One day in Fort Kochi

One Day in Kochi (2024)

Discover the glamour of timeless architecture in the enchanting city of Kochi, where the past seamlessly coexists with contemporary culture. Kochi captivates those who cherish historical treasures frozen in time by boasting a harmonious blend of old-world charm and modern vibrancy. Having frequented this captivating city multiple times, I find myself drawn back whenever an opportunity arises. In this post, you will find details of one day in Kochi.

During my initial travel in Kochi, a mere day sufficed to explore a myriad of captivating locales. This post endeavours to illuminate the gems awaiting your discovery within one day, offering both a glimpse into the destinations and a suggested itinerary for a seamless exploration.

From ancient structures steeped in history to the dynamic pulse of present-day culture, Kochi promises an immersive experience where the dichotomy of old and new coexists in harmony. Venture out on a journey through the heart of Kochi, relishing the juxtaposition of architectural wonders that whisper tales of bygone eras, all within the embrace of a city that effortlessly straddles the realms of tradition and modernity.

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1 day in Kochi (Kerala)
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About Kochi

Formerly recognized as Cochin, Kochi is a coastal jewel nestled in the South Indian state of Kerala. With a rich history as the epicentre of the global spice trade for centuries, this city is affectionately called the “Queen of the Arabian Sea.” Renowned for possessing one of the world’s most exceptional natural harbours, Kochi has etched its name as a pivotal port city on the Malabar Coast along the Arabian Sea.

“Kochi” originates in the Malayalam term “Kochazhi,” signifying a small lagoon—a fitting descriptor for a city that harmoniously merges maritime allure with cultural significance. As a testament to its maritime prominence, Kochi has played a pivotal role in shaping the region’s history. It continues to be a vibrant hub where the past seamlessly meets the present.

Since the 14th century, Kochi stood as a pivotal spice trading hub on India’s western coast. Its historical significance soared when the Portuguese took control in 1503, marking Kochi as the initial European colony in colonial India; within Old Kochi, a tapestry of islands unfolds, encompassing notable areas like Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, and Willingdon Island.

Notably, according to Outlook Traveller magazine, Kochi earned acclaim as the sixth-best tourist destination in India. Moreover, it secured a place among the top 10 cities globally to visit in 2020, as recognized by Lonely Planet. These accolades underscore Kochi’s enduring appeal, blending centuries of trade history with contemporary allure, making it a captivating destination for enthusiasts of both history and modern exploration.

Best Time to Visit Kochi

The optimal period to explore Kochi is from October to February, when the climate is delightful, avoiding excessive heat. Despite being the winter season, temperatures fluctuate between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius during these months. This range ensures a pleasant and comfortable visit, allowing travellers to enjoy Kochi’s attractions without the discomfort of extreme temperatures.

Number of Days Required for Kochi

While I recommend dedicating at least two to three days to fully immerse yourself in the charm of Kochi, a single day is still adequate to capture a glimpse of the city’s offerings.

Where to Stay in Kochi?

Selecting accommodation in Kochi depends on your preferences and budget. The city offers a diverse range of options to suit different tastes.

  1. Fort Kochi: Fort Kochi is an excellent choice if you are drawn to the historical charm and cultural vibes. You’ll find boutique hotels, heritage inns, and guesthouses near Fort Kochi’s iconic landmarks.
  2. Mattancherry: Another historical area, Mattancherry, also provides accommodation with a touch of the city’s heritage. This neighbourhood is known for its vibrant atmosphere and proximity to attractions like the Dutch Palace.
  3. Ernakulam: For a more urban experience, consider staying in Ernakulam, the commercial hub of Kochi. This area offers a wide range of hotels, from budget to luxury, and is well-connected to various parts of the city.
  4. Marine Drive: If you prefer a waterfront setting, Marine Drive is a popular choice. It offers scenic views of the Arabian Sea and a selection of hotels, including some with modern amenities and upscale facilities.
  5. Vyttila: For those seeking a balance between tranquillity and accessibility, Vyttila is a suburban area with good accommodation options. It’s a bit away from the bustling city centre but well-connected.

