Kerala, a state in the southern part of India right is deservedly called “God’s own country”. A state filled with backwaters, beaches, tropical climate and beautiful towns, there’s so much to learn about the state. As a person who hails from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, I have been a frequent visitor to Kerala. There are several things that can make you fall in love with this state, esp Cochin. The flowing backwaters, a perenially raining climate, the delicious food and of course the serenity are just a few of the things I could attempt to describe this beautiful state. Hence a post on the top Kochi sightseeing places which you should definitely see.
As a part of a an automobile project and in parallel, the launch of the Tata Nexon , led me to this beautiful place again, this time to Kochi. Kochi or Cochin or Ernakulam is one of the biggest cities in Kerala, second only to Trivandrum, the state capital.
Kochi (Cochin) – How to reach ?
Flights : Cochin is connected by bus, train and airports from several parts of the country and also has an international airport(though most flights are connected to Gulf countries). Popular airlines that fly to Cochin include AirAsia ,SpiceJet, Indigo, Air India and JetAirways.
If you are travelling by train, look for the destination station “Ernakulam Jn”(Station code: ERS)
Cochin-Kochi Sightseeing Places & Things to do
A city lying on the coast of Arabian sea ,the first thing you notice in Kochi is the lakes and backwaters that circle the city everywhere. Around sunset time, take a speed boat ride/ Ferry ride in Marine Drive or Fort Kochi.
During this trip, I took a stroll around Marine Drive key shopping areas and later ended up in a one hour ferry ride for Rs.100 (US $1.5). The ferry took us around the shipping ports, the harbor and some scenic viewpoints of the city from the seaside. Definitely one of the most best things I enjoyed doing in this city.
If you are in the mood for houseboats, Kerala Ayurvedic massages or just live in a place alongside a backwater with tropical trees , just head 53kms to Allepey and you can get to enjoy all of these. Note: It can get very expensive given the heavy influx of foreign travellers. Don’t be surprised if you are even quoted sometimes in US Dollars 🙂
If you are a non-vegetarian, Kerala’s food can be heaven. Remember, this will taste completely different than the other cuisines of India. This is because of the heavy addition of Coconut oil in many of the preparations. Kerala, being the land of coconut trees, coconuts and coconut oil is predominantly used in 80% of the items including chips, vegetables , dishes etc.
Some of the must try items include
- Malabar Parotta
- Puttu & Kadalai Curry
- Pazham Pori ( A morning snack made out of banana)
- Appam & Stew
- Kerala Fish/Prawn Fry
- Kerala Rice
The chips, technically under food is something you should definitely buy. They have more than 20 varieties of chips and wouldn’t mind giving you a small sample if you are really planning to buy
Shopping in Kochi
One of the biggest malls in the state is Lulu Mall, located right in the center of the city. You can almost get everything here from food to dates to clothes and perfumes. A Gulf based mall, one of the key stores in the mall is Lulu Hypermarket. It can get a lot crowded during the weekends , as this seems to be the biggest hangout spots for most people in Kochi now.. Expect some big traffic blocks throughout the way to the mall at peak hours.
If you want some small street shopping, you can also check out the small vendors on the opposite side of Marine Drive. There are small bazaars selling a lot of things including mobile phones, clothes, fast foods etc. Fort Kochi also has its own bit of shopping, where you can get jewellery, art stuffs, clothing mostly for women etc.
Cochin Temples , Churches & Synagogues
Kerala is full of beautiful temples, churches and synagogues. One of the most famous temple is the Chotanikara temple , the Jewish Synagogue and the St.Francis Church. Each one of these places has a long history behind it and a beautiful place to visit.
Weekend Trips from Kochi
Kochi is one of the major base station to head to several cities nearby . Some of the most popular destinations , apart from the Kochi sightseeing places include:
- Munnar : One of the famous hillstations down south , next only to Ooty & Kodaikkanal, Munnar is the most widely visited place as a summer
- Allepey : As written above, its becoming a popular honeymoon destination and an ideal place to go for a relaxed vacation
- Thrissur , Guruvayur & Athirapally Falls : As most people know, Guruvayur is one of the most significant temples down south with a very strong following amongst Hindus. People generally make it a habit to visit the temple atleast once a year.
- Idukki : Idukki is roughly 90KMS away from Kochi and a popular spot for a drive in the forest areas and the plantations. The Idukki dam is also a popular sight to see here.
Review of my Stay in Ramada Resorts
Thanks to my work project here, I was put up in Ramada Resorts in Kochi. Located quite interior in the city , its roughly 45 KMS away from the airport, 1.5 hours away. Here’s a short review of my stay here
Though its supposedly a “5*” resort as per review/hotel sites, the rooms may not have passed off as a 5* category.Maybe the Presidential Suite could have given that experience, but in a standard deluxe room, this was not the case. However my room had a private balcony facing the lake, which added a nice touch to it
Room service was average and they needed 3-4 reminders to get some work done. I was part of Wyndham membership (Ramada is part of Wyndham Groups) and I had to remind the reception thrice that I wanted to avail the perks which was mentioned.
Food in Ramada Resorts, Cochin
The buffet at the hotel ,provided during all three meals of the day was quite good. It was definitely one of the best foods I’ve had in recent times and few of the things were prepared with great precision.
Amenities in Ramada Resorts
Present : Ramada resorts contains beautiful cottages with pool view rooms and a large infinity pool that faces the lake. They also offer speed boat services in the lake that is right beside the resort and costs roughly Rs.1500. The resort also has other ameneties including an Ayurvdic Spa, a bar, small playground for kids and big conference halls to host a large wedding.
Location of Ramada Resorts, Cochin
Though it’s a resort and ideally away from the city, this was very interior from the main road. Anywhere to the city costs roughly 500 in an Uber and one way Uber ride to Airport is roughly 900-100. More than the distance, it takes a minimum of 1 hr to go to the central parts, thanks to big traffic blocks.
The rack rates are anywhere between 5000-6000 depending on the season. Though many online sites offer a better deal than that.
If you are planning a visit to Kerala, do visit this beautiful city and try to spend at least a day or two and visit some of the top Kochi sightseeing places. In fact Kerala is the most popular state in India’s top 15 Destinations list , as published by TripAdvisor.