Kochi – earlier known as Cochin is a city near the Arabian sea in Kerala. It has been a port since 1341 and many Europeans, Arabs, and Chinese have used this port for business in the earlier days.
It is the Goa that I had always imagined! I do not compare places ever, this is just my expectation one place met in another place. Kochi is love! It gives out very comforting vibes. Kochi is calm, windy, green and has an aroma of the sea!
This was my first solo trip! I never thought I had the courage to do this but here I am writing this down on completion of my trip! This trip was a spontaneous decision to take a break from my frustrations. I selected Kochi also because I had been there in 2016 and it had my comfort zone to do a solo trip here.
I called up Zostel 022 4896 2270 on a Friday evening, asked them if they have a room available, they said yes!! I booked my stay for a night.
There are several other hostel and homestay options in Kochi. If you have not made any prior bookings, you can ALWAYS get rooms in the vicinity of Kashi Art Cafe, there are homestays behind Zostel, just wander there and you’ll find them. You will also find options around Kashi Art Cafe- Fort Bridge View, Bell house etc.
Bangalore to Kochi takes 10 hours to travel. So I left Bangalore on Friday evening, reached Kochi on Saturday morning around 8:30. I was planning to take an auto from my bus stand to Zostel Kochi but they were charging INR 500, so decided against it and to take a local bus. The local bus stand was right opposite where I got down (Opp Lulu Mall). Locals said all the buses will go to Fort Kochi. I got in one of the buses (INR 10) with the help of local. The conductor turned out good and I had to change a bus which no one but the conductor told me. I asked the locals about the bus for Fort Kochi and they helped me get into another bus ( INR 17 ). I had kept Google Maps on and got down at the nearest spot to Zostel.
Best time to Visit
October to February – a tolerable and pleasant climate. Other months will have intense monsoon/heat. I visited Kochi in May (a daredevil that I am 😛 ) with 32 degrees sweaty heat with night around 25 degrees. Needless to say its a place with a lot of humidity since it’s beside the sea.
Stay – INR 500 ( 1 night in Zostel ). Other local homestays and hostels range between 300 – 600 per night with all the facilities.
Food – INR 250 on an average per meal in cafes. Street side food is much cheaper.
Transport – 1 ) I booked buses to and fro from Bangalore to Kochi with Goibibo. It cost me around INR 1500 total. You can get it for much cheaper also if you book in advance.
Inside Kochi, I walked it up everywhere since many places were just in the vicinity. I took an auto at some places ( INR 50-100 approximately )
You can also rent (INR 350 per day without fuel) a scooter from Zostel.
I reached Zostel at 10 am. Check-in is at 12 noon. They have amazing policies viz. they let you hang around their beautiful property before check in and after check out, they let you have free filtered water and you can read while chilling there!
I took a shower in a common bathroom! I never thought I would do this but humidity and night’s sweaty journey forced me to do so.
PFA an outline of the itinerary in this post below.
I was planning to visit Kochi Muziris Biennale – the most Instagrammed place in past few months. I had thought of all the pictures that I wanted to click but bam! Turns out March 31st was the last day. With a lot of disappointment, I altered my plans and after check in around 11, I left for Kashi Art Café for brunch.
Post-brunch I wandered around the streets aimlessly.
St Francis Church
St. Franchis Church crossed my path and I thought of re-visiting it. It is built by Portuguese traders in 1503 and is one of the oldest churches in India. In 1663, the ownership was given to the Dutch to captured Kochi, followed by the British in 1795.
The traditional charm is still maintained by the church which can be seen by the olden form of fans still used.
It is now a protected monument since 1923. Time taken here – 20-30 min
Kerala Kathakali Centre
Around 4:45 pm, I left for a Kathakali performance from Zostel. Lonely Planet recommended Kerala Kathakali Centre was just 350 meters away from Zostel. I booked the tickets for the performance from Zostel in the morning itself because the cost was the same (INR 350) and I would get better seats (book the tickets asap for amazing seats – I would recommend first or second row).
Time taken here – 3 hours
I reached the auditorium at 5 and I was handed over a paper with the story of that day’s performance.
I went to Loafer’s Corner Café for dinner post performance and had delicious Sprouts salad and hot milk (INR 280)!
Read – Places to eat in Kochi here
I started walking home around 9pm and it was dark when I saw a foreigner walking ahead of me. I asked her if she was headed towards Zostel because
I was frightened of walking alone in the dark with very few people on the streets. Thankfully she was and turned out to be my roommate! Beth was from England and we made plans for breakfast the next day.
Our 3rd solo traveler roommate – Vidya also joined us for breakfast today. We left for Pepper Café ( 1.5km ) from Zostel in an auto ( INR 80 )
After a sumptuous brunch and spending amazing time, we left for Jewish Synagogue.
Jewish/ Mattancherry/ Paradesi Synagogue.
We learned about its rich history by eavesdropping a guide. I couldn’t see any options for a guide. But if you do, please hire one!. It is shut on Saturdays so plan accordingly. Entry fee is INR 5. The history of the synagogue is displayed at the entrance.
Time taken here – 15 mins.
We aimlessly wandered around the streets. Shopped a little around Kochi Fishing Nets shopping market. We reached this beautiful property. I do not know what is the name of this place, but it is a beautiful restaurant. A little ahead of Synagogue, we purchased spices and perfumes from a shop named IRS perfumes – I would highly recommend the fragrances Opium and Jasmine.
I headed to Zostel post this while Vidya and Beth continued the tour. It was 3 when I reached Zostel, I spent some time reading and left to catch my bus at 4:30 pm for Bangalore.
More places that can be added:
Mattancherry / Dutch Palace
This was built by the Dutch and gifted to Raja of Kochi in 1555 as a token of appreciation and hence also known as Dutch Palace. This place has interior designs of Kerala temples and architectural style of the dutch. It is an art gallery these days with murals from Ramayana, rich and in-depth history of Kerala. A place is a must visit if you love learning. Time taken here – 1 hour
This is a man made island which is ever constructed in India till date. It is a residential place in old style building. Visiting timings are from 5 am to 10pm. Time taken here – 2-3 hours. There are guides available here. If not, the locals will also help in getting you the information required about the history of this place etc. It is 3km from Ernakulam railway station.
I would suggest visiting these nets early in the morning when they are fishing and/or in the evening for a gorgeous view of the sunset. You will also see the mechanism of these machines of how they catch fishes.