Kochi to Munnar- Budget Travel Guide

Kochi to Munnar – How I Travelled On A Shoe-String Budget (2020)

Quickest & Cheapest Ways to Travel From Kochi to Munnar:

In the past 5-6 years of my Solo Travelling, I have explored a lot of scenic places in Kerala, yet every time I travel from Kochi to Munnar, its a different experience altogether.

All these trips were solo, thus, I had a lot of time to think about a place, make impromptu plans to it and even choose my own mode of transport.

This gave me a lot of exposure to how things run (quite literally) in this part of the world and taught me all the tricks and techniques to reduce my travel time.

Travel Quotes Munnar

I’m sure even you would have done at least one solo trip in your life and would know how wonderful it is to have that freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

You make your own travel plans, the way YOU like it!

So Many Places to Visit in Munnar, Not Enough Time?

How often have you faced a situation wherein there are so many places to explore but not enough time?

Over the years of travelling in Kerala, one thing I’ve learnt is that people do so much research about all the best places to visit in Munnar, they actually forget its a hill station located far away from the city.

And in order to reach Munnar hill station, you need to travel and travel a lot!

A perfect dose of Romance & Nostalgia in Munnar

Hence, keeping this in mind, I thought of jotting down ALL the important factors that will help you cut short your travel time from Kochi to Munnar.

I know how difficult it is for a traveller like you and I to research about so many things on Google and go through so many articles.

Hence, I have made an attempt of answering all your travel related queries in ONE single post such as distance from Kochi to Munnar, ways to travel from Kochi airport to Munnar, bus timings, taxi fares, etc.

So make sure you read it till the very end!

7 Things You Need to Know Before Heading to Munnar

I know you are short on time here. So before I detail out each mode of transport, let me lay out the summary of all the points in this blog post for your easy reference.

Table of contents

  1. Cochin vs. Kochi vs. Ernakulam- Are They Same?
  2. Kochi to Munnar distance
  3. Taking a Direct Train to Munnar?
  4. Kochi Airport to Munnar- Quickest & Cheapest Routes!
  5. Travelling From Kochi to Munnar By Taxi- A Safe Option?
  6. Is Self- Driving A Better Option?
  7. What are the Bus Timings, Online Bookings etc.?
Kochi to Munnar Infographic

Feel this is enough? You can bookmark this post, exit and continue with your other work.

OR

You can spend JUST 3 MORE minutes and get ALL your queries about reaching Munnar answered in this single post.

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Decided?
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Great!

Glad you stayed back!

Now, before we start…here’s what you need to know first.

1) Cochin vs. Kochi vs. Ernakulam- Are They Same?

Kochi, Cochin and Ernakulam are the names which create a lot of confusion when you are planning a trip to Kerala.

Short answer: Kochi and Cochin are the same.

Long answer: British used to call Kochi as Cochin and Keralites used to call it Kochi and officially Kochi was declared as the name in 1990s.

But what is Ernakulam then?

Ernakulam is the name of the district in which Kochi ,the sea port in Kerala state is located. The distance between Kochi to Ernakulam by Road is 10 kms.

Now that you have this sorted, let’s move on to the next section.

When I started writing and publishing my travel experiences in Munnar, I started getting a lot of queries about this place from the fellow travelers.

Apart from reading my experiences, they also wanted to know what is the nearest railway station to Munnar, what is the distance by road, by air, etc.

No matter if you’ve travelling to Munnar for the first time or have been there previously, the below points will help you reach there quickly and give you more time to explore the hill station.

2) Kochi to Munnar Distance:

By road, the distance between Kochi and Munnar is approximately 130 km.

But you just wouldn’t land directly into Kochi, would you?

The 2 common ways tourists come to Kerala are:

  • By Train or
  • By Flight

People from the neighbouring state Tamil Nadu also prefer driving straight to Munnar.

If you are reading this from Tamil Nadu right now, jump straight to section 6 about “Self-Driving to Munnar.”

Rest all, continue.

3) Taking A Direct Train to Munnar?

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

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

Ernakulam-South-Railway-Station

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

Pro Tip 1:

I know sometimes it might be a little difficult to pronounce a few names especially the long railway station names in India.

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

Taking a Train From Mumbai to Kerala or Goa to Kerala:

To give you a perspective, it takes 14-16 hours to travel by train from Goa to Kerala (Ernakulam South) and 24-26 hours from Mumbai to Kerala.

All the trains from Mumbai to Kerala halt at Madgaon Railway Station, Goa.

Train tickets from Goa to Kerala are mostly available in Tatkal and for foreign travelers, there is a special reservation quota.

In case you wish to know more about train tickets and timings, you can get in touch with me on Facebook or Instagram.

Pro Tip 2:

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

If you are taking a train to Kerala from Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore or Karwar, then Ernakulam Town station will come first. (DON’T get down here as it will increase the travel time by 1 hour)

Ernakulam Town Railway Station:

Ernakulam town station

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

4) Kochi Airport to Munnar- Quickest & Cheapest Routes!

kerala-flight

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.

The other airport is Madurai International Airport, which is 140 kilometres away from Munnar.

From Kochin airport, you can hire a taxi to get to Munnar.

5) Travelling From Kochi to Munnar By Taxi- A Safe Option?

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

If you are a solo traveller travelling on a lighter budget or prefer public transport, you can jump to section 7 about travelling by bus from Kochi to Munnar.

If you prefer relaxed, leisurely travels on your holidays, you can prefer a rented taxi or self-drive to Munnar.

The distance from Kochi to Munnar by a taxi is approx. 125 kms. (4-5 hours)

Rides-in-Munnar

But How Safe Are The Taxis?

