Munnar, Kerala, India
5 days - November 2018
What a surprise to find another type of landscape in Kerala! After a Colonial City, a cruise in lush vegetation and some beach time, we headed to Munnar known for its tea plantations to do some hiking!
Indians LOVE tea ! With lemon, ginger, cardamom, Masala , for breakfast, lunch, snack time, diner, there is always a good reason to drink tea. The British used to come here to enjoy the breeze- Munnar being based at 1,600m. One of them - Munro- discovered that the region could be used for spices plantations and bought some lands for a nice price. He later developed tea cultures. Today the famous Tata company owns a lot of lands.
The road to get there was beautiful, winding roads in the mountains with view on waterfalls, the colour of the tea plantations is a vibrant green, the clouds surround the valley giving it a particular charm a bit mystical. The bus (with no windows at all !) is amazingly punctual, not crowded at all and it « only » took us 4 hours to do 140 kms (this for 1 euros)! We keep being surprised by how efficient and punctual the public transports are in India !
We really enjoyed our first glimpse of nature in India (with the backwaters). To start with we took a public bus to reach Top Station. The winding roads to get there were amazing ! But scary we have to admit especially when you can’t see more than 1 meter ahead of you and the driver keeps speeding... but there is god to protect them on the road and we stop to buy offerings for the bus Shiva icon. If you have an accident, it’s fine you will be reincarnated in a cow if you did well, the top of the top of the reincarnation. (Once more we would prefer the driver to slow down instead of counting on Shiva ;) )
Arriving to the top: the view was totally blocked with clouds, unlucky! But we heard the view was amazing and the road to get there was already really nice.
We also did 2 hikes.
One with Vimal- our guide for the day- 20 kms to reach 2,300m going through grasslands, tea plantations, spice gardens (poor Vimal telling us in French the spices names and we never heard of them before !) and looking for wild elephants : we found many footprints and poo! The different tea -green, black, white- come from the same plant but got processed differently explaining their colour, tastes and particularities. The tea trees can give tea leaves for a hundred years.
For lunch: Biriani rice to be eaten with our hands ! Yummy but have you ever tried eating rice with your hands ? And not sticky rice, regular rice. It’s hard ;)
The owner of the hotel also took us to plantations where you can freely walked around (most of them are private) and get lost in the plantations. We saw many women tea-picking with a special tool, under blazing sun, for a maximum of 3 euros a day... drinking tea has a different taste now knowing that.
Finally another traveller convinced us to go to Ernavikulam National Park. Big mistake. It’s expensive (as per Indian standards), we can’t walk more than 500m and after that we got blocked by a guard. Mass tourism organisation for Indian tourists who don’t like to walk at all... the park has many blue sheeps but of course from the paved road and with 100 people around we didn’t get to see any. Beginner mistake to follow someone without doing any research ;)
In Munnar we got to eat the cheapest meals ever: less than 50cts per person for a Dosa, Paper Dosa, Aloo Fry or Idly. These are type of crepes, patata or rice balls to be eaten with little curries sauce on the side. Yummy! (And we didn’t get sick at all ;) )
# we stayed at Landy Queen for 2,000 rupies a night: amazing place with the nicest owners on earth!
# bus Fort Kochi to Munnar: 4 hours for 114 rupies per person. Take the Kerala government buses they are really good!
# no need to take a tuktuk to reach top station: there are buses quite frequently for 50 rupies
# No need to go to Ernavikulam National Park. Its disappointing. 400 rupies per person.
Dec 16, 2018 - 03:22 PM
coucou, bon repas indien, miam ! oui manger à la main est une technique, je suis plus douée que pour les baguettes chinoises, lol, toujours de la main droite je crois ! manger à la main a un autre gout mais je n'ose pas ! on est en France et civilisés, hi hi à bientôt
Christelle & Cedric
Dec 19, 2018 - 07:01 AM
Il va falloir nous apprendre ca Angie !