The historic port city of Cochin is the perfect starting point for exploring the Indian state of Kerala. The islands that make up Cochin (or Kochi) offer a taste of everything: history, culture, international influence and local culinary delights. The only real question is where to begin exploring the charming city of Cochin.
Many choose to start their visit by exploring the historic Fort Kochi on the peninsula of Mattencherry. Here, gargantuan Chinese fishing nets line the seashore as old colonial buildings line the neighborhood’s alleys and streets. Basilicas and churches remain as testaments to Cochin’s Portuguese past, while the remains of the VOC Gate and David Hall reflect the Dutch side of Cochin’s history.
Certainly, Fort Kochi is a far cry from the cosmopolitan mainland of Ernakulam, where highlights include the Ernakulam Shiva Temple and the shopping mecca known as Marine Drive. Also worth the trip in Cochin is the Hill Palace Museum, where visitors can see the incredible collection of 95 diamonds and thousands of other precious stones that make up the Cochin Royal Crown. While visiting Cochin, the local beaches are a must, too. Cherai Beach is a particularly popular choice for its scenic views and safe shores.
No matter where you go throughout Cochin, travelers will find no shortage of fresh seafood to feast on. The local flavors of Kerala are almost as plentiful as the culture that seems to burst from Cochin’s seams.
Cochin attracts tourists all year long, but the city sees its peak travel season between the months of December, January and February, when rain is scarce and temperatures hover in the mild 70s. December also sees Cochin come alive with annual festivals like the Cochin Carnival and the Indira Ghandi Boat Race. Cheap flights to Cochin can be found during the off-season months of July, August and September, when monsoon rains fall over the city. The shoulder season months of March and April can be a good time to find cheap flights to Cochin as well, though temperatures are at their highest and the weather can be rainy at times.
Visitors have little trouble getting around the city, thanks to Cochin’s plentiful public transportation options. A well-maintained bus system connects passengers with destinations throughout the city, while inexpensive ferries make it simple to travel between the various islands that make up Cochin. Auto rickshaws offer an inexpensive way to travel directly to a destination in local fashion, while taxis, though more expensive, are a more comfortable option.