Ooty Or Kodaikanal-Which Is Best? Compare And Pick Your Next Holiday Destination!19 min read
Are you too stuck in the Ooty or Kodaikanal dilemma and unable to pick a favorable destination for your holiday? No worries. Let us help you figure out with this detailed yet informative comparison between these two lovable towns in Southern India. Located in Tamil Nadu, Kodaikanal draws its beauty from its dense forests, picture-perfect valleys, splendid lakes, and refreshing waterfalls, while Ooty is more popular for its lush tea gardens, rolling meadows, fun steam engine rides, and colonial charm.
However, regardless of their touristy differences, they are both equally enticing and immeasurably enchanting. So, in order to help you choose the best destination to match your preferences and make your holiday planning smooth and hassle-free, we have listed some highlights of both in terms of tourist attractions, weather, accommodation, and transport.
Ooty Or Kodaikanal
Ooty or Kodaikanal, which is best? Let us find out in this comprehensive comparison between the two most popular hill towns of Tamil Nadu based on various factors starting with their prime highlights.
Highlights of Ooty and Kodaikanal
The chief highlights of both these destinations are their natural splendor and scenic views. It is primarily the landscapes and beautiful sceneries of these two cities that lures people here from near and far and leaves them awestruck! Let’s see how the natural features of Ooty and Kodaikanal compare:
Scenic Beauty Of Kodaikanal
Situated in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu, Kodaikanal’s mountains and waterfalls constitute its chief highlights and that is what draws people here in the first place. Boasting of endless forest reserves, rocky mountains, and granite cliffs accompanied by black clouds make some of the most eye-warming sights here that bring nature lovers, couples, and photographers from near and far. Kodaikanal has rightfully earned its tag of the “Princess of Hill Stations” in the south. In fact, the term “Kodaikanal” literally translates to the “Gift of the Forest”, a natural resource that surely is abundant here.
Scenic Beauty Of Ooty
Ooty, on the other hand, is tucked in a beautiful part of the majestic Nilgiri Hills, or as it is popularly called, the Blue Mountains. The biggest highlight of Ooty that draws an army of tourists here year after year is its marvelous tea plantations and lush, rocky hills. A favorite of couples and landscape photographers, Ooty never fails to mesmerize visitors with its verdant tea plantations, its adorable Nilgiri Train, its sunsets, and its locally produced aromatic tea! Locally called Udhagamandalam or Udhagai, you’ll find that Ooty is much greener as compared to Kodaikanal.
It’s important to visit in the right season to be able to enjoy all the wonderful things and experiences these two Heavens offer. Whether you choose Ooty or Kodaikanal, as far as you’re visiting the state of Tamil Nadu, it goes without saying that winter is the best season to visit. However, one can visit Kodaikanal and Ooty in the summer season as well, since they’re both hill stations. Let’s find out more!
Best Time To Visit Kodaikanal
The most ideal time to visit Kodaikanal is between the months of October and March. In fact, this city receives its highest footfall in the months from December to February. The average temperature during this time ranges between 8°C to 17°C which is ideal for a lot of activities like sightseeing, adventure, and relaxation.
It’s also a great time to enjoy exciting festivals like the famous Tea and Tourism Festival or Pongal in the month of January. Besides, the cool and pleasant climate of Kodaikanal, be it in the winter season or summer, gives travelers a respite from the hot and humid plains of Tamil Nadu.
Best Time To Visit Ooty
Ooty is blissful year-round. While the winter season, from October to March, is considered to be the best time to visit this lovely hill town, the summer season is equally pleasant. Which is why, March to June also serves as the peak tourist season in Ooty. The weather at both these time periods is unbelievably pleasant with refreshing foliage, cool breeze, and clear skies. The average temperature in Ooty in winter remains around 5°C to 15°C, while that in summer is around 20°C to 30°C.
Just like Kodaikanal, the cool and salubrious climate of Ooty offers visitors a fun escape from the heat of the plains, and these two seasons are perfect for activities like trekking, camping, and boating. The best month to visit Ooty is May, when it’s flora is in full bloom and the Rose Garden has been decked up for the annual Ooty Flower Show!
