| A quick getaway to Munnar from Bangalore |

Last weekend, we embarked on a refreshing weekend trip to Munnar from April 28 to April 30, 2023. We too a bus from Bangalore (Greenline), which dropped us off at Theni. From there, a smaller bus took me to Munnar, which was about 70 km away. Just a heads up - be prepared for this little bus-relay!


Upon reaching Munnar, we were surprised by the heat, as the temperature soared to 29 degrees in the afternoons. It\'s not exactly pleasant for trekking, so be prepared to get tired within 10-15 km walks - depending on fitness level. We also noticed that Munnar can get quite crowded during holidays and festivals; This being a long weekend with May 1st, it was choke-a-block with cars, buses and maxis pouring in from all directions. We hardly could manage a place to stay and could not find any bikes to rent. So, I\'d recommend visiting during off-peak seasons like July-August, February-March, or November-December (excluding festivals).


To enjoy a quieter time and do some bird spotting, it\'s better to stay outside Munnar, preferably along the Coimbatore direction. It is a paradise for birdwatching, and we were delighted to hear the beautiful birdcalls throughout our stay.


The best way to explore the area was by renting a bike or car. But since we could not get one, we went for the alternate: hiring an auto for the day for a package tour. Not ideal and not our rhythm, but well. You can hire an auto or jeep for the day package (either Coimbatore / Matupetty / Thekkady or Cochin direction) for around INR 1200-2000, depending upon the season and the route.

My Vijay - our homestay owner - was a very helpful guy. He connected us with Mr. Mani, the manager of Maharaja Travels, who in turn connected us with two friendly and reliable guides/auto drivers - Victor Mani and Bhaskar - who took us around for day trips.


One of the highlights of our trip was the guided hike to Thoovanam falls in Chinnar sanctuary. Although it was a group hike, the guides were quite relaxed about letting us explore on our own. We even encountered some interesting "dragonfly piss" (as our guide jokingly called it) along the way, which was likely from cicadas. We felt it coming down on us each time we passed one of those trees buzzing with cicadas. I dare say, I even saw the droplets raining down once!

Another beautiful spot We visited was Eravikulam National Park. However, the actual hike was limited due to construction work, so We couldn\'t walk with the Tahrs as We had hoped. If you have the chance, I\'d recommend looking into the special hiking packages that let you explore the park more extensively.

Some tips:

 - There are separate queues for safari based on whether you booked the ticket from the counter or online. And the online-queue is significantly shorter. So, try booking the ticket online, even if queuing up at the ticket counter. - Also, despite advertised closing time of 4 PM, we saw visitors filing in to the queue for safari as late as 4:30 PM and the return safari buses from top were available till 6 PM. Your mileage may vary. 


If you are staying in main Munnnar town, for food, I suggest heading over to the main market after the HP petrol pump, where you can find better options like Guru Bhavan. Service at Sarvana Bhavan was quite slow and they also open up late - only after 8 AM. Keep in mind that most places don\'t serve meals or thalis during dinner.

Our weekend trip to Munnar was a refreshing change of pace. If you\'re planning a visit, keep these tips in mind, and you\'ll have a fantastic time exploring this beautiful destination!