Goa to Munnar Road Trip Itinerary

A detailed road trip itinerary to travel South India.

Start in Goa and drive to Mysore, Ooty, Kodaikanal, and Munnar.

Traveling South India goa mysore ooty kodaikanal munnar www.masalaherb.com an elephant and his owner, Tamil Nadu India

🧭 GPS

According to Google maps we moved around 2203 kilometers.

That’s an impressive number!

Google apparently thinks that we traveled by car a total of 46 hours, or 1 day and 22 hours.

Let me tell you, don’t believe Google’s travel time suggestions, it’s way more than that, in fact, we took around 67 Β½ hours!

Google maps don’t consider the typical Indian road obstructions or incredible road conditions.

Nonetheless, without Google maps, we would have had a difficult time and most probably we would have wasted more time searching for places.

The reason for that is because we rarely came across direction boards and if we did, they were not always in the Latin script, so reading them would have been impossible since South India is home to several Indian languages and different scripts.

So, Google map is a great tool.

Even if you have no internet during the drive, don’t panic.

Turn on the GPS before leaving for your trip and keep it turned on all the way long.

The GPS position is detailed and it will help you especially when you are crossing crazy, confusing, and stuffed city center roads.

We only had 2 satellite interference problems and that was always around Ooty in the mountains.

If you are intending to take the same road trip (or any other road trip in India), check out this post, which will help you get prepared. -> What you need to organize before you start your road trip

Anyway, I have embedded the map of India showing our exact route by car.

πŸ’‘ Tips

I wanted to share the roads we used so that you get to your destinations safely and quickly and I think naming the cities and towns (bold), which we passed, will help your orientation.

NH stands for national highway and SH for a state highway.

I wish I had these directions back then when we visited this corner of the world.

Google maps can be clumsy and confusing if you don’t have a reliable internet connection and at the time when we traveled, google maps could only save smaller areas and not special custom routes.

However, I do believe that the google maps navigation in India will get better over time once more places are mapped properly.

The routes described further down might help you pick a better road, save you time or simply help plan properly.

Also,  with my knowledge, I might motivate you to take this adventure to discover beautiful places in India.

If you have the knowledge to add up or to share, please feel free to leave us a comment at the end of this article, because your experience might be able to help others in the future.

Traveling South India www.masalaherb.com farmers working on the field near Mysore Karnataka India
hard-working farmers near Mysore Karnataka

1️⃣ Goa to Mysore route

We started out from Goa, picked the NH 17 towards Karwar, passed Honnavar, and changed to NH206 direction, Sagar.

We continued along this highway passing Shivamogga and Bhadravati so to move on towards the direction of Mysore.

In Arsikere we changed to SH7, moved on to Channarayapattana and Srirangapatana, where we picked road 17 directly to Mysore.

Useful road trip tips for India masalaherb.com
South Indian highways are great! This is the Bangalore Highway NH 206.
  • The roads are in good to best condition.
  • The Coastline highway until Honnavar resembles a regular road and there might be traffic.
  • The Western ghat mountain highway from Honnavar to Sagar is another regular road but with many road turns. You will rarely encounter a village.
  • From Sagar onwards to Mysor you will experience state of the art roads. Smooth, large and straight, these roads are decorated with big trees, and therefore I can say we had the best driving experience at this part of our tour.
  • Once you cross the Western Ghats you will still experience hot weather but it’s a bit drier.
  • We took about 14 hours to drive the Goa to Mysore rout in good speed.

2️⃣ Mysore to Ooty route

From Mysore we moved towards South on the NH 212 until Gundlupet where we changed to the NH 67, passing two National Parks, before reaching Ooty.

Traveling South India www.masalaherb.com Wild deer inwildlife sanctuary near Ooty, Tamil Nadu India
A wild Indian deer. I took the picture in a moving car.
  • The roads are in good condition at first. The mountain roads are quite tight and some Indian drivers are reckless so be prepared.
  • The highway from Mysore city to around Gundlupet was smooth and quick.
  • After Gundlupet you will notice that the highway turns more into a regular mountain road, leading through the Western Ghats mountain range.
  • You will be crossing the state boarder from Karnataka state to Tamil Nadu state
  • Once you are in a height you will notice a change of climate, the weather will be much cooler and maybe a bit less humid.
  • You will be driving through the National Parks, which is a highlight of the trip. You will come across wild elephants, deers and of course monkeys. While driving through the Parks, you are not allowed to stop the car and you are adviced to drive slow. The animals seem friendly but as a visitor please respect the rules of the park and don’t harass the animals.
  • The roads get worse in time once you have crossed the second national park. Some roads are completely broken, so drive slowly.
  • We took about 7 hours for this route in moderate speed

3️⃣ Ooty to  Kodaikanal route

From Ooty we continued on the NH 67 southwards, passing Connor, Mettupalayam, Annur.

