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The Serai Bandipur Experience
In 2017, for my first ever stay in a wildlife reserve, we had picked the Serai Kabini and came back with lovely memories. So, when we were headed to Bandipur Tiger Reserve, we opted to book with The Serai again; this time with The Serai Bandipur.
Set in the wildlife infested jungles of Bandipur, The Serai Bandipur is unlike any other resort in the region. The luxury resort puts you up close with natural surroundings of the forest with the comforts of the modern world. Overlooking the expansive Nilgiri mountains, the resort offers unmatched facilities, great food and guided wildlife safaris of the Bandipur Wildlife Reserve.
The Serai Bandipur features a triage of lovely rooms – Mountain views courtyard rooms, Log huts and the posh Residence. All rooms are tastefully crafted that feature wooden flooring, contemporary looks that blend in with the natural surroundings, and all major amenities like air conditioning, sit-outs, large glass windows for natural light and lovely bathrooms with tubs.
We booked the Mountain View Courtyard rooms located close to their restaurants, reception and placed in the middle of the resort. The rooms are pretty large with a cozy sit-out overlooking the Nilgiri Mountains.
The log huts offer views of the wilderness where the nature walk takes place and are single bedded air-conditioned rooms made with wooden elements. The Courtyard rooms are slightly bigger and located in the central part of the resort complex.
Built with more modern materials, the plush rooms feature a large bathroom, a good-sized sit-out and a spacious bedroom with sofas. The Residence is class apart and functions like a mini home with stunning views of the wildlife reserve. The uber luxury room are as good as a luxury apartment and the most striking feature is the mattressed sit-out on the roof-top.
The Dining Experience
A major highlight of The Serai Bandipur is its in-house restaurant, Sanctuary. The fine dine restaurant is constructed with natural elements and the showcase it the set of large glass windows providing panoramic views into the Bandipur forest.
So, as you dine, you might catch a glimpse of a herd of elephants walking to the nearest watering hole! In the indoor restaurant has an outdoor deck as well and on pleasant days it is definitely an amazing experience to dine outside, with the wind in your hair and the aroma of the nearby flowering trees. The restaurant serves Indian, Chinese, and European food but we asked the chef to prepare some local delicacies. And that turned out to be such a great experience!
Adjacent to the Sanctuary is the Moyar’s Edge, the in-house bar overlooking the shimmering blue pool and the vast expanses of the forest. The best spot to occupy is on the deck outside, right above the swimming pool. The experienced bartender is adept at making lip smacking cocktails and turned out to be a very good listener!
The wall to wall glass windows, the cabin by the lake interiors and wooden elements carefully placed all over the bar at a touch of sophistication to the décor. We had a lovely time chatting up the bartender who told us numerous stories about wild encounters with leopards, elephants and cobras!
Bandipur Safari Experience
Anyone coming to Bandipur is looking for a wildlife experience and there’s nothing better than heading off to the jungles for a wildlife safari. The Serai Bandipur works with the forest officials to organize government conducted safaris in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Located 45 minutes away, you are taken to the Safari entrance point in jeeps, driving through quaint villages and the state highway.
From there, you continue the safari in government vehicles that take you into dense jungles for a chance to spot leopards, panthers, tigers, wild boars, elephants and numerous birds endemic to the region. All though we couldn’t spot anything, as if always the case when Vidur is with me, we had loads of fun in anticipation of spotting something. The foreigners with us chatted us up and we ended up being friends with them.
Guided Nature Walks
The Serai Bandipur is located in the lap of nature, right on the edge of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and a guided walk outside the resort takes you into the wild! The one-hour early morning walk with a naturalist is a fun experience especially for kids who would love to hear about the local wildlife.
The naturalists are all experts and their knowledge about the flora and fauna is pretty commendable. Travelers will be in awe once they hear stories about leopard chases, snake bites and encounters with other wild animals along with tales of mysterious experiences in the dense jungles.
Stay in the Serai Bandipur not just because of the name but because of what they manage to deliver. It’s a slice of luxury in the middle of a jungle that manages to blend luxury with nature rather well. The infusion of natural elements along with contemporary craft creates a sublime look and feel and overall the resort offers a really well-balanced feel to it.
From the room to the food to the amenities, everything is planned well and delivered to perfection. We must appreciate the staff for their can-do attitude, ultra-friendly attitude and humble demeanor. Full marks to them for delivering memorable experiences and we would highly recommend them to anyone traveling to Bandipur.
Best time to visit Bandipur
Bandipur is a fascinating place and visiting it anytime during the year is sure to enthrall a nature lover. Every season brings with it different colors and the forest changes its personality with each month passing by. However, if you are interested in wildlife sightings and photography, then the best time to visit Bandipur is from October to May. The winter season is best for bird watching.
Tigers and elephants can also be sighted during these months and the foliage isn’t very thick and visibility tends to be good. Average weather during these months’ ranges from 25 degrees Celsius to 38 degrees Celsius. Both the morning and evening safari are a must-try since spotting’s can vary according to the time of the day you visit. Avoid going there during peak monsoons, as visibility is poor and you won’t be able to spend much time outdoors.
How to reach The Serai Bandipur
From Bangalore – This is the nearest airport to the national park. From Bangalore, you can drive down to Bandipur and the journey won’t take you more than 5-6 hours to complete. The route covers the state highway 275 between Bangalore and Mysore before heading into another state highway 766. Roads are good till all the way to the resort.
From Mysore – The distance from here is just 80 kms and you can reach Bandipur within 2 hours. Local buses go till Bandipur and from there you will need to contact the resort for transport. Else, drive down.