Top 10 Things to Do in Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kerala is a hot, both figuratively and literally, region in India’s south. It is also a nice change of pace if you have traveled in the northern states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The 1st thing you notice about Kerala is how slow it is, as if time seems to meander just like it’s people.
Kerala has a rich history with Portugese, Dutch & Jewish settlers, so their influence will be felt all through the region in it’s churches, architecture, cuisine and even synagogues. Fort Kochi is the most popular destination for Kerala visitors with it’s cobbled streets and very un-Indian feel, you will love the walkability factor and calm attitude. The city has enough for 2-3 days with lots of options to go into Ernakalum & Fort Vypin if extending your stay longer in the area.
Tip: Any rickshaw driver does tours or will know someone who does them. They leave the rate open ended but you could probably see the top spots in Fort Kochi for about $10 for the day.
As you enjoy your couple day visit, here is a list of 10 things you can do in Fort Kochi, Kerala.
- Backwaters tour – This is perhaps the biggest draw of the region, taking day or multi-day excursions into the pristine water alleyways. You can get 2-3 days tours almost anywhere, many people take them out of Allepo but F. K. has them as well. Be warned, they are very quiet and not action packed with things other than the scenery to view, its a great time to catch up on any books. Read a post about these tours here.
- Chinese Nets – These pretty famous and are in the heart of F.K. and are honest to goodness working fishing nets. Thousands were gifted by the Chinese forever and a day ago and now only a handful still work. This area is also great to buy fresh fish and walk it over to a restaurant for them to cook it up for dinner. Negotiate prices on this before agreeing as a $1 fish can turn into a $15 meal.
- Jewish Synagogue/Jew Town – F.K. is a melting pot of religions and there is a 400+ year old synagogue anyone can visit and it’s in aptly named Jew town. Trust me I can’t make this up.
- Beach – Nothing is complete w/o going to the beach. One exists but it’s mainly for walking. No Indians or foreigners were there to swim and sunbath. If you really want to hit the water, go further south to Varkala.
- See a church or two or three – I took a day tour of F.K., basically you pay $10 for a rickshaw driver to drive you mechanically around the best sights. He will take you to all the churches, if that is your thing, you will love the different architectural styles.
- Kathakali – This a is a stylized Indian dance of sorts with elaborate make-up and costumes and is native to Kerala. There are daily shows you see and it’s interesting way to see the early culture of the area.
- Dutch Palace – Not so much a palace but a restored house that is also a museum.
- LuLu Mall – This is a little slice of cool heaven in this hot place. Public buses run out of F.K. to the mall daily.
- Rent a scooter – Normally I would not advise this in India but the South’s chill atmosphere and lackadaisical traffic make renting a scooter easy and economical.
- Doby Ghana laundry – This was an interesting little place that does laundry for some hospitals. You can see their real life operation for free (donations are expected) and watch the lifecycle of Indian laundry. FYI- it’s 100% outdoors.
Tip: If flying, the best airport in the region is the one in Kochi (Cochin), it is world class. Going to Fort Kochi from the airport is rather easy. There is a nice AC bus that leaves the airport every 30 minutes and stops right in the heart of Fort Kochi (45 minutes). It is a comfortable and dirt cheap.