Munnar in the Idukki district of Kerala needs no introduction. This town on the road uphill from Thekkady is as pretty as its postcard pictures. And everything that you have heard and read about it feels less when you visit it in person. The green carpet, the quintessential landscape, plantation vistas, and the dramatic mist of this hill town gets etched in the eyes for a lifetime. At an altitude of 5,200 ft above sea level, all that your heart desires is to sing and dance around the endless tea plantations. And when the mist covers the town like a table cloth, it makes one feel closer to paradise. Due to its charming weather, Munnar used to be the summer retreat of the Britishers. Today, it is loved by both honeymooners and family travellers. This was my first visit to Munnar with Kerala Travel Mart 2022 and I am glad it was part of our itinerary. Even though I had just 1 day in Munnar, it left me enamored with its beautiful mist and picturesque vistas.
How do you travel to Munnar?
There are two railway stations close to Munnar. Aluva is at a distance of 110 kilometers and Ernakulam Railway Station is 130 kilometers away. The station is accessible from major cities of India -Delhi, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Mangalore, Bengaluru, etc. The hill station does not have an airport. The closest airport is Cochin International Airport at 110 kilometers. Kerala is best enjoyed by road tripping and I assure you that there would be no dull moment until you reach Munnar. It is picturesque on both side of the road. If you are coming from Thekkady, you may hire a taxi or cab. It is a 3 hours bus journey from Thekkady.
Once you are in Munnar, settle in your hotel first and then decide your plan ahead. Even if you don’t have a plan, there is nothing to worry. Most of the hotels, resorts and home stays in Munnar are surrounded by nature and they promise great views. You may enjoy it all from your balcony. Even though I had only 1 day in Munnar, everything about Munnar made me happy and joyous within. It is a paradise for nature lovers.
1 day in Munnar
Our team started from Thekkady after breakfast to reach Munnar as early as possible. The distance is only 122 kilometers but it is a busy road. 2.5 – 3 hours is a given. However, you might not realize it as the drive is adorned with nature and lush landscapes. While in Thekkady, the beauty of Periyar lake, Periyar National park, and Cardamom estates impressed me, and Munnar left me spellbound. The high landscapes, mountain hills and tea manors were extremely lovable.
First thing, we alighted at one of the tea gardens and did everything touristy, from clicking pictures to making reels. And it looked gorgeous from every angle. One could easily conclude that the tea estates in Munnar were looked after well and maintained properly. At one point, I had a fleeting thought that if paradise had a green carpet, it would be something like this.
From here, we drove up to the Lockhart Tea Factory and Museum. Sadly, it was closed but we did some shopping at their outlet. By the time, our bags were full of our favorite tea, it was lunch time. We were headed to Mountain Club Resort for our lunch. The food was great and after the meal, they walked us around their property too. They had beautiful cottages. If you are looking for a property located in the lap of nature, do check this one out.
After having a delightful meal, we made our way to the botancial garden to have a quick walk through the running flower show. But due to time limitation, we couldn’t stay there for long. We were all excited for the live Kathakali show that the KTM had booked for us. During your Kerala visit, you must not miss out on two shows- Kalaripayattu and Kathakali.
The Kathakali performance turned out to be very entertaining. It was a jazzy mix of traditional and contemporary folk dance and music. A few of us felt that it was made for modern audience and had nothing classical about it. While others felt that it was important to keep it entertaining for the sake of more and more audience so that people get to know about the rich legacy of Kathakali. I feel both are right from their perspective.
Punarjani center is where you may book the Kathakali performance. Punarjani Traditional Village was established with the intentions of preserving the art and culture of Kerala.
By the time, we exited the theatre hall, the weather had changed once again. It was pouring in Munnar. We had to wait for the rains to subside. By the time we checked in the hotel, there was hardly any time left to explore the local market but some of us still chose to walk to the closest one in the old Munnar area, behind the Mount Carmel Church. The market is around the bus station and the area is called Nullatanni where we did find some interesting local shops and cafes.
When you are in Munnar, you really can’t miss the opportunity of hoarding some spices, handmade chocolates, aromatic oils, cotton fabric, and a range of flavored tea and coffee. They make great treats and souvenirs for friends back home. When it comes to tea leaves, some of the best varieties are grown in this hill town. I bought some jackfruit, banana, and tapioca chips along with spices. I also picked up black halwa, a very interesting Sohan halwa made from anjeer.
Silver Tips Hotel – Movie-themed resort
This is one of the most unique hotels that I stayed in during my entire trip to Kerala. Have you ever lived in a hotel designed with the theme of movies around the world? For all Hollywood and Bollywood fans, this is the place to go to for one night at least. Every floor has a theme, every room is named and designed based on a movie. Every room is filled with antique movie gadgets as well. When I spoke to a staff member, I learned that the hotel has been built on the location of an old movie theater. Bearing in the mind the history of the land, the founders of the hotel have developed a unique fim-themed resort.
This is a very unique hotel. The rooms and restaurant are decent enough. But the amazing collection of movie posters, wall decors on each floor, and the room decor with cinematography memorabilia is impressive. The hotel is centrally located on the Aluva-Munnar road. Even if you are not staying here, you must take a tour of this hotel. If you are looking for a high-end five-star resort, this might not meet the expectations but if you are looking for an interesting hotel with unique decor, this one will bring a smile to your face.
On the next day, we had to start towards Kochi and hence we had to bid goodbye to Munnar but we did not do that without doing a quick stopover at a chocolate factory. We were given a quick chocolate-making class before we shopped to our heart’s desire. Handmade chocolates from Munnar are a must-buy.
What would you like to do in Munnar?
Munnar has always been a very popular honeymoon destination. Just like every hill station, it has its unique vibe about it. There are many itineraries to follow but the main question is what would you like to do in Munnar? ‘Ticking the box’ and visiting top attractions should not be the criteria when you are in Munnar. It is a place where one must slow down and just be in the moment. Immerse yourself in the hundred shades of green. Rejoice in the beauty of its mist, clouds, plantations, and the surprise rains. In Munnar, all I wanted to do was relax and enjoy the stunning views of the mountains and the tea gardens.
It is fun to take a ride to the tea plantations and walk on the small tracks, around. Tourists love to walk around those places and take pictures. Munnar is a haven for nature photography lovers. If you are curious to learn, you may also visit spice farms and learn more about plants, trees, and flowers. Munnar has plenty of viewing points, gardens and tea plantations for you to explore.
Places to visit in Munnar!
I could not visit most of these places since I had only 1 day in Munnar. But if you are on a vacation and wish to indulge in the beauty of Munnar, you must Google these places and plan your itinerary accordingly. The nearby areas have enchanting waterfalls and there are some interesting hotspots for adventure lovers as well. You may also try some rock climbing and rapelling in Munnar.
- Tea Gardens
- Matupetty Dam
- Nallathanni Estate of Tata Tea
- The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
- Top Station
- Blossom Park
- Rose Garden
- Chinnakanal Waterfalls
- Echo Point
- Lockhart tea factory
- Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
- EravikulamNational Park
- Lockhart Gap View
- Anayirangal Dam and boating
- Rock Cave
Have you visited Munnar? Do share your experience.