Kerala Diaries: What to do in Munnar, Kerala10:40:00
This one is a complete no brainer. Probably the first thing you'll feel like doing and should do is walk in the endless tea plantations. Its beautiful and the best time to do this is in the mornings! Trust me, you won't regret waking up early.
If you're spending a couple of days in Munnar, then I suggest you take the time to travel to Top Station. While it's a place that is technically in Tamilnadu, its around an hour's drive from Munnar and the journey as well as the destination are both breathtaking. The winding road that goes up offers some gorgeous views of the hills as well as innumerous tea plantations, mostly owned by Tata. When you reach top station, its a bit of a climb uphill but the view more than makes up for it. I suggest you wear comfortable shoes (read NO heels). The place has a few stalls that sell fresh fruits and carrot juice and I suggest you grab some to keep hydrated on your way back.
Now this is something that everyone who visits Kerala probably gets conned into doing once. However, if you pick the right one, I promise it will be an enlightening experience. The safest and best ones are the Government certified ones and these have some brilliant flora and fauna. The guides are usually quite knowledgable and if gardening or fauna in general are one of your interests, these are a must visit. Plus, you can always pick some fresh, organically grown produce for your friends back home.
Munnar is surrounded beautiful waterfalls and rivers and surprisingly these areas haven't been touched by man's pollution. If you can spare the time, I suggest you talk a walk along the Periyar river, just a ahead of Mattupatty Dam (which can be given a miss by the way) and take a picnic along. There are some lovely places where you can lunch with your loved ones while enjoying the cool breeze and breathtaking view.
This is something that I enjoyed the most! While driving back from Top Station, we were lucky enough to spot some elephants who had come to have water at the river and believe me, its breathtaking seeing them in their natural habitat. Keep your eyes peeled when you drive through the forest, you'll probably see a few wild animals doing their everyday thing if you're lucky!
Yes, this is usually on the top of most "what to do in Munnar" lists and there's a reason for that. Possibly one of the most peaceful places I've been to on this trip. This is one must do according to me. The Park is home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and honestly, one look at it will make you wonder why we've been hunting such a harmless species all these years. The Park is uphill and nestled in the mountains and the climb isn't that terrible. Also, there's a little cafe that serves the most amazing coffee (you can smell it almost halfway up the mountain) which can be enjoyed as you try and spot the little waterfalls and valleys while you're surrounded by clouds.
After you've done all the above, take some time to walk in the market (it isn't very big and is best explored on foot) and sample some local handmade chocolates. Of course, if shopping isn't on your agenda, pop into one of the many local spas and treat yourself to the infamous Ayurvedic Massage. Personally, I think the market looks lovely in the evenings and don't forget to look at the sky as you drink your tea and watch the world go by.