Then we moved on, got to Palladam, and changed to highway 171 and then SH 174A before this road merged into SH 174, and later on, near Dharapuram, the road changed to 83A.

Traveling South India www.masalaherb.com Indian traffic near Connor Ooty Tamil Nadu
traffic near Connor, after Ooty Tamil Nadu

At Dharapuram I picked the SH 37 towards Oddanchatram instead of the SH 153 towards Palani because Google maps wasn’t showing the SH 153 as an option and I did not want to take the risk of using a dangerous mountain road so I decided on the longer route to Kodaikanal.

You may want to move from Dharapuram to Palani and then Kodaikanal but I can’t guarantee that this road is by any means safe!

At Oddanchatram we changed for a short time to NH 209 before getting back to SH 37, direction South – Southeast, passing mostly smaller villages such as Sriramapuram and Palayakannivadi before reaching Sempatty where we changed to the Chennai Theni Highway/NH 45.

We passed Batlagundu and Kattakamanpatti. After Kattakamanpatti we took the Kodai Ghat mountain road direction Kodaikanal.

Traveling South India www.masalaherb.com Tamil Nadu roads India
Good road conditions in Tamil Nadu
  • From Ooty to after Connor you will be experiencing a cold climate, narrow mountain roads with many tough turns. You will come across a few tight villages.
  • After Connor the road will start leading you downwards and the temperatures will rise slowly again.
  • Once in Mettupalayam you will experience a hot tropical climate again for a few hours until you reach Kodaikanal. Kodaikanal is cold, the Kodai valleys surrounding the city are half tropical.
  • The road from Mettupalayam until Dharapuram is straight, in good condition and fairly large. The land itself is very flat and you can see the Western Ghats mountains from afar.
  • Once in Dharapuram make sure to use GPS and ask locals for directions because it’s a crazy city with lots of traffic, confusing bypass roads and a whole lots of one way roads. Google maps doesn’t recognize one way roads.
  • From Dharapuram, Oddanchatram until Kattakamanpatti the roads are straight and you might not come across many villages or people so best is to use GPS.
  • For a short stretch before taking the mountain highway from Kattakamanpatti  onwards you will be using a new elevated super cool fast Highway.
  • The mountain highway 156 to Kodaikanal will be long, tight and full of heavy turns but the road condition is great. The temperatures will drop a lot too.
  • We took about 11 hours for the Ooty to Kodaikanal route

4️⃣ Kodaikanal to Munnar route

From Kodaikanal, we drove down the Kodai Ghat mountain road until we reached near Kattakamanpatti again and picked the Chennai Theni Highway/NH 45 direction Theni.

crossed Periyakulam before reaching Theni. Right after Theni city we turned into NH 49 and continued, crossing  Bodinayakanur.

We stayed on the NH 49 and crossed the mountain roads, passing Chinakannal before reaching Munnar.

Traveling South India www.masalaherb.com view from Kodai ghat road Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu India
Amazing view from the Kodaikanal ghat road. How many human settlements can you count?
Useful road trip tips for India masalaherb.com
India and overcrowded? NH 49 view from top
  • After having take the kodaikanal mountain road back down, moving towards Kattakamanpatti until Bodinayakanur you will experience good highway conditions.
  • After Bodinayakanur you will have the feeling of being away from the civilization and you will get to the mountain highway 49 which is a broken highway, but it’s being fixed by the government.
  • Highway 49 was quite a ride but the view and peace made it absolutely worthwhile. You will not see much traffic here and at some point you will be crossing from Tamil Nadu state to Kerala state.
  • Around Chinakannal you will notice that the roads lead frequently upwards and then downwards again and again and soon you will be amazed by the beautiful tea gardens.
  • The tea garden landscape will continue for some time until Munnar (and even after!), and sometimes you will come across thick fog, so drive slowly.
  • The temperatures in and around Munnar are medium cold.
  • We took about 7 hours for the Kodaikanal to Munnar route in moderate and quick speed.
Traveling South India www.masalaherb.com mysty Western Ghat Mountain roads near Munnar tea plantation Kerala India
narrow mountain road NH 49 with foggy conditions Munnar Kerala
Traveling South India www.masalaherb.com Once upon a time there was a thief... Munnar, Kerala India
tea time (in the tea country!) and a tiny cave of a thief long gone.

