Things to do in Munnar

The stunningly scenic hill station of Munnar is a haven for just about anyone feeling close to nature and don’t mind being off the busy cityscapes for a while.  Several Kerala Tour Packages include a stopover at this natural paradise blanketed by green hillocks and meadows, with many pleasant waterfalls dotting the landscape.  

Apart from enjoying the cool and crispy fresh air and admiring the scenery, you can choose to relax and unwind with a book in hand and a hot cup of tea/coffee, opt for an Ayurveda therapy or massage and indulge in exciting adventure activities as well. Munnar is a great holiday destination that caters to diverse travel interests and preferences.

There are plenty of things to do and places to visit when holidaying in Munnar. Plan your trip ahead to make the most of your time here. We’ve listed out some of the popular tourist attractions to make your choice easier.

1. Trekking

The cool, verdant and picturesque settings here are indeed ideal for treks.  Most popular trekking trails are the ones that lead to the Echo Point and Top Station, both of them offering spectacular views. Echo point is located closer to Munnar.

It is a unique experience to trek up to this place to simply hear your voice resonating through the landscape. Top Station, the highest view point here, and trail stretches for nearly 32 Km., making it an arduous climb but greatly rewarding.  

Trekking tours are also organized to the nearby Kannan Devan Hills, Chokramudi, and Meesapulimala, the second highest peak in Southern India, next only to Anamudi.  Kerala Forest Department organizes treks to Meesapulimala. Bookings are limited and the trail definitely not for novices!

Long distance treks inevitably include camping under the open skies, offering an opportunity to literally rest in nature’s lap. Seasoned trekkers can opt for Kerala Tour Packages that focus on trekking/adventure activities to test their resilience.

2. Exploring Tea Estates

Vast sprawling tea estates are ideal for early morning walks or evening strolls. Misty cool air warmed by the rays of the rising sun has a special appeal. Starting on a walk early is recommended as the plantations hardly have any tree cover to protect you from the sunlight as the day goes by.  

The tea plantation at Kolukkumalai, 20 Km from Munnar is the ideal destination for you to experience the setting of a fully functional tea estate.  If you don’t have the time or fitness levels for a long walk, opt for a Jeep ride to/through Kolukkumalai.

The journey is surely going to be more comfortable with the views equally impressive.  Tea processing unit at Kolukkumalai is more on the traditional lines and offers you a chance to taste different types of tea.

A visit to the Tea Museum in Munnar is going to be informative and interesting as well. In addition to details and artefacts related to processing tea, you can observe several other vintage pieces on display here.

3. Rock Climbing and Rappelling

Adventure enthusiasts and thrill seekers can indulge in rock climbing and rappelling (abseiling) in the outcrop of rocks set amidst the forested terrain. There are several techniques used to scale the rocks including Jumaring and free hand climbing as well.   

Professional guidance and climbing gear are available to those sign up for the adventure.  Short rappelling sessions usually last about an hour or two. Longer tours too last over a couple of days too are offered.

4. Boating

If you wish to play it safe, then apart from exploring the beautiful landscape you can opt for a Shikara or pedal boat ride at the Kundala Lake, the reservoir of water at the Kundala Dam set amidst hillsides replete with lush vegetation.  

The seemingly infinite expanse of water with the forests and hill in the horizon and the serene environment makes your boat ride quite relaxing and memorable.

5. Waterfall Hopping

The predominantly green tapestry of Munnar is dotted with several magnificent waterfalls that are treat to behold.  

The closest waterfall, the Lakkam is just 5 minutes away from Munnar while the farthest, the Thoovanam waterfall in the heart of the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is 60 Km away, accessible only after an hour’s trek through the forested terrain.

The Attukal waterfalls and the Nyayamakad falls are located about 10 Km from Munnar, while the Chinnakanal and Kuthumkal cascades lie further away.

Located about 40 Km from Munnar on the highway running between Kochi and Madurai, the waters of the Cheeyappara and Valara Falls plunge from a height of 1000 metres making a delightful sight.

Some of these falls are inaccessible and can be observed from a distance, few others create plunge pools ideal for picnic getaways and yet others are accessed via trekking trails. Visit at least a couple of these waterfalls when holidaying in Munnar.

6. Elephant Safaris

The dense forests of the Western Ghats are home to several herds of elephants with the Periyar National Park a great place to spot these gentle giants in their natural habitats.  No worries if you can’t make it to Periyar.

You catch a glimpse of elephants and also enjoy a short yet exciting elephant safari at the Carmelagiri Elephant Park right here in Munnar.

7. Tryst with Nilgiri Tahr

The Eravikulam National Park is home to the Nilgiri Tahr. It is an endangered species of mountain goat which reportedly has managed to thrive within the periphery of this park. This docile and gentle creature hangs out on mountain cliffs, venturing out more often during dawn and dusk.

Visit the park for a close encounter with this rare animal. You can also visit Anamudi, the highest peak in South India from this park. A bus ride takes you to a short walking trail that runs some distance through forested terrain. There is not entry from the end of this cemented path and you can’t go to deviate from the trail.

Time permitting, you can visit the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and/or Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. This is located further away from Munnar (60-75 Km).

Few other popular activities to try in Munnar include:

  • Watching a Kathakali Dance Performance
  • Speed boating at Mattupetty Dam/Lake
  • Visiting the CSI Church
  • Check out the scenic Devikulam, also known for its tea estates
  • Mountain Biking/Cycling in Suryanelli
  • Ayurvedic Treatment
  • Tasting Traditional Cuisine

Do remember to carry your digital camera to capture some of the most picturesque settings for posterity.

By Punit