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After a few days with Rahul and his family, Isaac finally reached out to me when I returned to Mumbai. He had already been backpacking on his own in the south, and invited me to join him. It would be my first time deciding on making a unplanned travel detour.

Upon his instructions, I flew into Cochin from Mumbai and waited for him alone. He came by 2 hours later (he overslept, haha) and then we were on our way to a hill station in the Western Ghats called Munnar…

Cochin Airport

 

From Cochin to Munnar, you can take a 4-5 hour bus that winds around hills like a caterpillar.

 

 

After 5 hours on the road, you’ll arrive at one of the more famous hill stations in the Western Ghat mountains and a former resort for the British Raj elite. This is Munnar.

 

 

We ended up sleeping at a half-finished hostel, taking up a room that at least had a bed, but lacked a roof. We didn’t mind:

 

 

The next morning, shivering and unsure how many times we were bit by mosquitoes, we picked up some cups of cardamon tea and were greeted by our rickshaw driver for the day, John:

 

 

From there we headed for a hike through the famous tea hills for which Munnar is famous:

 

 

If you’re feeling up for it, climb as high as you can go:

 

 

Enjoy views of the Western Ghats:

 

 

Not everyone may survive the brutal elements:

 

 

After about 3 hours of hiking, we descended back to the tea hills:

 

 

And then John took us back into town.

 

 

And from there we headed 15km back out from Munnar towards Top Station.

Along the way, don’t forget to check out Echo Station: a small lake among a series of rolling hills where — fitting to its name — you can hear your own echo when you call out.

 

 

About 37km from Munnar (1 hour by bus) is the edge of Munnar’s border and Top Station: a viewpoint that overlooks the Western Ghats “above the clouds” and on the border between the Indian states Kerala and Tamil Nadu:

 

 

Grab some fruits back before you go…

 

 

…and enjoy the sunset leading you home.

 

– At time of posting in Munnar, India, it was 73.4 °F
Humidity: 70% | Wind Speed: 3km/hr | Cloud Cover: cloudy