5️⃣ Munnar to Kochi route

From Munnar, we continued south, Kochi direction, with the NH 49.

We passed Adimali, Kothamangalam, Kolenchery, and then got to Kochi.

Traveling South India www.masalaherb.com ever green tea plantation Munnar, Kerala India
Incredible Munnar! Kerala Tea plantations
  • The road around Munnar is being fixed, it can get quite dusty at times.
  • The mountain highway, which I feel should just be called a regular road, from Munnar to Kothamangalam is mostly in a very good condition but it’s rather narrow and has many heavy turns.
  • Once you have left the mountain range you will notice that it gets significantly hotter.
  • The rest of the highway until Kochi is very easy to follow and the road is in a good shape but narrow at times.
  • You might get into traffic around Kochi but the roads in this city are the easiest to follow. I think so Kochi is one of those few exceptions in India where you feel you are not in India.
  • We took around 5 hours for the Munnar to Kochi route in good speed.

6️⃣ Kochi to Alappuzha route

From Kochi, we picked the direct coastal NH 47 to Alappuzha, direction Thiruvananthapuram. We used the same route back to Kochi.

  • Gorgeous straight and large coastal highway (for India) with a beautiful landscape
  • The weather will be hot
  • You will cross a toll booth after Kochi city. I believe the price to cross is around 20 INR if i remember correctly.
  • We decided to go to Alappuzha to rent one of those famous Kerala channel river boats. We ended up looking and discussing rates for the countless boats there, but unfortunately, due to the fact that we felt cheated, and because of the worst pressing heat that I have ever experienced, we left already after having spend an 1 hour there and drove back towards Kochi and continued in the afternoon towards Goa direction.
  • We took around 1 Β½ hour from  Kochi to Alappuzha (and vice versa)  in quick speed.

7️⃣ Kochi to Goa route via Calicut (also known as Kozhikode)

We moved Northwards from Kochi on the NH17, passing Calicut and Mangalore, while still remaining on the NH17 until we reached back to Goa.

Traveling South India www.masalaherb.com
  •  The coastal Highway NH17 from Kochi to Goa was the worst road ever. Traffic is thick and slow, it’s very hot, the roads are narrow and you will barely recognize this highway as one.
  • We stopped, took two rooms, slept for a few hours in Calicut (Kozhikode) before we moved on to Goa at 3 am the next day.
  • Calicut city itself is full of one way roads which are not clearly shown in Google Maps.
  • From Calicut onwards, the roads turned out better and more organized but you will pay frequently toll. We drove mostly in the night, so the traffic was less, the roads were mostly marked with reflectors and the center of the road had frequently barriers, which are not always marked with reflectors (!). Also, we encountered many trucks at night and petrol pumps.
  • Near the border of Kerala, around Uppala Gate village town, the highway turned into a complete fire red mud road with mud hills around the highway. It was the worst highway I have ever seen. I believe the government is fixing this part of NH17 highway but it will take some time. This road continued until Ullal.
  • At Ullal we ended up in a massive traffic jam due to road works. This is a village before Mangalore city (also known as Mangaluru) and right before the state border where you will be crossing from Kerala state to Karnataka state
  • The highway  from Mangalore onwards, splits sometimes  into a two lane one way system. I suppose this is new so at the time when we were using those strange two lane highway parts there were no rules. People were driving anyhow and it was at times confusing and also dangerous.
  • The coastal highway part between Mangalore and Honnavar is in ok condition. At times it can be bouncy and more narrow.
  • From Honnavar to Goa has been explained and covered here.
  • Altogether we took a staggering 22 hours on the Kochi to Goa route and mostly in a slow pace but sometimes when we had clear field we were quite speedy.

πŸš— Road Conditions

I feel the best roads and the most interesting landscapes were in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

We were completely surprised by the road experience in Karnataka and even doubted for a moment that we were still traveling in India, it looked like Europe.

The road stretch in Kerala was just tedious and long, except Munnar, Munnar was a wonderful green dream.

Vehicles in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are at times reckless and fast due to the fact that the roads are kind of perfectly straight and smooth.

The mountain roads are tricky and nonexperienced drivers will have a hell of a time due to the road conditions or the narrow dangerous turns or other reckless drivers.

