Friday, January 22, 2010

Travel> Hotels in Ooty

Here is a list of hotels that you can consider on your trip to Ooty.

1) Hotel Khems -
Address: Shoreham Palace Road, Off Ettines Road, Ooty - 643001. South India Phone: 0423-2444188, 2441635 Fax: 0423-2442461

2) Willow Hill -
Address: 58/1, Havelock Road, Ooty – 643 001. Phone: 0423 222 3123 / 222 4123 / 244 4037 / 244 4758 Tele-Fax: 0423 244 4037

3) King's Cliff - Address: King's Cliff, Havelock Road, Ooty - 643001. Phone: +91 9487000111/ +91-423 2452888/9. Email:

4) Savoy Hotel (A part of Taj Hotels)
77, Sylks Road, Ooty-643001, Tamil Nadu, India. Tel:(91-423) 2444142 Fax:(91-423) 2443318

5) Sullivan Court -
Fortune Hotel Sullivan Court, Ooty 123, Selbourne Road, Opp. Rose Garden, Ooty - 643001 Tel: 0423-2441415/16 Fax: 0423-2441417 e-mail:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Travel> Mangalore to Velankanni

There may not be direct bus/ train services that ply from Mangalore to Velankanni. You'll have to take a train from Mangalore to Chennai – Mangalore (MAQ) - Chennai (MS) Express (Train No. 6108).

Check -

Once you reach Chennai station, you can take a direct bus from there to Velankanni. You can go through sites like -, to book bus tickets from Chennai to Velankanni.

You can also check with RathiMeena Travels. Foe more information go to: All the details of travel agencies, departure and arrival timings, boarding point are all mentioned here.

You can check bus/ train/ pvt. taxi from Velankanni for the route to go back to Bangalore.

List of Hotels in Velankanni:
1) Golden Sand Hotel
2) Picnic Hotel
3) Bethesda Inn MGM
4) Sea Gate Hotel

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Travel> Aurangabad to Mahabaleshwar

Image: Map of Maharashtra
Image courtesy: mapsofindia

If you are planning to drive down from Aurangabad to Mahabaleshwar, then firstly I suggest you start by going through this map of Maharashtra that will show you how far Aurangabad and Mahabaleshwar are:

There may not be any direct buses that ply between Mahabaleshwar and Aurangabad.

Aurangabad-Mahabaleshwar Route:

Private Taxi/ Bus Service:
You can hire private taxis from Mahabaleshwar to drive you down to Aurangabad. You can check this site with all the details regarding different types of bus services:

This link has rent-a-car details, you can contact kijiji for the same:

There's also a 'Shirdi Shani Shingnapur Aurangabad Mahabaleshwar Nashik Darshan'

As another option if you like, you can look up this travel package which covers Aurangabad and Mahabaleshwar:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Travel> Trekking Options in Munnar

Here are a few options for those who want to do something different and off-beat on their trip to Munnar. If you're looking at trekking options, then these inputs maybe of help.

1) Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary - a 25sq km park, has inspection bungalows and watch towers. For this, you can contact the Assistant Wildlife Warden at Kothamangalam on 0485-2588302.

2) Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary - located 60kms north-east of Munnar and 10km from Marayoor. Trekking, hut stays and tree-house available. Contact the Forest Information Centre at 04865-231587

3) The Hornbill Camp - Contact at 0485-2310324. For more information, go to:

4) Kalypso Adventures - organize trekking camps at Munnar. Website:

5) Coimbatore to Munnar by road - There are direct buses that ply from Coimbatore to Munnar - one early morning at 7:30am and the other at 3:30pm. You can also take a bus from Coimbatore to Udumalpet and from there hire a private vehicle to go to Munnar and enjoy the scenic drive. It should take around 4 hours approx to reach Munnar. Please check the fare for private taxis, remember it should be per km rate or per hour rate or whichever is higher.

Otherwise, a direct trip from Coimbatore to Munnar by a private vehicle could cost around Rs.2,400/- INR (one way) which should include all their toll tax, parking fee etc. Since there are two check posts and a hefty fee that Tamil Nadu registered cabs have to pay when they cross the border to enter Kerala, the taxi fare maybe on the higher side. It’s relatively safe to travel at night, but try and leave early afternoon so that you can enjoy the scenic beauty.

Travel> Hyderabad to Ooty by Train

You can take the train from Hyderabad to Mettupalayam, from there, to reach Ooty (Udhagamandalam ) you have to travel by Meter gauge train running between Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam.

