

30. Flower Show in Ooty

Flower Show in Ooty
Flower Show in Ooty
A major hit amidst locals as well as tourists, Flower show in Ooty is organized every year during the month of May. Organized at the Government Botanical Garden, this event showcases several types of flowers from all around the world. The first flower show here was organized way back in the year 1896.

Over 150 cut flower varieties, over 50 kinds of potted plants, temperate and tropical fruits as well as vegetable are showcased by the competitors. The prime attractions of flower show of Ooty are Vegetable carvings, Bonsai, floral decorations, Indian and Japanese flower arrangements, Flower Rangoli and Cut flower stalls.

[ Browse through these Ooty Tour Packages to plan your trip]

Related Post:
Ernest Hemmingway once remarked “It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” While there can hardly be any doubt over the relevance of the above quote, the question that is more pertinent to most of the travelers is how to make a journey that actually matters or in other words, how to make the most of where you travel. There is can be no second thoughts to the fact that we all love to travel and we all have our own ways to know and explore a place that suits best to us. 

However, when you do step out for any vacation, an excursion or a short tour, not everything can be left to chance or randomness. By following certain tips and tricks, one can definitely derive the most out of their journey no matter what kind of an expedition it might be. In this blog we present 20 tips on how you can make best of your time when you are contemplating on your tour, in order to have the best of experiences that you are going to cherish for a long time to come:  

1. Choose Your Company Wisely:  

The kind of company you are with decides a lot how your travel experience will going to be. It is very important to have a group that share common interests, have similar personalities, expectations and needs. Certainly you would not like to be in a party that likes to relax more often and always flinch from thrill and adventure, while you are a bold and daring person yourself. 
 
There are no hard feelings and it definitely does not mean to discriminate between your good friends, but as you will find out yourself, a trip with the right company will go a long way in getting the best out of your journey, making it a memorable and remarkable sojourn.

2. Gather Information about the Places before You Depart: 



Collect as much information about the place that you are going to visit from as many sources as possible and make a list of places that you need to see. Internet is always a good source in this case. There are many websites, groups and forums where people leave their experiences and a lot of knowledge and you can ask your own personal questions here as well. 

No matter what your destination may be, there is always a possibility that it would be covered by someone who has written about it, so chances are high for you to get some info on your target destination as well.

3. Pick Your Accommodation so That it is in Good Location even If You have to Pay a Little Higher:

When you have little time on your trip (which in most cases you always have), you don’t want to waste the chuck of that moving up and down from your accommodation and places of interest and vice versa. Thus always make an endeavor to find a place near the central location. 

Again you can find the central location by visiting the websites of most of the hotels, hostels and accommodations. The place where most of them would be aggregated will be the central location. Most of these website will also mention the distance from main spots. This is an ideal way to find your residence in your destination so that there is less time wasted in transit to and fro from the hotel and more time utilized in sightseeing.

4. Again Collect as Much Information as You Can After You Arrive: 

The moment you land in your destination your learning about the place begins. Generally keep your ears and eyes open. There would be a lot many people who would be your source of information, from your hotel staff to the ordinary taxi driver. Even locals from most of the destinations would be happy to help you. From the airport itself, begin to ask any questions from any tourist information desk that you find. 

However it is your accommodation where you will find most of the information. The receptionists are not only acquainted with much of the local information, it is their duty to reveal and guide their guests, so you must feel free to ask as many questions from them. Moreover they have other resources like maps, where they can explain things, locations and highlights. 

On the other hand, if you are a member of free accommodation websites like couchsurfing.com or stay4free.com then you have an added advantage. Not only the hosts in most of the cases are warm and helpful, they can also partake to show you the place around while also furnishing you a lot of information.

5. Divide Your Places of Interest According to Their Geography:  

Here, make a list of places which are located in the same geographical location or located in close proximity to each other. Now your choice of destinations will depend upon how many days you have in your kitty. You can then cover these places accordingly. If you are running short on time, there is no need to cover all the destinations in a hurry. 

You can do those sites which are closer to each other across an area. You will need your own thoughts and discretion in this case as neither it is wise to haphazardly visit each place nor is it good waste your time in sightseeing only few destinations. Balance the word that holds the key.

6. Try to Cover Your Destination as Much on Your Foot:  

As you will find, avoiding public transport as much as possible and traversing more of your place on foot will help you reveal the subtle details and local culture of the area better. This is one of the best methods to understand your location. On the other hand, if you do happen to hop on any public transport, the importance of taking a window seat cannot be underestimated to get the maximum view of the place of your interest.

