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5 Top Places to Visit in Kochi Kerala India

By Alice Teacake

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Looking for your next amazing solo destination? This Kochi City travel guide is for you! Kochi (also known as Cochin) is one of the best places to visit in Kerala, and you’ll find new things to discover around every corner. There are many places to visit in Kochi and I experienced the best of the best with the Kerala Blog Express this year! 

Alice smiling and standing against a ruined building in Fort Kochi covered in blue, yellow and green graffiti.

Knock, knock 2019! You don't want to miss all these places to see in Kochi!

Where is Kochi? It’s a city hub in the southwest of India along the coast, but it’s not far from inland jungles, waterfalls, and wildlife. Basically, it’s the best of both worlds. There are so many places to visit in Ernakulam and beyond, and I loved exploring the entire Kerala region with Kochi as my starting base.

5 top places to visit in Kochi in Kerala India

With influences from all over, Kochi is rich in cultural history and is a unique place in India that any boss babe should check out. Whether you’re here for a stopover or extended visit, it’s a great place to start your trip in Kerala India.

What are the places to visit in kochi? I’ve compiled some of my favorite Kochi tourism experiences below for fellow solo female travelers. Read on to learn about all of the Cochin tourist places (and a few that most tourists don’t know about!).

Some handmade hanging woven decorations with the beach behind them

Grab one of these locally crafted decorations to remember your time in Kochi Kerala

Aspinwall House: Muziris Biennale Art Festival

The Kochi Biennale Foundation encourages art & culture and educational activities in India, specifically in Kochi city. They host the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, an art exhibition and festival that is one of the biggest unique arts festivals in South Asia. The fourth annual Biennale was from 12 December, 2018 until 29 March, 2019. Luckily, I got to see it just before it finished!

A piece of artwork from the Muziris Biennale Art Festival featuring three different illustrations of a local lady. In the center of the piece is a large open mouth with one of the ladies lying down inside while another rests peacefully atop the lips, gazing at the audience

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale showcases cool contemporary art like this piece here

Kochi-Muziris Biennale takes place in a range of venues centered around Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, and Ernakulam. The Biennale spaces are historical buildings that have been renovated especially for the biennale.

Art installation with 50+ microphones hanging from the ceiling. Under each microphone is a pole punctured through a single yellow slip of paper.

A thought-provoking art installation at the Muziris Biennale Art Festival

I enjoyed the Muziris Biennale Art Festival at Aspinwall House. Visit here even if it isn’t the Muziris Biennale Art Festival. It has beautiful exhibits all year round!

Find out more about Aspinwall House here

Chinese Fishing Nets

Fort Cochin is famous for the dozens of Chinese fishing nets along its river. Kerala is famous for these, so don’t miss seeing this unique experience in Fort Cochin. You can watch the fishermen make their unique moves and even join in if you’re lucky. Be sure to tip if you do!

Fishers surrounding their set-up Chinese fishing nets. The nets are strung along a frame created by four posts that are connected at the top in a tent shape.

The fishermen at Fort Cochin are a unique sight to see

According to Kerala history and Kerala folklore theatre, the nets were brought from a Chinese emperor and were introduced to fishermen in Kochi by Chinese explorer Zheng He.

Fisherman in Kochi walking next to his boat on the shore.

Mmm, I wonder if he caught any fish to make some meen moilee.

Talking about fish, it wouldn’t be Cochin Kerala without fish curry! Don’t forget to have Kerala’s special fish curry called meen moilee. It’s made with seerfish, coconut milk, green chillies and curry leaves. It tastes soooooo good!

Book your tour to the famous Chinese fishing nets here

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Fort Kochi

Which are the best places to see when you visit Fort Kochi and Mattancherry?

Fort Cochin is a great place to explore on foot, so grab a Kerala tourist places map from a hostel or tourist information desk. 

A stall filled with vibrant locally made necklaces and purses hanging in the front of the shop with a man, the shopkeeper, sitting behind the table.

Eye-catching jewellery found near Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi Kerala is packed with shopping and restaurants. There’s boutiques, antique shops, and more, all in between European style historical buildings.

My friend walking away with the aged, white St. Francis Church standing tall behind him

One of my friends taking in the incredible St. Francis Church. Photo credit: @jinsabraham / @inst.shan for @keralatourism

Other places to visit in kochi fort include the Church of St Francis, the first church Europeans built in India!