For that you need to take the Chennai - Mettupalayam Nilgiri Super fast Exp (Daily). More details check:

Mid-range affordable hotels in Ooty:
  • Hotel Khems -
  • Willow Hill -
  • Nilgiri Woodlands -
  • King’s Cliff -
1 ) Botanical Gardens
2) St. Stephen’s Church, Church Hill Road – an 1829 church, one of the oldest in the Nilgiris
3.) Tribal Research Centre
4.) Thread Garden
5.) Centenary Rose Park
6.) Boating – you can rent rowboats from the boat house.
7.) Jolly World – amusement park
8.) Contact the tourist office for a trip to Mudumalai National Park through the Pykhara Dam. The trip starts at 9:30 am and ends at 7pm.
9.) Also contact the Ooty Tourist Guides Association 0423-24444449 to hire a local guide. You can go for hill and forest walks.
10.) Contact Camtrek on 0423-2451809 run by Mike Dawson an experience local guide. You can contact him for jungle treks and jeep safaris and visit the Toda Village for campfire and lunch.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Travel> Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia

Text and Photographs by: Tanya Munshi

The KLIA or the Kuala Lumpur International Airport is one the best airports in the world. As soon as you land, you will have to take the aero-rail to reach the immigration counter and exit into the city.

Head towards the taxi booth inside the airport to book a taxi to take you to the desired destination. It’s quite a long drive to the city centre and it all depends where your hotel is situated.

Thankfully, the taxi driver from the airport taxi service was a decent soul who took us to our hotel. By kind soul I mean, that he realized a slight confusion on our faces as we were tourists to a new place, so he assured us that he would take us to our hotel.

The National Palace
As soon as we reached the hotel, we freshened up and headed to the National Palace. We hired a cab and headed straight to the Istana Negara or the National Palace. Unlike the Grand Palace at Bangkok, here tourists are not allowed beyond the palace gates. You don’t even get a glimpse of the palace gardens and the architecture. I was slightly disappointed as I had so much of expectations after my trip to Thailand, and visiting the Grand Palace there, I didn’t get to see beyond the palace gates. You can however, stand outside and take pictures in front of the gate and maybe pose with the guards (but don’t touch them or go too close).

The driveway in and around the Palace is beautiful though, with ornate lampposts and flower beds making them ideal backdrops for your photos.

After the short visit at the palace gates, we headed to the national museum.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Travel> Travelling to Rajasthan? Here's what you need to know

It may be of help that before planning a short trip to Rajasthan, that the state can be visited in three parts - Eastern, Southern and Western. This in turn can help you book your flight/ train/ bus tickets and do justice to the sight-seeing in Rajasthan. Also please note, there are loads of other places to visit here, but if it’s a short one week trip you are planning, then this is the way you can go about it.

I]Eastern Rajsathan - Jaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar, Ranthambore National Park etc.

1) Jaipur - it’s the capital of Rajasthan, also known as the Pink City. Flights are easier to get to Jaipur/ Udaipur from most metros in India. I had been to Jaipur several years ago and stayed at Khasa Kothi,its a beautiful place. If you get a chance, you must stay there for a night. It also houses the Govnt. of India Tourist Office (Phone - 0141-2372200).

In Jaipur you can see the: Hawa Mahal, Old City, Jantar Mantar, Central Museum, Royal Gaitor.

2) Ajmer - Its 130kms south-west of Jaipur and if you wish to visit Pushkar, then you have to go via Ajmer. It is one of the country's most important Muslim pilgrimages with the Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chisti. Ajmer is also home to the famous Mayo College. At Ajmer, you can see Ana Sagar, Dargah, Adhai-din-ka-jhonpra and Taragarh, Akbar's Palace and the Jain Temple - Nasiyan red Temple.

3) Pushkar – It is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre and probably one of the most popular tourist spots in Rajasthan and is famous for its Camel Fair. There's a Brahma Temple and Ghats at Pushkar for sightseeing.

II] Southern Rajasthan - Bundi, Kota, Udaipur, Mount Abu etc.

1)Udaipur is lovely. You can see the Lake Pichola, Jagniwas Island, Jagmandir Island,City Palace Museum etc. Western Rajasthan includes Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Jodhpur is known for its forts, Meherangarh, clock tower and markets, Umaid Bhawan Palace and the Museum.

2) Mt. Abu – It’s the only hill station in Rajasthan. October- November is the peak season as that’s the time all families visit this place during the Diwali vacations. At Mt. Abu, you can visit Nakki Lake, Sunset Point, Dilwara Temples or go for treks.

III] Western Rajasthan – Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner etc.

1) Jodhpur is known for its forts, Meherangarh, clock tower and markets, Umaid Bhawan Palace and Museum.

2) Jaisalemer is another popular tourist spot. There's the Jaisalmer Fort, Jain temples, Laxminath Temple, havelis and the government museum.

Happy traveling.