Things to do in Munnar

Top Things To Do In Munnar | The Kashmir Of South India

Munnar, in the Idukki district of Kerala, has some of the highest elevation tea plantations in the world, providing panoramic views so majestic, it’s sometimes called the Kashmir of Southern India. If you love mountains, and you love nature, you’ll love the rolling hills here carpeted in a mosaic of neatly-trimmed tea leaf trees and skies with puffy clouds slowly drifting past soaring mountain peaks. The British, responsible for discovering that conditions were idyllic here for tea, transformed the thick forests here into plantations so beautiful, the area became a summer resort for the British Raj elite. Today, it’s a popular getaway for tourists, including honeymooners looking for a quiet, scenic getaway. This post covers the top things to see and do in Munnar, India.

Munnar Tea Plantations

Top Things To Do In Munnar

There are two exquisite mountains peaks to experience here. The first, Top Station, is the most popular and easier to access. The second is Kolukkumalai Peak, the world’s highest elevation tea plantation, a little more challenging to get to.

I cover Top Station and the key stops nearby first. They’re located along the same main road. It’s best to see Top Station before the sites near it, as conditions there are usually best in the morning. The other sites can be visited on the way back down the mountain. Next I cover Kolukkumalai, which is usually visited as a tour as it requires a jeep to access. Finally. I cover other top things to do in the area, including the sites often visited either on the way in, or out, of Munnar.

Top Station

Top Station, which has incredible panoramic views of the Western Ghats, is historically where the tea chests were delivered before being shipped down the mountain (via ropeway) and distributed to Britain as well as around India. With its 5,578’ (1,700 m) elevation, and the vast valley below, the views are simply stunning. Especially on a sunny day.

Things to do in Munnar visit Top Station
Munnar Top Station

Before visiting, I read a few blogs suggesting this area was not worth visiting, but it really depends on your experience. They may not have had such a beautiful day, or met as many friendly people as I did. I visited in late April, which is not considered peak season, so there were no crowds. In fact, I was one of the only people at Top Station when I was there. In additional to that, the day could not have been more perfect, with blue skies and just a few clouds floating along. At least I’m my humble opinion, Top Station is definitely worth a visit!

It’s best to start your day at Top Station as clouds often move in the early afternoon. It’s about 21.75 miles (35 km) from the center of Munnar Town, with the drive taking about an hour (2 hours in peak season). The ride up is beautiful, passing many tea plantations and lakes. Places you’ll want to stop and take photos of. Try to make minimal stops as it really is better to wait until you come back down.

Things to do in Munnar
Munnar Top Station

At the top, there’s a small parking area or drop-off area. Walk to the end of the road, going past all the shops before you reach the place where you pay to enter. My entry fee was 20 INR (as of April 2023, about $0.25). Rates may change from time to time and may be lower for Indian adults. After paying, you walk to the two story watch tower where you can admire the view.

Munnar Top Station

If you want more, you can walk down to other viewpoints for an extra 25 INR (as of April 2023, about $0.31). If the day is nice, the other viewpoints are worth the fee and walk. The ground is a little uneven and there are many steps, so it’s best for people with good mobility.

The video below, which I took from one of the lower station plateaus, does a better job than the photos above showing just how beautiful it is here.

Top Station

I spent about an hour at Top Station, taking photos, walking down to lower viewing areas, and stopping at a few shops. If you want, you can also enjoy local specialties here like a cup of delicious chai, bread omelettes, and more.

Best Time To Visit Top Station

The best time of day to visit Top Station is in the morning, as the clouds and mist often thicken as the day progresses, limiting the view. I arrived at 11 AM and conditions were perfect. When I left Top Station, the clouds were already starting to accumulate. Another option is to stay overnight here and watch the sunrise.

The most popular time of year to visit is fall and winter, November to February, when temperatures are cooler. Highs average around 28 C (82 F), although evenings (and mornings) can be cool. March to May is still a good time to visit, although a little warmer. Highs can get as high as 36 C (97 F). Especially closer to May. It was a very comfortable 26 C (78 F) when I visited in early April. June to September is monsoon season, or rainy season, so not the best time to visit.