Reserve your spot on the best Kochi tour here

Jew Town in Mattancherry

From Fort Cochin, follow the waterfront and Mattancherry will turn into ‘Jew Town’. This district is named as such because Jewish settlers made a community and left an impact on Cochin City.

Red building with green windows and shutters as well as a matching green door.

A perfect example of the quirky buildings around Jew Town

Four local men standing in an alleyway, framed by an archway that have been cut out of a blue wall.

You will notice shades of blue pop up often around Jew Town. Can you guess why?

The 16th century Pardesi Jewish Synagogue, the first in India, is amidst the antique shops and spice markets. It’s one of the coolest places to see in Kochi that shouldn’t be missed!

Visit Cochin’s biggest and oldest synagogues on this 7 hour tour

A busy, narrow street with shopkeepers on each side standing outside their shops. They sell pashminas and other clothing items.

Take a wander through the narrow streets of Jew Town and find some goodies that you can take home.

Mattancherry Palace

One of the best places to visit in Mattancherry is the Mattancherry Palace.  It was built by the Portuguese for the Raja of Kochi in 1555. The Dutch renovated and added onto the palace in 1663, so it’s also called the Dutch Palace. The palace now houses an art gallery featuring Indian artists’ works.

Don’t miss out. Book your spot on the Kochi day tour here!

An old, white building featuring four blue double doors and a sign that says "MADONNA EXPORTS". There is also a motorcycle in the middle of the frame with a man resting to the right of it.

Pops of colour can be found around Manttacherry

Day trip to Athirappilly falls

As far as tourist places in Kerala go, this spot may be my favorite. Athirappilly falls, also known as the Niagara falls of India, is the perfect place to day trip to from Kochi. It’s perfect for any adventurous solo lady boss traveler.

Athirappilly Falls is not far from Cochin India, hidden away off the beaten path. They are among the best waterfalls in the country.

If you want to see Athirappilly falls in all its glory, you’ll want to visit during the monsoon season which is between June to October. I was there in April and it was still absolutely amazing. But to witness the full force of these waters, wait if you can.

Reserve your tour to Athirappilly Falls now

Alice standing on a rock wearing a blue and white striped dress with three cascades from Athirappilly Falls in the background

Who could resist the Niagra Falls of India?

Have more time? Visit Vazhachal waterfall too!

While you’re there, check out Vazhachal waterfall about 5 km away. This waterfall is a bit smaller than Athirappally, but part of the fun is in the journey you’ll take to get there.

To get to see this wonder you’ll have to hike through thick greenery in the Sholayar range!

Jungle Safaris

Looking for one day tour places in kerala? There are tons of exciting jungle safari packages available in the Kerala region, from jeep safari tours to long duration treks in the heart of the jungle.

Explore the rainforests of Kerala as you search for flora and fauna, tigers, elephants and breathtaking views.

These safaris may cover spots like Kauthuka Park and the Thumboormuzhy Dam. Other opportunities include seeing elephants in Thrissur and enjoying tea plantations to name just a few!

Theme Parks and Resorts

There are numerous resort spas in the Kerala India area. There’s waterfall-side spas to all inclusive resorts. These are all perfect after a long day of Cochin sightseeing! There are also a couple of amusement parks. These are Silver Storm and Dream World. They will certainly get your adrenaline pumping!

You can also chill at Ernakulam beach, promenade along Marine drive, and enjoy the numerous museums on Kochi folklore and history.

This list could go on forever, and I hope I get to return to Kerala soon to add to my favourite places here!

Best places to sleep in Kochi Kerala India

Here are the top 3 options for budget, midrange and luxury travellers.

Zostel Kochi

Check budget prices here

Zostel Kochi is a central hostel with great amenities and nightly rates starting at £5. Staying here is the best budget choice, as it’s close to the bus station, beach, and other places to visit in Kochi. There’s free Wi-Fi in all rooms and a restaurant on site for a night in.

Sea Hut Homestay

Check midrange prices here

Ready for a swim? Stay at the cozy Sea Hut Homestay and you’ll be in the beach as soon as you leave the hotel. The hotel is walkable to fort kochi and tons of other places to visit in Kochi and nearby.

