Nestled among the Western Ghats, Wayanad is the perfect escape, complete with lush verdant forests, rushing waterfalls, lovely mist covered valleys and sloping acres of plantations. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and watch clouds kiss the slopes of the mighty mountains for an unforgettable trip. Wayanad is truly Kerala’s jewel, a green paradise on Earth. With such stunning locations as the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, the Chembra Peak and the Bansura Sagar Dam, Wayanad offers something for everyone, from nature lovers to adrenaline junkies. To make your trip to Wayanad hassle free, we’ve compiled all the information on how to get there, the best places to stay plus some important tips to keep in mind.
Wayanad’s remote beauty and raw, unexplored environment might make it seem as though this popular tourist spot is difficult to reach. However, Wayanad is far from inaccessible.
The nearest airport is the Karipur International Airport located in Calicut, just 95 kilometres away. There are flights from several Gulf countries like Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, as well as from major cities in India like Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi. From here, you can take a taxi or bus to Wayanad.
The nearest railway station is in Calicut (about 75 kilometres away). There is another railway station in Thalassery.
The Kozhikode–Mysore National Highway 212 (NH 212) passes through Wayanad district. En route to Mysore on NH 212, past Wayanad district boundary, which is also the Kerala state boundary, NH 212 passes through the Bandipur National Park. A night traffic ban has been imposed on this stretch of road since 2009. Buses also ply to and from Wayanad.
WHERE TO STAY
Wayanad is a well-known tourist destination has accommodation options catering to all budget ranges. If you’re looking for a luxurious option, the Vythiri Village Resort or the Wayanad Silver Woods. For a more pocket-friendly, but still comfortable stay, there are plenty of OYO rooms as well as some hotels like the Hotel Great Jubilee or the Vedanta Wake Up!- Edakkal Resort.
WHERE TO EAT
There are several restaurants in Wayanad that offer South Indian, North Indian and international delicacies, all prepared in a hygienic environment. Some restaurants are The Malabar Restaurant, Hotel Woodlands and Vigneswara Vegetarian Hotel.
All tourists are always advised to carry the necessary travel documents, enough cash to cover an emergency and some common medicines for allergies, headaches and nausea, as well as band aids and antiseptic. Apart from this, we have listed some tips to ensure that your trip to Wayanad is as magical as the beauty of the place.
1) Wear loose and comfortable clothing that is appropriate for outdoor activities. Ensure that you bring along some warm clothing as it can get quite chilly in Wayanad. Full sleeved clothes are better to protect yourself against insect bites. Also, remember to pack along a wide brimmed hat and some glare protection sunglasses.
2) Wayanad is an excellent trekking spot, with its panoramic views and trails for all kinds of trekkers, whether beginners or more experienced adventurers. Choose your trail wisely based on your fitness level and medical status. Invest in a good backpack with several pockets and remember to carry enough food to avoid energy drops and clean drinking water. It is also advisable to wear strong soled shoes and stick with your guide as Wayanad is known for its thick forests and certain precarious trails. If you’re planning to explore the place on your own, it is better to start early in the morning as it will be difficult and strenuous to trek back post sunset.
3) Although Wayanad is stunning all throughout the year, the best time to visit is between October and March, when the climate is comfortable and all the attractions can be enjoyed. Monsoon months in Wayanad are gorgeous due to the lush greenery. However, if you’re visiting the Wayanad Sanctuary, this may not be the best time. Also, there will be restrictions on trekking and hiking for safety purposes.
4) The captivating Pookode/ Pookot Lake is a must see in Wayanad. Shaped like the map of India, this lake is stunning with its lovely blue lotuses and fresh greenery. Owing to its popularity, it can get quite crowded on weekends during the holiday season, particularly if you want to go boating. Plan your trip here for a weekday and skip the weekend rush to make the most out of this scenic site.
5) If you’re planning to visit the exotic Kuruva Island, then there are a couple of things that should be kept in mind. Tickets need to be purchased for entry and the island can be accessed only by fiber boards and river rafts operated by the KTDC. The last entry is at 1:00 pm and you can stay in till 3:00 pm. So it is strongly recommended to plan your arrival time. Carry your bathing suit and eat something before you take the ferry as no food will be available on the island.
Also, remember to return to the same point where you disembarked for the ferry ride back as there are 2 ferry points and they go to opposite banks. The island remains closed during monsoon and it is advisable to call the DPTC and confirm whether the island will be open on the day of your visit.
6) This is for all the shutterbugs and avid photographers. Pack in all your camera equipment to capture the breathtaking beauty of Wayanad. However, don’t forget to protect your camera from moisture and dampness as it gets quite rainy in Wayanad.
7) History buffs and adventure seekers will definitely want to visit the Edakkal caves, a prehistoric site with carvings from the Stone Age. It is best to go in the morning hours. Tickets need to be purchased and the Wayanad DTPC ticket counter is open from 9.00 am to 4 pm. The site remains closed to visitors on Mondays and public holidays.
8) Another tourist favourite is the Lakkidi Hill Station with its mesmerizingly deep valleys that peek out from the mist. This place is also known for its hairpin curves and sharp turns. While the drive here is thrilling, it is vital to choose a clear day and time. Kindly remember that you are going up a Ghat pass and the mist can seriously affect your safety. Moreover, during the monsoon days, these roads can get particularly slippery.
9) The Muthunga Wildlife Sanctuary is an absolute delight to visit. It’s the perfect spot for kids and adults alike. You can spot tigers, elephants, rare lion-tailed macaques, Nilgiri Tahrs, black ducks, spotted deer and hundreds of other species of birds, reptiles and insects, all amidst the backdrop of the vibrant canopy of the forest. It is important to plan your visit according to the sanctuary timings. The sanctuary is open from 7 am to 10 am and then from 3 pm to 5.30 pm.
10) The Meenmutty Waterfall is a magnificent sight to behold. Watch the gushes of white water falling from a majestic height of 300 meters. These three tiered falls are closed during the monsoon. They are open from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. As it takes quite a long trek to reach here, start early in the morning and enjoy the crisp breeze and avoid the afternoon crowd.
Explore and discover the exhilarating beauty of Wayanad, the place where the sky touches the land and the clouds play with the mountains. Relax and indulge in the remote charms of nature untethered and unspoiled, far away from the mundane troubles of everyday life. Wayanad promises your senses a vacation like never before.
Contribution: Akshita Agrawal