We were lucky to have been able to stay as private guests at a plantation (no, unfortunately it is not a home stay) the night before we left for Munnar. It is roughly half-way to Munnar and therefore, we were able to leave after a lovely, leisurely breakfast, making a relaxed, comfortable journey to Munnar.
It is a recommendation that I would like to make to travellers going to Munnar - that you take a break in Kothamangalam area and stay at a home-stay in one of the plantations in the area. I am told that there are quite a few such home stays. The larger Kerala plantations are delightful.
In fact, if you are strapped for time, you could even skip Kochi and go straight to such a place from Nedumbassery airport. That is my personal opinion, even though ther might be an outcry about it on this forum.
There is the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Thattekkad, near Kothamangalam. We would have liked to stay at the Hornbill Camp, but since it was fully booked for the days we wanted, we could not stay there. We were also unable to visit the bird sanctuary and the Bhoothathankettu Dam for boating, but hope to do both another time.
We had booked a bungalow of The Tea Sanctuary. I have not done a review for The Tea Sanctuary, because I have found most of the reviews to be fair and close to what I experienced. The stay at the bungalow was lovely – in the middle of a tea plantation with fabulous views. Even without any sightseeing, this would have been a holiday in itself – with opportunities to relax and take long walks.