Bucket List: What is Kochi famous for?
Looking for Awesome Things To Do and See in Kochi, India? When one thinks of India, the first thing that comes to mind is their vibrant culture, the Taj Mahal, the colorful festivals, and the bountiful Indian cuisine options with the signature spices.
But wait until you discover India’s enchanting city called “Kochi” — one of the most populated cities in Kerala, India. It is also hailed as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea as it’s surrounded by islands, lakes, rivers, and peninsulas — attracting tourists all around the world.
Kochi, also known as Cochin, is part of Ernakulam’s district in Kerala and has a typical tropical climate. They also have regular flights to almost all the Middle East cities and few destinations in Southeast Asia, so there’s no worrying about visiting here anytime.
If you’re curious about what this exciting destination has to offer, we’ve listed down an exciting list of the best things to do in Kochi, India.
Explore Fort Kochi
You’ll be awed by the striking architecture here at Fort Kochi. Make sure you’re recharged when you visit and try their much-anticipated activities in this area. It can be accessed through roadways and waterways. There are also private buses and transport buses that travel from different parts of the city to Fort Kochi.
Although this area may be a bit laid back amongst any other part of Kochi, here, you’ll never run out of great seafood options and fancy cafes. You can choose your fish from a fishmonger and have it cooked the way you want it.
Other places to visit include the 16th century St Francis Church, some old European buildings, and the Mattancherry Palace housing Ramayana paintings. You can also go shopping at boutique shops, especially at Cinnamon, where you can find an array of Indian designer fashion, jewelry, and homewares.
Take an exhilarating bus ride around Kochi.
Warning: Not for the faint-hearted.
To best describe it, the “patok” jeep in the Philippines is somehow similar to the swift bus ride in Kochi.
But despite the heart-pumping bus ride, you get to see the serene view and colorful houses along the way. Their bus transport system is mainly dominated by private operators, known as Red-Buses.
Take a detour at Thrissur.
Why not be spontaneous and have a detour at Thrissur, where Kerala’s elephant temple festival is celebrated. Take the train and bring your fully charged phone and cameras so you won’t miss any exciting spots in one of Kerala’s oldest cities.
Nature lovers will love the bountiful temples, hillocks, beaches surrounding the city. In this district, you’ll see the famous Vadakkunnathan Temple, Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple, and the Shakthan Thampuran Palace, which has been in Thrissur for 1000 years now. Expect to see lots of Hindu devotees in the complex.
There is also a kid-friendly place where you can bring the whole family, such as the Anakotta – Guruvayoor Elephant Sanctuary, where you can see elephants of different sizes, and the Nehru Park where you can do picnics, which is open from 3pm-8pm.
The best time to visit would be in April to celebrate the Thrissur Pooram, where various rum concerts, displays of pyro-techniques, and public participation are expected.
Visit the Mattancherry Palace
Immerse into their rich culture and see some of India’s best art murals and paintings inside the Mattancherry Palace. It was originally a Portuguese palace – which was later presented to the king of Cochin around 1555. In 1663, it underwent renovations. More enticing displays are to be seen inside, from paraphernalia owned by the rajas, the king’s bedchamber, Palliyara, the traditional Kerala flooring, and the old brass cups in the dining hall, and exhibits from local artists.
The palace is also surrounded by plenty of shops where you can buy some memorabilia. Getting around is also easy; the jetty and bus terminal are behind.
Watch a Kathakali performance.
If given a chance, make sure to witness one of the nine classical dances in India called Kathakali, where dancers are donned in colorful and fascinating costumes.
This type of dance-drama originated from the south Indian state of Kerala and depicts some themes from the Hindu epics Ramayana, Mahabharata, and more. You can catch a performance at Kochi’s Kerala Kathakali Centre, which runs daily. As a matter of fact, you can also see how artists apply their makeup!
Go Street Shopping at Princess Street
There are lots to see and things to do in Kochi, and one of those is street shopping at café hopping at Princess Street.
Many tourists hang out at this vibrant avenue and check out European counterparts and a long stretch of shops, restaurants, cigar shops, art galleries, and kiosks offering various souvenirs, handicrafts, and artifacts.
