Kerala: Nature Zone Resort

Munnar was beautiful from the quick trip that I had taken around the town, but with very little sleep (recap on my last post here) I was ready to check out my first hotel. I was picked up by one of the resort staff in a Jeep, at the bottom of a hill to be taken to Nature Zone. Before I got into the jeep, I wondered why Mr. Unni (my driver) couldn't have driven me to the resort himself. Five minutes later when we were driving up the edge of a tea plantation mountain, and I was gripping on for dear life to the handle bar of the jeep, I understood.
 Mr Unni's small car wouldn't have been able to make it through the dangerous drive up the mountain. It was a crazy, bumpy ride and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.  It was amazing to see this jeep. that could barley fit on the path, zip though the mountain and at every sharp curve and bump I hadn't yet fallen out. Even though I had expected to many times. The 30 minute drive might have been bumpy, and my heart was in my mouth the entire time, but I got to the resort safely and the view from being 6000 ft in the mountain was breathtaking. I was surrounded by tea plantations, cute tents and a serene peaceful vibe that only nature can offer.

Once I got up to Nature Zone, I met with the manager and was welcomed with a ginger coffee. Well let’s just say I am not a big fan of coffee. I know, I know I am one of the few out there. My coffee is composed of a lot of sugar and milk with a tiny bit of actual coffee, so basically it just ends up being  the flavour of coffee in a mountain of sweetness. Usually I just save myself the calories and forgo the coffee, but the ginger coffee I was presented with at Nature Zone was AMAZING!  Since I was 6000 ft in the air, the coffee not only warmed me up but also cleared up the slight sniffle I had. I took a quick look at the activities that were highlighted on their daily board and one that caught my eye was soft trekking. Trekking, well there is something I hadn't done that in a while, so I made a mental note, and started to wander the facilities of the Nature Zone Resort.

I stayed in the African Safari tent and as soon as I stepped into my room, my first impression was that I was about to do some camping, some luxury camping. As someone that lives in Vancouver surrounded by beautiful mountains, at least once a year I  try and go camping. This past summer I was so busy that I didn't get a chance to go, so staying in the African Safari tent gave me a second chance to go camping. The room was decorated with lots of wood and had a very earthy feel. I had a big bed with a canopy style mosquito net, beautiful side tables and a full functional bathroom with a western toilet. Nature Zone provided me with all the things that I would need during my stay including, towels, hot water with a western shower, bathroom utilities ( including shampoo, soap, dental and hygiene supplies) The room had electricity, with dim lighting to use at night-time . The tent also had  the cutest porch with two chairs, so that you could sit, eat a snack and take in an amazing view.

After my long day of travelling I jumped into my big comfy bed and took a quick nap. I woke up just in time for NatureZone’s evening trekking (ps: it’s free) with one of the guides. Since it was still early in the evening, I decided to give it a try. I met with the Manager of Nature Zone and he decided that he was going to take me on the trek since there was no one else going. We went to the first point which gave us a 180 view of Munnar, which at that time of day was overcast with a light fog. When he mentioned that we could go to the second point where we would see a 360 view, I was a bit hesitant because I had hurt my knee pretty badly a few weeks back. He assured me that we would go as far as I felt comfortable, and since he was in dress shoes and business clothes, I thought I would look like a real chicken for not taking him up on his offer. We started our climb and right away I noticed how at ease he was on the hike. It made sense once he told me that he did these treks regularly, I on the other hand had to stop every few minutes to catch my breath. I really don't think I would have kept going if he hadn't been there to guide me up that mountain. Honestly I would have probably given up, sat and contemplated how I badly I needed to get back into the gym. But he kept the pace slow and before I knew it we had reached the second point. The second view point was even better with a 360 view of Munnar. Being 6000 ft in the air was exhilarating, and seeing the city from that height was an experience I would recommend to anyone going to Nature Zone.

As we were coming down from our trek the manager said “Andrea, before you went up the mountain you looked tired and scared, but look at you now, you look happy and alive.” He was right, pushing my body to do something that I hadn't done in a while (honestly at that point on my India trip I had just been eating Goan sausages and chicken lollipops, with very little exercise) and experiencing such a thrill, was exactly what I needed to start off my Kerala trip. Who knew that an exhausting hike up the mountain would have made me feel more alive, than my comfy nap I had taken earlier.

That night I had a buffet dinner in the cutest dining room, located in a tree house. The food had a few of Kerala cuisine dishes and some western food. While there was a limited spread of food, it was simple, delicious and just what I needed from a long day of travelling. I remembered that there was something that was happening at the camp fire spot at the end of the night, so that’s where I headed after dinner. This being my first real solo trip I was a little nervous to go, but I put on my brave pants and headed to the camp fire. When I got there, I was surprised to find some honeymooners, and a group of girls all dancing around the camp fire to Indian hip hop/ Bollywood songs. So I jumped right in there dancing under the moonlight with strangers I just met, feeling right at home, and ended my day in Kerala with a smile on my face at Nature Zone Resort.

Thanks for reading!
xo Andrea

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