Getting to Vattakanal
Western Ghats offer some of the best roads to ride in India and worth the experience. There are Four access roads to Kodaikanal, Dindigul and Palani being the major ones which are easy to drive, while thandikudi and Adukkam are majorly forest routes and are only used by locals.
The nearest airport is Madurai (120 km), followed by Trichy (150 km) and Coimbatore (175 km). From there, it’s a four to five-hour drive to Vattakanal. Cab charges 2.5 to 3,000 INR on an avg for the trip. Ola is available too.
A second option is to fly to Bangalore or Chennai and take an overnight bus, which starts around 8-11 p.m and arrives in Kodaikanal at 7am, where there are cabs waiting to go to Vattakanal which charges another 300-400.
Train is yet another way to commute. People confuse Kodai Road to be in Kodaikanal which is in turn 80 kms in the foothills ad there are only few trains that stop here. Dindigul, Palani, Coimbatore and Madurai being prominent ones with good connectivity from major cities. Its another 3-5 Hrs commute via taxi or local buses. Make sure that you arrive well in day light as last bus to kodai leaves around 6 pm. And it's harder to find Taxis and can be quite expensive otherwise.
Flight: Depending on your dates and the airport, rates may vary from Rs. 4,000-7,000 (£44-78)
Bus: From Bangalore – Rs. 800 (£8) for a Sleeper Bus
Cab: From the airport to Vattakanal – Rs. 3,500-4,000 (£40)
Cab: From Kodaikanal – Rs. 400 (£6)
What to Pack?
The weather remains unpredictable with experiencing all three seasons in a single day. Kodaikanal being located at 2000 m asl in Western Ghats is usually wet and cold with avg temperature ranging below 20 degrees for most part of the year and close to zero during winters, it's always advisable to pack good waterproof jackets and liners. If you plan to camp then check waterproofing and the temperature rating of your sleeping bags.
Power Cuts are frequent and the pathways are dark, with wild life in close vicinity. Always carry a spare torch or head lamp.
Carry Cash as there are no ATMs in Vattakanal. You can however withdraw from Dostel being the only provider in Vattakanal or use mobile payment gateways in shops.
Things to Remember
Vattakanal is an eco Sensitive Zone surrounded by shola forests and contain many rare endemic flora and fauna.
Take care to minimize your carbon footprint by opting eco friendly way of travel.
Avoid plastics, and littering.
Avoid Cars. Kodai get really jam packed on weekends and holidays and you are more likely to waste your time and energy looking for space to park and drive around. Vattakanal doesn't have dedicated parking either and hilly terrain and one way makes it really frustrating.
Walk as much as you can, Avoid driving or using vehicles. Vattakanal has beautiful paths to hike and enjoy nature.
Avoid strolling late in nights. There are bisons, wild boars, porcupines and even leopards in the forests nearby.
Avoid Drugs. We discourage usage of any kind of illegal items. There are many checkpost enroute Vatta who are accustomed to ripping tourists off while entering. If you are carrying anything illegal, good chance you will pay heftly.
During Covid Lockdowns, check the travel restrictions on govt portal and obtain E-Pass if required.