Here are some hotels in Kochi known for their luxury and excellent amenities:

  • Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty is a luxurious property with a waterfront experience, modern facilities, and stunning views.
  • Kochi Marriott Hotel – Situated near the famous Lulu Mall, this Marriott property boasts upscale accommodations and multiple dining options.
  • Taj Malabar Resort & Spa, Cochin – Overlooking the Cochin harbour, this Taj hotel combines heritage charm with contemporary luxury and a spa.
  • Le Meridien Kochi – Known for its modern architecture and stylish design, Le Meridien offers upscale rooms and diverse dining experiences.
  • Crowne Plaza Kochi is a premium hotel with well-appointed rooms, extensive meeting facilities, and dining options.
  • Dutch Bungalow – If you are looking for a lovely heritage hotel for the night, I recommend the Dutch Bungalow, a 375-year-old heritage property in Fort Kochi.

How to Get to Kochi?

Situated in the Ernakulam District, Kochi is approximately 200 kilometres away from Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala.

By Air

Kochi features an international and domestic airport, approximately 25 kilometres or an hour from the city centre. The uniqueness of Kochi International Airport lies in its distinction as the world’s first fully solar-powered airport, a milestone achieved in 2015. Additionally, it stands as India’s inaugural airport built through a public-private partnership.

Flights between Kochi and major capital cities are readily available, with budget-friendly options offered by airlines such as Air India and Indigo Airlines. My round-trip flight from Bangalore incurred a total cost of approximately INR 5500.

By Public Transport

Kochi enjoys robust connectivity through public transportation, with regular trains and buses linking it to major cities and towns. Utilizing public transportation proves to be a cost-effective means of reaching Kochi. For the latest details on train schedules and bus services, one can refer to the IRCTC and RedBus websites.

Local Transportation in Kochi

Airport to Fort Kochi or Kochi City Centre

The airport is situated approximately 25 kilometers from both Kochi city center and Fort Kochi, with the journey by road taking up to an hour.

  • Public Bus – For an economical option, public buses offer a budget-friendly means of transportation from the airport to Fort Kochi. Regular buses operate between the airport and the city, with a fare of just INR 88 for a one-way trip (excluding luggage).
  • Taxis – Alternatively, taxis are readily available at the airport, including services from Uber and Ola. This provides a convenient and comfortable option for travellers looking to reach their destination quickly.

Within Fort Kochi

Various local transport options, including auto-rickshaws, cabs, and cycle rickshaws, are available in Kochi. Depending on the distance, you can select the most suitable mode of transportation.

Tip: When using auto-rickshaws, it’s advisable to negotiate with the drivers regarding the fare they quote.

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1 day in Kochi (Kerala)
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Things To Do in One Day

Kochi city has abundant activities to explore, with various islands beckoning your attention. However, constrained by just one day in Kochi, my focus was primarily on Fort Kochi. For more comprehensive insights into additional attractions in Kochi, refer to the Places to Visit in Fort Kochi.

Fort Kochi exudes a captivating ambience, making it an ideal spot to unwind. Renowned as the historical heart of Kochi, this area is celebrated for its charming cafes, iconic Chinese fishing nets, and the impressive Santa Cruz Basilica.

  • Note:
    • The following is the sequential order in which I visited these places during my one day in Kochi.
    • It’s important to note that the one-day itinerary does not account for flight timings and transportation durations.
Fort Kochi Coastal Walk
The walkway along the beach

See Chinese Fishing Nets Operate

In Fort Kochi, a distinctive and captivating activity is observing the Chinese fishing nets in operation—a truly remarkable experience. These are stationary fishing nets managed by at least six fishermen. Tracing their origin back to the 14th century and introduced by Chinese explorers, these nets are formally termed ‘Shore Operated Lift Nets.’

