EXPLORING MUNNAR: A TRANQUIL HILLSTATION WITH SCENIC TEA PLANTATIONS

Munnar evoked memories of my trips to other Indian hill stations such as Coorg, Ooty, Darjeeling, and even Ella in Sri Lanka, with its boundless tea plantations and peaceful atmosphere. Our expectations were not set too high prior to our visit, but we were delightfully impressed by the beauty and tranquility that Munnar provided. If you appreciate sweater weather, enjoy reading a good book with a hot cup of tea, and relishing in stunning green landscapes, Munnar is the perfect destination for you.

Should you visit Munnar?

Certainly, it's crucial to note that Munnar might not offer the most action-packed or culturally vibrant experience among Indian destinations. If you're in search of a locale with diverse culinary options, lively markets, exhilarating adventures, or vibrant cafes, Munnar might disappoint, a realization that dawned on me only upon arrival. Nevertheless, there exist certain types of travelers who would discover their ideal haven in this tranquil hill station.

EXPLORING MUNNAR: A TRANQUIL HILLSTATION WITH SCENIC TEA PLANTATIONS

Seekers of Solitude and Tranquility:

If your ideal vacation includes getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Munnar is an ideal destination. Picture yourself in a comfortable hotel room, relishing room service, indulging in a Netflix marathon, and strolling leisurely through the serene green surroundings. With minimal activities in Munnar, this could easily become your schedule.

Stag Groups Looking for Relaxation:

Munnar provides a tranquil and relaxed retreat for groups of men on a stag trip. It is perfect for relaxing, indulging in a few drinks, playing card games, and immersing oneself in the serenity of the surroundings.

Retirees in Search of Tranquil Escapes:

Munnar proves to be an ideal retreat for retired individuals seeking tranquility, particularly those residing in bustling cities such as Mumbai and Delhi.

Nature Enthusiasts and First-Time Tea Plantation Visitors:

If the allure of a tea plantation is new to you, Munnar will enchant you. The stunning views, particularly when driving in and out of Munnar, will amaze nature lovers. The picturesque tea gardens provide a delightful spectacle, and you can delve into the tea-making process while exploring the plantations. On the other hand, if you've visited tea plantations before, you might perceive this as a less exciting destination— in that case, consider making a brief stop for just one night.

How to get to Munnar

Munnar lacks both an airport and a train station. In case you favor air travel, Cochin International Airport stands as the closest one, situated approximately 125 km away. For those contemplating a train journey, the nearest railway station can be found in Kochi or Ernakulam. Kochi serves as a major junction for trains arriving from various parts of India, such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Mangalore. Some trains might make a stop at Aluva Railway Station, providing a more convenient option.

As you're aware, our journey from Goa to Munnar was via road. A road trip from Kochi to Munnar is also a viable option – a scenic 4-hour drive through winding roads that promises breathtaking views as you approach the hill station. Additionally, cabs and buses are readily available.

EXPLORING MUNNAR: A TRANQUIL HILLSTATION WITH SCENIC TEA PLANTATIONS

Where to Stay in Munnar

When considering accommodations in Munnar, you can choose between two options. In the main Munnar area, there are numerous hotels available to suit various budgets. While staying here puts you in the midst of any limited activities, you won't be treated to endless green slopes and scenic views.

Alternatively, you can opt to stay 25 km or 40 minutes away in Chinnakkanal village. In this location, you'll find a variety of lodging options, including homestays, Airbnb properties, hotels, and even a Hosteller establishment. During our visit, we chose an Airbnb named Neelakurunji Luxury Plantation Bungalow, and unfortunately, I cannot recommend it. Chinnakanal is less touristy, more green, and embodies the picturesque image one conjures when thinking of a tea plantation hill station.

Things to do in Munnar

Munnar features viewpoints, waterfalls, and tea, which form the focal points of most activities. While these viewpoints are aesthetically pleasing, I believe many of them are created merely to enhance listicles and boost business for tea vendors and corn-sellers who set up shop nearby. Therefore, there's no need to make a special effort to visit each one.

EXPLORING MUNNAR: A TRANQUIL HILLSTATION WITH SCENIC TEA PLANTATIONS

Here are a few things I did in Munnar, followed by activities I didn’t do but you may like to:

Ripples' tea Chai Bazaar

Explore a diverse selection of premium tea options, including long leaves and various flavors, at Ripples' "Tea Chai Bazaar." Additionally, this grocery store provides other products such as ayurvedic oils and coffee.

Cheerappaya Falls

Situated conveniently at the entrance of Munnar, Cheerappaya Falls is a picturesque waterfall that doesn't necessitate a detour or trek. During our journey from Kochi to Munnar, we paused to stretch our legs and capture some photos. No other waterfalls were observed along our route, leading me to assume that reaching the others might involve a trek.

EXPLORING MUNNAR: A TRANQUIL HILLSTATION WITH SCENIC TEA PLANTATIONS

Kundala Dam

We set out on a 24 km journey to Kundala Dam, a prominent attraction in Munnar. Visitors here engage in diverse water-based activities such as paddle boating, kayaking, and coracle boat rides. Alternatively, one can opt for a relaxed walk while appreciating the tranquil lake and dam, enveloped by lush greenery.

Mattupetty Lake Munnar

In case you find yourself with extra time in Munnar, here are additional options to contemplate. These activities didn't capture the interest of my friends and me, and I'm including them here simply because there weren't many alternatives available:

  • Treks: Munnar offers various trekking trails that take you through scenic landscapes and allow you to explore nature up close.

  • Tea Plantation Tour: Learn about the tea-making process by visiting a tea plantation and picturesque tea gardens.

  • Tea Factory Visit: Explore a tea factory to observe the tea production process and sample different tea varieties.

  • Other Waterfalls: Apart from Cheerappaya Falls, you can visit other waterfalls in Munnar such as Attukad Waterfalls, Lakkam Waterfalls, and Nyayamakad Waterfalls.

  • Viewpoints: Munnar boasts stunning viewpoints like Echo Point, Top Station, and Pothamedu Viewpoint, offering panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and hills. But honestly, anywhere you stop will have a view.

  • Street Shopping: Indulge in some street shopping to buy local handicrafts, spices, and souvenirs.

By JADE

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