Ideal Trip Duration
The suitable duration of your stay is entirely dependent on what you wish to explore and experience in these two hill stations. Whether it’s Ooty or Kodaikanal, you’ll need ample amount of time to properly explore all the major tourist spots in both the destinations.
Ideal Duration For Kodaikanal
A maximum of 2 days is usually considered enough to explore Kodaikanal to the fullest. In this time, you can explore all the major tourist attractions in Kodaikanal as well as soak in its natural beauty amidst waterfalls, valleys, forests, and more. In case you want to keep aside some time to just relax or spend at leisure, you can add a day (or two) to your itinerary.
Ideal Duration For Ooty
You’ll require at least 3 days to see Ooty to the fullest. These three days will include exploring all the famous tourist attractions, riding the Nilgiri Mountain Railway to and fro Coonoor, and taking a tour of the tea factory, amidst others. We recommend you add a day to your itinerary to experience Ooty’s natural beauty and breathe its fresh air, and it will be totally worth it!
While it may seem that Ooty is the obvious winner of the Kodaikanal vs Ooty battle when it comes to tourist attractions and experiences, one must not forget to take into account the popularity factor. Ooty is rather crowded as compared to Kodaikanal in terms of tourist traffic. So, if you’re looking for a secluded place rather than exploring popular hubs, you may want to pick Kodaikanal over Ooty.
One can’t possibly plan a vacation without considering the expenses and budget. Which is why, in order to help you solve the Ooty or Kodaikanal dilemma, we have tried to give you an idea of the average expenditure you can expect in Kodaikanal as well as Ooty. The estimated budget specified here is on a per day basis for two people.
The prices may vary under the present circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Only the average expenses for important aspects like accommodation, meals, local transfers, and sightseeing have been included.
The cost of flights have not been included as it entirely depends on factors like location, season, and timings.
‘Miscellaneous’ items include aspects like shopping and personal expenses.
We have taken into account the lower limit of each aspect mentioned above to determine the average budget.
Estimated Expenditure In Kodaikanal
Accommodation: Starting from INR 2,500 (double-sharing, inclusive of taxes)
Meals: INR 1,000 (Lunch, and Dinner)
Transfers: INR 1,000
Sightseeing: INR 500
Miscellaneous: INR 1,000
Average Budget Per Day On Twin-Sharing Basis: INR 6,000
Estimated Expenditure In Ooty
Accommodation: Starting from INR 3,500 (double-sharing, inclusive of taxes)
Meals: INR 1,000 (Lunch, and Dinner)
Transfers: INR 2,000
Sightseeing: INR 500
Miscellaneous: INR 1,000
Average Budget Per Day On Twin-Sharing Basis: INR 8,000
Places To Visit in Ooty or Kodaikanal
Whether it’s Ooty or Kodaikanal, they’re both equally replete with natural beauty and scenic views that will blow your mind! There are plenty of tourist attractions in Kodaikanal as well as Ooty where you can enjoy this rich flora and picturesque views. Let us take a look at some of the most prominent ones.
Best Places To Visit In Kodaikanal
- i) Kodaikanal Lake
Also called the Kodai Lake, the manmade Kodaikanal Lake is spread over a vast expanse of over 60 acres and is among the most beautiful places to see in Kodaikanal. This enormous lake was developed by the Britishers and serves as an important reminder of the colonial footprints in this city. Open from 6 AM to 5 PM everyday, the park is a famous spot for enjoying ferry boat rides or pedal boat rides in the lake. There is no entry fee for this lake.
