Things to do in Munnar | A Complete Travel Guide

About Munnar

Munnar

Enveloped by the serene and lush environment of the Anamudi Peak, Munnar is a real gem of Kerala. Far from the sandy beaches and palm-lined shores that are classic of the state, the hill town of Munnar showcases the mountainous side of God’s Own Country. From luxurious tea estates and coffee and spice plantations to waterfalls, organic farms, lakes, and valleys, Munnar’s natural treasures are no short of bewitching and offer everything that you desire on a vacation. And for all these reasons and more, Munnar is aptly called the Kashmir of South India.

With our Munnar travel guide, you can discover this exotic holiday destination –

Location

Munnar

Munnar is located in the Idukki district and is the largest panchayat of the district, covering 557 sq. km. The town lies 130KM from Kochi, 126KM from Ernakulam, 152KM from Thrissur, 153KM from Madurai, and 152KM from Dindigul.

Weather

Munnar enjoys a subtropical highland climate, with warm and wet summers and moist and chilly winters. Sometimes, in peak winter, it can get dry and cold. In spring and early summers, the sky is usually clear with temperatures being comfortable enough to spend maximum time outdoors. The monsoon period brings a lot of rainfall, making the entire town misty and green. 

History

The name Munnar is derived from the three rivers – Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni, and Kundali that flow through the town and it’s at the confluence of these water bodies that the town sits. Historically, Munnar has been inhabited by hunting-gathering tribes for thousands of years. It is believed that the Duke of Wellington was the first British to come in contact with the natives of Munnar, during Tipu Sultan’s rule in Travancore. Later, in the mid-1800s, the first land survey was done and a camp was established at the confluence of the three rivers. 

Geography

The hill town of Munnar sits on the Kannan Devan Hills, which are popular for their tea plantations. The entire region is rich in flora and fauna, although a lot of endemic plant and animal populations have reduced due to commercialization. However, the forests of Munnar are still home to rare and endangered species like the Nilgiri Thar, grizzled giant squirrel, Nilgiri wood-pigeon, elephant, gaur, Nilgiri langur, Sambar deer, and the rare Neelakurinji flower. 

Interesting Facts

Munnar is famous for the wild Neelakurinji flowers, a flora species found only in the Nilgiris. These bright bluish-purple flowers bloom only once in 12 years and paint the valleys a deep hue of violet. The last time these flowers grew in Munnar is in 2018 and the next due date is in 2030.   

Things to do in Munnar

munnar

Whether you are a love a nature-lover, seeking to just unwind in a tranquil place, or go wild with outdoor adventures, Munnar has everything in store for you –

Offbeat things to do in Munnar

  • Rent a car or book a cab to drive along the valleys in spring and witness the season in full swing with colourful blooms and sunny sky.
  • Head to Marayoor to see centuries-old Celtic dolmens or burial grounds.

Things to do in Munnar at night

  • Take a night drive to Anakulam and watch wild elephants come to their watering hole.
  • Camp under the stars at Rhodo Valley camping grounds, with a bonfire, music, and night hikes.

Things to do in Munnar for couples

  • Stay at one of the colonial bungalows for a lavish vacation experience with your special someone.
  • Plan a romantic picnic at Kundala Lake, and try boating, or drive through cherry blossom groves.
  • Take a Jeep safari through Kolukkumalai tea gardens, Kannan Devan Hills, Lock Heart Gap, and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Head to Blossom Park, known for a wide variety of flowers, romantic tree houses, and activities like cable car rides, water cycling, boating, and skating.

Adventurous Things to do in Munnar

  • Visit the tea estates, coffee, and spice plantations and sample the freshest brews you’ve ever had.
  • Stay in a tree house, inside a forest, or overlooking a cliff for the ultimate adrenaline rush.
  • Trek to the Anamudi Peak, is considered to be one of the most significant and popular trekking routes. Some routes are only for pro and experienced trekkers.
  • Explore the farms of Kanthalloor and you can even buy fresh-off-the-field produce from the local farmers.