7. Use Google Maps or Any of Your Favorite GPS Application Extensively: 

Google maps or any of the GPS location services comes really handy in case when travelling to unknown places. Those who have used these services may know how accurate and useful they are. However, data charges may be a concern for some. If travelling within the European Union, these may be really inexpensive. 

With an additional charge of only 3 Euros a day, you can keep using the same phone and data plan as in your country (in Europe). However, outside the European Union one can either purchase a cheap mobile internet card or use their hotel’s Wi-Fi connection to download local map and then use it offline. Thus, in any case these routes and maps prove really helpful and make life much easier for many people.

8. Click as Many Pictures as You Can but Avoid Overdoing It: 

Pictures are something which are forever and there is no doubt that you want to preserve these memories and capture as much as it can be possible. But in spite of the relevance and importance of taking a large number of pictures, you nevertheless want to experience the place yourself closely. 

Do take out time to understand the place on your own personal terms. Even if you do take many pictures, avoid uploading to any social networking site instantly. Wait before you experience a place and settle down either in some restaurant or coffee shop for doing this.

9. Do not be Scared of Your Destination: 

No matter what people say of a place or destination, most of the tourist sites are safe and locals, cooperative and helpful. Of course, personal discretion is needed all the time. But, every tourist has a different tale to tell. However, overall, most of the places in the world are relatively much safer than they are perceived to be. Do not miss out on enjoying local ways of life and mixing with the people and understanding them. 

It goes without saying that talking to locals and knowing about their personal lives and experiences makes a trip much more enriching. There would be annoying factors of course and dangers of being chased or stalked is reported all the time, but as a person you must be able to discriminate where to put up the line. Otherwise, be bold and courageous to move forward to experience some of the best moments of your trip. 

10. Plan on Your Budget by Choosing Destinations Wisely: 

There are places where it takes nothing to enter and enjoy the site as much one wants and for as many times. However, certain other places makes you pay entrance fees like museums, galleries and well-preserved monuments etc. Another distressing fact is that at most of these sites, foreigners are charged, sometimes as high as 250% than the charge that a local resident pays for the same. 

Here, you can decide which places to cover in your itinerary and which not depending upon your budget. You can give such places a miss which charge you a high admission fees. All this depends upon your interests, your time, your money and convenience. There would definitely be some destinations which would be missed, so choose and decide wisely. After all smart travelling is overall a right combination of which destination to include and which destination to miss based on numerous factors including budget.

11. Live the Moments: 

It hardly needs any more emphasis that in order to make most of your travel, one must concentrate on living the moments rather than focusing on avoidable. Aim at meeting as many people as you can, participating in as many events and learning as much as you can from unusual experiences and adventures. 

Although travelling with a clear plan is definitely advantageous, leave some aspects of your journey on random encounters makes it much more exciting and notable. Spend as much time as you can in perceiving little elements and making note of flavors, fragrances, colors, peculiarity and mannerisms of your chosen location.

12. Take the Less-Traveled Path:  

People can crowd popular destinations like anything and it can most often look like a teeming jungle. Thus, in order to make the most of your travel, find places that lies off the beaten track, that affords you something unique and exclusive than the usual. Experience new destinations, try new cuisines, meet new people and explore and unearth new secrets, new facts and adventures. 

Another way you can avoid the crowd is by visiting your destination during the off season when you will not only find the density of tourists low but also prices of hotels and other accommodations as well as transportation fares quite cheap. Another advantage to visit during the off season is that a lot of time is saved with absence of long queues, packed restaurants and hotels and sightseeing locations. Thus, plan your vacation in such a way that will help you to take out maximum benefit, pleasure, fun and memories by taking the path less travelled.

13. Go Gadget-Free: 

Although this can be one of the most difficult deals, but going gadget free can be really rewarding while on travel and saves you a lot of time as well as useless diversion. Nevertheless, carry the one which you absolutely need in times of emergencies while giving up those which consumes your time. But if you cannot go gadget free, then at least make an effort to go internet free. Go out and try to understand and feel the local culture, local ways and experience life in a different space that you will otherwise not have the opportunity to know and perceive in your own country.

