Sometimes, we just need to get away from people, even while we are looking to go on a vacation. Sure, a trip with family or friends is the ideal way to unwind and have some fun; however, the joys of going on a solo trip are unparalleled.
It’s a privilege where you simply learn to be with yourself while you explore new locations and discover a version of yourself you never knew.
Sure, it does sound a bit daunting at first, given that you are quite literally on your own the whole time sans anyone to rely on; however, some have confessed to becoming addicted to solo sojourns once they realised the absolute freedom it gives you.
If you are currently in Tamil Nadu or are looking for locations there to go on an amazing solo trip, we have curated a list for you that should help you out with travel options:
Nestled amidst the Nilgiri mountains, Ooty (short for Udhagamandalam) is a picturesque hill station known for its serene landscapes, tea plantations, and colonial-era architecture.
If a solo trip is on your mind, especially, if you love trekking, Ooty is THE destination for you, as the gorgeous location lets you explore its treasures on your own without any particular assistance.
From valleys, lakes, waterfalls, winding roads, endless tea plantations and rolling hills, Ooty offers solo travellers a smorgasbord of options to experience the hill station’s raw, natural beauty.
For trekking junkies, some of the most popular routes are Parsons Dam trek Doddabetta Peak trek, Glenmorgan trek and Kotagiri-Elk Falls trek.
“I have visited Ooty five times on my own already, and every time I am surprised by the hidden gems the beautiful town has to offer,” 23-year-old architect Sumit Matondkar from Chennai tells South First.
“Honestly, I am not really fond of travelling with my family and it can get quite chaotic with my boisterous friends. So I just pack a small bag, get in my car, and drive away to Ooty for a me-cation! It’s the best thing ever,” he adds.
Best time to visit: You can visit any time, as the temperature remains enjoyable all year round with breezy summers and chilly winters. But the best time to visit is between October and April.
How to reach by train: The nearest railway station is in Coimbatore, about 89 km away. You can also book a cab from Coimbatore to Ooty.
How to reach by road: Ooty is well connected to all major cities across South India by the Nilgiri ghat roads and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.
How to reach by flight: The Coimbatore domestic airport is about 88 km away from Ooty. You can fly to Coimbatore from any location in India and then book a taxi from Coimbatore airport to Ooty.
Compared to Ooty, the flow of tourists in Kodaikanal is comparatively low, making it an ideal location for those looking for a “crowd-free” spot to travel to.
“The road trip to Kodaikanal is a stress-relieving mini holiday in itself. Every month I drive there from Bangalore, and I can just feel all my worries melting away as I take in the breathtaking view,” 32-year-old dentist Preeti Jain from Bengaluru tells South First.
“It helps that the road condition is pretty on-point, and I leave pretty early in the morning so the traffic is practically nil. Sometimes, I just need to escape my frenzied world, and Kodaikanal is my haven for just that,” she add.
Jain suggests those who visit Kodaikanal for the first time take a crisp stroll on the Coakers to walk at around 6-7 am which gives a stunning view of the valleys with the clouds occasionally playing hide and seek.
There is not really much to do here, activity-wise, which is why this little town is ideal for solo travellers. Popular spots here include Kodai, the princess of hill stations, and the Dolphin nose or Cliff viewpoint. But even if you don’t visit these sites, just wandering around the town will make your trip worthwhile.
Best time to visit: October-June is the ideal time to visit Kodaikanal. If you really like it cold, then December and January are the months for you.
How to reach by train: Kodai Road (approximately 95 km away) links Kodaikanal with cities like Madurai and Trichy. This railway station mostly serves as a rail-to-bus transfer zone for those visiting Kodaikanal.
How to reach by road: Kodaikanal is well linked by road with several cities, including Bengaluru (460 km), Chennai (530 km), Ooty (255 km), and Coimbatore (175 km). Depending on your budget and requirement, you can choose between budget-friendly state transport buses or private luxury buses available from these cities.
How to reach by flight: Madurai International Airport is the nearest to Kodaikanal, approximately 120 km away.
Looking at the leafy boulevards, old churches and 18th-century colonial buildings surrounded by overflowing bougainvillaeas, you might get momentarily confused whether you are still in India. But soon enough you are welcomed by crowded streets, bustling roadside stalls and little temples and mosques.
That’s Pondicherry, as it is still popularly called, for you in a nutshell.
Officially known as Puducherry, and commonly referred to as just Pondy, this former French colony is the perfect combination of traditional Indian elements and French architecture, offering the best of both worlds, ergo making it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
“Back in college, a trip to Pondy meant chilling by the beach with your friends, drenched in beer and cheap snacks. But now as a grown-up, I have way more appreciation for this gorgeous getaway spot,” 28-year-old Marketing Manager Christy Alva from Mangaluru tells South First.
“I have made around eight weekend solo trips to Pondy, so far, and they have been the best mini-vacations of my life,” Alva adds.
“I steer clear of all ‘touristy’ activities and stick to exploring the town on my own, strolling down the cobble-stone paths or just riding a bicycle through quaint French spots. By noon, I take refuge in one of the many cosy cafes and unwind with some good food and a book. By evening I grab some continental treats from the authentic French bakeries and make my way to the beautiful seaside promenade and watch the Bay of Bengal splashing the shores of the famous Rock beach,” Alva says.
The French colony is just a small part of Puducherry, which people refer to as the White Town, while the rest of the town give strong Indian and local vibes.
Best time to visit: The ideal months are from October to March. It’s severely hot and humid throughout the year, except for the winter months. So, travellers are advised to visit only during these months.
How to reach by train: The nearest railway station is Villupuram railhead which is well connected to major towns and cities.
How to reach by road: Puducherryis very well connected to nearby states and districts by bus and train. You can also drive or take a cab.
How to reach by flight: While Pondicherry does have a small airport, the chances of getting direct tickets from your location are bleak. Chennai is the nearest city with the largest airport, only 150 km away.
History lovers will have a ball at this quaint Unesco World Heritage Site, as there is a hidden story in its every corner just waiting to be explored.
What makes Mahabalipuram an ideal escape for solo travellers with a soft spot for ancient architecture, is that the town is overflowing with rich artefacts and monuments, and all you need to do is just get there and then let to town work its magic on you.
Mahabalipuram is a perfect amalgamation of art, architecture, culture, history, and mythology, with around 40 exquisite monuments from the Pallava era.
“These magnificent structures are sheer architectural marvels that left me awestruck. I couldn’t help but wonder how they created these without the advanced machinery of today. The engineering genius makes me feel proud of being an Indian, knowing our ancestors created these wonders,” 20-year-old economics student Ashish Thomas from Kochi tells South First..
“All I needed was two days to explore this quaint town which offers you a rich lesson in history. I also recommend visitors go temple-hopping and get a guide. The things you will learn are priceless,” Thomas adds.
Of course, once you are done with the historic side of the trip you can jump straight into the beach life and water activities and just unwind.
Best time to visit: Winters are the best time to experience Mahabalipuram in all its glory. The weather between November end and mid-February is very enjoyable with the humidity being substantially reduced, making it ideal for travellers to explore.
How to reach by train: The nearest railway station is at Chengalpattu, located approximately 29 km away from Mahabalipuram town. The major railway station closest to the town is Chennai railhead, which is also connected to all major cities.
How to reach by road: If you love long drives, you can plan a road trip to Mahabalipuram from across cities in south India. Also, you have buses from Chennai, Puducherry, Madurai and Coimbatore which are easily available on a regular basis.
How to reach by flight: Chennai International Airport is the nearest airport to Mahabalipuram, approximately 55 km away.