Coorg & Mysore
We took an overnight bus to Mysore from Chennai for 900 rupiah per person. In South India the sleeper buses do not have door compartments that close you in your own space rather it’s simply a curtain so be sure to pack some ear plugs. We arrived in Mysore and immediately got on a bus to Gonikoppal a small area of Coorg in Karnataka. My friend Gino decided to use the toilet right as soon as we boarded and the bus ended up leaving him in Mysore. Thankfully buses come every ten minutes so he was right behind us, but it definitely gave us a few good laughs.
The drive was so incredibly green and beautiful it didn’t matter that the bus was only going 5km per hour. Local buses are such an experience everytime. This bus was packed of interesting characters including the old man I gave my seat up for. He was a sweet old man, but I don’t think anyone understood what he was saying or doing. This bus also desperately needed mechanical attention as there was a constant beeping noise the entire three hours, I had no choice but to put my earbuds in and blast some music to drown out the sound.
Upon arrival we picked up some delicious snacks from the local shop in Gonikoppal and waited for Gino to arrive. Our friend picked us up and brought us to his house. His residence sat on sixty acres of coffee plantations. His family ran the local school and was one of the biggest producers of robusta coffee in this region. I learned that India is the seventh largest producer/exporter of coffee in the world with coffee being the second most traded commodity in the world! I guess the whole world loves their coffee like I do!
He took us for a tour around the property and taught us all about how coffee is grown and produced. Coffee actually starts as a flower that resembles and smells like jasmine. The coffee blossoms only happen once a year for about two weeks so do try to visit in mid-February to experience all the beautiful blooming flowers. Village women and men escape the winters in Northern India to harvest the beans three months out of the year and live on the property. There is also peppercorn that grows all throughout our friends plantations and taller trees to protects the coffee trees from the brutally hot Indian sun!
Everyday I would take a run through the coffee plantations and the laborers would all stare in disbelief as I ran in the sweltering heat. It was men, women and children of all ages that all worked together. The women would normally be the ones up in the trees picking the beans while the men carried and threw around the heavy bags of supplies. I found the kids who lived on the land to be so adorable. The little girls were all dressed up one day when I was out walking and followed me for quite some time before I asked if I could have a picture on my phone. They giggled and happily obliged.
We spent the afternoons drinking coffee and ice cold beers on the patio before filling our stomachs with delicious home cooked Indian food. The mom of the house, also known as Aunty, took very good care of us. She was always entertaining and her laugh brought me so much joy everyday.
On our last night there she asked each of us to write down our national anthem and after dinner summoned us up to the school. This boarding school was full of children ages four to sixteen. She asked us to sing our national anthem in front of all the children and then had the kids sing their’s back to us. I haven’t sang solo in front of so many people for so long I was sweating from nerves, but they all asked us for our autographs after so it must have been good. All of them were so excited to learn our names and shake our hands, it was adorable. They showed us their local Coorg dance before we headed off for a night of drinks and dancing at the Road’s End in Coorg.
When you visit Coorg I recommend staying at the Road’s End. It’s located down a beautiful winding road encompassed by trees. The property has six bungalows, a volleyball court, an outdoor game room with a pool table and ping pong table along with a wonderful outdoor dining and bar area. They light bonfires every night and you can sit under the stars drinking an ice cold beverage of your choice. The ambience of the Road’s End is amazing, the location is perfect, the food is delicious, the staff is friendly and the owner is a stellar guy. It truly is a slice of paradise!
If you visit Coorg I recommend doing a homestay to get the true local experience. It’s really special to be able to form bonds with the families of India. My time in Coorg was very special to say the least. A true homey experience.
On our journey from Coorg to Ooty we made a pit stop in Mysore to explore it’s beautiful palace. It was only 50 rupiah entry and very beautiful. They allowed us to drop our bags off at the entrance while we explored the palace as well! It is cool to see how the palaces differ from city to city in India. Definitely stop by Mysore if it’s convenient!