Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from any qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you.
The Munnar tea plantations are a sight for sore eyes. As you drive uphill towards the Munnar hills, you’ll see tea plantations for as far and wide as your eyesight permits. The best part about the tea plantations in Munnar is not just how lush and green they are but that they’re sprawling far and wide, over many of the Munnar hills and even next to the roads where you can drive by and take in their beauty. If you're travelling across Kerala, then you will find my Backpacking Kerala Travel Guide and Kerala Itinerary post helpful for planning your trip. Apart from this Munnar travel guide, if you're interested in seeing more pictures of the Kerala tea plantations, then head over to my Instagram profile (@thespicyjourney).
Pin this for later!
Munnar Tea Plantations - A Complete Travel Guide
Needless to say, anyone wanting to visit the Munnar tea plantations would want to take a tour, or walk around and get some photographs of the tea plantations. There are just so many of these tea plantations in Munnar but you can’t just enter any of them to visit. So how do you visit or photograph the Munnar tea plantations? This post addresses exactly that.
Best Time to Visit the Munnar Hills
September to March is the best time to visit Munnar. This is when the temperature is pleasant and there’s no rain. Summer, from May to mid-June is when temperatures soar in all of Kerala but Munnar, being a hill station, doesn’t get too hot. Avoid visiting Munnar in the monsoon season from mid-June to August.
How to Reach Munnar Kerala
Nearest Airport to Munnar
The Kochi International Airport is the closest airport to Munnar. The distance between Kochi Airport and Munnar is roughly 104 km. If you’re coming from the airport, you can directly book a pre-paid taxi cab as you exit the airport. Alternatively, take a taxi or the airport bus to the bus stand in Ernakulam or Vytilla and catch a bus to Munnar from there.
Nearest Railway Station to Munnar
Munnar, being a hill station, is not connected by a railway network. Nonetheless, the Ernakulam railway station and Aluva railway station are closest to Munnar, both lying in Kochi city. From there, you will either have to take a bus to Munnar or hire a cab.
Kochi to Munnar
Kochi to Munnar is a distance of roughly 120 km. In case you have the budget and want to reach faster, hire a taxi that will take you directly from Kochi to Munnar. Alternatively, in case you are backpacking or are on a limited budget, catch a bus to Munnar from Vytilla in Kochi. The bus will take roughly 4-5 hours as opposed to a taxi which will take 3-4 hours. The cost of a bus ticket from Kochi to Munnar is INR 120 whereas a taxi will cost approximately INR 2000.
Alleppey to Munnar
Once again, just like Kochi, if you're going to Munnar from Alleppey, you can catch a bus that goes directly from Alleppey to Munnar. The cost of a bus ticket from Alleppey to Munnar is approx INR 150 and the distance of 166 km is covered in 5-6 hours.
Thiruvananthapuram to Munnar
Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) to Munnar is a long distance of 276 km. There are buses available on this route. Although a bus should take 7-8 hours, more often than not, there’s usually a delay and the journey time touches 10 hours.
Getting Around Munnar
The Munnar hills, being a remote offbeat hill station in Kerala don’t have a strong infrastructure. You won’t find any local transportation in order to do local sightseeing. Your best bet would be to hire a taxi for the day or to hire two-wheelers from the Munnar town on rent. Keep in mind that finding a petrol pump may not be as easy as it is in cities so in case you are taking your own vehicle, be prepared accordingly. However, in case you don't have your own vehicle, there are tuk-tuks available in the main Munnar town near the bus stand that you can hire to go to your hotel. Alternatively, they can be hired for a few hours for the purpose of sightseeing too.
Where to Stay in Munnar
When it comes to finding hotels in Munnar, I recommend staying away from the main Munnar town. It’s highly commercialized and it takes away from the peacefulness that one comes to Munnar for. I do suggest staying either in the Anachal direction or in Chinnakanal.
