If you love the sea, culture and good food, Kochi (or Cochin) is just the place for your next trip. The best time to visit Kochi would be in the winters, from October to the beginning of March, though you might not want to wait till March as the temperature will have started to rise by then (although visiting in the warmer or rainier months may help you cut your expenses on hotel reservations). Travelling in the city is quite easy, where you have the options of Ola, Uber, and the local forms of transport, the local buses and auto-rickshaws.
No matter what time of the year you choose to visit, there are some sights and activities you should not miss on your trip to Kerala’s wonderful port city.
1) The Kerala Backwaters
The South Indian state is known for its extensive backwater area, which connects the Vembanad Lake to the Arabian Sea. These water bodies are a brackishwater network, which means their salinity lies between that of freshwater and seawater. There are many boat cruises available for a tour of the amazing ecosystem, where you can see a variety of mangrove trees, birds and fishes. Many fishermen also make a living from these backwaters.
2) Fort Kochi
You’ll have to set a whole evening aside for this one – many of the other things on this list can be achieved here. This pretty little chunk of land by the seaside is best enjoyed with a peaceful walk, breathing in the nostalgic air that reminds one of simpler times. There are also many souvenir shops in the area, where you can buy spices, clothing, jewelry, incense and postcards . The major attractions here (those not mentioned on the list) are the Indo-Portugese Museum, St. Francis Church and the Santa Cruza Basilica.
3) The Fort Kochi Beach
Your Fort Kochi visit will sooner or later bring you to its promenade facing the sea, where you can enjoy the sunset over the beach. You can either take a walk along the Arabian Sea, or you can sit down and enjoy the view with some street food.
4) The Chinese Fishing Nets
Kochi and Kollam May be the only places in India where the famous Chinese fishing nets exist. These fishing nets, also called “Cheena vala”, are another major tourist attraction at Fort Kochi. These are basically a type of lift nets, which are lowered down into the water and lifted back up after about twenty minutes to collect any fish lured into them.
5) Shop for Spices and Essential Oils
Another task you can complete at Fort Kochi. Among the various souvenir shops, you’ll find shops that sell spices and a variety of essential oils . These may be a little expensive, but they are worth every penny. Besides spices and oils, you will also find various chutney powders as well as “masalas” for tea, sambhar and other recipes.
6) Try the Seafood
Fort Kochi has a number of stalls where you can pick from a variety of fishes, prawns and crabs. From the range of seafood available, you might want to try the famous pearlspot, pomfret and tiger prawn.
7) Shop for Sarees
Now this is something you’ll have to set a lot of time aside for. From the large stores like Kalyan Silks to local shops and fabric ranging from cotton to silk, there’s a lot to choose from. The simple yet elegant Kerela sarees are something that deserves all the thought and time you can give them. But I believe I should quote my mother on the subject of shopping for sarees- don’t buy the first one you like- there’s always a better one, so give yourself some time to choose!
8) Kashi Art Cafe
Another spot to visit at Fort Kochi, when you’re tired from shopping and sightseeing all day. The ambience, the food and the people are just enough to make you believe that the world is a better place.
9) The Marine Walkway
Also called the Marine Drive, this walkway faces the backwaters and is accompanied by the Subhash Park, which makes it another place where you can relax after a long day. You will find a number of small cafes, restaurants and stalls selling jewelry and trinkets along the walkway.
10) Broadway Market
The Broadway Market is a market street near the Marine Drive, and has small and large stores that sell everything from fabric, clothes, bags and shoes to spices and perfumes. You will also find assorted candied fruits, from mangoes to kiwis to oranges and even ginger (it’s good for the throat).
Well, I know this is my first attempt at travel blogging, so it may not be perfect, but I hope this post helps you enjoy your next vacation in Kochi!