How do I get to Munnar?
By car - The National Highway 85 traverses through the country from Kochi (130 km) in the west to Madurai (160 km) in the east, through Munnar, hence connecting it to both the major cities. This is a scenic and well travelled route, taken by most who hail from these areas. Also, if you approach from the north, say Bangalore (470 km), then Hosur-Krishnagiri-Salem-Tiruppur-Udumalpet is the most frequently taken route. This route is as picturesque as it gets once you enter the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in the Idukki district of Kerala.
By bus - Munnar's inflow of local tourists is high and hence the main bus stand is always bustling. It is located at the entrance of the town at the main bazaar. Major cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Kochi are well connected by private and state owned buses.
By train - Aluva is the nearest major railway station to Munnar at a distance of 110 km and the quaint town is accessible from major railway junctions like Bangalore, Mumbai, Ernakulam (Kochi), Trivandrum, Coimbatore, etc. After reaching Aluva, you can hire a cab to Munnar as there are no direct buses available. The nearest functioning railway station is at Udumalaipettai, 90 km away.
By air - Kochi International Airport is the closest airport to Munnar (110 km), followed by the airports in Coimbatore (160 km) and Madurai (180 km).
How do I get around in Munnar?
It is best to experience the chilly town of Munnar by foot, as it is tiny and accessible with narrow streets and lively markets. You can also hire a cab/taxi to get to nearby places or out of town. Local buses operate to and from the town up until late in the evening. Autorickshaws are easily available from the many busy places in the town and they are quite affordable.
When is the best time to visit?
Munnar is a dream hill station with majestic views of the untouched Western Ghats surrounding you. The climate here is pleasant and ideal for a getaway any time of the year, but the best time to visit would be from the months of November to February when it is cooler than pleasant and the temperatures tend to drop by about 10 degrees celsius. The months from June to October see a relatively smaller number of tourists due to the monsoons. However, this is probably the best time to visit if you want to experience a more tranquil and scenic Munnar. All in all, there's no point waiting for the right time if you're planning to visit; this year-round destination will blow your mind away no matter what time of the year it is!
What are the best tea plantations to visit?
The tea estates here are world renowned for its century old tea traditions. The Munnar Tea Museum is a tribute to the pathfinders of the tea industry who helped transform Munnar into a major tea plantation center in India and the world. Various stages of tea processing can be witnessed at this museum, which is also a functioning tea factory. The Kolukkumalai estate is arguably one of the most charming in the world due to its tag as the highest tea estate in the world, on the slopes of the second highest peak in the Western Ghats, Meesapulimala.
The historic Sevenmallay tea estate is where the first set of tea saplings were planted in the late 19th century and it welcomes you with acres of green carpets of tea leaves.
Additionally, there are over 50 spectacular tea estates you can visit in Munnar. Your stay here is incomplete without a cup of the refreshing local tea!
What are the main attractions in Munnar?
Although it is a small town, Munnar houses some lovely and eye-soothing natural and manmade attractions around its vicinity. The sights of tea plantations adorning the steep hill sides and spreading over miles across the horizon is a sight to behold. The Eravikulam National Park is located at a distance of 50 km from the town and is home to the rare Nilgiri Tahr, tigers, leopards, golden jackals, etc., and is a wildlife lover's paradise. Two of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats, Anamudi peak (2695 m) & Meesapulimala peak (2640 m) are an hour's drive away in adjacent directions from Munnar and are popular trekking and hiking spots for adventure enthusiasts. The Mattupetty dam provides beautiful views of the hill ranges around and is a frequented picnic spot by visitors. Boating facilities are also available here, if you want to relax in the calm waters of the lake. The Cheeyappara, Attukad and Valara waterfalls are amazing places to unwind amidst nature's wonders. Also, if you are bound to visit sometime in 2018, then don't miss out on the blooming of Neelakurinji - a rare flower that blooms once in every 12 years, occurring in the Idukki district of Kerala and some other parts of South India.
What to eat and where?
A trip to God's Own Country is incomplete without tasting any treat that involves fish. Local restaurants in town do not fail to leave a mark on you. Appam or parotta with beef fry/stew is a local delicacy that is the mainstay of the population. Breakfast items like idli, vada, dosa, appam, parotta, etc. are eaten on a daily basis and you must definitely taste them on a Munnar morning.
Rice is the staple diet and the use of plenty of spices like cardamom, cloves, pepper, etc. in curries should not surprise you.
Some of the well known eateries are Mezbaan, Surya Soma, Thattukada (strictly evening) and the Silver Spoon restaurant. They are pocket friendly and will assure you a good afternoon's lunch. If you want a drink to soothe your throat, then a lovely cup of
hot local tea is the way to go!