Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi

As we say good bye to Delhi and the north of India, we descend to Kochi. About 2600 km from Delhi, it’s not easy to go by train but it’s possible and it takes about 12 or more hours, so we decided to fly down. It’s not very expensive and air India is the local airline and very good I may add. Compare to the service with any USA airline, they give you very good food with lots of choices between vegetarian and non vegetarian as well as different choices of drinks, and they don’t charge for checking in luggage either as many American Airlines. Anyway, it’s about a three hour flight from Delhi to Kochi.

As we land in Kochi, we feel the difference in the weather. It’s a lot cooler and windier than Delhi, and you could feel the air crips and cleaner. It’s easy to get a taxi to Fort Kochi. We didn’t realize than Fort Kochi or even the city center Kochi is about 25 to 30 km from the airport, which takes about one and half hours to two hours depending on traffic. The taxi ride costs 990 rupees for non AC taxis or 1100 for AC taxis. Since the weather felt so much better, we decided to take the non AC and feel the wind for a change of the airplane cold air conditioner. The taxi was actually a very old car. I’ve only seen those cars in the old movies, from 1930 or so. I could hear every noise coming from different places but nevertheless it was in good shape.

As we started to drive, I felt in love with the area, a lot more greener and a lot more cleaner. We felt like the local government is really investing in the progress of the area. There was construction of a metro, buildings, roads, etc. very different from what we saw in Delhi or Agra. Once we reached the city center of Kochi, there was nice malls, places to shop, tons of people and very lively area. Fort Kochi is very close to the city center, just have to cross couple bridges and you are there. As we arrived to the Honolulu home stay, Taris and Aboo were very welcoming, and have us all of the necessary information and showed us our room. We had a perfect room with balcony, which made it very enjoyable to do morning yoga outside.

The next day we went to see the area and all of Fort Kochi had to offer. The area is perfect for walking, from the home stay, you walk all around fort kochi in under 10 minutes. Fort Kochi is very famous for it’s fishing nets. These are all big handmade nets that requires few people to work it correctly as it seems very heavy to put the net down and up. There are also boats that go out to fish but because of the rainy season, the government prohibits for any boat to go deep sea because the ocean is very rough. There is a beach next to the fishing nets but it’s really not suitable for swimming. The water is rough, a bit dirty and around it, there is a bit of trash. However, we were able to find a nice spot where we sat and tan a bit, with all clothes on though. It’s not custom for the locals to see women or men in bikinis or swimsuits, so one must be aware and respectful of the local customs. Although, nothing will happen to you, every men will stare for minutes at a time and it gets quite annoying after a while.

We also visited the cathedral there, the Jew town and the Dutch palace. Keep in mind that many tuk-tuks will try to offer you a tour around the town but everything is walk able as I mentioned before. So if you’re up for a walk, just say “no, thank you” and keep your way.

The other beach recommended by the locals is called Cherai beach. That’s where we headed the next day. You must take a ferry to Vypin place. It is a three minute ferry and it costs only 3 rupees per person. Then you can take a tuk-tuk or bus for 25 km to Cherai beach. The bus is only 18 rupees each while the tuk-tuk will cost you 350 to 400. We decided to take the bus to try it out and it’s a whole another adventure. Trying to figure out what bus to take it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. The only way we got into one was because the driver yelled “Cherai beach”. As foreigners is very easy for locals to know where you want to go, so either ask or wait for them to yelled the name of the place you want to go. After one hour bus ride, the driver told us where to get off, and we had to walk about 2 km more. I guess a definition of beach is somewhere where you have beach chairs, umbrellas, nice place to sit and enjoy the beach, in a way like Miami beach. India is quite the opposite, it seems the concept of nice beach is that it’s clean and that’s it. When we got there, all we saw was a huge pile of rocks fortress, where you had to climb a bit and there was the beach with enough sand space to put the towel to lay down and basta. The ocean is very rough so no much going in the water either. In our opinion, not worth the bus ride, plus the ferry but nevertheless worth the experience to know the area better. We stayed for an hour and headed back home, again an hour ride back to the ferry station by tuk-tuk this time then take the ferry.

We enjoyed our stay in Kochi but two days would have been enough to see it. There are a lot of travel packages from Kochi to enjoy the famous backwaters in Kerala. Instead, we now head to Allepey to enjoy the peacefulness of the backwaters on our own.

A bientôt 🙂

Useful information:

– It takes 1 hour or more depending on the traffic to get to Fort Kochi from the Airport. The price is around 1000 Rupies without AC
– The beach in Fort Kochi is a little dirty. The beach in Cherai is nicer and clean. It takes around 1 hour to get there with the ferry and public bus. Be aware that we cannot really be in bikini or swimmingsuit on these beaches
– Go have a Masala tea at Tea Pot!
– The Homestay Honolulu was great: well centred, the family very welcoming, Aboo the owner will give you all the tips you need on the area or even India! Wifi, breakfast, dinner, laundry service, bicycle renting are available.
– If you wish to get an Ayurveda massage, go check the place and massage room first! What is on the brochure doesnt always reflect the reality…
– To head to Alleepey by public bus, go to the Thoppompady bus station from where you can catch up a bus passing by every 30 minutes.