Kochi is a major city on the southwestern coast of India and one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. The capital of Kerala is vibrant, cosmopolitan and multicultural, being home to a diverse population from all over India. The city offers visitors a unique blend of communities and a beautiful location by the Arabian Sea.
Kochi's tropical daytime temperatures are in the range of 30°C to 35°C. The time between May and September is the monsoon season and not the best time to be in the city. This is followed by a period of cool winds and light showers until February. Summer then settles in until May, bringing with it heat and humidity. The travel season peaks from August lasting until February, with December as the busiest time. In terms of events, the Onam harvest festival is held in August-September, while the Cochin Carnival, a major celebration, occurs in December. Major religious holidays are celebrated as well, including Holi, Diwali, Christmas, Easter, Eid ul-Fitr and Milad-e-sherif.
Visas are required for British citizens and can be obtained via the Indian High Commission. It is possible to get a visa on arrival at Kochi airport, but you must check with the High Commission first. Recommended vaccines are Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid, while Cholera, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies could be necessary for some travellers. The cost of living is generally low in Kochi, with full meals costing around Rs 50, but the cost of accommodation may be more expensive than in other parts of India. Tap water should be avoided and fruit and vegetables should be either boiled, peeled or cooked.
To reach Kochi from the airport, air conditioned buses are available and cost around Rs. 80 for a journey lasting about 1h40m. Taxi fares are around Rs 1,200. Cheap accommodation includes hostel rooms for about Rs 800, while mid-range hotels cost in the region of Rs. 2,000 per night. Fort Cochin is a quiet area, while Willingdon Island is more upmarket and Ernakulam City is great for all budgets. Public transport in Kochi is varied, with ferries (around Rs 4 from Park Jetty to Fort Kochi), city buses (about Rs 4 for the first kilometre), auto rickshaws (ca. Rs 10 for the first 1.25 km), and taxis (approx. Rs 50 for the first 3 km). Travellers can also hire scooters (starting at around Rs 300 a day) and bikes to explore the city.