With a population of over two million and fast becoming one of the top tourist destination in the country, Cochin is a true Indian success story. Also known as Kochi, this southwest Indian destination is nestled on gorgeous coastlines, offering visitors the best of its past, present and future. It’s a city that’s making bold new steps, while never forgetting its heritage and it’s all here, just waiting to be explored.
To help you uncover everything this Indian gem has to offer, we’ve put together this helpful travel guide. We’ll be taking you through the most popular tourist attractions, buzzing nightlife scenes, delectable dining options and comfortable hotels to suit every budget.
- Kochi’s Spice Exchange deals with over 90% of the pepper and spice trade in India and has had a significant role in being the spice trading centre on the west coast of India since the 14th century.
- Despite jaw-dropping beaches and wonderful climates, Kochi has rain for about half of the year. The city experiences rain on an average of 132 days, so be wary of this lengthy monsoon season and plan your visit between November and March to avoid getting stuck out in the rain!
Top Tips for Travelling to Cochin
- High season is from November to March though those travelling outside of these months should be wary. Although you can expect higher prices for hotels and travel expenses, you may gain in being able to enjoy its beautiful coastlines and many historical sites, some of which close during monsoon season.
- Tipping is expected in Kochi at around ten percent the service charge.
- Kerala is considered safe to travel for tourists, though be aware that security checks on cars and bags are common when entering sites, including before entry to any of the major tourist spots, shopping malls and some hotels.
Getting Around Cochin
Cochin is where many Indian tourists go in December…it’s a true melting pot of dozens of cultures in Kerala, India’s far southern tip. Rent a bike and discover Fort Kochi, one of the few places in Cochin where it’s safe to ride, with dedicated bike trails.
By Max, https://www.gonomad.com
One of the things people love about Cochin is that, in many ways, it feels like going back to a simpler time. Luckily however, this does not extend to its transport, which is both modern and convenient. Picturesque beaches and perfectly preserved temples may look amazing, but they don’t move very fast.
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One of the easiest ways to get around is by radio taxi. These are pre-booked taxis that can be booked via phone (which are generally of no charge) or mobile apps. This means that, no matter where you are, you can always find a comfortable means of transportation.
Alternatively, regular taxis can be found at taxi stands around transport links, such as bus stations, railway stations and the airport. These do not need to be pre-booked. They generally have standard tariffs of INR 50 for the first 3 kilometres, and INR 8 for a kilometre after. It is always advised that you agree a rate with your driver before you start your journey. You should also be aware that there are additional night fees.
Unfortunately, the subway in Cochin is currently under construction. Nonetheless, you can still take a train through many areas in the city, with a clear route between Ernakulam and Aluva being the most popular. There are generally plenty of stops no matter which train you get but do make sure you’re heading to the right destination before boarding. Trains usually stop at Edapally, Kumbalam, Angamally and Aroor, with long distance trains operating further out.
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The most popular mode of public transport in Cochin is bus. This is a city with very good bus links that are easy to find, cheap to use and simple to understand. There’s different coloured busses depending on how you wish to travel. These include red busses, which are cheap and cheerful with waiting times up to ten minutes. There’s orange busses, which are a higher-end option. These generally take between 10 and 30 minutes. Finally, there’s green busses, which focus on connecting the suburban parts of Cochin to the city centre. These are ideal if you’ve chosen a hotel a little further out from the norm. Together, these transport services cover most of the city, so you shouldn’t land too far from your destination, regardless of where you’re headed.
Found at almost all bus stops, auto rickshaws are a cheap method of transport, but it is important to agree on a price beforehand. Standard prices begin at INR 10 for the first 1.25 km and INR 6 per km after. Just like taxis, there are also additional charges for night time travel.
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Very similar to auto rickshaws, auto taxis are a hybrid between the two. These are four wheeled hatch-back vehicles, however in terms of their operation, they act pretty much identical to the auto rickshaw, ignoring taxi rates with a standard amount of INR 15 per km. However, there are no additional charges, such as minimum fares or night time charges.
They are generally found around major destinations, especially large shopping venues and railway stations.
Travelling by foot long distances is generally not recommend, as the walkways are often in a state of disrepair. However, Fort Kochi is considered to be much more pedestrian friendly. Similarly, hiring a private car is unpopular with tourists due to an undisciplined roads system and little respect for safety by other drivers. Cycling is an issue for similar reasons, although Fort Kochi has many dedicated cycle lanes.
Flights to Cochin
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Now you’re well versed in everything the city of Cochin has to offer, you’re ready to start planning your Indian adventure. First thing’s first, you’ll need to book your flights and you won’t find cheaper prices than with Expedia.