- ii) Silver Cascade Falls
Nestled at a strategic location between Kodaikanal and Madurai to provide travelers a respite from the long journey, this beautiful waterfall can’t be missed. The Silver Cascade Falls were born out of the overflowing of the popular Kodai Lake and are perfect for a dip in the cool waters when the temperature is favorable. Cascading from a massive height of 180 feet, these falls stun all visitors with its sheer strength and beauty, making it one of the finest tourist spots in all of Kodaikanal.
iii) Pillar Rocks Viewpoint
As the name suggests, the Pillar Rocks Viewpoint are famous for its pillar-like shape and are among the most popular viewpoints in Kodaikanal. These massive Pillar Rocks offer visitors stunning panoramic views from its top of the vast landscape of Kodaikanal city. The pillars are as tall as 400 ft. and are considered to be among the most ideal places for a family picnic in Kodaikanal. This tourist spot is open from on all days of the week from 9 AM to 5 PM.
Best Places To Visit In Ooty
- i) Ooty Lake
Surrounded by refreshing flora and dense trees, the shimmering Ooty Lake is spread over an area of over 65 acres and stretches for upto 2.5 km, making it slightly bigger than the Kodaikanal Lake. Ooty Lake happens to be one of the top tourist attractions in Ooty and the perfect site for people to enjoy a boat ride in the glistening waters with their partner or family. People come from far off to witness the splendor of this graceful marvel of nature and feel the gentle mountain breeze that blows here 24X7X365.
- ii) Doddabetta Peak
The Doddabetta Peak is a splendid viewpoint located on the top of a hill that offers breathtaking views of the town and villages below. Set at an elevation of about 8,650 ft. above mean sea level, the enormous Doddabetta is the highest mountain in the entire Nilgiris range. The peak is bounded by a protected forest area that is a birdwatcher’s paradise and can be visited via prior permission from the forest authorities. It’s a great place to sit with your friends and family where you can simply relax amidst the beautiful surroundings and let the cool winds tickle your face!
iii) Botanical Gardens
The Government Botanical Garden in Ooty cannot be missed! It is considered to be among the most beautiful places in all of Tamil Nadu owing to the many blooming flowers and plant species filling the whole park with vibrant colours and fragrances, and the manmade props adding a fairytale-like vibe to the whole place. Other than this, what really makes this garden stand out is its annual Ooty Flower Show that is a sight for sore eyes and even brings in foreign visitors. The garden is home to over a thousand varieties of flowers, trees, herbs, plants, and shrubs, all taking up a space of about 55 hectares of land in total.
Things To Do
No Kodaikanal vs Ooty comparison is complete without mentioning what unbeatable experiences both these incredible destinations offer. We have listed below some things to do in both these cities that will surely give you never-ending joy and unforgettable moments. Readers must also note that some experiences like shopping, nightlife, and food will be more or less similar regardless of whether you visit Ooty or Kodaikanal.
Best Things To Do In Kodaikanal
- i) Hiking
You can trek or hike till Dolphin’s Nose, which is one of the most fascinating locations in Kodaikanal. Set at a height of 6,600 ft above sea level., this spot offers excellent trekking and hiking experiences to adventure enthusiasts and thrill seekers visiting Kodaikanal to make their trip memorable. And the bird’s eye views of lush green mountains and valleys from the top is nothing short of a cherry on the cake!
- ii) Leisurely Stroll
If adventure isn’t your thing, then you can simply take a walk at Coakers Walk that offers mesmerizing views of the whole city as well the misty hills and valleys in the backdrop. This one kilometer long beautiful stretch of natural walkway is a great spot for spending some quality time with your loved ones or your amour in the company of some breathtaking vistas. You can also visit the Telescopic House here if you’re an astronomy enthusiast. Or you can also go cycling over this marked pedestrian street to race the cold mountain wind.
Your trip isn’t complete until you sail over the awe-inspiring waters of the Kodai Lake glittering under the sun. Boating in the Kodaikanal Lake is an absolutely rejuvenating and enjoyable experience. Top it with a blissfully cool weather and enchanting surroundings of forests and misty hills, and your little boating affair will surely stay in your memories forever!
Best Things To Do In Ooty
- i) Tea Factory Tour
Ooty is well known for its tea plantations stretching for miles into the horizon. So it only makes sense that you get an insight into the tea making process as well as visit a plantation when you’re here. You can go down to the Doddabetta Tea Factory and have a look at all the behind-the-scenes action of tea making all the way from how those tiny green leaves are selected and plucked in the field to how they end up as that aromatic tea powder you use to make tea!