Note: Once every 12 years, the Neelarkunji shrubs throughout this area bloom, leaving the mountains covered in purple flowers. If 12 years is really the magic number, the next bloom will be in 2030, but I suggest researching this closer to the expected date as Mother Nature is not always very predictable.

Kandula Reservoir And Dam

Kandula Dam is the first stop down the hill after Top Station, 6.5 miles (10.5 km) away. The view of the the plantation-filled hills beyond the lake is beautiful.

At the far end of the bridge there are many shops and a water-sport area. You can rent kayaks, bamboo rafts, water cycles, plaster water rollers (that you can stand inside and propel by walking) coracles, which are little round boats, and more. Prices vary by activity and range from 200 INR for a single person to 700 INR for four people, depending on the rental.

There are monkeys near the water-sport area, so avoid carrying food with you here and keep a close eye on your possessions. Monkeys love to take your things.They may be cute, but these are wild animals, and can be unpredictable if they think you’re trying to withhold or take something from them. Especially food.

There was a small fee for entry into Kandula, but my rickshaw driver paid it, so I’m not sure what the cost was. I think it was 10 INR, but it may vary by vehicle size and if you’re a local or not.

Things to do in Munnar visit Kandula Reservoir
Kandula Reservoir

Echo Point

Echo Point, about 10 miles (16 km) from Top Station, is another recreation lake area. As the name implies, it’s known for returning the echo of your voice. Give it a try! You can also rent pedal boats, kayaks, coracles, and water rollers for similar prices as above.

Things to do in Munnar visit Echo Point
Echo Point

Madupetty Dam And Lake

Madupetty Dam and Lake, about 15 miles (24 km) from Top Station, also has a water-sport area. In addition to paddle boats, kayaks, and coracles, you can also rent jet skis here.

There are also many shops here. I checked out the shops selling locally made chocolate and, of course, tea.

Things to do in Munnar visit Madupetty Lake
Madupetty Lake

Madupetty Tea Factory

Just down the road a bit from Madupetty Dam is the Madupetty Tea Factory at Kanan Devan Hills Plantation, or KDHP. Here you can see tea being processed from plantation cuttings. Tea leaves get sorted, processed, dried and packaged here. After the tour you can taste different teas and purchase boxes to take with you. The entry fee is 200 INR (as of April 2023, about $2.44).

Unfortunately, the tea factory was closed when I arrived. I’m not sure why as the hours say it’s open daily from 9 to 5 except Mondays and holidays and it was Wednesday afternoon.

Kannan Devan Tea Museum

If you’re interested in learning more about the process of making tea, or the factory is closed, stop at the Kanan Devan Tea Museum. It’s 22.6 miles (36.4 km) from Top Station. It’s on the same road as the others, but past Munmar by .8 miles (1.3 km).

In addition to learning about the tea making process, you also learn how tea factories have become more automated, and more efficient over the years.

The museum is open 9-4, every day except Monday and holidays. Entry is 125 INR (about $1.52 as of May 2023).

Kolukkumalai Tea Estate And Peak

The second mountain peak to see here is Kolukkumalai, the world’s highest elevation tea plantation at 7,900’ (2,407 m). It’s located south of Top Station, but reached from a different road, 19.7 miles, (31.7 km) from Munnar.

I did not get a chance to visit Kolukkumalai, but it looks simply spectacular. See the short 1-minute video from Incredible India, a government sponsored tourism campaign, to get an idea of just how stunning the views are here.

You can only get to Kolukkumalai by jeep, as the road is very rocky, so it’s best to visit via tour. Their website says that you can hire your own jeep in Suryanelli, but it looks like advance approval may be required. The site is not exactly clear on this, so if this in your plan, contact them in advance.

A sunrise viewing is very popular tour here. It starts early in the morning though, usually meeting in Suryanelli for the two hour drive up to the drop-off point. From there, you trek about 1 mile (1.5 km) to the sunrise point. This means you may need to leave your hotel by 2:30 or 3:00 AM.

On the way back down, you’ll stop at Singapara rock, also called Lion Rock or Tiger Rock, as the rock looks like the profile of a large tiger taking a bite out of the sky. This spot also offers a clear view to Meesapulimala (see below), which is the second highest peak in the area (and another trekking option).

