Kerala / Travel

Kerala Diaries – Part I | Backpacking Munnar

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OH HELLOWW MUNNAR!

After spending 3 splendid days in Vattakanal near Kodaikanal (Oh what a joy, read here), the decision to curb my urge to stay there longer was a difficult one & with a heavy heart, I decided to head to the next destination on my list, hoping for some more magic – Munnar, Kerala.

Already a couple of weeks into my trip and almost 1,800 kms away from home, I’d covered a lot of ground in a short duration.

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Mumbai – Hampi – Mysore – Coorg – Kodaikanal

A feeling of joy filled me as I fiddled with Google maps and Google notes to see the distances I’d covered and things I’d done. Thinking about all my impulsive yet sane decisions made me feel a whole lot better about myself and my decision making. That’s what solo travel does to you, it makes you understand a lot more about yourself and how you go about life, without external opinions and forces playing a part. Gotta love that bit.

2 weeks done, another 2 weeks to go – and state no. 3: Kerala. Things were looking bright.


Munnar

Munnar is a famous hill station in Kerala and is well known for its tea & tea plantations all over India. The tea plantations are grown in a beautiful pattern on a slope, arranged so beautifully it pleases the heart.

Famous for being a family holiday/ Honey-mooning destination, I was a little worried about visiting here (Not really the best place to backpack, unlike Dharamkot/Parvati Valley) but, a casual evening stroll on the my 1st day introduced me to a bunch of backpackers from all over the globe and I ended up spending some really good times with them. That also helped shoo away all the doubts I had about ending up all by myself in a shady lodge having nothing to do.

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Its a lovely sight


Getting there

A 5 minute conversation with random dudes with a car on the Kodaikanal junction over 5 medu vadas led me to a Udamalpet, a small town in Tamil Nadu, 100 kms from Munnar. The ride was terrific! About 20 hairpin bends and the guy driving was drifting at 80 kph so casually. Like, no biggie. Oh man, I was totally wishing I took the bus or probably walked the distance rather than praying for my life on every turn. Nevertheless, I didn’t get killed (One of the biggest reasons why you’re able to read this) and I reached Udumalpet, said my goodbyes and thankyous, and searched for a place to grab a meal.

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Udumalpet Bus Stop. None spoke any Hindi/English and I got stared like girls get stared at in Delhi. I understand how you feel girls, now.

Post filling myself with a lot of mushroom cooked rice on a banana leaf in a local restaurant, I took a bus straight to Munnar. The bus journey was super fun, I could literally feel the temperature drop from like a 30 degrees to 12 degrees over a 3 hour duration. Too cool, and too cool.

The bus dropped me to the Munnar main market and it was time to search for a place.


Meeting new people

A couple of locals guided me to Arafa Tourist home, where I got a very decent room to myself in a very shady area. (Quite the luxury after living a few days under a church in a big hall) I took a LONG shower and emptied my backpack, got my laundry sorted and headed out for a walk, and rent a scooty.

What was meant to be a casual stroll to check out Munnar market at 9 pm turned out to be an exciting plan for the next day with a bunch of 6 random dudes: A polish guy, a swiss guy, 2 german chicks and an Aussie couple! 5 minutes of talking and we ended up planning to meet the next morning at 7 am to head to Top Station. What I assumed to be a casual meeting with a bunch of random people turned out to be the most fun couple of days on my journey.


Travel tips: Travel, Food, Stay

i. Munnar Layout and transport: Munnar is basically divided into 4 directions, with the market place in the centre. The idea is to live in the market and then over the next 3 days visit each direction. Each direction has a different set of places to see and things to do. Waterfalls, View points, Lakes, Mountains, Plantations, etc. can be seen in all these directions, some mainstream, some not so much The best thing you can do is rent a scooty (350-400 bucks a day) for 3 days straight! Buses are few and cabs are super expensive. Having a snooty will help you explore and stop at places as per your liking.

ii. Rapsy Restaurant: Located in the market, this one is probably the best place to eat. Almost all backpackers come here, the food is delicious and I ended up having like 4 meals here in a couple days! I bumped into the same set of backpackers here and we ended up chilling way too often. Average cost/ meal: 50/100 bucks (Do try the roadside food as well, its pretty sweet)

iii. Cocoa Tree Hostel: Located off the centre, this Hostel is SWEET! I shifted here for a night for like 350 bucks a bed with free wifi, great beds and everything. I recommend it over the hotel any day!


Part Picture Blog!

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We got to Top Station (the highest point in one of the directions) on a bus and were greeted by the mountains and the lush blue skies

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It was an absolute delight to watch the mountains from amongst the Tea Plantations. The weather was perfect, everything looked beautiful and smelled so good.

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Had the most interesting set of conversations with these guys! (A couple of them not in the frame) We walked a crazy 20 kms that day!!

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Posing? Not so much!

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Check it out! Although its illegal to walk in these privately owned tea plantations, it doesn’t hurt so much to break a few rules 😉

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Look at that! Too intense.

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Mattupetty Dam: This place is on the way up to Top Station. We went here on our way back.

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Some more people I met at Rapsy’s, ended up chilling with them the next day as well. Sharing stories and food, and some really good times.

Munnar is awesome! For me, this place was more about the people I met and the things I did with them, hence I visited only a few yet important places here. There is so much more you can do, once you get here!

Next, I headed to Kochi and Fort Kochi in particular. A city after so many days! More on that soon!


 

To see more pictures from my trip (and follow me on my next trip in India) check out my instagram : sharma.ji (While you’re at it, check out Tripoto and follow me there too: Siddharth Sharma)

Hit the Follow button on the blog- you will be notified by email with my next post! Thanks for reading and hope you had fun!

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6 thoughts on “Kerala Diaries – Part I | Backpacking Munnar

  1. Where exactly is the tea plantation from your photo in Munnar with the comment “it’s a lovely sight”? And is it the same place like the “illegal walking” plantations?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, i don’t remember the exact location – but it was on my way down from top station. Maybe a couple of kilometres down from the top station location. And yes, unfortunately its the same place where its illegal to enter these plantations as they are private properties (We didn’t see the sign, after we realised it was private we tried to keep off)

      Like

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