- ii) Nilgiri Mountain Railway
A toy train ride on your mind? The Nilgiri Mountain Railway offers nothing less than that! In operation since 1908, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway is the renowned heritage train of Ooty as well as the most delightful of all steam engine trains in all of South India. Running to and fro Mettupalayam to Ooty every day, this train ride will take you through lovely pine forests, sharp hairpin bends, sky-high eucalyptus trees, and mysterious tunnels. It is, undoubtedly, among the most enjoyable experiences you’ll come across in Ooty.
iii) Taste Adventure
If you fancy an adventurous affair in Ooty packed with offbeat experiences like fishing, river rafting, and trekking, you must get to Avalanche Lake. The lake area is situated a mere 29 km away from the main city of Ooty and is a paradise for adventure seekers, couples, as well as families with kids. Other than offering adventure activities, this place is also filled with a rare sight of blooming rhododendrons and orchids that will add a colourful touch to your pictures!
Note: Shopping opportunities are pretty much the same in both the cities and there aren’t many options since Ooty and Kodaikanal aren’t really famous for this one aspect. If at all, shopping enthusiasts can buy things like homemade chocolates from Kodaikanal, and different flavors of tea from Ooty.
Accommodationin Ooty or Kodaikanal
It’s of utmost importance to pick the right accommodation option for yourself. There are many factors that need to be considered while picking one. These include location, distance from airport and railway station, distance from the market, budget, comfort, and the like. Let us give you two of the best hotel options in both the cities, one budget and one luxury, to help you find the right one for yourself.
Best Places To Stay In Kodaikanal
- i) Hotel Grand Palace
Visitors call it the “home away from home”, and rightly so! Set amidst lush green ambiance and boasting top-class services, this comfortable abode is perfect for those who wish to stay in a natural surrounding. The hotel is located at a walking distance from many famous tourist attractions like Christ the King Church and Pillar Rocks. Offering fully furnished rooms and amenities like a flat screen TV, free WiFi, 24 hour front desk, room service, and a concierge, Hotel Grand Palace strives to make your stay a memorable one.
Location: Convent Road, Kodaikanal 624101 India
- ii) The Carlton
The Carlton happens to be the only 5-star property in all of Kodaikanal. This mini paradise offers luxury amidst the goodness of nature and is often called a blend of beauty, colonial charm, and serenity owing to its location and outlook. Situated on the banks of the Kodai Lake, this amazing property lures in guests with finger-licking international delicacies served at its in-house restaurant named Silver Oak, reportedly the best restaurant in town.
Location: Lake Rd, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu 624101
Best Places To Stay In Ooty
- i) La Flora Amberley Resort
Spread over 4 acres of land, Amberley Resort promises to pamper you with endless luxuries in less than half the price. Located just 1 km away from the Ooty Lake and 3 km away from the Ooty Railway Station, Amberley is the best choice for a convenient budget holiday in this town. There are 80 soberly designed yet incredibly comfortable rooms that offer all top-notch facilities in addition to sweeping views of the stunning Nilgiri Mountains unlike anywhere else.
Location: 31/1 Block 2 Theetukal – Fernhill Road, Ooty 643004 India
- ii) Glyngarth Resorts
Awarded the Best Debut Resort in the India Travel Awards of 2017, Glyngarth had quickly secured a place in the hearts of luxury-seeking travelers, and has retained that glory till date. Offering state-of-the-art amenities within tastefully designed interiors and a regal ambience, Glyngarth Resort offers is the perfect retreat for your nature-hungry soul. The property overlooks the beautiful Masinagudi valley that is home to a diverse flora, fauna, and avifauna.
Location: 2 / 213 Hullatty Village The Nilgiris, Ooty 643007 India
After picking the right accommodation, the next step is picking the ride mode of transport that will get you to your destination (Ooty or Kodaikanal) without any hassle and within your specified budget.
