Things to Do in Fort Kochi – an Introduction to Kerala
Fort Kochi (or often called Cochin) is often visitor’s first stop when visiting the southern Indian state of Kerala. While the Taj Mahal beckons in northern India, Kerala offers travelers a slower pace of life in the lush waterways, tea fields and beautiful beaches. The Kerala Tourism Board has worked hard recently to attract tourists to the region and can be a great resource when planning your trip.
Check out our suggestions for Kerala itineraries.
Before you head out into the countryside to explore, spend a few days in Fort Kochi. There are so many things to do in Fort Kochi and it is a great introduction to the region. Fort Kochi was our first introduction to India and it was a gentle welcome, once we arrived at our hotel. The taxi ride from the airport was not so gentle! The historic area of Fort Kochi has drawn explorers and settlers for centuries and you cannot help but be taken with the atmosphere of this exotic old world port.
It was low season while we were there and a lot of restaurants were closed. We ate most of our meals at local restaurant near our guest house, Lucky Star (Fosse Rd, Kunnumupuram Junction). We did enjoy cakes at Teapot (Peter Celli St) in a cute, but not particularly Indian cafe. Dal Roti (Lily St) is supposed to be really good for North Indian food, although it was closed when we were there. Beer and alcohol is not widely available and we never saw it on menus here. We had heard that you can ask discreetly for a beer in many restaurants in Kochi and they will serve it to you clandestinely in a mug.
In Kochi, our kids loved playing on the old school British playground equipment in Fort Kochi (corner of Princess & Tower). There were fun metal slides, teeter totters and merry go round spinners. On the day we went to Ernakalum, we went to the Children’s Park (a short walk from the jetty). You did have to pay an small admission fee to get in and the park was in various stages of disrepair, but our kids loved exploring the playground and ride on cars.
You will likely fly into Cochin International Airport, which is impressively the world’s only completely solar powered airport. If you arrive into the domestic terminal, you will be greeted by a musty, small outdated arrivals hall, in the process of being renovated. The journey to Fort Kochi can take up to 2 hours at certain times of day. Indian roads are notorious for a good reason and we found the taxi ride to be quite thrilling, in not the best way. Our kids felt incredibly motion sick as we zoomed in and out of traffic. We had arranged an airport pickup through our guesthouse, 1200 rupees.
From Fort Kochi, our next stop was the beach destination of Varkala. We took a tourist bus there and it took a lot longer then we expected – over 6 hours. The bus was comfortable and air conditioned and wasn’t too crowded. 250 rupees/adult, kids half price.