Grand Hyatt Kochi

Check luxury prices here

This is where I stayed! The Grand Hyatt Kochi is the ultimate luxury retreat in Cochin Kerala. Located in the Ernakulam area, Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty is rated highly for it’s easy access to top tourist attarctions in Kochi. With a swimming pool, spa, and restaurants, you can relax while exploring Ernakulam tourist places.

Where to eat in Kochi

Here are 3 scrummy places to eat in Kochi for all budgets.

Rasoi Fort Kochi

Located next to the church of Saint Francis, Rasoi Fort Kochi offers amazing Kerala food at affordable prices.

Find out more about Rasoi Fort Kochi here

Lilliput Multi Cuisine Restaurant

The Lilliput offers amazing beachside seafood you can’t get anywhere else. It’s in the Cherai beach area. After a long day of Kerala sightseeing, a dinner on the beach is what every adventure girl needs.

Find out more about Lilliput Multi Cuisine Restaurant here

Thai Soul at the Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty

Not in the mood for Indian food? Head to Thai Soul. It’s just downstairs if you’re staying at the Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty. It’s one of the best places in Kochi for authentic Thai cuisine. I ate plenty and it transported me right back to Thailand. Nom nom nom.

Check out the reviews of Thai Soul here

Experience Kerala food and the market

Why not treat yourself to a very special dining experience in Cochin? Take a trip to the local market with your own special host to see the Chinese fishing nets. Step inside their household to meet their family. Learn Kerala’s cooking secrets then treat yourself to a delicious 3 course meal.

Book your Kerala cuisine experience now

Transport options

There are plenty of fun and quick ways to get around Kochi. Enjoy your time immersing yourself in the culture and interacting with the locals. I highly recommend jumping in the autorickshaws. They are immensely fun!

Autorickshaw

Autorickshaws, or tuk tuks, are a great way to get around Kochi Kerala. There are prepaid rickshaw stands at the main bus station or Ernakulam Junction. Or just hail one down on the road and work out a price with the driver.

Taxi

Uber and Ola Cabs are available as well as taxis for trips around Kochi; short trips can cost around ₹60.

Bicycle & Motorcycle

If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a bicycle or scooter hourly or daily at Fort Cochin.

Bus

Airport buses and local buses are available throughout the city.

A bus in Kochi decorated with brightly colored stickers and has the word SEELAN across the top.

Hop on one of these colourful buses to get a local view of Cochin Kerala

Ferry

Kochi’s ferries are a great way to explore the town and see Kochi city center from all different views. There are multiple ferries in Fort Kochi that can take you to Vypeen Island, places in Ernakulam and Mattancherry.

Metro

Kochi’s new metro only has one line, but it may work depending on where you’re going. Check the map before your journey. Currently the metro runs near Fort Kochi and it is set to be expanded in the future.

Solo female travel safety tips for Kochi Kerala

As a solo woman traveller, I know that safety is important.

For cultural respect you’ll need a scarf for entering certain religious temples and buildings, and it’s better to dress more conservatively in general. Wear long pants and skirts.

If you visit a Kochi beach, opt for a modest suit or even board shorts and a t-shirt.

I always travel with travel insurance and with safety devices for my more expensive items. Check out my essential India packing list below.

I also know self defense and advocate for women to learn it. As always, stay alert in Kochi tourist places and be prepared when you travel. Most importantly: follow your intuition when something doesn’t feel right.

I loved my time in Kochi, and can’t wait to go back and do even more Kochi sightseeing.

Are you ready to add these places to visit in Kochi to your bucket list?

Cochin is vibrant city with a rich culture that supports it. I cannot urge you enough to check out all the sightseeing that Kochi has to offer.

Related Reading

What’s the best luxury Alleppey houseboat in Kerala India?

How to get from Alleppey to Thekkady in Kerala India

2020 Best Solo Female Travel Destinations

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Have you ever been to the Kerala region? Let me know if I missed your top thing to do in Kochi down below and find more India adventures here!

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About Alice Teacake

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I'm a feminist British kickass solo female traveller who believes in women facing their fears, pushing their boundaries and reaching their full potential through solo adventure travel! I have been featured in Nat Geo Traveller UK, Lonely Planet, the Daily Mail and Buzzfeed and spoken about solo female travel safety on BBC One, whilst working with a bunch of awesome brands. Follow me for travel advice and inspiration, so you can go forth and challenge yourself to reach your own personal goals!

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