How To Reach Kodaikanal
By Air: Madurai Airport is the nearest airport to Kodaikanal situated about 120 km away from the main city. From here you can charter a bus or hire a taxi to get to Kodaikanal via a very scenic route.
By Train: You can take a train to Kodaikanal Road Station from any major city in India like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Coimbatore, Mysore, and Bangalore. The station is located about 100 km away from the main city. Once you have arrived at the station, you can easily find a taxi to get to the main town.
By Road: If you wish to enjoy the scenic beauty of Tamil Nadu at leisure then you can opt to travel by road from anywhere in South India. There are regular bus services available from major cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Pondicherry, among others.
How To Reach Ooty
By Air: Coimbatore Airport is the nearest airport to Ooty located about 88 km away from the city center, followed by Bangalore Airport at 295 km. From the airport you can charter a bus or hire a taxi to get to Ooty through rolling hills and lush tea estates.
By Train: The nearest railhead to Ooty is the Mettupalayam Railway Station located 40 km away from Ooty main city. You can take a train to this station from any major city in India such as Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Coimbatore, Mysore, and Bangalore. Once you reach Mettupalayam Station, you can board the Nilgiri Mountain Railway for a joyous ride to Udagamandalam (Ooty) via a breathtakingly beautiful route uphill! If you wish to save time, you can take a taxi to reach Ooty from Mettupalayam Station.
By Road: Ooty is also connected to all the major cities in Southern India like Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Pondicherry via a smooth and well-maintained road network. There are regular bus services available to and fro Ooty from all these cities.
How To Reach Travel Between Ooty and Kodaikanal
Want to cover both cities on your trip? Well, the distance from Ooty to Kodaikanal (and vice versa) is about 251 km and it will take you around 6 hours and 10 minutes to cover it via road. There are no direct flights or trains operating connecting these two cities. The fastest and most convenient way to cover the Ooty to Kodaikanal distance is by taking a bus or hiring a taxi from Ooty.
We hope we have been able to solve your Kodaikanal vs Ooty dilemma to some extent with this information. The next step is for you to book yourself an awesome-sauce vacation to either Ooty or Kodaikanal. However, we would suggest you plan a trip to both these Heavens that are equally charming! Browse our Ooty Kodaikanal tour packages and get going! Happy Tripping!
Frequently Asked Questions About Ooty Or Kodaikanal Comparison
- Which is the highest peak, Ooty or Kodaikanal?
Ooty is set at a higher altitude as compared to Kodaikanal. Ooty is tucked in the Nilgiri Hills and is about 8,652 ft. above sea level. On the other hand, Kodaikanal is located on a plateau over the upper Palani Hills at an elevation of around 6,998 ft. above sea level.
- How is the road from Ooty to Kodaikanal?
There is a smooth and well-maintained road network connecting Ooty and Kodaikanal. The distance from Ooty to Kodaikanal is about 251 km and it takes about 6 hours 10 minutes to cover it by road. You can book a seat in a private volvo or a state-run bus from Ooty to Kodaikanal or vice versa. You can also take a taxi from either of the cities to get to the other.
- Which is better for a honeymoon, Kodaikanal or Ooty?
Both the places are equally scenic and rewarding in terms of experiences for a honeymoon trip. However, if you are looking for seclusion and privacy rather than a crowded avenue, you must pick Kodaikanal over Ooty. Similarly, if you’re looking for a luxurious stay and experiences, Ooty is a better choice over Kodaikanal.
- Which is colder, Kodaikanal or Ooty?
Ooty has a lower average temperature as compared to Kodaikanal almost year-round owing to its higher altitude.
- Are Ooty and Kodaikanal a part of the Western Ghats?
While Ooty is directly located in the midst of the Western Ghats, Kodaikanal isn’t. Ooty is tucked in the scenic Nilgiri Hills that stretches from the northern end of the Western Ghats to its southern end. Kodaikanal, on the other hand, is located in the Dindigul District of Tamil Nadu that is more of an extension of Western Ghats and lies towards the east.