Yesterday, I showed you how I put together an itinerary for a birding adventure in southern India & Sri Lanka. Today, I will show you how I chose the accommodation in each place. In all cases (except Bangalore) I was prioritizing lodges that were located in birdy locations as I love being able to sit on a deck and watch birds any time of day! Oh yeah, and we were on a tight budget being a somewhat impromptu trip!
I will be doing detailed reviews with photos on each individual lodge in subsequent posts.
The first night, we would be arriving around midnight and getting a bus to Coorg early the next morning. Bangalore has horrible traffic jams so I wanted to stay as close as possible to the Mysore Satellite Bus Stand. I used a Google map to zoom in on the bus stand and found the Transit Hotel Mysore Road right across the street. I Googled the name, saw it bookable on Agoda (unfortunately not on Pointshound) and booked an AC room for a whopping $12!
On a previous visit, I had accompanied some friends to the wonderful SAI Sanctuary and really wanted to stay there. Unfortunately, their staff had left and they couldn't accommodate us but they booked us at a guest house just down the road called Jungleside Homestay. We made a day visit to SAI to visit our friends and watch birds.
I had no idea where to stay so I checked on Expedia since I had a $50 credit in my account. I found a nice-looking place called Grassroots Wayanad, checked the photos & reviews on Trip Advisor and decided it sounded like my kind of place. I booked it on Expedia to use the $50 credit.
I was researching the sanctuary online and wanted to stay in their accommodation. However it seems you can only book it with their office in Ooty or at the facility and they had no email. I resorted to Google mapping the area and found the nearest town was called Gudalur. I searched Gudalur on Trip Advisor and found a place called Gouri Farm which sounded good. They weren't on any booking sites so I emailed them and booked and they agreed to let me pay on arrival since we were there on a weekday.
We would be arriving in the evening by bus and I have plenty of Club Carlson points so I booked the Park Plaza.
I read a few birding trip reports that highly recommended the Kithulgala Resthouse. I wanted to book and pay on arrival so I used Booking.com which was the only booking agency that allowed for this.
Unfortunately this visit fell on a weekend and my first & second choices (Martin's Simple Lodge & Blue Magpie Lodge) were booked up (according to Sri Lankan travel agency Red Dot) and they tried to get me to book a place for $200 a night that looked lovely but was out of our budget. I did some researching online and stumbled across a place called Rock View Motel Kalawana which had room so I grabbed it.
Flights and accommodation booked.......................the journey yet to begin!