Taste authentic Indian cuisine at Trilogi
Enjoy your downtime, and have your dinner at Trilogi for a one-of-a-kind gastronomic experience at Crowne Plaza Kochi. Prepare your palates for a burst of flavors for their nostalgic specialties you can’t find anywhere in the world.
Must-tries include paratha and curry. The menu consists of Seafood, Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan Options. They also serve an English buffet breakfast if you want to break from the usual local dishes.
Take Cooking Lessons at Nimmy Paul’s Cooking School
If you’re feeling creative and want to learn how they cook local cuisine in Kochi, check out this cooking school at Beach Road, Kattiparambu.
Meet Nimmy, the teacher who is also a consultant to magazines and chefs. She teaches guests traditional Kerala recipes, such as the Inji Kari, Meen Molee, Moppilah Biriyani, and Meen Pattichatu, to name a few.
Buy Spices at the Jew Town
Feeling inspired by the cooking lessons at Nimmy Paul’s? Why not head towards the famous Jew Town and check out some signature spices to remake the dishes you’ve learned. Get to know the locals and ask for other cuisines you can do with those spices!
Here at Jew Town, there are various souvenir places where you can buy your pasalubong.
Chill at Vypeen Island
Everyone deserves a relaxing getaway, and you’ll be in a surefire treat when you visit Vypeen Island, which can be visited via ferry from Fort Kochi. It’s quiet, uncrowded, and a popular place where you can get luxurious massages and traditional healing.
But of course, let’s not forget to have those curry cravings at The Rice Boat, where banana steamed fish is also a bestseller!
Relax at Kashi Art Café
From stylish wood tables to attractive interiors and contemporary artworks made by local artists, one will truly enjoy dining here at Kashi Art Café, located at Burgher St., Fort Cochin. They’re very well known for their solid and organic coffee.
Make sure to have a taste of their excellent western breakfast, home-baked cakes, salads, and French toast.
Birdwatching at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Learn more about the beautiful species of migratory birds in this sanctuary located at Kumarakom, Kerala.
In these 14 acres lies 20-30 species of birds, including the Siberian stork, parade fly-catchers, lone golden-backed woodpeckers, egret, darter, heron, and teal. Spend time and take pictures of these migratory birds, best visited from June to August. Houseboats and motorboats are available to hire for bird-watching cruises on the lake. It is open from 6am to 5pm.
To go here, you can either hire local taxis from Kottayam, which is around 13km from the sanctuary.
Snorkel at one of Kochi’s Best Beaches
Want to go on a water adventure in Kochi? Why not try snorkeling at one of its pristine beaches, swim along with dolphins, and see how rich their marine biodiversity is. Don’t worry about first-timers.
Many tour guides will teach you the basics and tell you where to rent some snorkeling equipment. Other activities include paragliding, boating, and dolphin watching at Cherai Beach.
Visit the Folklore Museum
Another exciting thing to do in Kochi is to visit the Folklore Museum, which aims to promote and preserve their contemporary and modern artists. Inside the Museum are ethnic collections of more than 6000 artworks and exquisite sculptures.
The Museum in itself is a destination itself, with its impeccable architecture. Other things to see include musical instruments, old-school Indian paintings, artifacts, woodworks, and bronze sculptures. Not to mention, there’s also a theatre inside where stage performances representing the authentic South Indian culture are put up.
If you plan to buy some souvenirs, there is an antique store and a Jewelry store inside that sells Kerala Saris and handloom products. There is also a theater in the Museum where stage performances representing the authentic South Indian culture are put up.
You can take an uber or a local taxi from Fort Cochin to go here. However, if you’re on a budget, you can take any bus, including the Fort Cochin–Vytilla–Airport bus to Thevara.
Visit the Pallipuram Fort
Consider yourself lucky to see India’s oldest existing European fort, the Pallipuram Fort, located at Vypeen Island. It was built in 1503 by the Portuguese and is also known by Ayikotta or Alikotta. It is hexagonal in shape, and the lower floor has a height of 5 feet (1.5 m).
To visit, take the nearest railway station, the Ernakulam Junction, near the main boat jetty to Vypeen Island.
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Kochi Travel and Tour Packages
To help you plan out your vacation to Kochi, we listed places to visit and other amazing things to do in Kochi, India. We also listed some of the best travel deals, tour packages, and excellent flight deals and accommodation.
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of cheap Kochi hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.