Cochin - City Guide

Destination Overview

Cochin is a port city located on the west coast of India on the Shores of the Arabian sea. The area has been part of many kingdoms and dynasties over the years. Vasco Da Gama arrived Cochin in the late end of the fifteenth century that marked the beginning of the colonial invasion of Kochi. After the Portuguese, it was Dutch and finally, the British ruled India for two hundred years until 1947. The city of Cochin has two areas, one the old town called Fort Cochin and the new city called Ernakulam (E-ra-na-ku-lam) Fort Cochin was the earlier port during the colonial era of Cochin; it was the only town then. You can still see those old colonial mansions and warehouses preserved to its heritage in Fort Cochin. Many of these buildings in Fort Cochin are now heritage hotels. The rain trees of Fort Cochin, the pathway to the beach, St. Francis Church and the Chinese fishing nets are all iconic to Fort Cochin. Fort Cochin is more of a touristy place while Ernakulam is the commercial hub.

Old Cohin city

Some Quick Facts

  • Ernakulam is the district headquarters of the Ernakulam district.

  • The language spoken is Malayalam, English is widely understood.

  • Currency is Indian Rupee (INR)

  • Public transport includes city buses, auto rickshaws, cabs, and boats.

  • Average temperature - 28 to 32-degree Celsius. Winters are cool (September to March), Summers are humid (April & May), Monsoon has torrential rains (June to August).

  • Smoking and drinking alcohol in public will attract fines.

  • Dress modestly.

  • Cochin has a metro rail.

  • An average price for a glass of tea in a local shop will cost INR 8.

  • Only five-star hotels have a bar, beer and wine parlors are common.

  • UBER is available in Cochin.

  • Cochin has a container terminal.

  • The Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy is in Cochin.

  • Cochin has a Shipyard.

Location and how to reach Cochin

Cochin International Airport

On the shores of the Arabian Sea in central Kerala is Ernakulam, which is the commercial capital of Kerala, well-connected by rail, road, air, and sea.

Airport

 

Thirty kilometers from the City center is the Cochin International Airport. It is the third largest airport in India concerning International passenger traffic and the biggest regarding commercial operations space. The airport is connected with multiple airlines from major Indian cities. Almost every middle east operator have a flight scheduled to the Cochin Airport, there are flights operational from Singapore, Bangkok, and Colombo. There are ample buses, airport pre-paid cabs and online taxes like UBER and OLA available at the airport area to move into the city. Visit Cochin Airport Website

Cochin Port

 

The Cochin Port is a commercial port. However, around 70 cruise liners call at the Cochin Port every year. Many guests from these luxury liners get down at Kochi for Shore Excursions.

Bus Station

 

The city has three bus stations, one at Jetty, another one in the city (South), and the third one at Vytilla - It's called the Vytilla Hub. Most long-distance buses pass by Vytilla hub and do not enter the city to avoid congestion. For the bus related information, you can know the bus schedules at the Vytilla Mobility Hub website. Buses arrive and depart to and from Munnar, Kumily (Thekkady), Alleppey Thrissur, Kottayam, Kozhikode, and Thiruvananthapuram. If you are looking for long route buses, you can find and book them on Reb Bus

Railway Stations

 

Ernakulam Junction (South) and Ernakulam Town (North), the distance between them is 3.5 Kilometers. Ernakulam Junction is relatively a larger railway station. The station is well linked to all important cities in India and South India. There are daily trains from Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Kozhikode, and Thiruvananthapuram.​

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Public Transport

Buses would be the cheapest mode of transport. In Cochin, there are state run buses and private buses. City buses are Blue in color for easy identification. However, for someone who does not know Malayalam, it would be quite tough, but possible. Because the bus boards are in Malayalam

 

Auto rickshaws are the next cheapest option, maximum capacity would be 3 adults, however, if there is room more people could get in. Share autos are not available in Cochin, that means when you hire an auto rickshaw, it is hired exclusively for you. Auto rickshaws are hired only for short distances.

 

Cabs are the most convenient option, UBER & Ola are available within the city limits. For long distances (beyond city limits), you can hire taxis from cab agencies. Taxis are expensive than auto-rickshaws. Almost all taxis are air-conditioned.

 

In you are trying to commute within the Islands, you can take a boat. Boats are faster, easy and cheap. There are boats available from and to Ernakulam City, Fort Cochin, Mattancherry, Willington Island & Vypeen Island.

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Food and Restaurants

Food is an important part of travel, and without food, it's going to be hard. There are hundred of restaurants of varied cuisines in both Ernakulam and Fort Cochin. In Ernakulam city you can find, Indian, Punjabi, Andra, Indian Chinese (Not authentic Chinese), Malabari and Keralan cuisines.