We have seen trucks and buses overtaking other big vehicles on narrow turns… Monkeys are common on the mountain roads, so another reason to take it easy with the speed.

Traveling South India www.masalaherb.com strange religious cart Tamil Nadu India

The roadsides in South India are clean.

With that I mean to say that we rarely saw garbage dumps, the organization of the south Indian governments seems to work well.

We saw small garbage burning circles on the roadside all over Tamil Nadu and a “Go Green Initiative” booth while coming down from Ooty.

Petrol Pumps are very common along the roads all over South India.

Only the mountain areas will naturally have fewer petrol pumps.

most Petrol Pumps are massive and a few are open at night too.

If you need to go to the bathroom, go to a Petrol Pump.

You won’t find Petrol pump shops to buy food, drinks and other things.

It’s just not common.

Traveling South India www.masalaherb.com the monkey might ask for road toll =P near Ooty Tamil Nadu India
Looks like the monkey is asking for some toll to pass the road no?

We definitely had fun traveling south India, it was a great adventure.

I will be sharing more soon and that will include Mysore – the Imperial city, Kodaikanal – The city in the mountains, and Munnar – the Tea Garden paradise.

The traveler and dreamer in you are invited to stay amazed, I am going to take you on a beautiful ride.

If you have traveled any of the road routes mentioned above and some changes have happened, please let us know via a comment further down.

 

24 thoughts on “Goa to Munnar Road Trip Itinerary”

  1. I loved seeing your travel photos… they made me homesick for Sri Lanka too. πŸ™‚ I had to laugh at the fact that google maps did not take into account all the kinds of “traffic” there is in countries like India and Sri Lanka…. if they only knew how going 10 miles can take. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  2. Lovely post and beautiful pics too…especially the first shot.
    A road trip has been on my husband’s and my bucket list for quite long but the demands of his job has not allowed us this privilege so far. I am thoroughly inspired by your post and I am going to show this post to him for sure πŸ˜€

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  3. G’day! Love seeing your travels through your unique eyes!
    Sounds like one needs lots of time and patience in traveling throughout Southern India!
    Cheers! Great photos! Joanne

    Reply
  4. What a wonderful trip. I can see how the beautiful the places you visited. I have been planning a holiday to India but mmm!! still on stand-by. Hopefully it will materialise next year.

    Reply
  5. What a beautiful country, very interesting about the roads and there condition. I’m not sure how we traveled anywhere before google maps. I bet the food was delicious!

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  6. That is really awesome trip, I traveled only through train and buss not a car trip. Would love to do some time. Beauty of Kerala and ooty is always mesmerizing.

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  7. I love how your photos capture not only the beauty of the places you visited but the mood too – gorgeous! The mountains and winding roads in South India remind me of those back home in Sri Lanka.

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  8. Beautiful shots and thanks for the tips too! They’re very helpful especially for those of us that are visiting the region for the first time πŸ™‚

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  9. Wow! What an incredibly journey. That narrow mountain road would have me doing the ‘close my eyes and yell oh shit!’ πŸ™‚

    Can’t wait for more from the trip.

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  10. What a beautiful journey, thanks for sharing it with us! πŸ˜€
    My mum wants to do a similar road trip when she travels in South India one day!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    Reply
  11. oh your trips look so much fun! I love the shot of the riding the elephant. So neat and what beautiful photographs you captured.

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  12. What a fascinating trip and this must have been an incredible experience. It’s visually amazing and so very different to Australia. I admire you for tackling the roads and the traffic and trying to find your way through fairly challenging terrain xx

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  13. great tripzz nice photos how is the climate in these place in december anyone knows
    i would like to travel on these places please help me which are the best places to have stay.

    Reply
    • Hi Raghav, the weather in the hill stations such as Ooty, Kodaikanal, Munnar will be cool and rather dry, around 10-30 Celsius in December. Generally speaking all the places, including Goa and Mysore will be drier than the rest of the year in December. Actually, a great time to make the tour. =)

      Reply
  14. Hey, thats nice write up, Yeh Its Fun to Travel by Road, We had Recent Die Daman Trip, its Beach, we had lots of fun. Travel Through Forest & Mountains was fun. Take time to Visit North as Well.

    Reply
  15. Try the road from Trichur, Kerala to Pollachi, Tamilnadu via Athirappally and Vazhachal waterfalls and several other small waterfalls on the way through sholayar forest, Valparai (like Munnar) and Aliyar dam. Enjoy 41 hairpin bends in between. A nonexplored route.

    Reply

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