Best Routes for Chennai to Wayanad Road Trip

Victoria Erickson was so right when she said, ‘Road trips are equivalent of human wings…’ Avid travellers prefer road trips, even when the destination is known. Unlike flights, trains and buses, road trips do not bind and restrict. A road trip lets you be in control, allowing you to stop and explore towns and villages on the route. That way you see and discover a lot more than just what you hope for, at your destination. Wayanad is almost always on the list of ‘to visit places’ of travel enthusiasts. It is an ideal destination for different types of travellers; and why not adventure seekers, trekking and hiking enthusiasts and lovers of nature and wildlife are assured of beautiful experiences.

Chennai to Wayanad Road Trip Routes

Wayanad road

Residents of Chennai, planning a road trip to Wayanad have a choice of routes to pick from; and that’s a perfect recipe to make a holiday more exciting. Follow one course for your Chennai to Wayanad Road Trip and another on your return journey.

Chennai to Wayanad Distance

The first route touches three states, starting in Tamil Nadu, crossing Karnataka and culminating in Kerala. Both offer different experiences – the first route is a scenic delight, while the second promises smoother roads. It takes over 12 hours to cover this distance of roughly 600 km. The second route cuts across Tamil Nadu and the distance is a little over 710 km, and it takes more than 15 hours of travel, to reach Wayanad. The travel times mentioned are without pit stops. The journey will take longer, depending on the duration of your stops.

Both routes pass through the Ghats, which are challenging to manoeuvre. You’ll encounter steep inclines and numerous hairpin bends, which don’t allow high-speed driving. Then there is the mist, which may sometimes make it impossible to drive, because of poor visibility. It is advised to take a break on the road trip, for a night halt, so you are not travelling on the Ghat roads after sunset. Moreover, the Forest Dept. enforces vehicle restrictions during certain hours, at night. You may not be able to pass through reserve forests at night.

Elephant_crossing_ Wayanad road

Route no: 1 – via Karnataka

Chennai → Krishnagiri → Hosur → Mysore → Mananthavady → Wayanad. Head towards Sriperumbudur and get on NH 48, that takes you to Vellore. Take the Vellore bypass and continue towards Vaniyambadi, and then to Krishnagiri, which is a little short of 50 km from there. You’ll have travelled roughly 220 km, from Sriperumbudur to Krishnagiri. The National Highway on this stretch is superb, and a treat to drive on. The route is dotted with small and big eateries, and you will find plenty of petrol bunks, for refuelling your vehicle.

Continue on National Highway 48 to reach Hosur. You’ll enter Karnataka, once you exit Hosur. Get onto NH 275 or NH  948 to reach Mysore. There’ll be enough road signs, showing directions. By now you’ll have spent over 8 hours on the road, so we suggest you spend the night in Mysore. You can either choose to leave for Wayanad the next morning or spend the day exploring the magnificent city.

Mysore to Mananthavady is a lovely scenic drive; the verdant forests and the crisp air, of the Ghats, are welcoming. You’ll notice the change in scenery and climate. Wayanad is around 30 km from here. You’ll be spoilt for choice for a place to stay, but to make your trip more memorable, experience ABAD Brookside Lakkidi. Its stunning location and service make it a premium property that is highly recommended for nature lovers. 

Route No: 2 – through Tamil Nadu


Chennai → Krishnagiri →Salem →Tirupur → Ooty →Wayanad. The second route keeps you in Tamil Nadu, for a significant part of the journey. You will cross into Kerala after you exit the Nilgiris. The road from Chennai to Krishnagiri is the same as that mentioned in the first route. This route goes through Ambur and is the shorter of the two.

You can also take a detour when you reach Arcot, and catch NH 42, instead of continuing on NH 48. You will reach Krishnagiri, but it’s a long drive. Alternatively, you can travel towards Ramapuram and get on NH 32 and drive towards Tindivanam, and from there take NH 77, via Gingee, to reach Krishnagiri.

All National Highways have toll plazas, spaced between 40-60 km of each other. At Krishnagiri, you catch the road that takes you to Dharmapuri (NH 44) continuing towards Salem. You can stop for the night at Salem, it is a big city, with lots of accommodation options, or continue to Tirupur. By this time, you’ll have been on the road for close to 8 hours or longer.

From Tirupur get on NH 181, which takes you to Mettupalayam, from there on the road begins to ascend. You’ll cross Coonoor and Wellington on your way to Ooty. They are quaint little towns in the Nilgiris and Wellington is primarily a cantonment town. NH 181 from Ooty takes you into Kerala – merge into NH 766 to reach Wayanad.

Wayanad is off the National Highway. You’ll have boards directing you when to turn off the National Highway.

Also read, How to plan your Bangalore to Wayanad trip?

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