Places to visit in Munnar

Munnar

Check out these popular tourist places in Munnar for a fun trip –

  • Kolukkumalai Tea Estate– The most popular and expansive tea plantation of Munnar and a name behind many well-known tea brands produced in Kerala. 
    • Entry Fee- INR 75
  • Tea Museum – The state-run museum houses old machinery used for tea processing, photos, and memorabilia documenting the history of tea culture and tea cultivation in Munnar. 
    • Entry Fee – INR 75 (adults), INR 35 (children), INR 20 (photography)
  • Pothamedu View Point– This viewing point overlooks a long stretch of hills and offers the most stunning views of the plantations below, as well as the Idukki Arch Dam. This site is best for sunset and sunrise views.
    • Entry Fee – Free
  • Mattupetty Dam– This dam located on Munnar Hills, sits at 5500 feet and is known for panoramic views of the hills. You can also do boating and horse riding here.
    • Entry Fee – INR 10, charges applicable for boating.
Mattupetty Dam
Mattupetty Dam
  • Eravikulam National Park – Also known as Rajamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to Asian elephants, Nilgiri langur, Nilgiri marten, Atlas moth, lion-tailed macaque, small-clawed otter, and a few tigers and leopards, among other local species.
    • Entry Fee – INR 90 (adults), INR 65 (children)
  • Rhodo Valley – A base camp for many treks in the region, this valley area is a great spot for photography, trailblazing, or camping under the stars.
    • Entry Fee – Free
  • Attukkad Waterfall – Sitting amidst lush forests and rolling hills, this waterfall is a major highlight of Munnar and offers the best site for picnics or a romantic day out. You can also take a dip in the pool formed at the base. 
    • Entry Fee- Free

Places to visit near Munnar

Marayoor
Marayoor

Apart from your local sightseeing, you can also visit other places nearby. Check out these equally scenic locales near Munnar –

  • Marayoor – The town is known for ancient Celtic burials, the only of their kind found in India. The megalithic tombs from centuries ago, resting against the green fields and mountains, make for a surreal yet fascinating sight.
    • Entry Fee – NA
  • Kanthalloor – One of the lesser-known places in Munnar, Kanthalloor is a farming community with potato and cabbage patches, strawberry fields, and fruit orchards. You can get jaggery and fruit wines, essential oils from sandalwood and eucalyptus, and other local produce directly from farmers.
    • Entry Fee- NA
  • Anakulam – The village of Anakulam, translated as ‘Elephant Pond’, is a major watering hole for elephants inhabiting the nearby forests. The animals come out at night to play and drink the fresh water from the hilly stream that collects at the catchment area at the bottom of the hills.
    • Entry Fee- NA
  • Kundala Lake – This lake and its arched dam are famous for picnics and photography, as well as special Shikara-style boat rides. This area also has a few cherry blossom trees that bloom twice a year.  
    • Entry Fee- NA

Places to eat in Munnar

Check out these popular eateries here to sample the local flavours –

  • Saravana Bhavan 
  • Alibaba and 41 Dishes 
  • Hotel Gurubhavan 
  • Tea Tales Café 
  • Kurunji Restaurant 
  • KTDC Restaurant – County Cuisine
  • Arabian Grills 

How to Plan a trip to Munnar

You can also plan your personalized Munnar trip by selecting the mode of transport, the route, and more. Let us help you with the travel options for a better idea.

How to reach

By Train

There is no train service in Munnar, due to the hilly terrain. The nearest railway station is at Aluva, 110KM away. The nearest railhead and major railway junction is in Kochi, 130KM away.

By Road

Munnar is well-connected to the rest of Kerala via NH 85, NH 17, and NH 49. There are state-run and private buses from Kochi, Ernakulam, Aluva, Madurai, Dindigul, Thrissur, Palani, Bangalore, etc. to Munnar. The best way to travel to Munnar is to book a cab from any of the major cities/towns nearby and do a scenic drive.

By Flight

There is no flight service in Munnar. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, 110Km away. There’s also Madurai airport, 164KM away, and Coimbatore airport, 165 KM away. From any of these airports, you have to book an airport taxi to reach Munnar. Hence, the best way to travel to Munnar is by road.

Best time to visit

Whether it is the chilly winters, misty monsoon, or the fully-blossomed spring, Munnar calls for a vacation any time of the year. The typical tourism season is post-monsoon and through spring, between October and May. But if you want to do exclusively wildlife tours and safaris, then, the autumn-winter months make for the best season to visit this hill town. 

Hotels and Resorts in Munnar

Here are some of the best-rated places to stay in Munnar –

  • Grand Plaza Munnar
  • Tea County Munnar
  • Deep Woods Resort
  • Elysium Gardens Hills Resorts
  • Sevenmallay Bungalow
  • The Haven
  • The Wind
A quick summary
Things to do in Munnar | A Complete Travel Guide
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Things to do in Munnar | A Complete Travel Guide
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Enveloped by the serene and lush environment of the Anamudi Peak, Munnar is a real gem of Kerala. Far from the sandy beaches and palm-lined shores that are classic of the state, the hill town of Munnar showcases the mountainous side of God’s Own Country.
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I grew up sneaking away to read the well-worn travel magazines I found at my grandfather's house. Today I write stories of my travel experiences and adventures.

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