It isn’t difficult to find a weekend getaway in the South. What’s more challenging is to decide which one to pick. Quite a few in a five six hour radius, we decided to pick Coorg for the Labour Day long weekend.Coorg is good to visit almost any time of the year, summer, winter or monsoons. I would highly recommend the Monsoon season, if you could wade through the traffic, an awesome weather and a breath-taking view of the ghats awaits you!
Coorg is pretty well connected to Bangalore, a 5-6 hour drive ( the earlier you start, the better -ideal would be 7ish).
Nestled in the Nilgiris, dense forests, coffee plantations, ambient weather and more… Kodagu or Coorg is a lush green hill station known for its misty hills and picturesque landscapes. Coorg is probably one of the busiest weekend getaways in the southern belt, being well connected.
You can take either take the Mysore route or the one via Nagamangala. This route has good roads and stop by cafes and eating joints (like Kamat).
In case you do not wish to drive, there are some luxury coaches plying to and from Coorg as well.
Where to Stay:
Coorg vs Madikeri- You’re probably visiting this place for the first time and have been spotting some resorts/homestays in Coorg and Madikeri. Let me explain- Coorg is probably start of the ghats(hence more flattish and less scenic) while Madikeri is uphill and scenic and is home to some exotic upscale resorts spread across acres of land as well as some precariously perched homestays with excellent views of the valleys and easy access to the coffee plantations and spice gardens. Be sure to pick Madikeri resorts/homestays for your stay.
Home stays are a perfect choice if you wish to experience the local food and feel, however, picking the best one can be tricky. Look for one closer to Raja Seat (a viewpoint), as the ones closer to it have some exotic views. A first hand review from someone who has probably stayed at one of these would definitely help.
A thirty minute drive from most resorts/stays in Madikeri, a meagre waterfall awaits you. Not much to do here in the summer months, moreover, the access to the falls is closed as well, meaning, you can just view the falls from a distance. You can simply walk down hundreds of steps ( which you would realise when you climb back) and view the waterfall.
Worth a skip in the summer months!
The resorts, however, hold an edge over the homestays in terms of the in-house activities such as pools, spa centres and a wider range of food spreads.
Dubare elephant camp: About an hour’s drive, once you reach the parking lot of Dubare camp, you can either walk down 1.5 km or take an auto/jeep to reach the camp. The camp is across a stream, boats are available to cross this stream, however, during the summer months you will have to walk and cross the knee deep rocky waters.
An excellent place for kids and adults to visit and interact with the Tuskers, feed the elephants (paid).
In case you plan to visit post monsoons, rafting on the rapids and other water sports can be explored at Dubare as well.
Coffee Plantation Trails:
Coorg is flooded with numerous coffee and spice plantations and visiting one of these is a must.
We visited the Mercara Coffee Plantation -Spread acroos 16 acres, located in Katakeri, a half an hour drive from Madikeri.
The guide walked us through Robusta and Arabica plantations. Spotting spice plants, coffee tasting, and learning about the entire process of coffee making was a unique experience.
In case you wish to experience the picking and roasting of coffee beans, you must visit the place in the winter months.
You must shop for some fresh spices and coffee, and, if you’re a real coffee buff, you could even try Coffee Civet- a unique blend prepared by processing cat poo 💩. The coffee beans are first fed to the cat and the poo produced is produced to make Coffee Civet-an expensive variant for coffee lovers.
You’ve probably landed at the wrong place if you don’t love chocolates. I literally hoarded chocolates here and I am simply amazed by the sheer variety and variations.
From bars to nutties to dark chocolates to centre filled ones, there’s immense variety and all fresh-handmade. Picked these with different center fillings- almond, crunch, caramel, mint, pan. The pan filled chocolates are simply intoxicating. I reluctantly picked fewer pan filled ones and now I regret!
A beautiful monastery about an hour’s drive from Coorg,
Exploring Coorg doesn’t end here, you must explore more by taking nature walks around your resort or homestay. Most resorts organise nature trails in the evenings around their resorts but exploring few on your own is a totally unique experience.