Kochi Travel Guide - The experience that makes it God's Own Country

Everything you need to know about Kochi, the Queen of the Arabian Sea can be found here. The best hotels, local delicacies, tourist attractions, activities, shopping and more.

Known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi is one of the oldest Indian ports connecting the mainland to the rest of the world from the mid 1330s. Kochi has a rich culture that has evolved over the centuries through the influence of trade connections with the Arabs, the British, the Dutch, and the Portuguese. This is beautifully evident in the architecture and historical landmarks found in Fort Kochi.

Owing to the abundance of rare and exotic spices such as black pepper, Kochi has always had a steady stream of traders from all corners of the globe, making it the gateway to Kerala for centuries. Kochi is the commercial hub of the state of Kerala with various multinational companies and international private limited companies setting up shop here. Today, it is one of the fastest growing cities in Asia with infrastructural upgrades being made at a rapid pace to meet the demands of a growing urban population.
Black pepper

Finding a place to stay

Kochi is pleasure hub for tourists from all corners of the globe. It provides everything from the rural charms of the fishermen folk to the energy of a bustling city. The city is exposed to warm and highly humid weather and you can visit any time of the year. The period from October to April is generally considered to be the peak tourist season however, since it is the time when the heavy rains would have subsided.

Fort Kochi provides a wide range of accommodation options. From high end luxury to simple homestays, you have it all. If you have no concerns of a budget to weigh you down, the Brunton Boatyard is an experience you cannot miss. The hotel has been converted from what remained of a Victorian shipbuilding yard. Equipped with 22 rooms, the waterfront location provides you easy access to the Chinese Fishing nets and Ferry terminal. You can be assured of an unbelievable experience and uncompromised luxury and attention. You can also expect an extravagant charge for a night's stay. Other luxury hotspots include the Old Harbour Hotel, the Tea Bungalow, and the Eighth Bastion.

If you are looking for a bit of moderation in your style, you have plenty of "budget" options that can work pretty good for you. Tissa's Inn is one of these boutique hotels that are actually a renovated mansion, bang in the center of Fort Kochi. Replete with a rooftop swimming pool, special areas for meditation and yoga, Tissa's Inn certainly lives up to its slogan of "believing in the good life."

Another budget option close to the Chinese Fishing Nets is Hotel Arches. It gives you a great view of the heritage buildings in the area from the roof. Sajhome and Fort House are other low budget options that provide you uncompromised service, great food, and warm hospitality.

The Home stay is a hugely popular concept that is growing in leaps and bounds in the city. It is not just the low cost that attracts tourists to this concept. With a homestay, you get to enjoy the true spirit of the Kochi life, living with residents and sharing their stories and experiences, you get a feel of what keeps a city like Kochi ticking and you get the family treatment, all at a negligible cost. Good Karma Inn and Silverweed Homestay are some exceptional homestay resources.

How to reach Kochi

Kochi is well connected by air, rail, and road, and ferry making it easily accessible from just about anywhere in the country or the world for that matter. The airport in Nedumbassery is the largest airport in the state and is generally considered to be the main entry point to the state. The airport is located less than 30 km from the main city. Regular flights are available to and from all major cities in the Middle East, South East Asia and the rest of the country. You have regular connecting flights to other major international cities.

There are two railway stations that are just around 3 km apart that connect Kochi to the rest of India. These are located in the center of the city and can be easily accessed from just about any part of the city.

Activities, cuisine, shopping and more

Onam is the peak time for tourists as it provides a bevy of cultural fests and culinary treats for 10 days. The Thrikkakara Vamana temple is the heart of the Onam festival with a growing tourist population with every year. There are plenty of boating trips in and around Kochi. You can take a one-hour cruise that circles the shipyard putting you in close proximity of the docks and shipyard.
The backwater town of Alleppey is close by. You can take a ferry there and if you wish, even spend the night in a houseboat on the calm waters.
Fresh catch
Seafood is the specialty of Kochi. You can savor everything from prawns to mussels to spicy sardine curries, all brimming with the rich local flavor. Other than that meats like beef, pork, goat, lamb and chicken are also served. Of course, you cannot miss out on the natural recreational beverage toddy freshly prepared from coconut nectar. The mellow high that you get with the combination of toddy with the local seafood cuisine is something that you will never experience anywhere in the world.
Chinese fishing nets
Tourist attractions within the city that are a must see include:
  • The Jewish Synagogue
  • Jew Town
  • Chinese fishing nets
  • Mattancherry Palace
  • Santa Cruz Basilica
  • Dutch cemetery
  • Indo Portugese museum
  • Bolgatty Palace
  • Boat ride in the backwaters
  • Cherai beach

View along backwaters
An Ayurvedic oil treatment at the hands of trained therapists comes highly recommended. As is the Kathakali dance performance where dancers adorn their faces with face masks and very prominent eye makeup.
Kathakali dancer
Kochi is a great place to shop for spices. You can pick specially packed spices to take back as gifts. Other items of interest include handicraft stuff made of sea-shells, coir, wood, bamboo, brass etc. Don't forget to buy the traditional white and gold Kerala saree, available in pure cotton and silk.

Kochi is without a doubt the tourist hotspot that you cannot afford to miss when you are in South India. Kochi is without a doubt a potent ingredient in the delicacy that makes Kerala "God's Own Country."

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Author: Partha Kansabanik15 Apr 2016 Member Level: Silver   Points : 5

Really an excellent article from Mrs.Juana! Kochi has been aptly described in this article. I visited the city in 2011 and was greatly impressed by the beauty and historical places of this ancient city. However, I was spellbound by the Mattancherry Synagogue and the adjoining Jewish town. Maybe this is due to the fact that I have not found any other Jewish settlement in the country, although I have heard about the Jewish settlement in Kolkata (Calcutta) during pre-independence era. This Kochi travel guide is providing useful information.

The Chinese net was also a new experience for me.

Guest Author: Hari20 May 2016

The Chinese fishing nets in Kochi are lovely. It is fun to watch the way fishermen catch fish using those strange looking fishing nets. But beware of the people who approach you offering photos next to the fishing nets. They will invite you to come closer and will even allow you to move operate the fishing nets. But at then end, you will be forced to pay them some decent tips.

Other than some of these local fraud people you see in all tourist attractions, Kochi is one of the best tourist places in Kerala.

Guest Author: Ranjeet Shanbag03 Jun 2016

People from Mangalore and Udupi never cared to explore Kerala as our expectations about Kerala always was low. But, on the recent visit to Kochi, I was awestruck to see that Kochi indeed has grown much beyond what I expected. Shopping experience also is very good now. For foodies like me, the non vegetarian cuisines are so tasty and yet cheap.

May I know, is there any Pubs opened in Kochi?

Guest Author: Utsav Kumar27 Jun 2016

Cochin is very congested and can envy big metros in some of the amenities you get there. I've been fortunate and unfortunate living there in recent years. The traffic chaos are truly overbearing. The roads are narrow and 2 kms travel feels like you're travelling 50kms. Besides all this, the city is beautiful, have lot of hangout places and made best friends while I was working there. I think there are many unknown beaches in the Vypin island which can be great place without disturbances. Any info regarding these beaches?

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