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Old 1st May 2013, 21:20   #1
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Default A journey to the Land of Coffee, Cardamom and Cauvery

The plan and the booking

We had heard often about the Orange County Resort in Coorg. But had no occasion to visit it yet. When my son got his school vacation , vague idea about going for a holiday came up. The places considered were - 1. Goa - had been there many times. my wife too had visited it already. Also driving distance was longest among the choices. Hence dropped first. 2. LaLit Spa and resorts at Bekal, Kerala - was the nearest choice. Driving distance was shortest, good reviews. But one coastal town to another? Not very attractive. 3. Orange County, Coorg / Kabini - Good reviews. Slightly longer drive but again attractions of hills and forest is stronger for me compared to beaches (having seen plenty of them). Drive was bit longer, roads average and resort quite expensive. But well, somehow Coorg was chosen after some discussions. Now we wanted a 'Lilly pool Cottage ' category accommodation but was disappointed after contacting Orange county to know that for the dates we needed (19th to 21st Apr), none of these were available. In the end we got a private pool villa (higher segment) at the same rate as cottage.

The journey - 19th Apr

Woke up at 5am, left at 6am.
Route: Udupi - Mangalore - B C Road - Mani - Puttur - Sullia - Madikeri - Siddapur - Orange County (Distances can be obtained from Google map. Nothing special there).

Total distance 218Kms. Time : 6 hours including stops.

Udupi to Mani posed no problems. Mani to Puttur -Road was good with few bad patches. But you can keep fair average speed here. Puttur to Sullia - road gets worse. Sullia - Sampaje - pathetic roads but being repaired and widened. At places for few kms, one half of road is at 2 feet lower than the other and you have to be careful when another oncoming vehicle approaches you. Sampaje to Madikeri - Excellent road, beautiful scenery all around, lot of curves but drive is quite enjoyable. Madikeri - Siddapur - Narrow roads with lots of curves - Road is below average. Siddapur - Orange county - Roads not good, narrow. But dense forest, nice sceneries. You have to go another 2.5 kms from main road into the coffee estate to reach the resort. This road is very narrow and in pathetic condition.
I am sorry. I don’t have photos of the roads as more than half of the distance had average or below average quality roads, I was attempting to catch up with the lost time when good stretches appeared.

Stay in the resort.

Welcome was Ok. Vermillion on forehead and a garland seem to be the standard in most of the jungle / plantation resorts. They have battery operated vehicles (buggies) to carry you around if you don’t feel like walking. Check in was smooth. And a pleasant surprise- Lilly pool cottage – the one we wanted and booked for was not available hence we got a free upgrade to private pool villa. Villa itself was comfortable (old style – tiled roof, terracotta tiles on the floor, private swimming pool with Jacuzzi, bathroom open to sky, spacious living room, old style switches – but working well). Resort is good for trekking around, bird watching and is calm and quiet. There were so many activities to choose from like the ones mentioned above but with a 2 year old daughter who refused to walk at times any activity involving long walks was a difficult proposition. Also we had seen Bylakuppe tibetan monastery etc on way to Mysore previously. So we chose to just relax and visited Dubare Elephant training camp on day 2. Though the place is just 18 kms away, it takes nearly 30- 45 min to drive due to serpentine narrow roads. There river Cauvery had little water, so we crossed to the elephant training place hopping from one rock to another. Around 20 elephants were there including calves, all were being given bath and fed. We chose to have an elephant ride lasting less than 10 min for which we waited for 45 min. By the time we returned, it was 1.30pm. We did see some people busy whole day visiting near and far away places - but coming to a plantation resort and driving around whole day like crazy and getting exhausted towards evening is not my idea of a holiday / break. Coming from a concrete jungle to a natural jungle, I like to sit quietly / walk around leisurely absorbing the sounds and sights of the tropical rainforest and breathing clean air.
There are 3 restaurants to choose from. All were Ok. “Pepper corn” where we had our dinners including grills and kebabs and sizzlers was a shade better than others. We spent most of the time in swimming pool, having leisurely walks around and eating. A visit to river Cauvery nearby (walkable) was disappointing as we saw people washing clothes, taking bath and few huts near the banks. Not a very beautiful sight as such.

A journey to the Land of Coffee, Cardamom and Cauvery-cottage-door.jpg

A journey to the Land of Coffee, Cardamom and Cauvery-cottage_dayview.jpg

A journey to the Land of Coffee, Cardamom and Cauvery-cottage_night-veiw.jpg

A journey to the Land of Coffee, Cardamom and Cauvery-elephant_bath.jpg

A journey to the Land of Coffee, Cardamom and Cauvery-elephant_dubare.jpg

A journey to the Land of Coffee, Cardamom and Cauvery-nikkineha_org-county.jpg

And then it was time to depart. A word of caution – it’s a open parking space below trees. Lot of leaves and bird droppings and car gets dirty in no time. But another pleasant surprise- they had given a wash to our car on day of departure which I didn’t mind. But owner of a Mercedes / BMW/Jaguar would mind few accidental scratches I guess.

Return on 21st Apr

Route -same as onward journey in reverse order.

Time - Just less than 5 hours and we were back in Udupi for lunch.

The vehicle: Skoda Laura 2.0 TDI Elegance MT with 8600 Kms behind.

Driving experience: Excellent road handling, Power -quite satisfactory with 2 adults, 2 kids and boot half full of luggage. Did not scrape anywhere in spite of pathetic roads. Suspension is stiff- So ride is not very soft but never bottoms out. Tyre pressure was kept just at 32 which helped a bit to soften the ride. But on the positive side there is not much body roll, you can take all sort of curves with confidence in good speed. Braking was excellent and trouble free. ABS never came into picture thanks to the cautious driving style I have adopted.

Mileage: This aspect surprises me often. For a car which is much more spacious and powerful compared to my old swift Dzire, mileage is surprisingly good. Average when I reached Coorg in spite of bad roads was 20Kms/L as per on board computer. But I have measured it previously by tankful to tankful method and it is good. So I have no reason to complain with the present fuel costs.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 12:57   #2
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Default Re: A journey to the Land of Coffee, Cardamom and Cauvery

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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