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I spent 2 weeks in India. A highlight was visiting a small mountain town so beautiful it didn't seem real.

I spent 2 weeks in India. A highlight was visiting a small mountain town so beautiful it didn't seem real.
LifeThelife1 min read
The scenery and relaxing atmosphere of Munnar made it a unique destination that belongs on any travel bucket list.Peter Zelei Images/Getty Images
  • My family and I spent two days in the mountain town of Munnar during a trip through southern India.
  • We visited tea plantations and a national park and spent the night at a boutique hotel.

Late last year, my family and I spent two weeks traveling through India's southern state of Kerala. We spent a week by the beach in Kovalam, Christmas Day aboard a private houseboat, and two days seeking refuge from the blistering heat in the mountain town of Munnar.

As Business Insider previously reported, travelers are continuing to splurge on big trips — think international destinations and unique experiences — and this hill station situated in India's Western Ghats mountain range did not disappoint.

Renowned for its rolling miles of geometric tea plantations shadowed by impressive mountain ranges, Munnar is one of the greenest and most peaceful places I've ever visited.

Here's what we did during our two-day stay and why this small town should be on your bucket list.

The road to Munnar was filled with waterfalls, lush forests, and mountain peaks.

The road to Munnar was filled with waterfalls, lush forests, and mountain peaks.
The scenic drive from Kochi to Munnar has many striking waterfalls.      Asia London Palomba

We set off for Munnar from the river-framed city of Kochi, where we had landed the day before. The four-hour scenic drive took place along narrow, winding mountain roads.

We frequently passed by waterfalls roaring in lush jungles, families of monkeys swinging between trees, and mountain peaks peeking between gaps in the foliage.

Once we reached Munnar, we visited the Kannan Devan Tea Museum.

Once we reached Munnar, we visited the Kannan Devan Tea Museum.
Munnar's Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company is the largest employee-owned tea company in the world.      Asia London Palomba

Munnar is one of South India's largest and highest tea-growing regions, and for good reason. The area is blanketed with rows of tea plants that stretch as far as the eye can see — I felt as if I was looking at a rolling green ocean.

Munnar's Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company is the largest employee-owned tea company in the world and boasts a legacy that dates back over a century.

At its tea museum, we learned about the history of tea plantations in the area and watched a brief demonstration on how tea leaves are picked, sorted, and dried.

At the end of the tour, we purchased bags of white tea, green tea with rose petals, and aromatic spearmint tea that I could smell through the packaging.

We then headed toward the Eravikulam National Park along bumpy roads framed by emerald-green tea plantations.

We then headed toward the Eravikulam National Park along bumpy roads framed by emerald-green tea plantations.
Eravikulam National Park, located in the Kanan Devan Hills, is home to Anamudi, India's tallest peak outside of the Himalayas.      Asia London Palomba

Located in the Kanan Devan Hills, Eravikulam National Park was once a hunting preserve for British tea planters during their colonization of India.

It's home to Anamudi, India's tallest peak outside of the Himalayas. The area's rolling mountain ranges are often shawled in thick mists and dense vegetation.

At the entrance to the national park, we boarded an old bus that slowly took us up toward Anamudi. As we climbed between rows of tea plantations, its peak slowly came into view — I thought the image looked like a desktop screensaver.

By late afternoon, we were walking along paved trails in Anamudi’s shadow.

By late afternoon, we were walking along paved trails in Anamudi’s shadow.
The indigenous Nilgiri tahr, an endangered species of mountain goat, are often visible on trails in the national park.      Asia London Palomba

I admired the bird's-eye views of the area's hills and tea plantations, and the way that the late afternoon sun turned everything golden.

I also noticed many wandering groups of the indigenous Nilgiri tahr, an endangered species of mountain goat that was once hunted to near extinction. The species has been protected since the Wild Life (Protection) Act was introduced in 1972.

During our visit, they casually walked across trails and climbed up steep paths to chew on local flora, seemingly used to and unbothered by humans.

As night descended, we headed to our hotel.

As night descended, we headed to our hotel.
The breathtaking view from the Windermere Estate in Munnar, India.      Asia London Palomba

Our hotel, the Windermere Estate, was positioned on a rocky promontory and completely surrounded by tea, coffee, and cardamom plantations. We had a delicious dinner of local specialties and turned in for an early night.

The next day, I woke up just before dawn to a thick fog and the sounds of birds singing. The lights of a small neighborhood in the distance below still twinkled as the stunning view came into focus.

I bundled up against the morning chill and took a walk around the hotel's empty grounds to watch the sun rise over the rows of tea plantations.

Completely immersed in nature and with no one else around, it was one of the rare times I have felt truly at peace.

The area’s rich natural beauty and history alone are why it should be on anyone’s bucket list.

The area’s rich natural beauty and history alone are why it should be on anyone’s bucket list.
The author enjoying Munnar's unique landscape.      Asia London Palomba

Munnar's landscape was truly one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. I felt refreshed after my time in nature, and the cooler climate was a balm against the muggy heat of Kochi.

Next time, I'd like to spend a few more days in the area to fully embrace its relaxing effects, and would love the opportunity to leisurely hike through its famed tea plantations.

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