Munnar Destination Guide

Destination Overview

Munnar is a beautiful hill station located in the Western Ghats of South West India. Located in central Kerala, around 130 Kilometers east of the Ernakulam (Cochin), this tea County is the most preferred destination for the Indian honeymooner. With numerous tea plantations across the hills like a green carpet and mist clad mountains, this hill station attracts visitor by its weather, tea and umteen trekking and hiking options. The Elevation of Munnar ranges from 5000 to 8000 feet above the sea level. When we refer to the name Munnar, we intend to define an area around 25 SQ kilometers radius from Munnar town center. Anamudi, the highest peak, and Meesapulimalai, the second highest peak in South India are in Munnar. Tea was introduced to Munnar by the British in the late seventeenth century. Today the larger part of these plantations are owned by the employees of the Tata Global Beverage who owns Tetley.

View fom Top Station

Some Quick Facts

  • Munnar comes under the state of Kerala in South India.

  • The area occupies some of the highest ranges in the Western Ghats.

  • People here generally speak Tamil, English is widely understood.

  • Public transport includes buses, auto rickshaws, cabs, and Jeeps.

  • Average temperature ranges from 5 to 25 °C, however, the temperature did go down to 0 °C last winter (December). Rains in Munnar are torrential during the months of June and July.

  • Currency is Indian Rupee (INR)

  • Banks and ATMs are available only in the town centers.

  • There are no bars in Munnar and have just one beer and wine parlor in the town, Issacs residency.

  • Carry winter wear when you head to Munnar.

  • Munnar has got a National Park.

  • The highest organic tea estate and an orthodox factory (Kolukkumalai) are in Munnar.

  • The name Munnar in the local language of Tamil and Malayalam means three rivers.

Location and how to reach Munnar

Munnar Hill station in Kerala

The nearest Airport to Munnar is the Cochin International Airport. There are cabs available from the prepaid counter at the Airport and would cost around INR 3250 for a drop to Munnar. In case if you are going for a tour connecting multiple destinations, it is better to hire a cab for the entire trip, that would turn out to be more cost effective. For a cheaper option, there is just one private operator (Kyros connects) who has a service from Cochin Airport to Munnar, this is not a service starting from Cochin Airport, but from Fort Cochin. The bus route is via Cochin Airport and passes by the Airport at 1000 hours. Tickets are also available in redbus.in. If this option does not work, you can take a cab to Aluva (10 kilometers from Cochin Airport) bus station from where there are frequent buses to Munnar. There are two bus stations in Munnar, one the state-run bus station and the second one a private bus station. Buses are more available from KSRTC state-run bus station in Aluva.

Public Transport

Distance to Munnar town from Nearby destinations

Bus Station and Bus connectivity 

Munnar Bus station is at Old Munnar; however, all the buses come to the town and start the trip from the town center. There bus services available from all major cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are buses available from Ernakulam and Aluva (both state-run and private operators). Tickets for low floor air-conditioned Kerala state buses are available to Munnar. Do enquire at the respective bus stations for the bus timing. Apart from Aluva and Ernakulam, there are direct buses operational from Thekkady (Kumily). Coimbatore and services in the morning and afternoon via Udumalaipettai - Marayoor. There are very limited direct buses from Madurai, it would be better to hire a cab, in that case.

Nearest Railway Stations

Nearest Airport 

Aluva is the closest railway station to Munnar (100 Kilometers). Almost all the main trains have a stop at Aluva, as Aluva is a major station near to the remote areas of Idukki district. There are cabs available at the station (prices may differ), or you walk (5 minutes) to the KSRTC bus station and take the bus to Munnar. Certain trains like the Rajdhani Express do not have a stop at Aluva, in that case, Ernakulam Jn or Ernakulam town would be the nearest railroad station close to Munnar.

 

Click for Indian railway schedules and trains between stations

Click to Reserve rain tickets in Indian Railways (you need to register on the website to book tickets)

Car Renting

Zoom car, an agency renting out self-driven cars are available in Cochin; you can hire a car and drive it to the hills. Check out their website for more details.

Munnar town is a congested place and so the restaurants inside the town are also relatively very congested and parking is a problem in most cases during rush hour. There are multiple stand-alone restaurants between Munnar and Old Munnar. Local restaurant serving local would tend to be reasonable, However, some of them could tend not to have a value for money proportion. This is primarily because of the location and since it is a floating tourist crowd, these factors do not affect business. Other than stand alone restaurant, almost all hotels in the town does have a restaurant that welcomes walk-in tourists. Most of them would have a buffet, as well as an A la carte menu.  There are small outlets that served Indian snacks and tea, mostly savories and fried preparations like banana fritters. They are sold hot and goes awesome with the cold weather of Munnar. Try out the restaurant of the hotel where you stay.

 

To name a few, Saravana Bhavan serves South Indian preparations and they do serve lunch on Banana leaves. They are busy all the time, parking is limited.

Sujatha Inn for Gujarati and North Indian preparations. 

Food and Restaurants

Shopping

​​​Munnar is known for its tea and you can buy tea either from the KDHP (Kanan Devan Hill Produce Company) tea sales outlet in Munnar town. There are other shops like the spice shops where you get other varieties of tea like that of Kolukkumalai tea.

Home Made Chocolates, I am not sure about the connection between Munnar and Homemade Chocolates. But homemade chocolates are quite popular in Munnar and many shops sell them.

Cochin (Ernakulam) - 130 (4 hours approx.)

