How to Reach Munnar, Kerala: Step-By-Step Guide (2019) [Price List Updated]

How to Reach Munnar, Kerala:

I just checked Google’s search trend data for the past one year (2018-19) and realized that ‘how to reach Munnar’ was among the top queries in Google.

And since you are here, reading this, I’m sure you have the same query.

The Only Reason I Keep Coming Back to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary-Kerala-Featured-Image
Scenic sunset near tea gardens at Munnar.

While there are a plenty of websites providing info about how to reach this beautiful hill-station in Kerala, (which you might have already read) I don’t want to serve you the same information.

I have done a lot of solo trips to Munnar since 2016 and basis my personal experience, I have updated all the information in this comprehensive guide.

The prices in this guide are updated basis my recent solo trip to Munnar (September 2019)

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Chaay and upma in the middle of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala.

Here’s the detailed step-by-step guide on how to reach Munnar from your hometown with Pro Tips at each stage.

Note: Don’t miss out the Bonus Tip in the end!

Before I detail out each mode of transport, let me lay out all the possible modes first (in the order of its appearance in the blog post):

Table of contents

  1. Reach Munnar by Train
  2. Pro Tips
  3. Reach Munnar by Rented Vehicle (Car/Jeep)
  4. Pro Tips
  5. Reach Munnar by Personal Vehicle (Car/Jeep)
  6. Pro Tips
  7. Reach Munnar by Bus
  8. Pro Tips
  9. Reach Munnar by Flight
  10. Pro Tips
  11. Bonus Tip

How to Reach Munnar by Train?

Since it’s a hill station, there are No Direct Trains to reach Munnar.

What is the Nearest Railway Station to Munnar?

The Nearest Railway Station to Munnar is Ernakulam South also known as Ernakulam Junction or Ernakulam Jn in Kerala.

Thus, if you are taking a train from your hometown to reach Kerala, you need to get down at Ernakulam South railway station.

Pro Tip 1:

Use Rail Code name ERS to find Ernakulam South railway station quickly in case you are looking for train schedule in M-Indicator App or booking trains on IRCTC website.

This-is-how-to-reach-Munnar-get-down-at-Ernakulam-station
Ernakulam South Railway station, Kerala.

Pro Tip 2:

There’s another station named Ernakulam North also known as Ernakulam Town (Rail Code name: ERN)

If you are travelling to Kerala via Mumbai-> Goa-> Mangalore-> Karwar route, then Ernakulam Town station will come first. (DON’T get down here!)

Ernakulam-north-railway-station-in-kerala
Ernakulam North Railway station.

From Ernakulam Town, Ernakulam South station (ERS) is 30 minutes away, which is the nearest railway station to Munnar.

Almost all the trains have a halt at Ernakulam South Station (ERS).

What is the Distance from Ernakulam South Railway Station to Munnar?

The total distance by road is 125 kms approx..

How to reach Munnar from Ernakulam South Railway Station (ERS)?

As I mentioned above, since Munnar is a hill station, the only way you can reach there is by road- Bus or Personal Vehicle.

Once you reach Ernakulam South Railway station, you need to first go to Ernakulam South Bus Stop (in case you wish to travel by bus) or take a rented vehicle to reach Munnar.

How to Reach Munnar by Rented Vehicle (Car/Jeep)?

In case you wish to travel by a rented vehicle (car/Jeep) instead of a bus from Ernakulam to Munnar, it is advisable to rent the vehicle after reaching Munnar or at Adimali (one stop before Munnar) instead of renting the same at Ernakulam.

Adimali-one-stop-before-reaching-Munnar
An aerial view of the beautiful town- Adimali.

3 Things to Keep in Mind While Travelling in a Rented Vehicle in Munnar:

This is because I have observed the following things during my stay in Munnar:

1. Scenic route from Munnar to Marayoor

The route from Munnar to Marayoor is even more scenic and less crowded as compared to the route from Ernakulam to Munnar (The route is Ernakulam >Adimali >Munnar >Marayoor >Chinnar)

2. Light on your pocket

You will save a lot if you rent the vehicles in Munnar and cover only a select locations in and around Munnar (which are suitable for car travel) rather than renting the vehicle all the way from Ernakulam.

scenic-tea-gardens-in-munnar
The road cutting through scenic tea gardens from Munnar to Marayoor.

