The Chinese fishing nets
If you arrive by air to Kochi, you may be surprised at the time that it takes to get from the airport to Fort Kochi – we imagined a 20 minute drive, but even at midnight it turned out to be about an hour, so I dread to think how long it would take during the day.
We had booked in at The Fort Garden Residency, which was cheap, but a huge mistake. We were given a noisy, pokey room full of mosquitos, instead of the advertised room with balcony and a view of the garden – so we left the following morning to go to a much better place.
There are some nice walks to be done along the waterfront in Fort Kochi and at the nearby Jew’s Town area. The waterfront is mainly dominated by fishing and the imposing Chinese Fishing nets, which are great to see working.
Influenced by Europeans
Kochi has been a spice port for hundreds of years, especially pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, sandal wood all ending up in the four corners of the world.
A must-see place is The Mattancherry Palace, a 16th century Portugese palace later renovated by the Dutch, with some fabulous art and artefacts inside.
Leave the palace and look at the market stall on the way to Jew Town and the Paradesi Synagogue – the area was once full of Jewish traders, but the population today is now down to only 6 and is set to dwindle even further – see this article.
What to see
Kochi seems like one of those places that you don’t want to be rushing around from palace to temple at breakneck speed, but just relaxing, taking in the sunsets and sunrises, while eating at some of the excellent waterside restaurants.
We flew from Bangalore to Kochi, and then picked up our driver who was to be with us for nearly a month as we toured Southern India.
The flight from bangalore took a little less than an hour and as with all internal flights in India, it was quick, very good and cheap.
Unless you really want to sample the delights of catching a training in India, then most of the time, it makes more sense to get a flight for mid-distance travel as they are very cheap and excellent.
All-in-all, apart from our horrible first night, we absolutely loved Fort Kochi and recommend it for a stop-over on the way down the Kerala coast.
Food and drink
Kochi is next to the sea, so it is logical that fish and seafood are the go-to ingredients here and they are both fresh and delicious too – at least that is our experience.
We went looking for good coffee, which is one of our missions when in India and ended up at the Kashi Art Café – a nice place for a drink or a snack – although the coffee didn’t really blow our minds that much.
There are quite a few bars and restaurants not far from the waterfront, including the Brunton Boatyard, which we felt was a little too snooty for our tastes and we ate at The Hotel Seagul, just up the road – great food and very down to earth with a table right over the water.
A good place for an informal breakfast is The Happy Camper Boutique backpacker hostel – you don’t have to stay there to have breakfast there, which is what we did and it was simple, friendly, very good and cheap.
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