-Submitted by Dahlia
(Trip to Munnar and Cochin in Kerala)
Munnar is a hill station located in the Idukki district of Kerala which is full of scenic beauty. The word Munnar is derived from the Malayalam words Munnu (three) and Aru (river) – it is the confluence of three rivers Muthirappuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Munnar is around 2000 metres (6500 feet) above sea level and enjoys a cool and pleasant weather throughout the year. Endless mountains, tea estates, waterfalls, lakes, dams, good food and kind people are all around the place. Many fun activities like boating, trekking, hill climbing are also offered for tourists. It is a great place for summer trips.
Munnar has no rail route. The nearest airport is Cochin and the closest railway station would be Cochin which are about 120 km away. From there you have to catch a bus or taxi to reach Munnar.
Chennai To Munnar
From Chennai I got a private bus to Munanr. The bus started around 8:30 PM and reached Munnar at around 10:15 AM in the next day. The bus stopped a couple of times, once at midnight 12:30 and again In the morning around 7:30 AM the bus stopped at Marayoor for a restroom and coffee break. After reaching munnar we had to take an auto rickshaw to the hotel we had booked online. The auto driver charged us just Rs. 30 for around 1.5 km distance. Travelling in auto is very convenient in Kerala. Unlike chennai or other places in Tamilnadu, kerala auto drivers charge quite reasonable prices. So, we used auto rickshaws for commuting to all nearby places.
Munnar and Cochin Trip Video
At munnar, check in time in hotels is usually 12 PM. We had booked the room online and the day we started the journey my husband called the hotel staff and told them about our early arrival. The hotel manager is kind enough to keep the room available for us at 10:30 AM.
After reaching the hotel we relaxed for some time and got ready to go out. We haven't planned for major outing on the first day. We just planned to visit nearby places and roam around the Munnar town. We had our lunch at a restaurant and then went to Hydel Park.
My Kids enjoyed Hydel park. It was nice to take a walk in the warm sunshine in the chilled place.
KD Tea Museum
From hydel park we took an auto rickshaw and went to Tea Museum. The Tea Museum entrance fee was Rs.100 per adult.
The Kannan Devan Tea museum started by Tata is an excellent place to see about the development of tea plantations in Munnar. The process of tea making is shown in detail. All varieties of tea, flavoured tea etc. are sold there. It is a great place to visit.
Munnar Town Shopping
After visiting the museum, we returned to our room to relax. In the late evening went out to roam around the town and visited the local vegetable market, some chocolate shops and bakeries to buy some local stuff to snack upon. We bought some tree tomatoes and some freshly made banana chips.
We went to the DTPC (District Tourism Promotion Council) on the way to plan for our next day's trip. Since it was a sunday most drivers were on leave and we couldn’t book there. So we just hired a private taxi who charged us Rs. 1200 for a full day sightseeing.
Dinner at Thattukada
Finally we were looking for places to have dinner. There were quite a few restaurants but what attracted us most were the line of thattukadas that were set up at night. Food was cooked in the open, many tables and chairs were set up under a big tent. People were continuously coming and having food there. So we also wanted to try the food there.
Tasty traditional Kerala tiffin varieties like appam, idiyappam, parotta, kotthu parotta, kappa biryani, chukku kaapi, beef fry, chicken curry, kadala curry, potato curry etc. were there. We had a great time sampling all the items.
The places we visited included...
It was a nicely maintained garden with beautiful varieties of flowers. Many rare varieties of plants, cactus varieties, colorful flowers and the pleasant aroma was a treat to all our senses. We couldn’t stop clicking pictures.
From there we headed to Mattupetty Dam. On the way was the Photo Point, which is an ideal place for shooting and taking photos. It had a clear view of the dense tea plantations which was mesmerizing.
Jungle Honeybee tree
Travelling further we came across the Jungle Honeybee Tree which had honey bee combs in its every branch. This huge tree was really fascinating.
This was another good spot with a great view. Fun activities like speed boating, pedal boating and row boating are offered for tourists.
Film Shooting Point
This is a popular spot for movie shootings. We just saw this from our car.
This is another lake with a dam that is a must visit. It offers boating too. The most famous neelakurinji which blooms once in 12 years attracts lakhs of visitors. Though we couldn’t see that, it was still a good view.
We then had lunch at nearby place called ‘The Noor Giri.’ The lunch and the service was so satisfying and homely. They served kerala red rice with sambar, pulissery, rasam, fish curry, fish fry, kootu curry, thoran, achaar and papadam.
Top Station View
The driver took us to the top of the hill from where we took many pictures posing near the tea trees. It was adventurous to climb downhill for just a little distance. There were other youngsters who were going down even more but with kids we couldn’t take much risk. It was another great experience that we enjoyed.
This is a spot near a lake which reflects the voices of people screaming on its shore. Kids were amused when they could hear the echo voices. The lake itself is surrounded by mountains with big trees which is a wonderful place to have a relaxed walk.
We finished our day with some more shopping in the town area and having our dinner in the same thattukada.
The third day we had half a day for sightseeing as we had planned to travel to cochin in the afternoon. We booked an auto rickshaw and visited the places towards cochin direction.
Pothamedu View Point
An excellent view point between tea and coffee plantations. Its a great place to click some pictures.
We did click some beautiful pictures near this waterfalls. The beauty of water flowing from the mauntains is mesmerizing.
Athukad water falls
This is another water falls that we visited and totally enjoyed. You can actually spend hours looking at the waters flowing down the mountains.
Our next stop was the Kerala farms where we went on a jeep ride and walked down the hills between the cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations. There were also handloom Kerala sarees, homemade chocolates and Ayurveda medicine on sale there.
That afternoon we travelled to Ernakulum by KSRTC A/C bus. We reached in the night. It was a tiresome journey and we decided to just relax in the hotel after having dinner.
The next morning we decided to visit a few places in cochin. Our return train was in the night. We first went to Marine drive, caught a boat and went to Mattancherry and Fort Cochin where we saw the following places.We also enjoyed some simple street food in cochin like the vellappam, nei pathiri, unniappam, spiced pineapple and kozhukattai.
Our first stop was the Dutch Palace.
It was an awesome experience visiting one of the synagogues in India.
Chinese fishing nets
This method of fishing was introduced by the chinese traders. We even tasted some freshly caught fish with some boiled tapioca.
Vasco da gama square
Munnar is not yet commercialized as with other hill stations like Ooty and Kodaikanal. So it is less crowded, unpolluted and is a wonderful place to relax. People were polite and friendly. Most of the auto and taxi drivers knew tamil and hindi as well. As our trip was mid September, the climate was cool. The problem I've noticed is, there was no trash bins anywhere in the vicinity of the sightseeing places.
Regarding food, we are non-veg lovers and we eat all types of meat. Being from Kanyakumari we are also used to Kerala food made mainly with coconut oil. So our food experience was really good. Vegetarians have limited options here like the kadala curry and potato curry served with puttu, parotta and appam. The taste of coconut oil may be difficult for people who are not used to it. For non-vegetarians its a treat everyehere.
I would surely recommend this place to everyone looking for a tourist place to spend 3-4 days in a totally relaxed way.
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