By Sujith Mohandas(L&T-MHPS)
If you ever feel that you want to escape from the modern chaos to a quite place for a while, where there would be no constant notification alerts on your phone and where you can immerse yourself in the lap of nature, then-Munnar, in God’s Own Country-is your place. Surrounded by Lush Tea Estates , Mountain ranges with beautiful lakes , and waterfalls , this place will make you stay there forever.
Our trip started with a flight from Delhi to Kochi. We landed in Kochi at 9.00 am. The flight duration was two hours and fifty-five minutes but the plane landed early by 15 minutes which made us really happy. The one-way ticket to Kochi from Delhi costed around Rs. 5000 per person due to the season rush, as most Malayalis, like myself, travel to Kerala during the months of May- June of the year. During the Offseason period, one might get the ticket for Rs. 4000-Rs.4500.
After landing in Kochi we took a rental car (Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire) from Revv for three days . The cost for rental without fuel was around Rs. 4000. With-fuel option was also available, which would have costed us around Rs. 5200 for three days.
To reach Munnar you can get a rental car as we did or you can take a taxi to Munnar through Ola outstation or other services that are available. Daily rent for a cab is somewhere between Rs 1300 to Rs 2000, depending on the type of the car and your negotiation skills. There is an additional driver cost of Rs 250 per day. The best advantage of renting a car is that you can use the same car for local tours in and around Munnar and thus save money. Most rental cars have a daily limit of 80 to 100 km per day and you will have to pay additional charges for excess travel. If you think that renting a car in Kerala is too expensive for you, don’t worry, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation operates air-conditioned low floor buses to many tourist destinations including Munnar.
After our two day visit and travel in Kochi we started for Munnar at 3.00 pm. It took 4 hours to reach Munnar city and the drive was really enjoyable. The awesome road and the picturesque landscape mesmerised us. We reached Munnar city at around 7.00 pm and checked into our resort. The best route from Kochi to Munnar is through Kochi – Muvattupuzha – Kothamangalam- Neriamangalam – Adimali – Munnar
Resort Cost is around Rs. 2000 per room per day for three people and normal hotels and lodges are also available at around Rs. 1000- Rs. 10,000 , depending on the luxury requirements. Oyo rooms are also available at Munnar
Day 1: Trip to Mattupetty Dam and Echo Point
Our first day at Munnar started with a trip to Mattupetty Dam which is around 10 km from central Munnar. The drive was comfortable, however, I would recommend you to ask the locals about the route as google maps may divert you to roads which are not meant for cars. When you reach the dam you can park your car at a nominal price of Rs. 10. Near the Dam, many local street vendors are present who sell homemade chocolates and various varieties of tea at a reasonable price. We purchased homemade chocolates for Rs. 180 per half a kg, normal tea for Rs. 200 per half a kg and Green Tea for Rs. 250-300 per half a kg.
As you walk downhill from the market to the river you can enjoy paddle boat and Jet Ski , both cost about Rs. 300 for 15 minutes of assisted ride. If you wish to ride the Jet Ski on your own, then you need to pay Rs. 100 extra. I thoroughly enjoyed the jet skiing as the cold wind blew through my hair and the adrenaline rushed thorugh my blood and added to the excitement.
After the market visit, we walked a short distance to a place where speed boating and adventure, and amusement park were available. The distance is approximately 1 to 2 km and parking is available at a cost of Rs. 10 and entrance cost of Rs. 30 per person.
The adventure/amusement park is known as Cowboy Park and rates are mentioned in the picture below. Zip Line, Multi Wane Rain Forest Mirror Maze and many other leisure activities are available. I purchased Rs. 500 Combo ticket and enjoyed all the rides. I personally liked the zip liner, sloth walk, V net walk, and 12 D Cinema
Speed Boat is available further downhill from the park at a cost of Rs. 750, for maximum five people for a duration of 15 minutes. The thrill which you get while you ride this speed boat along with your friends and family is just beyond words. If you are ready to pay Rs. 300 extra ,then they will take you to Echo Point by Boat. I would recommend you to carry cash as there are limited networks and limited ATMs available at Mattupetty Dam or nearby places ,and Cards are only accepted at Cowboy Park.
We opted to go to Echo Point by road which is around 6.6 KM from Mattupetty Dam. The location has many roadside vendors selling chocolates and awesome food too. Peddle boat is also available at Echo Point.
After our visit to Echo Point, on our return to Munnar City, we stopped at photo point. Here you can enjoy hot tea with Maggi and enjoy the lush tea estate. This place took my breath away as it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
After staying at the photo point for around an hour, we returned back to our hotel and had our dinner at a nearby dhaba (Thattu Kada in Malayalam) at a nominal cost of Rs. 100 per person. We ordered Malabar parotta with Alleppey chicken and lip-smacking Kerala mutton biriyani.
Day 2 at Munnar will be continued in the next edition of Enlightenment…