3. Narrow roads due to construction

The valley facing side of the road (Ernakulam to Munnar, just before Adimali villahge) is always under repair making the roads even narrower and thus, travelling by a small vehicle on this road is anything but a pleasant experience.

Pro Tip 3:

During my recent trip to Munnar in September 2019, I observed that a few sections of the road from Ernakulam to Munnar, especially the last stretch, were closed on a daily basis for a few hours, especially after the extreme rainfalls, landslides and floods in Kerala (August 2018)

A-few-sections-of-the-road-from-Ernakulam-to-Munnar-are-currently-under-repair.
A few sections of the road from Ernakulam to Munnar are currently under repair. Credits: in.pinterest.com

The road after reaching Munnar is less affected by floods and thus apt for car travel.

How to Reach Munnar by Personal Car:

If you are travelling to Munnar in your personal vehicle (Car/Jeep) from Ernakulam, you can follow this straight-forward route:

Map location: Ernakulam South Railway station to Munnar

Pro Tip 4:

Here are different travel timings (by car) during different hours of the day considering the traffic situation in Kerala:

Early morning travel from Ernakulam to Munnar: 6-6.30 am (Highly Advisable):

Note: Avoid travelling from 7-8.30 am on a weekday as you’ll get lot of office traffic during that time in Ernakulam.

Early-morning-drive-to-munnar-is-the-best
Early morning drive to Munnar is the best. Credits: SKBCarRentals

Distance: 124 kms

Time taken: 3.30- 4.30 hours.

Arrival time at Munnar: Around 10.30-11 am

Morning travel from Ernakulam to Munnar: 9.30-10.30 am (Advisable only on weekdays):

Note: It is advisable not to travel during this time period (9-10 am) on a weekend/holiday as it’s a preferred time for a lot of tourist buses; causing a lot of traffic.

Distance: 124 kms

Time taken: 4-5.30 hours

Arrival time at Munnar: 2.40-3.30 pm

Afternoon travel from Ernakulam to Munnar: 2-3pm: (Not Recommended!)

Distance: 124 kms

Time taken: 4-5.30 hours

Arrival time at Munnar: 7.40-8.30 pm

Caution!

I have seen that people generally avoid evening travel to Munnar by small vehicles- Car/Jeep due to the steep curves and difficult terrains and the ongoing construction works.

At places, the roads are dug without any night reflector signs and symbols inviting accidents. Thus, it’s better to avoid night travel to Munnar.

The Only Reason I Keep Coming Back to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary-Kerala-Featured-Image
Instead of travelling at night you can explore Munnar during daytime and enjoy scenic sunsets from a hillside resort.

How to Reach Munnar by Bus from Ernakulam Bus Stop?

Ernakulam South Bus Stop is a walking distance (900 meters) from Ernakulam South Railway station.

You can also get a rickshaw from the station to bus stop. (5-7 minutes. 20 rupees)

ernakulam-south-bus-depot
Ernakulam south bus depot.

From Ernakulam South Bus Stop, you will get buses to Munnar Bus Stop.

Are direct buses available from Ernakulam to Munnar?

Yes. You can travel by a Govt. bus (KSRTC buses) or a private bus- AC/Non-AC.

How Much Time Does it Take to Reach Munnar?

It takes around 5-6 hours (124 kms) by bus to reach Munnar from Ernakulam South Bus Stop.

road-cutting-through-scenic-tea-plantations-in-munnar
You don’t realise you spent half a day travelling when the roads are as scenic as this.

How can I book bus tickets to Munnar? 

You can get Govt. bus tickets on the spot from Ernakulam South bus stop and for private buses, you need to book it in advance.

You can check availability of private buses on RedBus.

What is the price of Bus tickets to Munnar?

The ticket in a Govt. bus (KSRTC buses) will cost you Rs. 110/- (Fixed price).

