Ooty by Air:
Coimbatore airport is the nearest to the Ooty. It takes about 3.1/2 hours by road to reach Ooty. There are flights into Coimbatore from Singapore, Sharjah, Colombo and most parts of India including Mumbai and Bangalore.
Ooty by Road:
Ooty is well connected by good roads. It is 535 km from Chennai , 89 km from Coimbatore, 155 km from Mysore, 290 km from Bangalore, 281 km from Kochi, 236 km from Kodaikanal. There is a regular bus service from Bangalore, Mysore, Coimbatore, Calicut, Kanyakumari, Tanjavur, Tirupati and Cochin.
Ooty by Rail:
Ooty has a railway station of its own which is connected by meter gauge tracks to Mettupalayam, which is turn connected to Coimbatore and Chennai.
Bangalore to Ooty is roughly 300 Kms and with indian roads you need about 6-8 hours.
From Bangalore the route takes you through Mysore which is it self a renowned tourist destination.
Thence to Nanjanagudu home of famous Mysore silk.Nanjangud to Gundlupet. Just before Gundlupet one can break journey at a small restaurent called "Dream Catchers" Neat clean with western food and excellent coffee Gundlupet Onwards through Bandipur national reserve forest- Can visit elephant camp and have a ride too.Wild boars open freely along with deers and lots of monkeys .Enter the state of Tamilnadu and Mudumalai tiger reserve. Drive slowly you might get to see elephants, tigers, Rhino, Bison, pea cocks, Deers etc.
You reach Teppakad. From this small junction one can either take ashorter route via Masinagudi or take a longer route throughGudalur. The Masingudi route is almost 50km less sharp but very steep with 36 hairpin bends so unless your vehicle is in good condition and driver skills are good do not attempt this.At Masinagudi there are lots of small resorts.Forest department run Jungle lodges also has its presence. Animal sighting safaris are arranged from this place.
Both routes are extremely scenic and enjoyable. Can do it in 6 but you would really enjoy it if you took 10 or 12 hours. Remember to pack your camera. Animals have right of way and some of them actually seem to know it the way they stand in the middle of the road and stare you down.
OH one can Hire nice vehicles with a driver for reasonable rates. Unlike USA and Europe self drive rental is not very prevalent and process very tedious.
This is really the only way you should get to or from Ooty. I arrived in Ooty by bus from Mysore up the 36 hairpin pass and took the toy train back down towards Coimbatore.
The Toy Train (officially known as the Nilgiri Mountain Railway) is one of the oldest mountain railways in India. Under consideration as early as 1845, the line was finally opened by the British in 1899, and was initially operated by the Madras Railway Company in order to move the British Raj from the summer heat of Madras to the cooler hills of Ooty. The railway is one of the few in the world that is dependent on steam locomotives and is the only rack railway in India. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and is very popular with tourists.
The line covers a distance of 46 km (28 miles), travels through 208 curves, 16 tunnels, and 250 bridges. The uphill journey takes around 4.5 hours and the downhill journey takes about 3.5 hours. It starts at a place called Mettupalayam, which is about 45km from Coimbatore, at 325m above sea level and climbs up to Ooty at 2203m via steam and bio-diesel trains. The journey through the mountain countryside is wonderful plus the small stations along the way are very pretty. I was in 2nd class which only cost Rs26 so it's very cheap. For a list of train times, checkout the website below:
I booked my bus to Ooty with a private company called Kiran Travels who are based on Chandragupta Road in Mysore, near the Wesley Cathedral and Clock Tower. They picked me up from my hotel at about 7.45am in a rickety looking and dirty small bus with thread-bare hard seats. We picked up more people and eventually got going at about 8.30am. The bus goes through Bandipur National Park on the way which is nice but I didn't see any tigers or elephants. On the other side in Tamil Nadu, we started to climb up into the Nilgiri Hills via 36 hairpin bends and reached Ooty at about 1pm. The journey cost me Rs150.
I must highly recommend Mr Jagdeesan who runs a private taxi service from Coimbatore, both locally and to Ooty, Kodaikanal, Palani, Erode, Top Slip etc., virtually anywhere ex CJB. We have used him many times and he has now become like a friend. He is honest and a very good driver, so important for driving in mountainous regions, past hair pin bends, dodgy roads and given Indian driving habits. Jagdeesan charges a reasonable fare and will be only to happy to recommend off the beaten track sight seeing places as he is from the Nilgiris region and knows all the surrounding areas well. He can also pick you up from anywhere else and bring you to Coimbatore.
A heritage train from the days of the Raj.It is a mini toy like train.Take a trip from Ooty town to Conoor - a 20 odd kilometre run which takes about an hour to do.The trip offers some wonderful views of the Nilgiri Hills.
Yes, you can take Nilgiri Toy Train or public buses from surrounding cities to come up to Blue Mountain (Nilgiri) hill station. But when you're here in Ooty, land transport can range from Auto, Ambassador taxi & some Mahindra/Tata 4WD.
The auto rickshaw is the cheapest option but need bargain or you'll be totally ripped off by them. Taxi on the other hand is 50% more expensive than auto, but capable to take up to 4 passengers and is protected from cool wind, major accidents and impact from pot holes.
4x4s are mostly for package tour, shared taxi and other tough terrain usage.
The nearest airport is at Coimbatore (100-km). Ooty on the narrow gauge railway is connected via Coonoor to Mettupalayam, which is directly connected to Coimbatore and Chennai. If you have some time to spend, take the train from Mettupulayam to Ooty. It leads you through breathtaking scenery.
There are regular bus services connecting Ooty to Coimbatore, Trichy, Bangalore, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Mysore, Calicut, Tirupati etc. 5095
We left Ooty by toy train, passing through hill stations, tea plantations, terraced gardens and beautiful mountains, finally arriving in Coimbatore for a night.
The narrow-gauge tracks mean that in some spots, if you peer out of the window and look down, you'll be met by the vision of a sheer drop.