The sunrise trek at Kolukkumalai is considered relatively easy, but is best in good weather conditions. It can be slippery when wet.

If you want to see the sunrise without the pre-dawn drive, accommodation is available near the top. See the Kolukkumalai website for the jeep safaris, trekking (there are other trekking options) and accommodation booking.


Meesapulimala, the second highest peak in the Western Ghats, is a mountain near Kolukkumalai that also offers trekking. Treks can be arranged with the KFDC (Kerala Forest Development Corporation) and require a permit.

The guided trek includes staying the night before, so you can start the moderately difficult hike up the mountain early in the morning. See the Kerala tourism website for more details and booking.

Meesapulimala | Pratik Bachhav

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

If you drive to Munnar from Palakkad or Coimbatore via the State Highway 17, like we did, you will pass by the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary provides protection for a wide variety of plants and animals, including the protected giant grizzled squirrel, bengal tigers, and Indian star tortoise, as well as monkeys, elephants, panthers, deer, over 200 species of birds and 150 species of butterflies, and more. It covers 458 miles² (187 km²) of protected forests in the Anaimalai Hills.

You can arrange a guided trek to explore the sanctuary and animal sightings, but sightings of the rare and protected animals here will be few and far between, if at all. Jeep safaris are also offered and you can bring in your own vehicle, but must register it in advance. There’s also a waterfall inside the park, Thoovanam Waterfall. It’s available to see as part of the guided trek.

We didn’t enter the park, we just drove through via the highway on the way to Munnar with some friends after a wedding in Palakkad. At first we were concerned about tigers lunging at motorcyclists driving down the highway, but I suspect that is extremely rare. Our guide did say, however, that the park does do sweeps along the road every few hours to make sure everything is OK. Our drive was in the middle of the day and the only wildlife we saw from the road were some monkeys trying to get food from tourists near a parking area.

Best Time To Visit The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

The best time to visit is after monsoons, December to April. Early mornings and evenings are the best time to spot wildlife (and when the guided trucks are scheduled).

How To Get To The Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is about 1.5-2 hour drive from Munnar, about 30 miles (48.5 km).

Things to do in Munnar visit Chinnar Sanctuary
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Karimutty Waterfalls and Star Tortoise Shop

Karimutty Falls and the Star Tortoise Eco Shop, also on State Highway 17, is actually a part of Chinnar. This is a fun little stop. Especially if you have kids…or if you’re a kid at heart.

The waterfall, Karimutty Waterfall, is located beside the road. You can stand in front of, or under the waterfall, visit a tourist shop in the shape of a giant star tortoise (yes, you can walk inside), or just stop for chai here and take some touristy photos.

The Star Tortoise Eco shop is intended to create awareness of the endangered Indian Star Tortoise, which is protected in the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, all in an effort to help preserve it. It’s all for a good cause as many of the products sold here are collected by or created by the Karimutty tribe that lives in the area. You can buy sandalwood oil, lemongrass oil, spices, teas, and more.

If you visit the waterfall, it’s best to have water shoes so you don’t slip on the rocks.

Star Tortoise Shop
Karimutty Falls

Eravikulam National Park

Eravikulam National Park is the first National Park in Kerala and the former hunting grounds of the Munnar tea planters. It’s also located off State Highway 17, about 7.5 miles (12 .2 km) from Munnar, about a 30 minute drive. The park is 37.45 miles² (97 km²).

Created to protect the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, a rare mountain goat, half of the entire population of these goats can be found here. There is also gaur, tiger, leopard, elephant, sambar deer, as well as many birds and butterflies and much more.

You can enter the park from 8AM to 2 PM. Costs are 200 INR ($2.44) for Indian adults and 500 INR ($6.10) for foreigners (as of May 2023). The tourism area of the park, Rajamala, is a high altitude area with stunning views of the area, including Munnar.

There are a variety of trekking options inside the park. For more information on tourism, contact

Best Time To Visit Eravikulam National Park

The website says there is heavy rainfall in the park area in June and July and again in October and November. Frost is common in December and February and the park is closed in February and March, as this is calving season for the Nilgiri Tahr. April and May are the warmest months.