 

However in Fort Cochin, most restaurants are part of hotels/resorts, there is very few stand-alone restaurant, there are a few open-air shacks close to the police station and on the pathway to the beach. Most menus focus on continental and seafood delicacies here. Keep your Zomato app handy to choose where to eat. If you are really on a budget, you can rely on the local restaurant where local food would be relatively cheap. When I mean local food, it is going to be what local people have it every day. Some might love it to the heart, and some might take a bit of time for the transition. The Staple food in Kerala is Rice. In some states in India, the killing of cows are banned, and sale of beef is abolished. However, in Kerala, the law is not applicable, and meat is available throughout the state.

 

Mc Donalds, KFC, Subway, Burgerking, and Chicking have stores in the city. Every mall in the city would have some of them.

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Shopping

Fort Cochin has a lot of street vendors selling handicrafts and artefacts. Apart from these, there are a lot of antique shops at Fort Cochin, it is going to be real expensive. There are also other high-end air-conditioned souvenir shops in Fort Cochin and Mattancherry.

 

Ernakulam city has two major shopping points, the MG Road has a lot of textile and Jewellery shops and the Broadway in Ernakulam city would be another interesting market for shopping. "Kasavu Kada" would be good place to buy a Kerala Saree with those golden borders.

 

There are many shopping malls in an around Eranakulam where you could find many multi-branded stores and food outlets. The Lulu mall would be the largest among the malls.

Places of Interest

The list of attractions are quite big I believe because there are a lot of things you do and places of interest are numerous.

  1. The Chinese nets at Fort Cochin, probably if you tip them, they will allow you to be a part of pulling down the ropes.

  2. St. Francis Church, the first European church built in India

  3. Paradeshi Synagogue & Jew town, the oldest synagogue of the Commonwealth, the jew town has a lot of antique shops.

  4. The Mattancherry Palace, once the palace of the Kochi Maharaja is a Museum today. The museum showcases the belongings of the Royal Family.

  5. The Beach at Fort Cochin, the Marine drive and Subash Park at Ernakulam city are places for an evening hang out.

  6. The Folklore museum acts as a museum, showcasing the personal collection of a collector. The Museum is three floors and has a traditional Keralan Architecture from outside.

  7. The hill palace at Tripunithara was the residence of the Kochi Maharaja and showcases the Royal belongings. It is quite away from the city.

  8. A little away from the city (30 kilometers) is Cherai beach (end of the Vypeen Island, close to the beach is Paravoor town where the boat circuit tour by Muziris Heritage Project are conducted.

  9. The Kochi Muziris Biennale is an international art exhibition conducted biennially in Fort Cochin; the last Biennale was from 12\12\16 to 29\03\17.

  10. There are harbor cruises organized through in the backwaters of Kochi every evening during sunset, check locally for cruise details.

  11. Kathakali Shows are conducted every evening at the Greenix village, Cochin Cultural center and Kerala Kathakali center. At Greenix village they have the Kalarippayattu (Kerala Martial Art) show and other Kerala dance performances.

  12. The backwater village of Kumblangi is just 10 Kilometers from Fort Cochin, where village walking tours are conducted, its a half day tour with lunch (contact person is Martin - 9388484424)

  13. Wonderla is an amusement park with dry and water rides. It is a full day activity around 20 kilometers away from the city. Kids will enjoy this.

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Travel Tips

  1. If you are coming from a foreign country, you would require an Indian tourist visa to enter the country. You get all information at Indian Visa online website

  2. Carry light coloured cotton cloths, Cochin has a humid weather. Dress modestly.

  3. Take an Indian pre paid mobile phone connection when you arrive at the airport, there are vendors selling sim cards, top up with ample data and talk time for your sim card for local use.

  4. You can exchange money at Thomas cook and Federal Bank exchange counters at the airport.

  5. There are low floor air conditioned coaches from Airport to Fort Cochin and Ernakulam city. These buses are orange in colour and are operated by the state bus company.

  6. The Airport has a pre paid taxi counter.

  7. The electrical power points are of 220 volts, carry an adaptor if your gadgets are of 110 volts.

  8. English is widely understood in Kerala.

  9. UBER and OLA cabs is available in Cochin

  10. You get rooms starting from $15 which can go upto $ 400.

  11. An average meal will cost you $3 - $5.

  12. You get buses to Alleppey, Munnar and Thekkady from Vytilla mobility hub. In case if you want to book tickets visit Kerala road transport corporation website.

  13. Kyros connects have a bus service from Fort Cochin to Munnar every day. You can call them or book it in their website.

  14. By cycles are available right in front of Fort Cochin Police station.

  15. Emergency numbers - Police 100, Ambulance is 102