I’ve always wanted to go to the tea fields of India, but never actually thought past Darjeeling, when in fact the fields near Munnar in Kerala are possibly even more popular as a hill station to visit. When backpacking Kerala, this is something not to miss!
While on our way with goMowgli, they got news that the tea pickers in Munnar were on strike (something to keep in mind when visiting, as in Kerala strikes happen quite often!). We couldn’t go to Munnar the most popular hill station because if we got up the road, the workers wouldn’t allow us back out. It was decided we would go to Chinnakanal instead.
Chinnakanal is 45 minutes or 21 km distance away from Munnar. It turned out to be the best decision of all since we saw hardly any other tourists, and NONE at the plantation itself. We had the whole area to play and ride around in Jeeps!
Chinnakanal | A great option for a less touristy Kerala tea plantation
I can’t really compare it to Munnar since I haven’t been, so can’t say it’s better but I can say it was stunning and since I’ve been there, I probably won’t bother going to Munnar as I can’t imagine it’s much different.
- We stayed very close to the tea fields at Lake Zone Resort Chinnakkanal.
- To go on a Jeep ride, you need to be up and ready by 8 AM and the cost for us was 400 Rs. I think if you have a smaller group, it may cost more per person.
- A few girls got up even earlier and when with the goMowgli guides to see the sunrise over the fields. I slept in; no surprise there.
The Jeep ride was about an hour each way but it did feel like a long time. It’s very bouncy. Girls, wear a very tight sports bra! lol. They stopped when we asked so we could hop out and take photos.
Once you get near the plantation, it’s time to hop out and go for a little hike. This was the best part because you really had time to get the photos you wanted and walk down the lanes of tea if you felt like it.
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
Rather than just take photos and leave, we actually went and learned about how the tea is made. You might as well, because it didn’t cost a thing. You can see what happens to the leaves from when they are picked, to dried, sorted, checked by taste, graded, bagged up, and finally ready to ship out!
Inside, the caffeine in the air might give you a bit of a headache. We stayed for a cup of tea after, which made the experience pretty cool. From the ground, to our lips! Everyone who worked there seemed totally cool with us stopping by and taking photos. They offered for me to help them which was fun, and one guy took us around showing us little things like how the machines had “England” stamped on them.
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