By Sujatha N, Kochi: You may be postponing a vacation trip or a picnic due to hike in taxi and hotel rates. We had a similar situation, this article is about how we solved the matter and visited Munnar, Kerala’s best hill station.
We decided to go for a trip to Munnar, one of the most visited hill stations in India. My husband enquired with a taxi agent and we were shocked hearing their rates. He further calculated driver Boarding/Travel allowance, food, tips and other expenses. We thought of dropping the Munnar trip. It is better for a middle class family to stay at their own home and watch Television instead of going for a trip.
The children got depressed when they heard our decision. Just few days more to reopen the school after the holidays. They had nothing to tell when their friends or teachers ask about their vacation.
Budget Tour to Munnar by KSRTC Bus
Finally we decided to go by KSRTC bus owned by the Kerala State Government for Rs 95 per head. Yeah, it costs just Rs 760/- for Munnar round-trip for four of us.
Next problem is finding a good accomodation for lowest price. We were lucky to get a forty percent discount coupon online. That is, we had to pay only Rs 1200 per day instead of Rs 2000. We are saving Rs 1600 for 2 days stay and with complimentary breakfast. We booked hotel through a reliable website.
We packed the lugguage. Got confused about taking sweaters as the bag cannot hold it. The temperature until Neriamangalam is above normal and wearing it from Kochi is not practical. As everyone knows reducing the luggage to minimum is better for bus travel. We just made a call to the hotel in Munnar. They assured woollen garment is not essential now and blankets will be provided by them. All our preparations went fine.
We wakeup early on the proposed day, got ready and reached KSRTC bus stand in Ernakulam by 7 AM. Enquired at the counter and found a bus leaving at 7.20. Occupied the best seat for us. We were happy when found several Indian and foreign tourists to Munnar inside the bus.
Munnar: in and around
The bus moved through the busy streets, poorly maintained roads and metro rail construction sites. It passed Aluva, Perumbavoor, Kothamangalam and Adimali bus stands. The trip was quite comfortable as there was not much rush inside the bus. We watched the places through the window and felt the soothing breeze with refreshing green plant’s odour from Neriamangalam forest onwards. We had a closer glimpse of water falls at Walara, on the way, when the bus slowed down for giving space for a private bus approached us in the opposite direction. The temperature went down gradually and we were in holiday mood. The view of tea garden was appealing to the eyes and we photographed several snaps in our mobile phone.
We reached Munnar in less than 5 hours. But we really enjoyed our economy trip. The hotel we booked was not very far from town. We approached there and the friendly receptionist offered us a free upgrade to supreme room as standard rooms on first floor were fully occupied by senior citizens from North India. We were thrilled as we enter the spacious room on the third floor with excellent view outside.
We had our lunch from that hotel itself and moved slowly to town after taking rest for some time. We walked through the tea gardens, visited an old church and temple. We had our dinner from a neat restaurant with delicious food in the town area and returned back to room.
Next day we had complimentary breakfast from the hotel, started trip to Eravikulam national park and several picnic spots until “Top Station View Point”, a full day tour conducted by District Tourism Promotion Council(DTPC). We enjoyed the trucking at Top Station through the muddy slope. We were back to room before the end of day.
On the next day, we started our return journey to Kochi at 10 AM on a KSRTC bus from Munnar town. We had enjoyed our 3 day picnic for lesser than the cost of a taxi to Munnar from Kochi. It was our protest against frequent hike in taxi rates.
We are thankful to MUNNAR.ORG for guiding us to the right destination and to KSRTC Bus for providing affordable travel to Munnar.