Munnar

Munnar is a hill station in the Indian state of Kerala.

Understand

Munnar hills

Munnar is a beautiful hill station, and was the summer resort of the British. Tourists come here to see the vast tea plantations of the area. The town itself is typically Indian with the usual shops, guest houses and is really beautiful and traditional. It is a good place to see the surrounding countryside. It is also a popular place for Indian honeymooners.

The town is divided into two parts, Old Munnar, where the tourist information office is, and Munnar, where the bus station and most guest houses are located.

The region in and around Munnar varies in height from 1,500 m (4,921 ft) to 2,695 m (8,842 ft) above mean sea level. It is pronounced "Moon-aar" short for "moonu aar" meaning 3 rivers. Three rivers - Madupetti, Nallathanni and Periavaru which flow through this town, but join some distance away from Munnar.

Munnar is famous for its tea plantations, many of them started by the British. The "Kannan Devan" brand of Tea from the Tata is cultivated and processed here.

The strobilanthus ("neelakurinji" in Malayalam, the local language), a blue flower which blooms only every 12 years, is found in this region. It bloomed last in December 2006. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, at 2,695 m.

Eravikulam national park is one of the main tourist attraction, where you can find the endangered species of Nilgiri Tahr (mountain goat called "varayadu" in Malayalam). A treck to Rajamala ("King of hills" in Malayalam), in the morning is sure to spot a few friendly mountain goats. You can also find Gaur, Langur, Lion-tailed macaque, and Elephants depending on the season and time of travel. The altitude is 1,600-1.800 m above sea level.

Weather

The season between October and March (post-monsoon) is considered the best to visit Munnar. It is suggested to take some warm clothes and rain coats along with you. Temperature ranges from 15 to 25 degrees during summer, and 5 to 10 degrees in winter. The atmosphere remains cool and pleasant throughout the year.

Talk

Malayalam and Tamil are main languages spoken here. Visitors often feel uncomfortable while talking with local people as they only talk in regional language. However, you can manage with English as people are highly educated here and they often communicate in English.

Get in

By air

Cochin International airport (IATA: COK), also known as Nedumbassery Airport. It is approximately 125 km away from the Munnar by road. Taxi services are easily available from airport to Munnar that cost around ₹3000. Cochin International airport is nicely connected to metropolitan cities of India and some other cities abroad.

Madurai Airport is more than 175 km from Munnar (by National Highway 49) and second largest terminal in Tamil Nadu after Chennai airport. The airport has direct connectivity with major Indian cities like Hyderabad, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.

By train

The nearest railway station is Aluva, 110 km. Ernakulam is 130 km and Madurai is 135 km. Angamali Railway Station is another nearest rail-head to reach Munnar.

From all these railway stations, you can get direct regular buses to Munnar. First Bus starts at early morning 6AM and after that those are available at regular intervals. Apart from buses, you can easily get private taxis or cabs from all the railway stations. They charge around ₹150 per person if you opt for shared taxis.

By car

Distances from Munnar to various cities:

The road to Munnar is narrow with lots of bends and curves. Hire a taxi or a driver with local experience if you are not familiar with similar conditions

By bus

Munnar bus station is on the main street, Main Bazaar.

Note that most buses have boards in Malayalam and not English. At Aluva, there are no signs, schedules or dedicated bus bays for Munnar-bound buses; many of them briefly stop at Aluva en route from Kochi/ Ernakulam to Munnar. Check with a few locals every 15 minutes, or ask and hang around the bus info office, so they can point you to the right bus when it arrives.

There are also buses from Coimbatore and Pollachi.

Get around

Renting an auto-rickshaw to roam around the city costs ₹50 per hour. You can also rent a manual or automatic motorbike on a daily basis for ₹350/day.

See

Some of these site would be more popular for Indian tourists than Western tourists.

Near Munnar Town

Towards Mattuppetty

Echo Point

Towards Marayoor

Other places to visit

Lukkam waterfalls, Munnar

Do

Tea plantations at Munnar Top station

Buy

The best things to buy are tea, coffee, spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and pepper and definitely home made chocolates.

Banks/Currency Exchange

Eat

Kerala is famous for Fish Curry. For snacks, one should try local spicy cashew nut, chilly bhaji with hot tea as they are a traditional snack and makes good combination in cold weather.

Munnar has some amazing street food (try the Gobi noodles), so if you are after a cheap and delicious meal check the area around the bus stand in Munnar (not the KSRTC bus stand in Old Munnar).

Drink

Fresh tea, coffee and milk is available at most places. Hard and soft drink are also available at fair number of shops.

Packed grapes and mixed fruit juice is also available at few places.

Bars

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Apply sunscreen lotion while you leave Munnar because as you descend the hills the weather gets warmer and causes sun burn. Hill stations tend to get dark rather early, so be sure to carry a torch or flashlight.

Though Munnar is safe compared to other big cities, it doesn’t mean that mishaps and accidents don’t occur. Visitors should look after their personal belongings, as theft may occur sometimes.

If you are participating in some outdoor activities, injuries or accidents may happen. In order to avoid any hospital expenses, make sure to cover yourself with adequate travel insurance.

The roads in Munnar are bit risky and accidents may occur frequently. Sometimes, even experienced drivers struggle to ride on these roads. So, if you are novice driver, don't drive on these roads. Also, if you are descending Munnar, make sure that you start early. Otherwise, the misty fog will blind your drive. It is safe to start back by 4 o'clock from Top Station.

Hospitals

Connect

Emergency numbers

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 02, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.