Captivating cosmopolitan city
Kochi is one of India's leading tourist destinations, a vibrant place where old and new rub shoulders. As the capital of Kerala, Kochi offers a wide choice of museums and other attractions, and many visitors come here simply to lounge on its famous beaches.
Popular seasons for Kochi travel
In tropical Kochi temperatures are generally between 30 and 35°C. The most popular time for visitors is between August and February, when cool winds soften the heat. Though the city is a year round destination, visitors should note that mid-May to September is monsoon season. Multi-cultural Kochi is a city of many festivals. The vibrant Onam Festival features dancers and tableaux and is the state festival of Kerala, taking place over 10 days from mid August to mid September. The biggest festival of all is the Cochin Carnival, from December 20 to January 2 each year, with parades, concerts and beach parties.
Kochi - preparing to go
Visas are needed to visit Kochi and these are available at the Indian High Commission. Tourist visas may be available at Kochi's airport, but check first with the Indian High Commission. Visitors are advised to have vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid up to date. Consideration may be given to vaccinations for cholera (especially important in monsoon season), hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis and rabies. Visitors should not drink water from the tap and make sure that all vegetables are cooked before eating. Fruit should also be peeled. The cost of living in Kerala is much cheaper than in the UK. A full meal in a restaurant will cost about 50 rupees.
Kochi - once you've landed
It's about 29 km from the airport to the centre of Kochi. There's a regular air conditioned bus service by the government run KSRTC which makes the journey in 1 hour and 40 minutes, costing about 80 rupees. Taxis are plentiful and fares are ca. 1200 rupees. Accommodation in Kochi is available at all levels, with hostels from 800 rupees or so per night, while more pricey hotels charge about 2,000 rupees. The Fort Cochin and Willington Island areas both offer top class hotels, while Ernakulam City has a mix for all budgets. Kochi has numerous public transport options with auto rickshaws a popular choice and costing 10 rupees for the first 1.25 km. City buses operate on many routes with fares at 4 rupees for the first kilometre. Taxis are plentiful but relatively expensive, charging 50 rupees for the first 3 kilometres. There are many cycling routes in Fort Kochi and scooter hire - at about 300 rupees a day - is also a popular option. Ferries - such as those between Fort Kochi and the mainland - are good value, at about 4 rupees.