You can identify a KSRTC bus from its iconic maroon colour with lemon-yellow stripes.

ksrtc-buses-in-kerala
A KSRTC bus en-route Munnar. Credits: Anavandi

The tickets for private buses are a little costly i.e. around Rs. 600 to Rs. 700/-

The prices for private buses can fluctuate during weekends.

Also, if it’s a tourist season (Oct- Feb) the tickets in a private bus would be even more expensive.

Pro Tip 5:

Sometimes, you might not get direct buses to Munnar from Ernakulam South Bus Stop post 11 am as the bus owners try to reach Munnar by noon and come back before dark, especially in the monsoons and winters.

In case you miss the direct bus to Munnar from Ernakulam, you can try reaching any of the below places and catch the bus:

Ernakulam-> Vytilla Habba-> Aluwa-> Kodamangalam-> Adimali

Almost all the buses follow the above route.

How to Reach Munnar by Flight:

kerala-flight

Honestly, I have only travelled once to Kerala by a flight as I generally prefer trains or buses.

Hence, I feel I would not be in a position to give you a clearer picture about travelling to Kerala by a flight.

However, while researching on the net, I found the information from MakeMyTrip pretty simplified and helpful.

Nearest Airport to Munnar:

Munnar does not have an airport of its own. The nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport, which is 110 kilometres away by road.

cochin-airport-kerala
Cochin airport, Kerala.

From Cochin, you can hire a cab to get to Munnar.

The other airport is Madurai International Airport, which is 140 kilometres away from Munnar. (Source: MakeMyTrip)

Bonus Tip

As promised at the beginning of the post, here’s the bonus tip for your Kerala trip (Wow! That rhymed 😅):

Most of the tourists plan a 3-4 days trip to Kerala (Source: Google Search trend data 2019)

It is very difficult to cover all your dream destinations in Kerala in such a short span; that too after travelling for several hours in train/car to reach Kerala.

I just fetched search results from Google for past 2 years and realized that people who come to Kerala for 3-4 days, generally look to cover Munnar and nearby points- Tea gardens, Alleppey houseboats, Periyar Tiger Reserve etc.

Collage-of-places-to-visit-in-kerala
From woods to waters, Kerala is well and truly the God’s own country.

So without any further delay, here’s your bonus tip. (Considering you are planning a 3-4 days or max. 5 days trip to Kerala)

Itinerary you would have planned:

Day 1:

Looking at the schedule of most trains reaching Ernakulam-Kerala, you would be reaching there by afternoon on Day 1.

You wouldn’t want to travel for another 5-6 hours to reach Munnar immediately after reaching Ernakulam, considering you have just travelled for more than 12 hours to reach Kerala.

So you would plan to stay in Ernakulam or Cochin on Day 1 and start Munnar journey the next day.

Day 2:

By the time you reach Munnar on Day 2, it would be pretty dark and most of the points would be closed.

Day 3 & 4:

You would need at least 2 more days to explore Munnar and surrounding regions fully.

Day 5:

You would probably visit Alleppey houseboats after that and spend another day there.

With the above plan, you would have covered only 2 places- Munnar and Alleppey in 5 days!

Day 6 & 7

It takes around 16 hours to come back from Ernakulam to Goa. If you stay in Mumbai, it will take you around 26 hours for your return journey.

If your boss is so generous with your leaves, go ahead with the above plan. If not, look at my recommended plan below.

My recommended plan:

Day 1- First half:

Ernakulam and Cochin are one of the major cities of Kerala and hence accommodations are a bit expensive there.

Thus, Instead of getting down at Ernakulam railway station, get down at Allaphuza railway station (also known as Alleppey; rail code ALLP)

Allaphuza or Alleppey is just 4 stations ahead of Ernakulam South Railway station which takes approx. 45 minutes extra. (Don’t worry, you will compensate for the extra time spent once you reach Allaphuza)

Allaphuza-railway-station-in-Kerala
Allaphuza a.k.a Alleppey railway station in Kerala.

The station is just 8 kms from the prime backwater zone in Alleppey and takes only 15 minutes by rickshaw (Rs. 90, if you negotiate!).

