Munnar (approx. 5,200 ft.) was one of the preferred leisure spots of the erstwhile British Government in South India. It gets its name from the confluence of three rivers – Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundale – upon which it’s located. One of the nature’s most mesmerizing creations, this beautiful hill station in Kerala has always beckoned holiday seekers, nature and adventure lovers from around the world with its pristine natural beauty dotted with sprawling tea plantations, dense emerald forests and other captivating sights of the nature. This makes it an ideal destination for those seeking peace and tranquility. Needless to say, this tranquil town lets you explore its hidden trails, especially the Anamudi trek, ingrained with picturesque waterfalls, sparkling rivulets and swarming bird life. Given its atmosphere, you can enjoy a pleasant climate all around the year.
This is why, it’s the most popular picks among the most beautiful tourist destinations in South India. So if you’re planning a getaway to Munnar soon then read the below activity guide to make the most of Munnar. So let’s begin.
1. Stay in a Tree House – A perfect nature sojourn in Munnar
The idea of staying in a tree house is a great initiative that offers one-of-its-kind stay in Kerala. Tree houses, locally called “Erumadams” located atop a tree, were traditionally used by tribal people to seek shelter and hunters to escape from wild animals, during ancient times. Now, these tree houses are well-equipped with all the state-of-the-art amenities and assured comfort. While you settle yourself in a tree house here, cherish views of surrounding orange trees, foliage, tea, coffee and spice plantations, Nilgiri Hills that varies upon the setting.
Best Tree house stays in Munnar: Nature Zone Resort, Dreamcatcher resort, Ela Ecoland Nature Retreat, Kaivalyalm Retreat, Misty Munnar Tree house, Jungle Jive Tree house Munnar to name a few.
2. Walk through the Munnar tea plantations – Romance with the lush tea gardens
Munnar is a town dotted with more than 50 tea estates and the tea grown here has a unique taste and freshness, thanks to its high altitude. The origin of these vast tea plantations dates back to 1870 when A.H. Sharp, a European tea planter planted the first tea sapling in the Sevenmalley estate, Munnar. While you walk through these tea estates, soak in the refreshing aroma of the tea leaves at Kolukkumalai Tea Estate (Approx. 7,900 ft.) – one of the highest tea plantations of the world. The zigzag roads running along the Kolukkumalai Hills leading to the Munnar tea gardens covered with a silvery mist are ideal for clicking photographs. These tea plantations are famed for its mesmerizing sunset views. Tourists visit here to soak in the mesmerizing sunset views. Also, visit a centuries-old tea factory here, that lends a rustic charm to this place, to understand the traditional methods of tea processing as an insight into the process involved in making every delicious sip of tea. You can taste different types of aromatic teas here and buy various teas as well.
Visit Timings of Tea Factory: Open on all days (Except Sundays).
3. A Hike expedition amidst the mountain ranges – for splendid views of Munnar you’ll never forget
When in Munnar, one of the most popular hiking destination is the Anamudi Peak (highest peak of South India), popularly known as the “Himalaya of South India’. Settled amidst the Eravikulam National Park in Munnar with an elevation of approx. 8,842 ft., Anamudi means “Elephant’s forehead,” whose shape resembles to that of an elephant’s head. Tourists usually opt for a hiking excursion to this peak during their vacation in Munnar. Upon reaching at the top of the peak, be enthralled by its views of surrounding evergreen forests inhabited by endemic flora, fauna, exotic bird life and lots more. Other trekking options in Munnar include Chokramudi Peak, Chembra Peak and Meesapulimala trek etc.
Note: Trekking to Anamudi peak requires a special permit from local forest authorities.
4. Eravikulam National Park – A tête-à-tête with the Nilgiri Tahr
The Eravikulam National Park holds the largest viable population of Asian elephants, Gaurs and the endangered Nilgiri Tahrs (Mountain Goat). It is the only wildlife park where you can sight the maximum number of Nilgiri Tahr. Blessed with abundance of grasslands and Shola forests, it has a base elevation of approx. 2,000 ft. It also houses the famous Echo Point known for its natural echo phenomenon and Neelakurinji flowers that covers the hills of this park with purplish-blue blooms once in every 12 years. These flowers will bloom next in 2018, Neelakurinji from June till September or November.
Best time to visit: April and May are the hottest months here, June to August are the wettest months and October to February observe winter season. During peak winter season, this park remains closed for visitors. Early and late winters are best times to sight a Tahr with their small ones here. Hence, winters and summers are the best time to visit this park due to pleasant weather conditions.
5. Mountain Biking through the rolling hills of Munnar – Every ride is a tiny holiday!
Munnar is a paradise of bike lovers as it is dotted with spectacular biking trails that you won’t find anywhere else in South India. This city offers a number of biking programmes that lets you cover rough terrains, master hairpin bends and mountainous paths and offers ringside views of countryside, indigenous tribals, spice plantations, tea estate workers working in the tea gardens and lots more while you explore the refreshing surroundings of this untouched beauty. Biking amidst the hills of Munnar will definitely be a thrilling and an unforgettable experience for you.
Best places for Mountain Biking near Munnar: Suryanelli, Vandanmedu and Periyar.
6. Travel to the Carmelagiri Elephant Park – Explore wilderness on an Elephant
An ultimate tropical outdoor activity in Munnar is a visit to the Carmelagiri Elephant Park where you can sit atop an elephant and traverse through the jungle countryside. Enjoy watching the park rangers showering the elephants, how these elephants shower themselves with water using their trunks and observe the impressive performance of the park’s elephants. You can also participate in feeding any of elephants here. It is definitely a great way to bond with the elephants at the park.
Note: The private park is open throughout the year for a different experience of riding an elephant every time.
7. Take an Ayurvedic Spa session – Experience the Magic of Kerala Ayurveda!
With years of expertise, Kerala has become the land of Ayurveda and is a well-known destination for the most rejuvenating and healing Ayurvedic therapies that aims not only physical wellness but holistic wellness as well. The Ayurvedic therapies offered here use natural oils and herbs of great medicinal value as said in the Vedic literature on Ayurveda. From curing illnesses, healing chronic pains to beauty massages; there is no better place than Kerala to seek complete benefits of Ayurveda.
Best Ayurvedic spas in Munnar: The Tree of Life in Tall Trees, Spandini Spa in Ragamaya, Tattavam Spa in the Panoramic Getaway, The Bliss Mountain Spa in Spice Tree, Mayura Ayurvedic centre and Cure Monastery Spa etc.
8. Snack on Lip-smacking Kerala Cuisine – Heart and Soul of Kerala
Kerala cuisine has earned fame around the world for its impeccable aromas, textures and spices. The staple diet is rice and coconut based that is seasoned with flavours of Biryani from Hyderabad, lemon rice and coconut, peanuts, tamarind, chillies, curry leaves, Urad dal and fenugreek seeds etc. Coconut water and filtered coffee are the most popular beverages here. Simply put, it is a blend of colors, seasoning, nutritional balance, aroma taste and visual appeal.
Must-try foods in Munnar: Appam with Stew, Puttu and Kadala Curry, Idiyappam with Egg Curry, Spicy Chicken Fry, Kerala Prawn Curry etc.