Overview: The unspoilt Uruguayan peninsula of Punta del Este is all paradisiacal oceanic beaches, exotic sophistication, beautiful people and an ardent night scene. The Monaco of South America. In the last year there has been the shoots of urbanisation in the form of high rise building obscuring the sun, however. Tourist season varies wildly from totally deserted in the winter to very very crowded in the summer, unusual for a city this size. Further details available on http://wikitravel.org/en/Punta_del_Este
Overview: We planned a trip to Munnar during the summer of 2009. A popular tourist destination needs no introduction, we checked into our resort early Friday morning. Having 3 full days at our disposal, we planned to explore this beautiful hill station as much as possible. Day 1: We went towards Mattupatty direction today. First up we visited the flower show, followed by the Photo point and the Honey bee nest. Next was the Elephant arrival point where we had a ride on top of an elephant into the woods. At times it was scary when the path was too narrow and the elephant had to traverse through it. Next we went to the Mattupatty dam and the view was majestic with bluish green waters with hills in the background. The scene was beyond words to describe so letting the pictures do the talking this time. From there we went to the Kundaly lake where it started raining and added to the beauty of the place. The whole place around us looked green and lovely. From Kundaly we proceeded towards the Top Station where we had to trek into the pathway in the hills for a terrific view of the ghats. The view was too good with mist flowing in from one direction to another. Day 2: Today we planned our visit towards Coimbatore direction. First we went to the Tata tea museum where we saw how tea grains undergo processes before they are packaged. Its amazing to see how many processes go into manufacture of a tea pack.
Following this we went to the Nyamakad waterfalls with water cascading from a height of 1600 meters. It was a bit crowded place but felt refreshing after getting into the cool and clear waters. We passed through the Sandalwood forest on the way to Chinnar wildlife sanctuary. The scent of the sandalwood could be felt on smelling a small slice of the wood.
On entering the Chinnar wildlife reserve, we took the option of trekking into the wild. A guide accompanied us into the forest. It was a light trek taking us through thick forest, stream of water and birds chirping. We came across a few Dolomens which were built by megalithic tribes as a burial ground. These kind of Dolmens are found at very few places across the world. We came across a few caves and carved paintings on them probably dating back to a million years. We had a couple of spectacular view points from where some waterfalls flowing beneath which looked really great. The gentle breeze and the breathtaking view made us forget all the tiredness of the trek so far. We returned through a different path and on the way we saw a skeletal remains of a Bison. We reached back to the base in around 1.5 hours. On our way back we saw a view of the Thoovanam waterfall which can be reached by trekking deep into the sanctuary. Anyway we felt contented with the view of the falls from a distance. We could hear the roar of the falls even at this distance. There were several other waterfalls on the way back as well. Day 3: Day 3 was reserved for exploring Thekkady direction. Following the overnight rains, it was a bright and sunny day and first up we went to the Idily hills from where we could catch a view of some waterfalls at a distance.
Next we went to the Power house water falls, which is not exactly a waterfall but a small dam and within the area we had a beautiful garden with several different varieties of flowers.
Next we went to the Lockhart green valley, which was indeed very green with tea plantations all around. We could see women plucking and collecting tea leaves and was pleasure to watch.
From there we went to the Rock cave which is an actual cave probably used by some wild animals but because of the main road just next to it, it was completely vacant. Spending some time at the Lochkart gap view near the cave, we headed back towards the resort ending a beautiful trip. How to reach: Rail: Railway travel is possible only up to Coimbatore or Kochi. Munnar is around 160 kms from Coimbatore and around 140 kms from Kochi. One option can be 11013 Coimbatore express departing Bangalore at 22:15 and arriving at Coimbatore at 06:30. From Coimbatore, buses are available to Munnar via Chinnar and Anaimalai wildlife sanctuaries. Return train can be 16525 Island express departing from Coimbatore at 22:55 and reaching Bangalore at 06:55. Another option is 12257 Kochuveli express departing from Yesvantpur at 21:00 and reaching Ernakulam at 07:50. Buses are available from Ernakulam to Munnar. Bus: KSRTC buses ply from Bangalore to Munnar and is the best option. Car: Head on NH7 towards Salem. From Salem, turn towards Tirupur, take the Munnar road via Udumalpet. Food/Accommodation: Lot of good restaurants available till Tirupur. Munnar has plenty of hotels and resorts suiting all budgets. Map: