Munnar is a tea growing hub in the mountains of the Western Ghats. Tourists flock here to see the gorgeous rolling green hills adorned with perfectly trimmed tea bushes that contour the mountains. The best way to appreciate them is by hiking. In order to do this you will need a guide as the tea fields are private property and you can be fined if you decide to wander round them alone. I’ve tried to put together this short guide that should tell you all you need to know about Munnar.
How to get to Munnar
Munnar doesn’t have a train station as it’s so high up in the mountains so the best way to get there is on the scary winding mountain roads by bus or by taxi. If you get travel sick, take tablets and if you’re scared of heights don’t sit by the window or close the shutters.
From Fort Kochi:
There are regular busses to Munnar that starts from Ernakulam bus station. If you’re staying in Fort Kochi you’ll need to get a ferry over to Ernakulam and then you can get a tuk tuk to the bus station. However we ended up getting a taxi which cost around 3,700 because Ben had heat exhaustion and just wasn’t up to the ferry, tuk tuk, bus and then tuk tuk to our hotel!
There are also direct busses that run twice a day. One leaves the main KSRTC bus station at 9am. You can also get busses to kochi Ernakulam and then change there to get to Munnar.
There are a couple of direct busses a day on the Munnar/Kumily town route. We got the bus from Munnar to Kumily which took around 6 hours.
For more information about bus times check the KSRTC website
Where to stay in Munnar
Do NOT stay in Munnar town unless you like hectic, squalid noisy towns. The whole point of going to Munnar is to see the mountain scenery and you can’t do that from Munnar town. Find a hotel that has a bus stop nearby with regular busses. It’s worth staying a bit out of the town for some peace & quiet. Good hotels will usually be able to help you book activities so have a look on sites like booking.com* which are full of loads of different options for every price range.
There are a few ATMS for different banks scattered around Munnar. Although Ben had trouble with one of the banks there was another bank that worked for him. There are 2 close to the main tourist office on the left fork as you get into Munnar on the bus.
Activities in Munnar
This is the main reason tourists flock to Munnar but as mentioned you will need a guide if you want to trek through the tea plantations. We booked a full day ‘hard trek’ from the main tourist office in Munnar. It was 1,200/ each for a programme that ran from 8-4pm. Lunch, snacks and 3 litres of water were included. Now I was a bit skeptical about the included snacks as I need fuel. So we took extra snacks with us. But we needn’t have worried, there was loads of fruit and indian snacks.
There were six people on our trek, some were lovely but some were well… we now know a lot more about their lives than we ever wished to know. But part of travelling is learning patience with all the different people you meet.
The trek itself was about 18km long in the end and there were some tough hill climbs. If you’re a regular walker you should be fine, I struggled up the two big hill climbs at the beginning but managed it in the end despite some full on huffing and puffing!
It was a spectacular way to get some views in of the mountains and the tea plantations. Although I did expect a bit more information from our guide he just led us round the path.
You won’t be able to walk through Munnar town without hearing “Jeep Safari???” every few seconds. We didn’t take a jeep safari due to money and time but I’ve heard they can be a really fun way to see the Munnar scenery with a little more excitment than a whole day hikin
g. There are hundreds of drivers hanging round Munnar and you can negotiate a price and package. Don’t necessarily settle on the first price they say, try and haggle and if you’re still not comfortable with the price tell them no and usually they’ll come running back to you with a dicount!
Read more about our trip to Kerala:
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