26th June 2019
Munnar is a town and hill area and located in the Western Ghats mountain range, which is in the state of Kerala in southwestern India. In Munnar, you can find beautiful nature, mountains and much more – which makes it a famous honeymoon destination for Indians. Sometimes Munnar is even referred to as “the Kashmir of South India”. Another highlight that you can experience is trekking in Munnar, Kerala – which I did on my own trip through Kerala and absolutely loved it.
Get into a nearby city
If you are not traveling by your own car (which I wouldn’t recommend in India, the traffic is crazy!) you will first have to get into one of the nearby bigger cities to reach Munnar. For this you have several options, however, two of them are clearly the easiest:
If you are coming from abroad, you’ll probably fly into India. To get to Munnar, you can either fly to Cochin International Airport (110km away) or Madurai Airport (140km away). From there, you can proceed with the next step (see below.)
The second option would be to use the great Indian railway system. The closest railway stations are Aluva (110km away), Ernakulam (130km away) and Madurai (135km away).
Bus/cab to Munnar
Once you are in one of the nearby cities, it is easy to reach Munnar by bus or cab. While the cab might be an option if you’re traveling in a group, it would be quite expensive for a solo traveler – therefore I’d recommend taking a bus.
Munnar has a bus station on the main street, so it’s pretty easy to get there too. Time tables vary and I recommend asking at the bus station/airport once you get there.
If you plan to do trekking in Munnar, there are various organizer’s that offer different Munnar trekking adventures – suited for different levels, durations and everything you could think of.
I personally did a 2 day (1night) trekking experience with Kalypso Adventures, an Indian tour organizer that specializes in adventure trips, nature and eco experiences. They offer different tours and experiences throughout the country, many of them in Kerala, where you can find some of the most beautiful nature of India.
My trekking in Munnar with Kalypso Adventures was awesome, so I can definitely recommend joining one of their trekking trips in Munnar. You will certainly have a great time. To see their different trekking routes, click here.
Once you’ve booked everything and made your way into Munnar it’s time to finally experience the incredible trekking at Munnar, Kerala. As I’ve already said I’ve booked my trip with Kalypso Adventures, so all the following information are from my own experience with them – and could change depending on your itinerary or tour organizer.
For our 2 days / 1 night Munnar trekking we had a basic tent “village” which consisted of several big tents. Inside the tents, we had 2 or 3 small beds, blankets and a pillow for each person. So basically everything you need to spend a night in nature! The tents were not luxurious by any means, but definitely had a good standard and I was more than happy with it. The tents were separated into two areas, one for men and one for women.
Additionally, there was an area with toilets and basic showers (bucket shower, which is really common in India). The water in the showers was cold, however, there was one place where you could get hot water if you need it to take your shower. Like the tents, the shower area was separated into female and male areas.
As we only spent one night there, we only had one dinner and one small breakfast in the trekking camp in Munnar. The food was served in a buffet and consisted mainly of Indian dishes, but also a few Western ones. They also had a “coffee station” and someone making barbeque on a fire. Overall, the food was super yummy and I couldn’t ask for more.
In the evening, they even made a little campfire, which was perfect to have a great time together before the actual trekking would start the next day!
Now let’s talk about my experience of trekking in the beautiful hills of Munnar. The day before the trek we had two options: Wake up early to catch the sunrise with a little hike or start later. Obviously, I couldn’t miss a beautiful sunrise in Munnar, so I went for option A. However, this is completely up to you!
At around 4 AM in the morning, we had a little snack provided by Kalypso Adventures (I had a coffee and some fruits) and afterward started our little sunrise hike up to the Phantom Peak in Munnar, Kerala. The hike was just around 1 hour long, and not extremely steep – but still quite challenging, as the path was leading up to Phantom Peak inside a narrow forest.
Taking a headlamp with you is definitely recommended – as you will sometimes need your hands to grab a tree to get further up the way – especially if you are not tall. I’m around 185cm (6’1) and it was sometimes a bit tricky to get further while using my smartphone as a flashlight.
Overall, the hike up to Phantom Peak in Munnar is not really hard, but it could be challenging if you’re not used to hiking. Luckily the team of Kalypso Adventures carried some of the essential stuff up the hill for us, which made the hike even more comfortable.
Once we made it to the peak, it was still dark and we could see the wonderful sky, full of stars. This was one of my best moments during my time in Kerala, as it was simply magic. After a while, the sun started to rise up the horizon and changed the whole scenery into a wonderland. It was breathtaking and we all had a great time.
After the incredible sunrise on the Phantom Peak, it was time to continue our Munnar trekking. After a short walk down the hill, which I enjoyed by walking barefoot, we had a breakfast that was prepared by our tour organizer. They had different kinds of Indian food, which I absolutely loved, and was well needed after already trekking for almost 2 hours in Munnar! I highly appreciated having this breakfast, as it allowed us to pack extremely light and not think about bringing food.
Eventually, we made it to our last spot of the day: A local Indian village, where we were allowed to stroll around and interact with some locals. As this place was absolutely not touristic, the people were not used to “western tourists” and while absolutely lovely, also super shy. They showed us one of their houses, which was super interesting, and we also tried to talk to some lovely local ladies.
I didn’t want to be disrespectful, so I always asked for permission to take a picture and if I felt that they feel uncomfortable or too shy, I would continue and not bother them any longer. However, I felt like they also enjoyed meeting us, they were just really not used to it and didn’t know how to react.
Once we finished our little time in the local Village, we continued with the last part of our Trekking in Munnar: Another hour back to our campsite. As it was already afternoon, the sun was boiling hot and quite a challenge for all of us. Yet, we had an amazing team spirit and supported each other to finish the last part of our Munnar trekking adventure. And we did! After all, we had such an amazing time, including one of the most beautiful sunrises of my life – and an amazing time with good friends.
Luckily, there was also another option after the village: If you didn’t feel good anymore, it was possible to take a car ride back to the camp. This offer was used by over 50% of us – so I think it was necessary for some! It’s always good to have options, and definitely, don’t continue the hike in the sun if you don’t feel good anymore.
Munnar has very different seasons – therefore it highly depends on how your experience will turn out depending on the time of the year you’ll visit Munar – and what activities you plan to do. While you can visit Munnar throughout the entire year, here is a little breakdown on all of the months:
Of course, there are also tons of other things to do in Munnar, Kerala. I only spent a few days there, so I didn’t have much time to do other Munnar activities besides the Munnar trekking – however, here is what I did
Munnar in Kerala is full of wonderful tea plantations – while they are all similar, still, every tea plantation has its own charm and it’s worth visiting a few of them. While staying in Munnar, you can’t miss the beautiful tea plantations.
Another obvious thing to do in Munnar: Tasting the local Kerala tea. We visited a tea factory, which was super interesting and eye-opening, especially because I had no idea how they used to produce tea in detail. India delivers tea to many countries across the globe, including the UK and USA.
After the little tour, we had a tea tasting – where we could try all kind of flavors. That was super delicious and it was also just awesome to slurp some tea while enjoying the nature of Munnar in the background.
For some extra impressions, feel free to check out my Kerala Drone Video, which includes some footage from my trekking in Munnar.
Originally published in https://www.mscgerber.com/trekking-in-munnar-kerala/