Known as "Little Lisbon", by the Portuguese and "Mini England" by the English, this tourist hotspot has a unique past and captivating present.
Kochi's climate sees daytime temperatures in the region between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius. The Monsoon starts in mid-May and lasts till September. The time from then until February is windy and showery. Summer begins in February until May, and this can be very humid. The peak travel season commences in August till February, and December is this destination's busiest month.
The 10 day Onam harvest festival takes place in mid-August till mid-September, and multi-ethnic, religious festivals Diwali and Holi, are observed, as are Easter and Christmas. Eid ul-Fitr and Milad-e-Sherif are also celebrated, although dates vary. The Cochin Carnival, featuring parades, is held in December.
Visas are required for entry and are available from the Indian High Commission. Tourist visas may be available upon arrival. Be sure to check with the High Commission before arranging your trip.
Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid vaccines are all recommended and some travellers may want to consider taking Cholera shots if travelling during the monsoon season. Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies are also recommended, and all routine vaccines should be up to date.
Cook or peel your fruit and any vegetables before eating and avoid drinking tap water. A restaurant meal can cost as little as 50 rupees. Accommodation is costlier, however, than in the rest of India.
The airport is situated 29 km away from central Kochi, and KSRTC air-conditioned buses take around an hour and 40 minutes to the city. Tickets cost approximately 80 rupees while taxi fares are around 1200 rupees.
Low-cost hostels cost about 800 rupees and more luxurious hotels cost approximately 2,000 rupees. You'll find boutique hotels in Fort Cochin while upmarket hotels are situated in Willingdon Island. Ernakulam City suits all budgets.
Ferries travel between Fort Kochi and the mainland, and tickets from Park Jetty to Fort Kochi cost approximately 4 rupees.
City buses charge about 4 rupees for the first km, auto rickshaw's charge around 10 rupees for the first 1.25 km and taxis charge approximately 50 rupees for the first 3 km. Hiring a scooter costs around 300 rupees a day, and cycling is another travel option around Fort Kochi.