Thekkady (Kumily) - 110 Kilometers 

Coimbatore - 160 Kilometers 

Madurai - 155 Kilometers

public transport in munnar.jpg

Public Transport

kolukkumalai tea factory shopping.jpg
kerala food.jpg

Short route buses are very limited in Munnar, most of the buses are long route buses There are no bus services available for sightseeing. For sightseeing, your should have to hire a cab or Jeep, or you should have to retain a cab, in which you have come to Munnar.

Being a high range destination, most of the transportation would be in Jeeps and larger vehicles like that of an SUV. Cabs are relatively less in numbers. Jeeps are pretty much comfortable as they are Mahindra Commander Jeeps where there is a middle row with seats facing towards the front of the Jeep.

Auto rickshaws would be the cheapest mode of transportation within and around Munnar. You can find auto rickshaws everywhere, these tuk-tuks run on diesel engines fitted in the rear and vibrate quite well, these are designed to carry a lot of weight and have a boot as well. UBER or OLA cabs are not available in Munnar. Ola has an outstation program available to Munnar, where you can hire an Ola to go outstation and retain it overnight.

Places of Interest

Being one of the prominent destinations within the Western Ghats, Munnar has a lot to offer for the discerning traveler. 

  1. There are many sightseeing spots from Munnar to Top Station. Munnar to Top Station is 35 Kilometers. There are a few sightseeing spots like the Mattupetty Dam, Kundala lake (also a dam with a large reservoir), the Echo Point, and Top Station. Top station was the point from where large bags with tea were carried down to Tamil Nadu through a rope line and from there, these goods were transported to Chennai from where it was shipped to England during the colonial era in India. The road after top station leads to Kodaikanal, however, it is closed since the 90s.

  2. The Tea Museum just a few kilometers from the town, showcases the old things used during the colonial era. The old  the both the orthodox and CTC (crush tear and curl) method 

  3. The Eravikulam National Park which is a reserve for the endangered species of Nilgiri Tahr (a variety of Mountain Goat). Anamudi, the highest peaking in South India is located inside the park, however trekking is not allowed here.

  4. Towards the direction of Coimbatore, you can visit Marayoor (40 kilometers) known for Jaggery, Lakkam Waterfalls and Chinnar wildlife sanctuary where trekking and forest camping is possible.

  5. Towards Thekkady direction, a slight deviation at Chinnakanal is from where you can go to Kolukkumalai Tea Estate and Factory. The factory built in the 1940s still operates the same old machinery brought from England and follows an orthodox method of tea production. The Estate follows and organic method of plantation and names itself the highest organic tea plantation in the world. You need to take a Jeep from Suryanelli to Kolukkumalai (1 hours- 13 kilometers) to reach the factory. Only Jeeps reach here as the roads are rugged and bumpy.

  6. Munnar has some of the most picturesque locations in the whole of the Western Ghats and there are numerous options of trekking and camping here. Some of the soft treks would be the Letchmi Estate Trek and the Kannadipara Trek.

  7. Hard trek options include the Meesapulimalai trek, the second highest mountain in the Western Ghats. The Chokramudi trek that starts early in the morning where you get a glance of the sunrise above the clouds. Trust me - It's awesome.

  8. Trek & Camping programs include the Yellapetty trek and camping, Rhodo Valley Trek and Camping which extends up to Meesapulimalai.

  9. The above are the most common ones. For Trek and hikes, you can contact Mr. Junis visit his website for trekking options in Munnar . Mention this website for best offers.

tea plantation munnar.jpg

Travel Tips

  1. Munnar is an Indian Honeymooners Paradise, and a Trekkers Paradise to see some of the most astounding locations of the Western Ghats.

  2. When we mention Munnar, we refer to the Munnar town center.

  3. Nearest Airport is Cochin International Airport and the nearest railway station is Aluva.

  4. Munnar is 120 Kilometers  (3.5 hours) from Cochin Airport, 135 Kilometers (4 hours) from Fort Cochin, 100 Kilometers from Thekkady (3 hours), 160 kilometers (4.5 hours) from Coimbatore and 155 Kilometers (4 hours) from Madurai.

  5. Most people in Munnar talk Tamil, English is widely understood.

  6. Cary winter clothes when going to Munnar, the temperature varies from 5 degrees in winter and goes up to 25-degree Celsius in Summer. During December, the temperature in some part of Munnar has gone down to 0-degree Celsius.

  7. 80 percent of Munnar consist of tea plantations, begun during the colonial era. Kanan Devan Hill Produce company, a subsidiary of Tata Global Beverages own the major share of tea plantations in Munnar.

  8. Munnar has relatively less number of luxury properties.

  9. Money exchange centers are available in Munnar.

  10. Anamudi, the highest peak in South India and the Western Ghats is in Munnar.

  11. There are resorts operational in 25-kilometer radius from Munnar town, to know the location always check the distance from Munnar town.

  12. Motorcycles are available for rent in Munnar town. Google "Motorcycle or bike rentals rentals in Munnar" you will get the details. You will have to give them your passport or any other original ID card for two wheeler rentals along with a deposit.

  13. Auto rickshaws are the most common mode of transport. Jeeps and cabs are available in the town and nearby town centers.

  14. Generally, the hotels/resorts in Munnar do not have air conditioning as the weather is quite cold. Very few resorts offer a room heater.

  15. Most hotels do offer hot and cold water in the bathrooms.

  16. Kyros connects have a bus service from Fort Cochin to Munnar every day. You can call them or book it on their website.

  17. During long weekends a Munnar town and the sightseeing route to Top Station and Eravikulam National Park tends to be very congested due to tourist traffic and narrow roads.