A melting pot of cultures and traditions
Kochi retains many elements of its rich historical past. An eclectic mix of traditions is evident in the markets, architecture and museums. This southwest Indian city in the coastal Kerala state has been a port since 1341.
The Kochi climate is tropical with daytime temperatures reaching 30 to 35°C. The monsoon season is from mid-May till September. From September till February there are cool winds and intermittent showers.
The summer months are from February until May and they are humid.
December is the busiest month in the peak season which runs from August through to February.
From mid-August until mid-September the ten-day long Onam harvest festival is celebrated. Other festivals such as Holi, Diwali and Easter are celebrated on varying dates, along with the Islamic festivals, Eid ul-Fitr and Milad-e-sherif. During December Cochin Carnival, a major event, is celebrated with street food, music and parades.
Kochi Visas and other facts
Visas that are needed to travel are available from the Indian High Commission. Tourist visa can be obtained at Kochi airport but check with Indian Commission before travelling. Make sure your usual vaccines are all up to date. it may also be wise to have jabs for Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies, along with Cholera if travelling during the monsoon season. Hygiene when eating fruit and vegetables is important and it is best to not drink water from the tap. Day to day costs are low in Kochi, with a restaurant meal costing roughly 50 rs. Accommodation prices are relatively high for Indian standards, but lower than UK prices of course.
Kochi - on arrival
Central Kochi is situated 29 km from Kochi International Airport.
A bus, operated by KSRTC, will take passengers to their final destination in Kochi for ₹80 or thereabouts. A taxi from the airport costs approximately ₹1200, a basic hostel roughly 800 Rs, more comfort can be had for 2,000 Rs or so.
There are many boutique hotels in the quiet Fort Cochin area. Willingdon Island is for better for the more discerning traveller and Ernakulam City caters for all budgets.
To get around town, it costs 4 rupees or so to take the ferry from Park Jetty to Fort Kochi. City bus fares are from around Rs 4 and Auto Rickshaws Auto rickshaws cost Rs 10 (1.25 km), taxis cost Rs 50 for the first 3 kilometres. You can rent a scooter for about ₹300 per day.
Fort Kochi is a good place for cycling.