I visited Coorg in December and had a mixed feeling about it. Although I liked all the places I visited, there was something missing. I had heard lot of awesome reviews about Coorg and had high expectations. I think the hype about the place was the reason about the mixed feeling. When I shared my thoughts with someone who had visited earlier, the response I got was – you should have opted for Orange County. But can everyone afford accommodation in range Rs. 25-30 k per night ? I had a lovely time but my suggestion is don’t go with huge expectations. Coorg is great but not much different from any other hill station in south India. Here are my 8 pointers to help you plan your visit to Coorg.
1. Coorg is a district and consists of several small towns. Places of interests are scattered around and you will need your own vehicle to visit all places. Buses from Bangalore drop you at Madikeri town and the place you booked might be 10-15 km away . So make sure you are aware where your home-stay/resort/hotel is located and plan accordingly.
2. Your experience in Coorg will largely depend on where you stay and in my opinion staying in a hotel in Madikeri town is not a good option. I stayed in a home-stay and even though it was expensive, that was the highlight of the trip rather than a specific tourist place. There are a lot of home stays in all price range but go for a quality one to avoid hassles during stay. I had read reviews about some home stays where cleanliness was a problem. So do some research about the home stay before you book. Also go for a home-stay which provides local food as it will add to your experience. Also most of the home-stays will not have any restaurants near by, so either you need to have dinner in town and then return to your home-stay or have it there.
3. Coorg is famous for coffee plantations and that make area beautiful. However I am a tea plantation fan and in my opinion tea plantations look much more beautiful.
4. Ask the timing for Elephant park in advance at your hotel. The elephant park would be a good visit for kids. You can spot elephants bathing including an infant elephant.
5. If you want to visit all the places of interest, then you need at least 3 days. I had to skip couple of places due to lack of time as I was there only for 2 and half days. There is a waterfall which is 50 km away from Madikeri and considered the best among 2-3 waterfalls in Coorg. You make your choice whether you would want to visit that if have a time crunch
6. There is a good variety in activities available in Coorg. There are waterfalls, view points, elephant park, river rafting, monastery, zoo etc
7. Apart from rainy season, rafting at most of the places would be in still water. Ask for prices in advance and if possible get an idea beforehand at hotel. Also it will be crowded on weekends/holidays with a long queue so avoid visiting on these days.
8. There are a lot of spice/coffee selling shops around and they are good places for buying few stuff. However note that there are different varieties of coffee and some of them although pure will not taste that great. So again ask in advance to local people about it.
Hopefully these pointers would assist in your travel plan. If you have been to Coorg before then please share your experiences. If you plan to visit in future, then come back and share experiences :). Your experience might turn out quite different from mine.