Choose the right places to visit in Kochi : Kochi visitors guide
The whole purpose of this blog post is not to give you more repeated information about the places to visit in Kochi / Cochin but to provide you with a perspective as to what is what and what to expect from these places. The real intention of this blog post is to enable you to decide what to see and where to visit based on your interest than general opinion. If you require any assistance in planning your Kerala Tour, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The regular Sightseeing tour of Kochi
The regular sightseeing tour of Kochi is something that we call, the most common sightseeing tour of Kochi. This tour will essentially give you an idea about Kochi, most tour operation companies will have this in their regular itinerary itineraries. Tour operators handling international guests will have an English or language speaking local guide along with this tour. How enriching the experience would be purely based on the guide who accompanies you for this tour. Tour Operators handling domestic clientele will have a guide only on request, in most cases, a guide service is not availed, and the driver will act as a general guide.
What all places are covered - The tour comprises two different parts of Old Cochin, i.e., Mattancherry and Fort Kochi. Now, Fort Kochi is where you see the Chinese fishing nets, St. Francis Basalica and the St. Francis Church, Mattancherry (3 km from Fort Kochi) is where you get to look at the Jew Town, the Dutch Palace, and the Paradeshi Synagogue. The guided tour will enrich you with a lot of interesting as well as exciting information, tradition, and cultural practices this part of the world had over centuries. Cochin would have been one among the few places in the world that welcomed Jews after the second fall of the Temple of Jerusalem. Before the formation of Israel, Kochi and had a thriving Jewish Population active in trade.
Harbor cruise is about a one hour cruise that happens either in Fort Kochi or in Marine drive, there are group cruises organized from Marine drive. The best time to do a harbor cruise is at 5 pm where guests could witness the sunset at the estuary. The best way to explore the backwaters of Kochi is by boat, and the harbor cruise would be the best way to do it. At Green Earth Trails we organize harbor cruise to most of our guests who opt to travel with us. The cruise further takes you to Wellington Island where you get to see the port and some cargo ships. The International Container Terminal in Kochi could be seen with its elevated cranes and a large number of stacked all over the place.
Ferry from Fort Kochi to Ernakulam
Fort Kochi and Ernakulam are two parts of Kochi, Ernakulam being the newly developed city which is the commercial capital of Kerala and Fort Kochi the old town where the colonial powers had their concentration before Independence. Fort Kochi is the best place to stay in Kochi because of its heritage and areas of interest close by. However, they tend to be expensive.
Since Kochi is about a cluster of Islands and lagoon on the Vembanad Lake, there are daily boat services that operate from Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Ernakulam city. This is an experience where you go really close to local life. This ferry service is for the local people who commute to the city for work, and it is very convenient as well. Take a boat to from Fort Kochi to Ernakulam city and walk to Broadway which is one of the oldest Marketplaces in Ernakulam. Broadway is technically a narrow street today, it was pretty much board once upon a time. There are a lot of shops of spices, textile, a lot more there. Walk past to have a glance of the local life of Kochi. Marine drive close to Broadway has a few malls where you get branded stuff.
Kumbalangi Village Tours
Some 15 kilometers from Fort Kochi is Kumbalangi Village. This is a village on the Vembanad lake where some interesting day tours are organized. The tour starts with a cruise to the Islands, where you get to see a fish and crab farm followed by local fruit-bearing trees, harvesting coconut, making coir out of coconut husk and finally operate a Chinese fishing net nearby. There is just a small list of activities you could do at Kumbalangi. If you are a group, a typical Christian lunch could be organized on the Island. Check out their website for more information - http://kumbalanghivillagetours.com
Walking tours of Kochi
Fort Kochi has a lot of walking tours organized by people who know their own bunch of stories about the city. Many buildings in Fort Kochi have prominent historical backgrounds and stories that will excite you. The route from Fort Kochi to Mattancherry has a lot of warehouses of spices, tea, and coffee. All of these used to be exported from the Port of Kochi once upon a time. Today the port is shifted to Wellington Island, which is a man-made Island that falls between Ernakulam and Fort Kochi. Some of the lesser known places during most walking tours are Kayees Rahmathulla Hotel in Mattancherry where you get some super delicious Biriyani. Jewish Cemetry, and a lot of narrow lanes and old building of Mattancherry. In Fort Cochin, the walk from the estuary to the Chinese nets, Parade ground and the St. Francis church come in most walking tours. Check out TripAdvisor for walking tours in Kochi or be in touch with us to organize the best one for you.
You buy I cook
The Fishermen at the Chinese fishing nets sell off their catch right then and there. While you walk through the pathway from the estuary to the fishing nets, you get to see a lot of fishermen selling their catch. The whole purpose of this program is the buy some freshly caught fish and cook it the way you want it. Take it to the nearby restaurant and give instructions as to how you want the fish to be prepared. And finally, you will have the cooked fish. This is quite common in Fort Kochi, but our local experts will take you to the best cooks in town.
Art & Cultural Shows
There are daily Kathakali Dance shows happening in Fort Kochi. The show happens in three venues, Greenix Village, Kerala Kathakali Center, and Cochin Cultural center. Kerala Kathakali center and Greenix village have other shows that include Kalaripayattu - A typical Keralan martial art form using handheld weapons and otherwise. Greenix has a museum in-house that depicts different musical instruments traditionally used in Kerala. There are other fusions of art shows named Kaleidoscope organized at all of these centers.
Dhobi Khana is about a group of launders who live in Kochi, not very far from Fort Kochi. They had arrived Kochi generations back when before independence. Their main job was to launder the uniforms of the British officers. They are traditional launders, and that is the only work they do, but the distinct part is that they wash by hand. Today they take care of all the linen of the hotels that you stay in Fort Kochi, they wash, dry it, iron and deliver it to the hotels. A visit to the Dhobi Khana will give you an opportunity to watch and see the workflow of laundering clothes.
This is a museum is located close to Ernakulam town center, where a collector has displayed his entire available collection in a three-storied museum. Even though some are kept for sale, most of the items are just a see. On the top floor, there is a Kathakali theater where you can organize a Kathakali show if it is for a group of travelers. The private collection is from far and wide. However, most of it is sourced from different parts of Southern India. You will get a clear idea about the artistic designs of Southern India. It was at the theatre here, a kathakali performance was exclusively organized for Prince Charles of the UK.
Kochi Muziris Biennale
The Kochi Muziris Biennale is an art festival organized by the Kochi Muziris Biennale foundation. Those artworks on the walls and the building that you see in Fort Kochi are all part of the present or previous biennales. This is an event that is organized biennially at different venues in Fort Kochi and Ernakulam city, most of them are in Fort Kochi. Artists from around the world take part in this art festival with their installations, concepts, stories, writings, and musical artworks. This year, the fourth edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale runs from 12 December 2018 – 29 March 2019 and the venues are open from 10 AM to 6 PM. Check out their website to know more about the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2018 venues, there is a 100 rupees entry ticket you get at Aspin wall and other limited venues.