Road Trip to Munnar - Tea Gardens, Sightseeing, Dams, and Wildlife
Sunday, September 22, 2018

Kerala in India is not only famous for its literacy rate but considered as one of the best destinations for the couples and solo travelers! It has a rich culture, delicious Malabar cuisine, Western Ghats mountain range,  beautiful beaches, and wildlife.

Munnar is situated in east Kerala in Idduki district. It is a hill station in the Western Ghats and is home to the Tea plantation. Its main feature is the tea gardens in the whole vicinity of the town! The average annual temperature of Munnar is 19.4 ℃. It is a favorable temperature for tea plantations and for the tourists!


How to reach Munnar

I visited Munnar on a two-wheeler as a part of my road trip. If you don't prefer a bike then there are other options for public transport. The nearest airport to Munnar is Cochin International Airport, Kochi, Kerala or take a train to Ernakulam Junction, Kerala. From there, you can hire a taxi which will take around 4 hours to reach Munnar. 


My Road Trip to Munnar


Day 1



I have visited Munnar couple of times in different seasons! This time I was visiting with my younger brother in the month of September. We started our expedition early morning on Bajaj Avenger 220 Street from Madurai. 

Road Trip to Munnar
Road Trip to Munnar

As soon as you enter in Kerala, the landscape changes around you. You will feel like you just have seen the most beautiful place in your entire life! The weather changes drastically, gets colder! After moving forward we started seeing spice gardens on the roadsides. Roads were narrow and clear. After crossing Pooppara you will see a lot of spice gardens and tea plantations. There is a dam on the way to Munnar from Pooppara. 


Anayirankal Dam - The Calendar view

After crossing the Pooppara town, we came across to one of the most beautiful sites of the route, Anayirankal Dam. Till now I had seen such landscapes only in the calendars! It was one of the most beautiful moments of Munnar memories! I will plan to stay there for a couple of days in the future.

Anayirankal Dam, Pooppara
Anayirankal Dam, Pooppara

Isn't it beautiful? Let me know what do you think about this photo in comments. I got one more for you!

Anayirankal Dam, Pooppara
Anayirankal Dam, Pooppara


National Park View Point

After crossing the town area, open mountains had started. The weather was misty. We had to move slowly due to low visibility. After riding for another 40 minutes, we reached National Park View Point. It is a huge landscape view on the way to Munnar. We had a stop there and drank lovely tea, ate favorite Maggi and delicious Bhajjis. We stopped at this place for about half an hour. It was too much misty and visibility of viewpoint was less.

National Park View Point, Munnar
National Park View Point, Munnar


Mesmerizing Tea plantation views

As we moved forward towards Munnar, the view was just getting better and more eye-catching! Tea gardens had started around us. Open hills covered with beautifully maintained tea plants making the way wonderful and interesting. My bike speed wasn't crossing 30 km per hour! 

Tea Gardens at Munnar
Tea Gardens at Munnar

Tea Gardens at Munnar
Tea Gardens at Munnar


Spice garden visit and Kambiline Falls - Spice County

I was aware of a few spice gardens from my previous trips and decided to take my brother with me to one of the places. We had reached Munnar and moved forward on the road towards Kochi. We visited the Spice County Resort. From there we took a Jeep ride to the Kambiline Falls. There is a charge of Rs. 100 per person for the jeep ride. The jeep dropped us near the falls. Stay time at the falls was one hour. You can take a bath there as the falls are small and the water is clean. 

Kambiline Falls, Munnar
Kambiline Falls, Munnar


We stayed at the falls for around half an hour and came back to the Spice County garden. One guide took us to the Spice garden to show us different types of spice trees and plants. They had around two hundred types of different spices planted. I don't remember all but had got a chance to know that a single tree can provide multiple spices from different parts of it - leaf, bark, roots, and flowers. 

Lemon Grass Plant
Lemon Grass Plant

Chocolate Purchasing

We purchased some chocolates from the shop at Spice County. They had rich flavors available on reasonable prices. You can also purchase different types of Ayurvedic oils, medicines (high blood pressure, diabetes, joints pain, etc.), and soaps. If you are visiting Munnar then you must try Home-made chocolates and take some local spices with you as well. You can purchase chocolates in the town market as well. I am really fond of Munnar home-made chocolates! They are delicious and melts immediately in the mouth! 

Chocolate Shop, Spice County, Munnar
Chocolate Shop, Spice County, Munnar


Blossom International Park - Flowers home

Our next stop was Blossom International Park, Munnar. There is a ticket of Rs. 30 per person. This park is home to hundreds of flower species inside beautifully and precisely carved gardens. The park is huge and it can take up to one hour to visit every corner of the place. There is a small pond full of lotus flowers with a shelter in the center adding beauty to the place. We spent around one hour in the park. It was amazing! We learned a lot about flowers as well. 

Blossom International Park, Munnar
Blossom International Park, Munnar


On our way back to Munnar, we came across a very old Hanging bridge which was built at the time of British! Unfortunately, it was closed after the Kerala floods in 2018.

Old Hanging Bridge, Munnar
Old Hanging Bridge, Munnar


It was almost evening and we were starving. We headed back to the Munnar and had delicious dinner at Rapsy Restaurant in the main market. This place is famous for both local and other cuisines. We had Bamia which is basically steamed rice with veggies and the main vegetable is Okra.

