Munnar is a motley canvas of sloping lush green tea plantations, gushing streams by the hillsides, and winding undulating paths. And there are some absolutely delightful activities to absorb the overwhelming beauty of the largest tea growing region of peninsular India. Activities that everyone must try depending on the time and duration of the visit.
Munnar is the ultimate destination for a peaceful and rejuvenating retreat in the hills. It is the most popular pick among many beautiful honeymoon destinations in South India. Tourist attractions in and around Munnar are plenty. And all of them are perfect to spend the entire vacation with your favourite book and a cup of hot tea. At the same time, there is no dearth of interesting things to do in Munnar. Plan your itinerary picking your prefered activities from our list below.
1. Stay in a Tree House
Locally called Erumadam, tree house is an eco-accommodation facility made of natural materials like bamboo, coir, hay and straw. It is a new concept coming up in various parts of Kerala like Munnar, Thekkady and Wayanad. In Munnar, go for a tree house stay at Dream Catcher Plantation Resort.
Located amidst tea and spice plantations, 19 km from Munnar town, Dream Catcher Plantation Resort comprises of 4 luxurious tree houses built at an elevation of 20 to 60 ft. The stay is nothing less than dreamy, and to keep it that way, food, smoke and liquor are strictly prohibited inside the tree house.
P.S. The accommodation is only for couples with children above 10 years.
Cost: INR 13,000 for twin sharing for two nights including breakfast
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2. Romance the tea estates of Kolukkumalai
Feel the refreshing aroma of the golden beverage at Kolukkumalai Tea Estate – one of the highest tea plantations of the world. It is situated at an elevation of 7900 ft, and the zigzag road along Kolukkumalai Hills leading to this tea garden in Munnar is truly jaw dropping. A key tourist attraction in Munnar, the plantation is renowned worldwide for its flavoured tea leaves. The century old tea factory is also an interesting place to understand the traditional methods of tea production.
Timings: Good news for tea lovers. Open on all days except Sunday, this tea factory allow visitors to taste different types of aromatic teas and buy the same from the retail outlet.
Entry Fee: INR 75
3. Go Camping and Trekking in Munnar
Munnar is bliss for adventure enthusiasts and fitness freaks, especially trekkers. Trekking till high elevations like Echo Point and Top Station is one of the most preferred things to do in Munnar. Located 15 km from Munnar, Echo Point is a spellbinding destination where voice resonance occurs naturally. Top Station is the highest point in Munnar and offers stunning view of the town surrounded by hills and valleys. Trekking 32 km up to Top Station is quite exhaustive and requires lot of stamina. If one can accomplish the target, the workout quota for the entire week is taken care of. Do not forget to carry your walking shoes and trekking gears.
If camping is your idea of fun, you can go for mountain camping tours to Shola National Park organized by Go Bananas.
4. Spot rare animal and bird species at the famous Wildlife Sanctuaries
Daring hearts! Let’s explore the thick and dark forests, biosphere reserves, national park and sanctuaries of Munnar. Who knows, you could be lucky to spot some endangered and nearly extinct animals and birds. The most visited and popular wildlife areas of Munnar are Eravikulam National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
- Eravikulam National Park, is located in the Kannan Devan hills of Munnar. The national park is famous for endangered Nilgiri Tahr. The forest spread over an area of 97 sq km is divided into; core area, buffer area and tourism area.
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located 60 km from Munnar and is a habitat to elephants, deer and leopards. You may be lucky to spot the nearly extinct grizzled giant squirrel.
- Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is also known as Thekkady Bird Sanctuary and located 73 km from Munnar. It houses plenty of local and migratory birds – crimson-fronted barbet, crested serpent eagle, peninsular bay owl, fairy bluebird and rose billed roller to name a few. Malabar grey hornbill, Sri Lanka frogmouth, and Indian hornbill and Nilgiri wood pigeon can also be spotted.
Timings: All of them are open from 7 in the morning to 6 in the evening.
Entry Fee: INR 90 for Eravikulam National Park; and both Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary charge INR 10 to Indians and INR 100 to foreigners.
5. Go Mountain Biking
Even cycling enthusiasts have a chance to rejoice in the tea estate town of Kerala. Some areas of Munnar like Suryanelli, Anamudi Shola, Kundala, Marayoor and Vandanmedu are suitable for mountain biking. It is ultimate fun to ride along the hairpin bends and rolling roads, conquering the hills and meadows on a two wheeler.
Many hotels and resorts arrange biking trips for their guests, or you can rent a cycle from cycle rental services in Munnar. KDHP House in Idukki District and Gokulam Bike Hire are two popular ones.
Cycle Rent: INR 300 for the day
6. Have a picnic near the gorgeous Waterfalls
Munnar has several hilly streams falling from height thereby forming a plunge pool. Attukal, Lakkam, Chinnakanal, and Thoovanam, are some famous waterfall in Munnar and their plunge pool areas serve as lovely picnic spots for tourists as well as locals.
Located on the Munnar-Marayoor route, Lakkam waterfalls is surrounded by vaga trees and surging cascades, and is an ideal picnic spot in Munnar. While on a picnic in Attukal waterfalls, in the outskirt of Munnar town on the way to Pallivasal, also plan a small trek along the surrounding hillocks. River Pambar drops as Thoovanam falls near Chinnar wildlife sanctuary, forming a breathtaking stream. Its base is a nice place to go for a day picnic, especially with kids.
