Coorg Budget Trip– We all know how it feels to be cashless and having that crazy urge to travel. Sometimes we feel all we need is to see new places and feel relaxed. Well, you don’t always need a lot of money to do that! Since being broke is a thing of my day to day being (being pathetic with your finances sucks of course) I had to think of the other ways to travel.
Coorg was one such place on my bucket list that had been evading me for ages due to the constant lack of money and a car. Read out my blog post on a backpacking trip to Coorg from Bangalore.
BACKPACKING TRIP TO COORG
So, I came to think about how people who belong to Coorg (Known as Coffe capital of India) must be travelling. Not everyone would be driving there all the time! would they? And obviously this is India in 2019 we are talking about, we have better connectivity. Hence, I did a bit of research and the outcome of that was a splendid trip to Coorg on a budget. You can find a local sightseeing tour package in Coorg for about 4000 Rs for a Jeep that can take you around Kushalnagar and Madikeri.
DAY 1: BANGALORE TO MYSORE TO COORG
Boarding a train from majestic in the early hours of the day, we landed up in Mysore by 8:30 am (despite the train running late by 30mins). After having breakfast in the A2B right outside the railway station we took a prepaid auto to the Mysuru bus stand for 35Rs.
You have a choice of the basic of basic buses to the luxury versions (A/C multi axel) that ply regularly between Mysuru and Coorg (Kushalnagar and Madikeri). We chose the simple Karnataka Sarige bus which doesn’t even require pre-booking of the tickets. Hop on finding a seat and sit back and relax.
SUGGESTED BUDGET STAY– Nothing beats then staying with premium hostel chain Zostel Coorg, best rated and dormitory rooms start at Rs500/-. Why not check out the deal and grab them.
It takes about 2hours and 30mins to reach Kushalnagar bus stand from Mysuru. Since we were staying at Kushalnagar this worked well for us (We left Mysuru around 10:30 am and reached Kushalnagar around 1 pm). Having pre-booked our stay on Airbnb we were pretty much sorted.
PLACES TO VISIT IN KUSHALNAGAR
- Namdroling Monastery – the Tibetan monastery also called as the golden temple, is a beautiful sight to behold. The temple can be reached by auto for a cost of about 70Rs. There are no entry fees, but you would have to pay to keep your footwear safe at the footwear counter for 2Rs. You only need this to enter the main sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
- Nisargadhama — An island formed by the Cauvery river. This place has an entry fee of Rs10 for adults and Rs5 for kids. The Island is accessible via a hanging bridge that rocks while you walk about. There is a boating facility available (paddle boats) for people who are interested in the cost of 200Rs for 4 people. Or 100Rs for two. Entrance to this place is crammed with stores selling you anything from cheap jewelry, souvenirs, chocolates to spices and wines.
- Dubare Elephant Camp. – This place can again be reached via a boat or if you are adventurous enough by just walking across the river (allowed only when the water levels are low). Being a “not a huge fan of” elephants’ kind of person I chose to walk across the river and back. Walking and feeling the rush of cool water around you, the adrenaline rushes each time you slip and balance yourself is something that words can never explain.
This was also the place known for the river rafting (Currently closed indefinitely).
TOTAL TRIP COST
- Train from Bangalore to Mysuru in a reserved sleeper class train – Rs170
- Pre-paid auto from Mysuru railway station to bus stand – Rs 35
- Mysuru bus stand to Kushalnagar bus stand in a Karnataka Sarige bus – Rs 84
DAY2: KUSHALNAGAR TO MADIKERI (COORG)
Madikeri is about 30km from Kushalnagar. This is where most of the places to visit in Coorg is.
PLACES TO VISIT IN COORG/MADIKERI
- Abby Falls – The most famous waterfalls in Coorg. Abby Falls is hidden beautifully in between a lush coffee plantation. A winding stair path leads you to a clearing that is the Abby falls.
- Mandalpatti trek – this off-road trek to the Mandalpatti viewpoint is a must do. The winding non-existential roads that looks like it ends in the middle of nowhere is mostly accessible by jeeps and some people attempt it on bikes. The view on top is mesmerizing and costs you 50rs per head to get to the viewpoint. Please be sure to get your snacks and water as the trek can make you quite thirsty.
- Tala Cauvery / Bhagamandala – these are temples and marks the origin of the river Cauvery. A small hole that never dries up and brings out the water from deep within the earth, is where the Cauvery river which is known for quenching the thirsts of people living in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and a share of whose water goes to Kerala. It is a wonder to behold to see something like this on top of a mountain grow to a monstrous size and flow through 2 different states in Southern part of India and ending in the Bay of Bengal. We sure did feel like thanking this dear lady for giving us water. Climbing a couple of hundreds of steps from here would lead you to the viewpoint atop this hill (we gave it a pass since it was mid noon when we reached there).
- Nalknad Palace – Warning: If you are expecting something like the Mysuru palace, you will be disappointed. This place is well hidden in between many coffee estates and was used as the hiding place by the kings. It is inconspicuous and the probability of people getting lost on the way is high. But to think of that the place was constructed in the 1700s and consists of a durbar, a room that gets pitch dark, has a secret passageway and two bathrooms is a great achievement.
- Raja’s seat – This is a viewpoint from where the sunset can be viewed in great splendor. The region around the viewpoint has been developed into a park and has a musical fountain show post sunset.
TOTAL TRIP COST: Nil since we opted for a two-day package for 4000rs (for the entire vehicle). This is how we managed to go on a Coorg trip on a budget.
BONUS OFFBEAT RECOMMENDATION
Please do visit the Mallali falls if you get the chance. The drive is ecstatic with good roads, eye soothing scenery the place is worth the visit. During the season it will be a descending waterfall and during the off-season they let you climb the whole thing which is an adventure in itself. So it’s a win-win and also a lot better than crowded Abbey falls.
ON DUBARE CAMP
P. S. Not because of the elephants ( i felt sorry for them. They were chained ) but because of the river crossing.
It’s super exciting and a must visit. The enthusiasm, frills, the clean water, green surrounding, clean air and a dip in the water. Perfect!
THINGS TO KNOW
Coorg is one of the closest places to reach from Bangalore hence you should expect a crowd where ever you go. It can get warm here during the day time and the evenings become cold again. So please don’t feel shy to carry something warm with you. Coorg has a vibrant cuisine, all sorts of meat are available here.
PS: There are of course several other places that we have not explored. Also, the agenda behind the trip was to explore Coorg to the best at the lowest possible cost.
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