It is quite natural to believe whatever stories you hear about a new place.

Even I was worried the first time I traveled to Kerala. But its been 6 years, I have been travelling to this state and I haven’t come across a single incidence that would deem this place unsafe for travellers especially solo travellers- male and female.

Taking a Taxi from Ernakulam South Railway Station (ERS)?

If you are travelling to Kerala by train, you now know which station to get down at. (If you are still unsure, it is Ernakulam South Railway station.)

You’ll get direct taxis to Munnar from right outside the station.

Kochi Airport to Munnar Taxi:

Similar to the railway station, you can also get direct taxis from Kochi airport to Munnar.

However, if you are booking your flights using apps like MakeMyTrip or Goibibo, I would suggest clubbing your flight booking and taxi booking to avail great discounts.

Uber/Ola Taxis vs. Local Taxi Rides?

From pricing point of view, I would strongly recommend pre-booking your travel on Ola Outstation Cabs or on Uber.

You can always compare the fares on Ola vs. the one offered by these local taxi owners. (Make sure you bargain!)

From the safety aspect, as I said above, both the options are safe (if not affordable!)

Ola-in-Munnar
P.S. Not promoting Ola here. Just came across their ad on the internet which I think would be relevant to you.

Taxi Fares- Station, Airport and On Pre-Booking Apps!

As I have generally seen, from airport, a Tata Indica car (AC, 5 seater) would cost around 3,500-3,800 INR (Indian Rupees) and Toyota Innova car (AC, 7 seater) would cost around 4,500-4,800 INR.

From the railway station, it would be at least 500 INR less and on pre-booking sites like Ola, Uber you can get further discounts.

Pro Tip 3:

If you are a group travelling with a lot of luggage, send someone without luggage to bargain with the local taxi owners and ONLY when you have agreed upon a price, ask your other mates with luggage to join.

This is because in most parts of India (and not just Kerala), the taxi owners have a union and as soon as they see tourists (especially foreign tourists) with a heavy luggage, they unanimously hike the prices and leave you no room for bargain.

6) Is Self- Driving A Better Option?

In case you wish to self-drive using a rented vehicle (car/Jeep) from Ernakulam to Munnar, it is advisable to rent the same after reaching Munnar or at Adimali (a major town before Munnar) instead of renting the same at Ernakulam.

If you are driving to Munnar by your own vehicle, you can choose the quickest route from your hometown.

Either-ways, its a memorable experience to self-drive to Munnar as you have the liberty to stop at every nook and corner as well you get your own privacy.

Map location: Ernakulam South Railway station to Munnar

Early morning rides to Munnar are the best...

mornings-in-tea-gardens-of-Munnar

7) What are the Bus Timings, Online Bookings etc.?

The reason I’m able to pull off my Munnar trips on a shoe-string budget every time is because I prefer to travel by a bus.

Though it is a personal favorite for me, you can read below points and decide for yourself if it fits your requirement too.

In case you are travelling to Kerala by train:

Once you reach Ernakulam South Railway station, you need to first go to Ernakulam South Bus Stop (900 meters from the station)

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

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

In case you are travelling to Kerala by flight:

There are no direct buses from Kochi airport to Munnar. You need to take a bus to Aluva KSRTC bus depot, which is about 12 kms from the airport.

Buses are available every 30 minutes from Aluva.

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 or 4 hours (100 kms) from Aluwa bus depo.

Pro Tip 4:

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

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

Ernakulam (start of bus journey)-> Vytilla Habba-> Aluwa-> Kodamangalam-> Adimali–> Munnar (end of bus journey)

Almost all the buses follow the above route.

How can I book bus tickets to Munnar? 

You can get Govt. bus tickets on the spot from any of the bus stops mentioned above and for private buses, you need to book it in advance.

You can check availability of private buses on sites like RedBus.

What is the price of Bus tickets to Munnar?

The ticket in a Govt. bus (KSRTC bus) will cost you just 110 INR (See, my personal favourite I told you!)

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

KSRTC-buses-in-munnar

The tickets for private buses are a little costly i.e. around 600 INR to 700 INR. Also their prices can fluctuate during weekends or during peak tourist seasons (Nov-Jan).

The prices of Govt. buses remain fixed. (No wonder, I prefer Govt. buses every time I travel to Munnar!)

So to summarize…

Now that you’ve scrolled so far down, I need you to understand one thing about Munnar. It is a majestic hill station spread across several hundred acres and it is practically not possible to cover it in a day or two.

Hence, you should try and minimize as much travel time as you can and utilize this time to explore Munnar and the surrounding areas.

I feel it is very important that you understand the requirement of your group or family who’s travelling and choose the right mode of transport suitable to your group. (If you are a solo traveller, you are the king!)

Though bus travels can be enticing due to affordable tickets, you need to understand buses follow a specific schedule and don’t halt at every tea garden en-route Munnar.

Plus, its always better to take a taxi and spend countless hours in the tea gardens of Munnar rather than on some random bus-stop waiting for your next bus to Munnar.

Munnar-thrillophilia

Having said that, bus travel to Munnar is STILL my personal favourite and I can pull it off with ease saving ample time and money.

Curious to know how was my first bus travel experience to Munnar? I have published a dedicated post for that as well.

Also, in case you are wondering how a Goan like me fell in love with the hills of Kerala instead of the pristine Goan beaches, you need to read about my fascinating Kerala stories.

Oh! And by the way don’t forget to read my title post about Hills over beaches, which has also been featured on Tripoto– An online community of over 6 million travelers!

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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.

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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.

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