7. Rock Climbing and Rappelling
The enthralling hilly landscape of Munnar is what makes it popular among adventure lovers. Rock climbing and rappelling are tremendously thrilling activities, and professional guidance is available for all. National Adventure Foundation organizes rock climbing and rappelling activities along with other adventure sports in Munnar. This 2 hour activity can be tried anytime between 7 am and 7 pm, and is one of the thrilling tourist attractions in Munnar.
Also, Fun Forest Adventure Park is an wonderful amusement park in Munnar to indulge in moderate adventure activities.
Entry Fee: INR 600 per person
8. Enjoy a shikara ride in Kundala Lake
On the way to Top Station, you come across Kundala dam and lake. Kundala dam is an artificial dam, Asia’s first arch dam. Though it pulls with its serenity and beauty, you could be lucky to spot the rare Neelakurinji flowers, which blossom once in 12 years in the adjacent hills and valleys of Kundala Lake. Boating in Kundala offers options of pedal boating, row boating and shikara rides.
Entry Fee: INR 10 per person for the lake
Boating Charges: INR 350 for 15-20 mins.
Tip: Do negotiate on boating charges.
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9. Try watersports at Mattupetty Dam
Mattupetty Dam and the lake are beautiful scenic spots of Munnar, located near Anamudi peak and surrounded by tea plantations, spice gardens and rolling hills. The dam area is also an ideal picnic spot and a lovely trekking path. The District Tourism Promotion Council runs boating facilities in Mattupetty Lake, you can choose from speedboats and motorboats.
Entry Fee: INR 10 per person for Mattupetty dam
Boating Charges: INR 500 for 15 minutes in a speedboat shared by 1 to 5 people
10. Elephant Safari at Carmelagiri Elephant Park
How about an elephant safari, that too in the rocky topography of Munnar? It’s fun for kids and adults alike to have a ‘haathi mere saathi’ moment at Carmelagiri Elephant Park. Located on Mattupetty Road, the park offers short elephant rides of 10-15 minutes. It is one of the most fascinating tourist attractions in Munnar, especially for kids.
Timings: Carmelagiri Elephant Park is open every day from 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening.
Cost: In INR 1,150 one can take the ride, click pictures and gift a fruit hamper to the elephant.
11. Rejuvenate with an Ayurvedic Spa
Kerala is well known for Ayurvedic therapies including refreshing spa and wellness massages. Munnar is not an exception. Ayurvedic wellness treatment, and a rejuvenating body massage at various resorts and spa centres are magical ways to relax your mind and body. Choose from Balinese massage, classical deep tissue massage or an authentic shirodhara.
Some of the renowned spa resorts and spa wellness centres in Munnar are:
- Antara AyurSpa in Misty Mountain Resort
- Spandini Spa in Ragamaya
- Tattavam Spa in The Panoramic Getaway
- The Bliss Mountain Spa in Spice Tree
- Mayura Ayurvedic centre
- The Grandspa Ayurvedic Wellness & Research Centre
- Cure Monastery Spa
Ayurvedic Massage Charges: The cost for spa varies with the type one is opting for. Generally, the duration for spa treatments and Ayurvedic massages is 60-90 minutes and the cost is between INR 1,800 and 2,500 approximately. We recommend checking individual resort or Ayurvedic centre website for accurate details.
12. Go street shopping for some Retail Therapy
Attention shopaholics, your turn now! Go crazy shopping for your favourite tea and coffee variants, spices, and aromatic and natural oils. Available locally, aromatic essential oils like eucalyptus oil, lemongrass, and citriodora are very good for treating body and joint pains.
And it’s as spoiling for tea lovers! Be it long leaf black tea or Elaichi flavoured green tea, aromatic cardamom or freshly ground coffee, Munnar has it all. One can buy best quality tea from outlets of Tata Tea Museum and Kolukkumalai Tea Estate.
13. Visit the Tea Museum – a paradise for tea lovers
Tata Tea Museum is one of the significant sightseeing spots in Munnar. It is home to exclusive exhibits like traditional tea roller known as ‘Rotorvane’ used for processing of CTC tea; power generating ‘Pelton Wheel’ and Kundale Valley Light Railway Engine; model bungalow furniture besides old typewriters, wooden bathtub, magneto phone, iron oven, manual calculators and EPABX of the 1909 telephone system.
But the biggest delight for tea lovers is the fascinating experience of plucking tea leaves, and tasting different types tea.
Timings: Open from 9 am to 4 pm. Closed on every Monday.
Entry Fee: INR 75 for adults and INR 35 for children. However if you want to capture the tea tasting process in a still camera, pay a nominal charge of INR 20.
14. Explore the delish cuisine of Kerala at the most famous restaurants in Munnar
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Munnar, try the authentic local cuisine. Saravana Bhavan is one of the best in town to try the Malabar cuisine. Besides, Bamboo Hut, Mezbaan Hotel and Mayabazar are among the most famous eat out places in Munnar.
If you want to pick up some cooking lessons, classes by Nimi Sunil Kumar are quite famous in Munnar. Nimi is a famous culinary specialist and runs cooking classes not only for locals but also for tourists. It is an amazing idea to return back from vacation after learning few mouth-watering dishes of God’s own country. Learning authentic Keralite cuisine from Nimi is one of the fun things to do in Munnar.
There are different courses running on different slots. For details, see here.
15. Relive the old world, village charm at Chithirapuram and CSI Church
Built in 1910, CSI is a protestant church constructed by Scottish tea estate manager and workers. One of the tourist attractions in Munnar, it is decorated with stained-glass windows, brass plaques, rows of rosewood benches and a lavish chandelier.
Timings: Open from 8 am to 5 pm
Know of any other mind blowing experience or Munnar’s key tourist attractions? If yes, do share with us, and if not, there is enough motivation to go exploring.
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