Lakkam Waterfalls

Lakkam Waterfall, also along State Highway 17, is a little closer to Munnar, 15.2 miles (24.5 km) away. These falls are part of the Eravikulam Stream and Eravikulam National Park. They’re close to the highway, so relatively easy to access. There is a small fee for entry and there are changing rooms.

Water shoes with good grips are recommended as the rocks can get slippery. Another thing to consider here is that there will be monkeys. Don’t bring food with as the monkey’s will try to get it. As they’re wild, they can be unpredictable. Especially when food is involved. There is food at a cafe nearby where you can eat safely.

Best Time To Visit Lakkam Falls

The best time to visit Lakkam Falls is after monsoon season, October to March. During monsoon season, June to October, the falls will be at their peak, but can sometimes be closed if rains are heavy.

Lakkam falls is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM, for a small fee.

How To Get To Munnar


The closest airport to Munnar is Cochin International Airport (COK), which is about 66.5 miles (107 km). The drive will take about 3-3.5 hours, depending on traffic. You can drive or take a taxi from the airport. Taxi costs will be more expensive during peak season.


The closest train stations to Munnar are Aluva, which is near Kochi, about 108 km away and Angamali, just north of Aluva, about 109 km away. From there you can take a taxi. The ride will be about 3-3.5 hours.

Munnar Tea Plantations

How To Get Around Munnar


If you self-drive to Munnar, driving around Munnar is still a good option for seeing the sites here (except Kolukkumalai and Meesapulimala). The downside is that parking is limited at some sites and traffic can be very heavy in peak season.


There is a KSRTC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) bus tour that runs to Top Station and stops at the main sites in Munnar. The cost is 250 IND (about $3) plus entry fees for the sites (as of May 2023). The bus leaves at 9 AM from the KSRTC Bus Station, in Old Munnar. See KSRTC Munnar Sightseeing for more details. A minimum of 20 people is required. Book ahead in peak season.

I have also read that you can take a bus directly up to Top Station, without stopping at the other sites. Ask for more details at the main bus station in town.

Tuk Tuk

My hotel arranged a tuk tuk for me for the day to visit Top Station and the sites nearby for 2000 INR. This is about $24 as of May 2023. It took us 5-6 hours, so I thought this was very reasonable. Even though it’s much more than the KSRTC bus above, it provided me the flexibility to stop at places according to my own time schedule. Plus it was much more fun as I got to know my driver a bit.

Best Time To Visit Munnar

The most popular time to visit Munnar is November to February when the temperatures are cooler. December and January will be the busiest with accommodation booking far in advance. Highs will range from the low to mid 70’s (22-24 C), with lows in the 50’s (12-13 C). It will be cooler in elevations, so bring warm clothes if you’re staying up high.

March to June is summer, is when the temperatures will be the warmest. Highs will be in the upper 70’s (24-25 C).

July to September is monsoon season with heavy rains, so not a good good time to visit.

Want To Read More About India?

There are many great tourist destinations in Kerala.

The Kerala backwaters further south are a great place to visit. These backwaters are a vast network of lakes, lagoons, and canals lined with palm trees stretching from Kochi, all the way down to Kollam. The most beautiful, and most visited area is in Aluppuzha, which is southwest of Munnar.

Palakkad, northeast of Kochi, is full of lush green rice fields, rolling, misty mountains, large reservoirs and dams, and historical monuments, as well as many great day-trip options.

Adiyogi, a giant statue of the God Shiva represented as Adiyogi, which means the first yogi, is in neighboring Tamil Nadu. If you are on a quest for inner well-being, transformation and empowerment, this is an excellent place to visit as a day trip. Adiyogi is north of Munnar.

And if you want to see one of the more popular spots in India, visit Jaipur in India’s Golden Triangle. This is definitely one of my favorite cities. Its sumptuous palaces, fascinating forts, and incredible royal history is riveting. It’s a city that you will always remember.

And, of course, Taj Mahal, in Agra, a several hour drive east of Jaipur, is something you just can’t miss. See my Top Tips for Visiting the Taj Mahal and the Top 10 Things to Do In Agra.

Safe Travels!


Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

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