 Collect as much little memories as you can and leave your internet, games, and movies for the later part when you reach home. Moreover, “flaunting” your devices in a country which has people less fortunate than you also isn’t a good practice as some culture may definitely perceive your possessions as flaunting. In either way, going gadget or internet free will certainly help you the make the most of your travel time in your destination.

14. Pack Your Baggage Lightly:  

This is one of the tip whose importance cannot be over-emphasized. Toting a lighter luggage not only saves you a lot of time and hassle at the airports but keeps you relatively stress free and better managed and in relatively less danger in losing your stuff. 

Also if you do happen to carry any suitcase, make sure you keep it comparatively empty so that you have enough room in your travels to pack any stuff or merchandise that you purchase along. Therefore, keep yourself as easy and buoyant both in weight and spirit as possible and enjoy your journey to the maximum.

15. Don’t be a Picky Eater: 

Your concerns about local food and hygiene at your destination are genuine but you need to accept these facts-Nowhere will you find perfectly clean and sanitary conditions for your food. Moreover, a great deal of a country’s or a region’s culture and soul can be found in its food. Thus, when you do choose to travel abroad or to any new destination, make sure to indulge in local delicacies as much as possible (if not whole then you must sample them as wide as you can do). 

This is certainly a great opportunity to know and experience newer lifestyles and find fresh and original avenues in cuisines. Of course, you don’t want to upset your stomach and take ill, so practice discretion, but nevertheless don’t be too much picky and selective in your fares and enjoy your excursion to the full.

16. Be Friendly with the Locals:

On your travels, you are going to meet many kinds of individuals the likes of whom you may probably never come across in your own home country. On any excursion, there is always a tremendously rich field of experience in the form of different peoples from a diverse vocations, businesses, careers and jobs. 

Therefore, always be open and friendly and try to soak in as much as you can within your limited time. Of course, don’t call for unnecessary attention as these may complicate the matters, but generally be approachable and you will be surprised to find how much warm most of the people are and how eager they are to tell you about their country and themselves.

17. Learn Some Local Lingo: 

Although its usefulness is generally overlooked, there is no harm in learning few phrases of local lingo which can help you get around, keep you safe as well bring you closer to the locals and make you understand the local culture better. Moreover, it helps in expanding your knowledge and widen your horizons. 

As Australian Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein quoted, “the limits of your language are the limits of your world,” learning some amount of foreign lingo will definitely be a rich rewarding exercise as you get to know many more new people.

18. Get in Touch with Anyone Whom You Know Lives in Your Destination:

Even if you don’t have a direct contact, you can ask your friends, extended family, coworkers if they know anyone who lives in your destination location. As you will find, to have a local or an expatriate in contact who can explain as well as show you around the places is a great way not only to understand the minute subtleties of the local culture, but also saves you a lot of time. 

Moreover, if you are lucky enough, they may also offer you accommodation in their house which not only prevent you from unnecessary hassles but also will be a great opportunity to blend in and grasp some amazing new things about your destination’s culture and lifestyle.

19. Reflect Your Experiences and Draw Your Inspirations: 

Make sure you carry a blank journal and a sketchbook to record your own unique experiences and draw amazing and exclusive things that you find on your sojourn. Reflecting not only reinforces all the beautiful encounters and adventures that you have, it also preserves a great chunk of memories that we otherwise tend to or usually forget. 

Moreover, drawing helps you to record those experiences, feelings or rendezvouses that you otherwise can’t express in words. Try to document your experiences after each day, let your feelings and emotions flow at that time and jot down everything that you can remember. Don’t worry if your drawing is sloppy or if you can’t write expertly. This is of secondary importance, the primary goal is your expression and you will cherish all the slight details of your trip that you will finally manage to put down on the paper.

20. Collect as Much Souvenirs as You Can from the places You Visit: 


Even though it can eventually over pack and over load your suitcase, collecting souvenirs from each and every location you visit is a great way to keep and cherish your memories. Souvenirs can be of any shape and size and does not necessarily involve heavy costs. They can be as small as the business cards collected from various shops and attractions that you visit. 

However these souvenirs should remind you of the place that you have visited. Try to stay away from things that you would normally find anywhere. Rather look for the object’s exclusivity, its local context and its value addition. Souvenirs are a great way to keep the impressions of your trip alive and fresh. Thus, any excursion, howsoever short or insignificant it may be remains all the more dynamic and crisp in thoughts with collection of numerous memorable objects.