Lost Hostel Munnar
The Lost Hostel is a backpacker hostel located in Anachal roughly 14 km from the main town of Munnar. While the location is a little offbeat, that’s what makes the hostel so special. There are dorm rooms as well as private rooms available here. I really liked the atmosphere here, with people from all over the world coming together. There’s a nice complimentary breakfast served here along with a tasty dinner at a cheap price. Good stuff!
If you’re looking for a hotel that comes with a balcony overlooking the Munnar tea plantations, your search ends here. T6 Cottages hotel is located inside a tea plantation at a vantage point from where you get stunning views of the Munnar hills laden with tea. The rustic wood cabins are charming too.
Gruenberg Tea Plantation Haus
Staying at Gruenberg Tea Plantation Haus as most certainly the highlight of my trip to Munnar. This hotel is located in Chithirapuram, nested within a tea plantation. In fact, there’s a hill to the left of the hotel that is laden with tea leaves as far as the eyes can see. The hotel serves a scrumptious complimentary breakfast at the rooftop dining area, which has a 360-degree view of the Munnar tea plantations. What a great way to start the day!
Chandys Windy Woods Hotel
Chandys Windy Woods Hotel is one of the best hotels in Munnar that overlooks the Munnar hills as well as the Pallivasal tea estate. This is a large upscale hotel where each room comes with a balcony from where you can enjoy a nice view of the Munnar tea plantations. Additionally, they also have spacious terraces where comfortable lounge chairs and sofas have been laid out to sit and view the sunset over the tea plantations.
Different Ways to Visit the Munnar Tea Plantations
1. Drive Around and Find a Munnar Tea Plantation
Perhaps the simplest way to visit a tea plantation is to stop your vehicle as you’re driving around Munnar and walk into one. While this is the idea that I had in mind, it’s not quite as simple as that. Most tea plantations in Munnar are actually private properties and they either have barbed wire around them or they have boards that declare that they are private properties and that trespassing is not allowed. In case you do come across a tea plantation that doesn’t have a fence or board, do be mindful that it may be private property and that if someone sees you, they might ask you to leave.
2. Take a Tea Plantation Tour
The sure-shot way to be able to walk around the Munnar tea plantations is to take a tour of a tea plantation and factory. The Kanan Devan Hills Plantation is one of the most popular plantations + factory tours in Munnar. Here you get to walk around in the tea plantations before heading to the factory to know exactly how the tea leaves are processed into the tea that we received as a packaged product. Plus, at the end of the tour, you can buy tea packets for yourself. Similarly, the Kolukkumalai tea plantation is the highest tea plantation in the world. It is certainly one of the top tea plantations in Munnar.
4. Go For a Sunrise Trek Through the Munnar Tea Plantations and Hills
If you look around for tours of Munnar online, you’ll come across quite a few travel companies organizing a sunrise trek in Munnar, apart from the usual sightseeing tours. Going for a sunrise trek is a great way not only to witness a gorgeous sunrise from a great vantage point but also to get to walk around the Munnar tea plantations. Most treks take you through the Munnar hills and tea plantations until you come across a nice viewpoint from where you will get to watch the sunrise. Usually, most hotels and hostels themselves arrange the treks or will get you the number of someone reliable who does.
5. Ask your Hotel or Hostel
One of the ways to find a tea plantation in Munnar to walk around and even take pictures is to just ask your hotel or hostel for recommendations. For example, Lost Hostel arranged a free hike through tea plantations for their guests. Not only that, it was a self-guided tour with clear instructions passed along to the guests. A bunch of us took this trek, where we walked through the Munnar tea plantations for many kilometers. If you just around for recommendations, chances are high that you’ll get some great suggestions.
Where to Eat in Munnar - Restaurants with a View
While Munnar town has a bucket load of hotels and restaurants, venture away from the main town to find restaurants that offer nice views along with a yummy meal. I had lunch at Abad Copper Castle one day while walking towards the Pothamedu viewpoint. The food here was tasty and the restaurant had large glass windows to enjoy the beautiful view while dining here.