  • For an up-close encounter with the fishing nets in action, a gesture of around INR 100 to the fishermen allows you to witness the intricate process.

Fortunate visitors might be treated to seeing dolphins while strolling along the walkway.

Chinese Nets - Fort Kochi
Chinese fishing nets in action

Stroll Through the Fish Market

Exploring the fish market along the coast is a must for a delightful glimpse into the local life. Despite the distinct aroma, it offers an opportunity to witness locals catching various types of fish.

  • This activity is free of charge.
Fish Market - Fort Kochi
Fish Market

Meet the Locals

I firmly believe that the most authentic insights about a place come from conversing with the locals. In Kochi, the residents are welcoming and amiable, often possessing knowledge about hidden gems and insider information. Engaging with the fishermen and interacting with the local fauna became a highlight of my day in Kochi.

However, exercising discernment and trusting your instincts is essential before engaging with every local.

Meet the locals - Fort Kochi
A local

Take a Picture with Steam Boilers

As you stroll along the coast, you’ll encounter two prominent steam boilers along the walkway, presenting an excellent photo opportunity. According to the informative placard nearby, these boilers served in the Kochi dry dock for two decades, starting from 1956.

  • Don’t miss the chance to capture a snapshot of these historical landmarks.
  • This activity is free of charge.
Steam Boilers at Fort Kochi
A picture with two steam boilers

Visit the Cafes

Renowned for its charming cafes offering exceptional decor and delectable cuisine, Fort Kochi boasts many options along the beach and inner lanes. Among the notable establishments are Kashi Art Café, Qissa Café, and Loafers Corner Café.

Click Pictures with Street Art

Fort Kochi is adorned with captivating street art and graffiti, each telling a unique and beautiful story. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets of Fort Kochi to immerse yourself in the vibrant and meaningful world of colourful street art.

Street art at Fort Kochi
Street Art

Visit the Santa Cruz Basilica

Fort Kochi is renowned for the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, which achieved the status of a basilica in 1984 and stands among the nine basilicas in Kerala. Initially constructed by Pope Paul IV in 1558, the British demolished the church. In 1887, a new structure was commissioned, resulting in the magnificent tower we see today. It is considered one of the most exquisite churches in India.

  • The Santa Cruz Basilica welcomes visitors daily from 9 AM to 1 PM and again from 3 PM to 5 PM, offering an opportunity to admire its beauty and historical significance.

Go Back in Time at the Dutch Palace Museum

Referred to as Mattancherry Palace, the Dutch Palace, now functioning as a museum, offers a compelling journey into history. The museum houses a collection of paintings dating back to the 17th century, illustrating scenes from the Hindu mythological epic Ramayana.

  • Open to the public from 9:45 AM to 1 PM and later from 2 PM to 4:45 PM; the palace provides a valuable historical perspective.
  • Entrance to the museum requires a fee of INR 5 per person.
Mattancherry Palace - Fort Kochi

Buy Some Spices at Spice Warehouse

Before my visit and discovery, I was unaware that Kochi is renowned for its spices. One can indulge in spice shopping and explore various popular items along Broadway Street. Functioning as a wholesale market, this area hosts trading shops that offer a wide array of high-quality spices and dry fruits at affordable prices.

Other Churches

Kochi boasts numerous churches, each exuding beauty comparable to the Santa Cruz Basilica. Among the notable ones are the Orthodox Church and St. Francis Church.

Orthodox Church - Fort Kochi
The Orthodox Church

Taste the Banana Chips

No one departs Kerala without indulging in the renowned banana chips, a pivotal element of the traditional Kerala vegetarian feast, Sadhya. With an abundance of banana plantations in the state, Kerala shares the delightful taste of these chips with the world. Available in a range of flavours, from salty to spicy, banana chips serve as a delicious and popular snack.