You can book a stay in any of the resorts/hostels in Alleppey and relax there in the first half on Day 1.

The accommodations in Alleppey are less costly compared to the ones in Ernakulam or Cochin.

Day 1- Second half

You can plan a relaxing houseboat ride in the second half in the Alleppey backwaters. Half a day is enough to enjoy the boat ride.

However, ensure that your stay is very close to the backwaters as to save travelling time.

Day 2:

You can leave for Periyar Tiger Reserve at early morning on Day 2. The reserve is just a 3.5 hour drive from Alleppey and is a must visit place in Kerala.

There is a ferry which takes you around an island inside the reserve, where you get to see a lot of wild animals very closely. If you are lucky, you can spot a tiger too!

periyar-tiger-reserve-kerala
Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala.

You can utilize Day 2 to reach Periyar and explore the reserve. There are a lot of budget accommodations in Periyar very close to the Tiger Reserve.

I am writing a detailed blog post about Periyar Tiger Reserve soon. In case you are planning a trip to Periyar in coming weeks and have limited time to plan, you can reach out to me here and I’ll share the required info.

Day 3:

You can leave for Munnar at early morning on Day 3 which is just a 3 hour drive from Periyar Tiger Reserve. There are direct buses too.

You will reach Munnar by noon and can explore the surrounding areas in the second half on Day 3 and on Day 4.

Day 4, second half:

You can start your return journey (you will get a direct bus) from Munnar to Ernakulam by noon on Day 4.

You will reach Ernakulam by evening.

Day 5 & 6:

As I mentioned above, depending on where you stay- Goa or Mumbai, it will take you 1 & 2 days respectively to reach back home.

With my recommended plan, you would have covered not just Munnar and Alleppey but also an extra destination- Periyar Tiger Reserve!

Also you would still have an extra day left!

You can reach home early and use that extra day for a relaxing sleep in the comfort of your bed. After all, you deserve a good, uninterrupted sleep after such a long trip, and there’s nothing like your own bedroom.

So to summarize…

You can reach Munnar eitherways- From Ernakulam or from Alleppey.

People who want to visit only Munnar, prefer to go there via Ernakulam.

Since you are reading this post about How to reach Munnar, I can assume that you are going there for the first time.

Also, as per the assumption in the Bonus Tip, your trip would be for a short duration.

Thus, in order to utilize your time wisely and cover more than just Munnar, you can follow the plan I have suggested above.

As I said, this is a tried and tested itinerary basis my personal experiences in Kerala.

When I had stayed in Alleppey (Sep 2019) I had not only managed to find a good resort-like stay, but also, it was just 50 meters from the backwaters!

And the best part, it cost me just Rs. 200 per night!

In case you are wondering what kind of place it would be….see this video and decide for yourself.

This place is specially for travellers and the founder of this place is a traveller himself; hence the low price.

In case you are a budget traveller like me, you should definitely consider this place listed on Hostelworld.

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In case you have any further queries, feel free to add a comment below and I will respond at the earliest.

I’m generally quicker on emails. And In case you are a member of Pravin’s Travel Tribe, I’ll reply in a jiffy! (The membership is FREE of cost. All I need is your name and email)

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There’s a special place beyond Munnar and it’s so fascinating that I keep coming back to this place since 2016.

In case you are curious to know about my recent solo trip to Kerala, you can check out the below posts:

Solo Trip, Day 1:

Here’s How the Solo Trip Bug Bit Me!

how-the-solo-trip-bug-bit-me

Solo Trip, Day 2:

If Kerala is God’s Own Country, then Munnar is Probably His Secret Hideout:

The Only Reason I Keep Coming Back to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary-Kerala-Facebook-Post

Solo Trip, Day 3:

The Only Reason I Keep Coming Back to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary-Kerala

The-Only-Reason-I-Keep-Coming-Back-to-Chinnar-Wildlife-Sanctuary-Kerala-Featured-Image

Solo Trip, Day 4:

The Greatest Ever ‘Upma Story’ of My Life

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