Bamia at Rapsy Restaurant, Munnar
Bamia at Rapsy Restaurant, Munnar


Stay at Pothemedu Viewpoint

After having a heavy dinner, we were so tired and decided to head to the hotel that we had already booked online near Pothemedu Viewpoint. This is one of the most famous places in the town and gives you an amazing panoramic view of the area. If you are lucky, then there will be no clouds or mist and the full view will be visible to you. I took this photo during my last visit to Munnar in July 2019. 

Pothemedu View from hotel
Pothemedu View from hotel

We booked our stay at the Shamrock hotel. The area was peaceful. It is a three-star hotel with great customer satisfaction. This is my permanent hotel during Munnar visits. I just love the view from my room!


Day 2


We had an amazingly restful sleep and felt very fresh in the morning. The morning view from the hotel was amazing! We enjoyed our stay as we enjoyed our journey. We could not miss the following early morning view while heaving tasty breakfast the hotel!

Early morning view from Shamrock hotel
Early morning view from Shamrock hotel


A Visit to Tea Factory Museum

Nothing is better than an early morning tea! What if you get a chance to try all kinds of tea! I would never miss that. We started just after our breakfast towards the Tea Factory Museum. You have to purchase a ticket to visit the museum. This place tells you the history of - how the tea manufacturing started in Munnar, what were the techniques used back then and the implementation of various latest technologies. This place also shows you how tea is manufactured. 

There is a demo machine in the museum factory where they show you how different types of tea is manufactured. You can try a few flavors in the tea shop inside the museum factory. There is an internal factory outlet where you can buy different types of tea for your home. 

Tea Factory Museum, Munnar
Tea Factory Museum, Munnar


Sandalwood and Betel nut tree forests

We planned to go further north to do trekking at Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. Road to this place goes through a Sandalwood tree forest. This area has advanced security and is protected by the govt. to prevent the theft of Sandalwood. All trees are marked with special numbers. All four-wheelers are checked while entering or exiting from the forest.

Sandalwood tree, Marayoor
Sandalwood tree, Marayoor


Betel Nut trees
Betel Nut trees

This is a forest area and both the roadsides are protected with fences to prevent any animals coming down on the road that may get hit by a vehicle or can harm somebody. We discovered some Bisons grazing near the road.

Bison
Bison


Trekking at Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Finally, we reached the Alampetty Ecotourism Zone at the wildlife sanctuary. There are trekking with night camping options available at this place. We took the trekking to Cultural Sites which includes - Dolmens and Rock Paintings. A guide is provided with each group (here only me and my brother) to lead the trekking path and explain about the things on the way. It was two hours trekking. We came across the 2000 years old dolmens created by early men as the tomb for their deceased ones. 

Dolmens at Chinar Wildlife Sanctuary Park
Dolmens at Chinar Wildlife Sanctuary Park

Our guide told us about the area and the animals that we could find there - leopard, elephants, squirrels, and bison! Unfortunately, it was hot during the day and we could not see many animals. We went till the top of the mountain from where we could see the Kerala and Tamil Nadu border. The view was thrilling. I went to the edge of the mountain to see what was there in the deep trench! 

As we moved forward, we glimpsed a giant squirrel jumped in front of me. By the time, I could take a picture, it vanished inside the forest! We saw ancient paintings on big stones that were drawn with a specific type of red ink at Madathala Painted Rock Shelter. The age of these paintings is not definite but it is assumed that these paintings belong to the early phase of human culture. 

Ancient paintings at Madathala Rock Shelter
Ancient paintings at Madathala Rock Shelter

After returning, we had some rest and tea at the shelter nearby the Chinnar trekking station and headed back to Munnar for the night. We came back to the town, had pizza and went back to the hotel. For the second night, we stayed at Red Sparrow Hotels and Resorts on Aluva-Munnar road. 


Day 3


On the third day, we had planned only two places to visit as we had to come back to Madurai by evening. We started our day after a nice and heavy breakfast at our hotel. 


Carmelagiri Elephant Park

Our first stop on the way to Mattupetty was the Carmelagiri Elephant Park. It is a private park on Munnar hill forests where you can - ride elephants, feed them and bathe them. We did not take any ride and just looked around the place. There is an entry fee of Rs. 10 per person to visit the park. Additional charges are applicable if you wish to ride an elephant. 

Carmelagiri Elephant Park
Carmelagiri Elephant Park


Boating at Mattupetty Dam

We finally reached our main destination of the day - Mattupetty Dam! There was a small flea market near the dam selling children toys, clothes, hats and different types of spicy food. 

Mattupetty Lake
Mattupetty Lake


We had snacks at the lake and done boating for one hour on a pedal boat. Water was very calm in the lake. Weather was favorable at the moment and we made to every corner of the lake!

Mattupetty Dam view from the lake
Mattupetty Dam view from the lake

We had tea and headed back to Madurai in the afternoon. We again stopped at the National Park View Point to had some more tea and Bhajji. Roads were still misty during our return. 

Mist at National Park View point
Mist at National Park Viewpoint


On our way back home, we made a few more stops for tea, snacks and reached Madurai at 6 pm in the evening. 

Please note that the prices mentioned in the story may increase or decrease with time.

Let me know your experiences during your Munnar visit in comments. Please tell me about your feedback on my travel story! Thanks for reading :) 

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post