Cochin or Kochi, in the Ernakulam district, state of Kerala, is one of the popular multicultural cities in India. The town enjoys a blend of European colonial culture, South Indian cuisine, Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi, and lovely, diverse people.
This 2.1 million-inhabitants metropolis on the shores of the Laccadive Sea is historically referred to as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea”. This is because the city was a major hub for trading spices starting with the 14th century. Kochi was the first European colony in India and it still accommodates some interesting buildings from those times today. Colonial remains also include Dutch and British structures.
Since it holds a rich history as a port city for traders, Cochin has a diverse culture, exciting festivals, and intriguing traditions to offer. It is not just a bohemian port city, but a thriving commercial and financial hub, with its skyline being dotted by tall modern buildings as well as cute fishing boats. Without further ado, here are some tips to Visit Kochi, India:
# Best time to visit Kochi, India
Cochin experiences a tropical climate characterized by heavy monsoons from May to September, with temperatures in the summer soaring as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 on a Celsius scale) . It can feel hotter in the summer, especially with the high humidity. But the winter season is the coolest time to visit.
# How to get to Cochin
International airlines such as SpiceJet Dubai will take you to the Cochin International Airport 18miles from the city’s center. You can use a taxi or the orange KSRTC bus service to get to the city. Some trains come from different parts of the country, including Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chandigarh, that get into the Ernakulam town station.
# Popular accommodation spots in Cochin
If you are a first-time traveler to Cochin, you are probably wondering where to stay. It is best to stay in the popular neighborhood so that you can enjoy a wide range of activities. Aluva hosts many local temples, and the famous Sivarathri festival is celebrated annually at the banks of the Periyar river. Ernakulam is also a renowned neighborhood where you can visit the Kerala museum and the breathtaking Cherai beach. Willingdon island is entirely artificial with the outstanding Kochi Port.
# Explore the beautiful beaches of Kochi
There are two breathtaking beaches in Cochin, which are the Cherai beach and Fort Kochi beach. If you want to refresh yourself in the salty waters or bask in the sun, those are the two go-to places in Kochi. They offer beautiful and serene spots in Kerala to bask in the sun and relax.
# Attend the colorful festivals of south India
One of the reasons why many travelers find it exciting to stay in Cochin is because of the exciting festivals of South India celebrated there annually. They have many festivals such as Diwali, Holi, and other region-specific festivals that feature many performances such as dances and theater performances.
If you happen to find yourself in Kochi for the beginning of a new year, you will witness a general euphoria, with young people celebrating on their rooftops and groups singing on the streets and lighting up fireworks.
# Enjoy the incredible food of Kochi.
You can never leave Cochin without having a taste of the local foods. The good thing about Kochi city is that you will find diverse cuisines worldwide, including Arabian foods, Chinese cuisines, and Dutch food, not to mention the Indian spicy foods. That means you can eat your way into different parts of the world in this single city.
# Experience their religious diversity
As earlier mentioned, Kochi is a very diverse city, so it plays host to many religious communities. All forms of worship are welcome, including well-designed Hindu temples, the sacred catholic churches, and Jewish synagogues decorated with Belgian chandeliers and Chinese tiles.
# Witness the colonial architecture
The Mattancherry palace showcases the traditional design of Kochi’s colonial masters. Hill place museum is an important archaeological site in Kochi with great architectural designs that you can marvel at along with Fort Kochi’s intriguing traditional design.
# Top 5 things to see in Kochi:
- The Kerala Folklore Museum, set on three floors
- The Jewish Town (maybe try to book a 1-2 h guided tour)
- Fort Kochi (you can walk along the shores or book a private tour)
- Mattancherry, 9 km south-est from Kochi center, a colorful part of the city, with temples and old colonial buildings.
- The colorful markets of Kochi: Spice Market and Handicraft Market, among others
# Cochin vs. Trivandrum
Many travelers in the South-West of India opt between the two cities of Kochi and Trivandrum. The cities are located 5 hours away from each other, with Trivandrum located more in the South, but visiting them feels like being in two different countries. Here are some main differences between the two Indian port cities:
- Kochi is more international, and more focused on the young generation, offering a broader range of events, nightlife and festivals; the people here are said to me more tourist-friendly and generally very welcoming with foreigners.
- Trivandrum is currently the capital of Kerala state (though there is talk among locals that it will one day switch to Kochi), so more money are pumped into the city, resulting in a richer infrastructures, taller buildings, more schools, a better healthcare system, cleaner streets and more shopping centers.
- Food is tastier in Trivandrum (generally speaking, of course Kochi has its fair share of good places to eat)
- Kochi is more ‘experimental’, with many businessmen and artists living here; Trivandrum is more quiet, peaceful and laid back and is home to government workers and retired citizens.
As you can probably tell, it’s all about the perspective, needs and wants of the traveler. To wrap things up, we hope we have given you a tiny introduction when it comes to traveling to Kochi, currently ranked as the 6th best tourist destination in India. If you feel we left something out, give us a shout in the comments section below.