Before you travel to Munnar, a beautiful hill station in the state of Kerala, India, there are some important things you should know to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip:
- Best time to visit: Munnar is pleasant throughout the year, but the best time to visit is during the winter months from November to February when the weather is cool and refreshing. The summer months (March to May) can be a bit warmer, and the monsoon season (June to September) brings heavy rainfall.
- Weather: Munnar experiences a temperate climate, but it can get chilly, especially during the evenings and early mornings. Packing some warm clothing, such as sweaters and jackets, is advisable.
- Altitude: Munnar is situated at a high altitude, ranging from approximately 1,500 to 2,695 meters (4,921 to 8,842 feet) above sea level. If you’re not used to high altitudes, take it easy initially to acclimatize.
- Transportation: The nearest airport to Munnar is Cochin International Airport (COK), which is about 110 kilometers (68 miles) away. You can hire a taxi or take a bus from the airport to reach Munnar. If you are coming by train, the nearest railway stations are Aluva and Ernakulam, from where you can continue your journey by road.
- Accommodation: Munnar offers a variety of accommodation options, including resorts, hotels, homestays, and guesthouses. It’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
- Local transportation: Auto-rickshaws and taxis are available for getting around within Munnar. Additionally, many tour operators offer guided tours to various attractions.
- Sightseeing: Munnar is renowned for its scenic beauty, tea gardens, and wildlife. Some popular attractions include Eravikulam National Park (home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr), Mattupetty Dam, Tea Museum, Top Station, and Echo Point.
- Permits: Certain areas around Munnar, like the protected forests and wildlife reserves, may require permits for entry. Check beforehand and obtain the necessary permits if you plan to visit such places.
- Responsible tourism: Munnar’s natural beauty is its main draw, so it’s essential to be a responsible traveler. Avoid littering, respect local customs and traditions, and try to minimize your environmental impact.
- Food: Kerala cuisine is diverse and delicious. Don’t miss trying the local dishes, including appam, puttu, Kerala-style seafood, and traditional sadya (feast) if you get the chance.
- Language: The primary language spoken in Munnar is Malayalam. While many people in tourist areas can speak English, knowing a few basic Malayalam phrases can be helpful and appreciated.
- Cash and ATMs: While most places accept cards, it’s advisable to carry some cash, especially in smaller denominations. ATMs are available in Munnar, but they may run out of cash during peak tourist seasons, so be prepared.
Remember to research more about the current situation, travel restrictions, and any specific guidelines related to COVID-19, as the situation can change over time. Enjoy your trip to Munnar!