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Chennai-Munnar Road Trip by 3 Lovely routes | A Step by Step Guide

Bangalore to munnar
Written by Poorna & Brinda

Chennai-Munnar road trip is always a memorable ride. Our Chennai friends who have done this road trip quite a few times say that every time they drive to Munnar from Chennai, they have their “wow” moments!

Munnar was in news. For right reasons as this is the year of Neelakurinji. The flowering season ended in October.

Without any hesitation, we would say Munnar is mesmerising. Lovely greenery, beautiful waterfalls, pristine lakes, awesome view points…..all these makes Munnar a place for anyone who loves outdoors.

We have read many questions on planning a Chennai-Munnar road trip  like…….
  • How can i go to Munnar from Chennai?
  • What is the best route for Chennai-Munnar road trip?
  • Where can i stop for breakfast and lunch while going on Chennai- Munnar road trip?
  • What are the places to see on the way from Chennai to Munnar by car/bike?
  • How is the road condition while driving from Chennai to Munnar?
  • Is it safe to drive from Chennai to Munnar by car/bike?
  • Is there a Chennai-Munnar road trip blog?

We hope all these questions will be answered by this post!

We always feel the best time to be in Munnar is during monsoon if you are comfortable with rains. If not, then you should go there immediately after the rains. This is the best time to visit Munnar when nature is at its best.

It is soothing green everywhere. Waterfalls are at their glorious best. Streams with crystal clear waters. Cascades everywhere! Lakes brimming with water.

If you are planning a Chennai-Munnar road trip, it can be reached by 3 spectacular routes. We give you all details here on how to make this road trip a memorable experience!

Route 1 – Bedazzled by Bodi Ghat!

The route via Bodinayakkanur is very picturesque. Especially during monsoon and immediately after that. As soon as you leave Bodi, you will start climbing. The winding roads offer beautiful views of the plains below. The road is curvy but there are not too many hairpin bends. You will see mighty hills with peaks rising to sky!

Once you cross Theni, you will see greenery all around. This is a beautiful countryside. Enjoy your drive as you climb up the Bodi Ghat. You will get many photo opportunities. Stop and experience the nature at its best. Enjoy the drive.

Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size

Lovely mountains beckons!

Peaks soaring into the sky!

The first sight of Munnar valley! Mesmerising! 

A colourful tea village!

Chinnakanal waterfalls in monsoon

  • Route –  Chennai – Villupuram – Tiruchirapalli – Theni – Bodi Ghat – Munnar
  • Google Map – https://goo.gl/maps/R46EWfaGL7n
  • Distance – 583 KMs
  • Time – 12 hours
  • Road Condition – Very Good
  • Suggested stops
    • Breakfast –You will find many places on the Chennai – Trichy highway for breakfast.
    • Lunch – If you are a non vegetarian, then we recommend that you eat or pack Biryani in famous Talappakatti Restaurant in Theni (See map) . If you are packing biryani, you can stop over at a lovely place on the ghat and have a picnic lunch. If you are a vegetarian, Theni will be a good place to break for lunch. There are many good restaurants in Theni on the highway.

Route 2 – Ultimate joy of driving on Udumalpet ghat!

As soon as you leave Udumalpet, it is a blissful driving. The driving on the hair pin bends on Udumalpet ghat is exciting indeed! Add to that lovely landscape along the way.

You will get a chance to see many lovely waterfalls like Thoovanam Waterfalls, Lakkam Waterfalls and  Karimutty waterfalls on the way. You can take a small deviation to go and see Amaravathi Dam.

Don’t miss to see lovely views of Chinar wild life sanctuary from Chinar Watch tower. Enjoy the beautiful vistas from Talaiyar view-point.

Check out the pictures below. Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size.

Karimutty Waterfalls

Thoovanam waterfalls as seen form highway!

A closer shot of Thoovanam falls

Lakkam waterfalls

View from Thalaiyar valley view point.

Chennai-Munnar

  • Route – Chennai – Villupuram – Tiruchirapalli – Karur – Udumalpet – Munnar
  • Distance – 596 KMs
  • Route Map – https://goo.gl/maps/YGvkwyzqbxA2
  • Time – 10 Hours
  • Road Condition – Very good
  • Suggested stops 
    • Breakfast – You will find many places on the Chennai – Trichy highway for breakfast.
    • Lunch – One can have late lunch at Munnar. If feeling hungry, then the best place ti break for lunch is Udumalpet. Kick Grass or Hotel Annavasal. We suggest you pack the food and eat it on the way at one of the waterfalls.

Route 3 – Spectacular drive from Thekkady!

This route is for those who wants to club Thekkady with Munnar. Follow route No 1 above till Theni. From Theni, Kumili which is the Headquarters for Thekkady region is 58 KMs.

The drive from Thekkady to Munnar is a very picturesque drive. You can take small detours to see magnificent Kalvari Mount which provides a panoramic view of Idukki backwaters, Idukki dam, Karimban Kuthu Waterfalls on the way.

Check out the pictures below. Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size.

Spectacular view of Idukki backwaters from Kalvari mount 

Chennai-Munnar

Idukki dam

Chennai-Munnar

Karimban Kuthu waterfalls in Periyar valley

Chennai-Munnar

  • Route – Kumili – Kattapana – Idukki dam – Munnar
  • Distance – 189 KMs
  • Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/ZaceM2ATNQ92
  • Time – 4 hours
  • Road condition – After the recent floods some parts of the road may not be in great condition.
  • Suggested stops
    • One can have tea/snack break at Idukki dam

Plan a Chennai-Munnar road trip. You won’t regret it.  We suggest that you plan to go by route No 1 and return by Route No 2. This will help you to experience both the routes.

Lastly, due to recent floods in Kerala, the road conditions in the state including Munnar may not be great. It will be good to join a road trip enthusiasts group HVK Forum managed by H V Kumar, the doyen of road trip in India. You can get the latest updates on the road conditions in this very active group.

We strongly suggest that you download customised Routo app from H V Kumar. HVK as he is fondly called, provides you customised route maps, live support on the road trip and will also help you with hotel accommodation as well. Check out all details here.

Routo – The Right Route & Travel Support For The Motorist Traveller

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About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

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