The winding road from Kochi to Munnar rises from sea level up to 1600 metres, passing through increasingly lush and beautiful green country. The hills around Munnar (which separate Kerala from Tamil Nadu) are dominated by tea plantations, but also spice plantations, forests and lakes.
I hadn’t expected the tea plantations to be so beautiful: they are like green carpets rolling over the hillsides, often interspersed by tall trees (used to dry the tea leaves).
The town of Munnar was nothing special: not many signs of the colonial splendour of a hillstation, and I had the feeling that this was a scruffy trading town rather than a tourist centre. But a trip to Top Station, 30 km away, was very impressive: the views across the rolling mountains down towards the plains of Tamil Nadu were spectacular.
Night-time in Munnar was my first intimation that we had really left the tropical coast: it was cold!
The 150-km drive from Munnar to Coimbatore was if anything even more breathtaking, aided by having quite the nicest and most informative driver I have had in India (Salim, mobile 9447512114).