Banana Chips - Fort Kochi
Banana chips

Bonus Things To Do

If you find yourself with more time, I recommend considering one of the following activities:

  • Fort Kochi Heritage Walk – If you enjoy strolling through cities and discovering local treasures, the Fort Kochi Heritage Walk is an ideal choice.
  • Kathakali Performance – Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Kathakali, a traditional dance form with elaborate makeup and captivating performances. You can book a Kathakali performance through the Kathakali Centre website.
Dutch Palace Museum - Fort Kochi

Extend Your Travel from Kochi

  • Kumarakom Kumarakom unfolds a serene escape into the tranquil backwaters of Kerala and is just around 50 kilometres from Kochi. Nestled on the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and traditional houseboats. Immerse yourself in the calming ambience of the backwaters, explore the bird sanctuary to witness diverse avian species, and relish the therapeutic Ayurvedic treatments. Cruise along the scenic canals, surrounded by lush greenery, and savour the authentic flavours of Kerala cuisine. This extension from Kochi to Kumarakom promises a rejuvenating experience, blending nature’s beauty with the tranquillity of the backwaters for an unforgettable journey.
  • Munnar – You might want to extend your Kochi visit to include Munnar, approximately 130 kilometres away. The road journey takes only around 3 hours and 30 minutes, and it offers an opportunity to explore the scenic beauty from Kochi to Munnar.
  • Ashtamudi – Around 130 kilometres from Kochi is Ashtamudi, which offers a tranquil retreat into the enchanting backwaters of Kerala. Nestled around the mesmerizing Ashtamudi Lake, this destination beckons with its serene beauty and lush landscapes. Glide through the picturesque waterways on traditional houseboats, witnessing the tranquil coexistence of nature and local life. Explore the quaint villages along the shores, indulge in rejuvenating Ayurvedic therapies, and savour the delectable regional cuisine. You can enjoy the luxury at some of the best 5-star hotels. This extension promises a serene escape, providing an authentic experience of Kerala’s backwater charm, making your journey from Kochi to Ashtamudi a harmonious blend of relaxation and cultural exploration.
  • Kannur – Extending your journey from Kochi to Kannur is a brilliant idea for delving deeper into Kerala’s charm. Kannur, located to the north, offers pristine beaches, historical forts, and a vibrant local arts scene. It is around 280 kilometres from Kochi. Immerse yourself in the cultural journey by exploring Theyyam performances, witnessing the age-old craftsmanship of handloom weaving, and strolling along the serene Payyambalam Beach. Discovering Kannur’s unique blend of tradition and natural beauty will add another layer to your Kerala experience, creating enduring memories of a journey beyond Kochi’s well-trodden paths.
  • Wayanad Wayanad promises an enchanting escape into Kerala’s lush hinterlands, nestled amidst the Western Ghats, and is a haven of verdant landscapes, mist-clad hills, and thriving wildlife. Explore the breathtaking Soochipara Falls, traverse the scenic tea estates of Meppadi, and discover the ancient Edakkal Caves. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage at the Wayanad Heritage Museum and relish the tranquillity of Pookode Lake. This extension from Kochi to Wayanad, around 260 kilometres, ensures an immersive experience, offering a serene retreat surrounded by nature’s bounty and cultural allure.

Is Kochi Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Kochi proved to be exceptionally secure during my visit. The locals were amicable, and I encountered no disturbances during my time in the city. I formed connections with a few residents. I can confidently affirm that Kochi is a safe destination for female solo travellers. Nevertheless, as a general practice, it is advisable to exercise caution, particularly during nighttime, and always rely on your instincts, as is prudent in any location.

Closing Notes

My affection for the various destinations in Kerala draws me back repeatedly. Kerala truly lives up to its title as “God’s Own Country,” with breathtaking landscapes, warm-hearted people, and a captivating culture. Once more, my recent visit to Kochi, a city within this splendid state, exceeded expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the city, and without a doubt, I look forward to returning for yet another enriching experience in this beautiful locale.

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