“Thou art of the Jungle and not of the Jungle,” wrote Rudyard Kipling, author of The Jungle Book; as though setting the scene for north Kerala’s densely green Wayanard Region, where those in the know will find Greenex Farms, a unique eco-retreat tucked among almost impenetrable jungles, set against the backdrop of the state’s second highest mountain, Chembra Peak
A far cry from the well-trodden backpacker path, Jamie and I took the decision to take on the 3 hour death-defying (local) bus ride through winding mountainous roads to the tiny town of Chundale; followed by endless bouncing through vast tea and coffee plantations in a 4×4 to the secluded Greenex Farms, where so much more than just the bear necessities of life were waiting for us.
On the tip of the Nilgiri hills, south India, towering 2,600ft above sea level and smiling down over ‘Gods own country,’ is where you’ll find Greenex Farms. At one with its natural habitat and under a sky-high canopy of palm trees; this is a true nature-lovers’s retreat where you won’t come closer to playing Swiss Family Robinson, while genuinely rejuvenating your soul.
Sharing your surroundings with every exotic bird imaginable, cheeky monkeys, friendly frogs, traditonal tea-pickers, brightly coloured coffee beans, peppercorn trees – and the occasional huntsman spider – at Greenex Farms you can expect 360 degree jaw dropping jungle views played out to the cacophony of natures private coversation; be it from a stay in the tree-house for the brave, the sunflower cottage for the romancers, or the plush orchid house for those splashing out (as Jamie, Ben, Lauren and I did!)
While the Wayanard Region serves as the jumping off point to conquer Chembra Peak mountain (check ✅) the Meenmutty waterfalls and Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary; Greenex Farms itself has more than enough to keep you occupied with its three nature trails (Tortoise, Monkey and Rabbit), bird watching spots, bamboo rafts, badminton court and natural spring pool.
Languidly we moved from successful completion of the Monkey Trail to working up a sweat on the badminton court, swinging in hammocks, dipping in the spring water pool (sharing our swimming space with only the frogs), bamboo rafting and finally curling up in our queensize bed as one of Kerala’s tropical monsoon unleashed itself on us as the sun started setting. – A perfect way to spend a day.
For those looking to stay a few nights here exploring everything that the Wayanard region has to offer, the incredibly helpful and attentive team at Greenex Farms will do all they can to help plan your day and arrange your transport – always a ferocious 4X4 to bound through PG-tip topped hills and take on the rugged routes of south India’s mountains.
Also arranged around your schedule are delicious, organic – and of course homegrown – meals. Breakfast can be arranged from 6:30am for early birds with Indiana-action-packed days, and as late as 10:30am for those sleeping late in their fluffy queen size beds and spending the day on site.
Dinner can be arranged to be served the moment you return to Greenex, after a hard day’s trek. A soul-warming Vegetable Birinani and a Potato-Stuffed Paratha quicker than you can say “The Jungle Book;” yes please!
Breakfast and lunch are served in the “Arivia” restaurant, while dinner is served either in Arivia, the jungle fire-pit (monsoon dependant) or in your room with a small service charge of £1 /100IRS.
The menu offers two options for all three meals: buffet (£4 for breakfast and £7 for both lunch and dinner) and a-la-carte.
As a couple on an Indian backpacker budget, the thought of spending £42 a day on food was a little too hard to stomach. However, in reality (and to everyone reading this in Europe), this is a fair price for generous quantities of delicious, vegetarian and ethically sourced meals – each accompanied by warm Ayeuverdic mineral water.
Swerving the buffet in favour of a la carte gives guests the option of paying standard rate prices for very good food; spicy Masala Omlettes come in at £1.20, as does a stack of Coconut Sugar Pancakes, and dinner will work out at about £6 for a couple.
Hoping not to deter any backpackers looking for a walk on the wild side, Greenex Farms offers an eco tent and dorm room accommodation at £16 a night, scaling itself up to tree houses and cottages, with the most lavish option being its four Orchid apartments at around £50 a night.
A gem of a tip for anyone travelling India is to book accommodation via ClearTrip on a Thursday as on this day of the week, discounts of up to 70% are offered! – Thanks to Lauren and Ben for that bit of advice.
The only downside a backpacker might find with a stay at Greenex farms is that the hotel doesn’t provide Internet, and the nearest town with small wifi cafe is a 40 minute walk or £2.50, pre-arranged 4×4 journey away; meaning that arranging the next leg of your journey can’t be pre-booked with ease.
It’s a very minor downside though, and I know we were happier to live a slice of life in the jungle without Facebook at our fingertips – making going blind to our next destination that little bit more adventurous. – and I’ll always have Indiana Lance by my side every step of the way…
Thank you again to Greenex Farms for a truly wonderful stay. A magical and remote home-away-from-home. We would recommend a stay here to everyone.