5 BEST Things to Do in Kochi, Kerala

Kochi also referred to as Cochin, is a city situated in the land knows for spices, Kerala. This city was an epicentre for the spice trade in India during the reign of kings and emperors. This city has undergone massive transformation at the beginning of the 21st century. It is one of the most populated cities of Kerala.

Despite undergoing massive transformation, this city never ceases to attract tourists from different parts of India. Every year or every season, tourists flock to this city to visit church, synagogue and shop for handicrafts.

You should prepare a list of attractions when you are booking your tickets to Kochi. These attractions are going to leave you in awe and you may not want to leave this city for long. Wondering which places are worth visiting? Well, again there are plenty of sites that you have to visit if you want to make the best possible use of your vacation.

For a one day trip in Kochi, you can plan a cycle tour of the Fort Cochin area, the old Portuguese colony. The area has some beautiful architecture to take notice of. Marked by churches and Masala markets, the place is a favorite of people who want to know a little about the history of the state.

The beach /shore on one end can become a little crowded by the end of the day but never the less its still amazing to gaze at the cochin shipyard one the other side. The place is bustling with culture, cuisine, art and history.

best things to do in kochi india

Here is a list of things to do in Kochi that tourists should know if you are planning to travel Kerala on a budget. The list is as follows:

1. Backwaters of Kochi

If you are looking for something more out of the ordinary or a one day trip in Kerala, why not take a cruise along a river in Kerala from Ernakulam? Houseboat Tour in the backwaters of Kerala is the most unique and incredible experience you can have. You will set off in a thatched bamboo boat called a kettuvallam, complete with your very own captain, guide, and cook.

Kettuvalams in Kerala is a houseboat which is a wooden boat and is tied with coir knots. Kettuvalam is constructed with embellished natural products. It was used earlier as a transport medium for carrying huge amounts of merchandise and grains. To promote tourism, Kettuvalam was converted into a tourist boat and put up with modern facilities.

It is the most exclusive and luxury experience for travellers who offer convenience and comforts. Sit back and as you navigate the waterways and watch the world go by in the tourist places in Kochi for one day.

If you have always wanted to sail in the backwaters of Kerala, this will be your golden opportunity. You can visit the Vembanad Lake, the largest lake in Kerala and the whole of India. You can either book a houseboat or a boat cruise and sail on the waters with your spouse or family members.

2. Enjoying a Kathakali Performance

Your trip to Kerala is incomplete without attending a cultural show and enjoying a dance show. Kerala has given birth to some of the most popular dance forms in India. One of them is Kathakali. It is a classical dance form of Kerala and has today become an iconic cultural symbol.

While visiting Kerala, you must attend a Kathakali performance, in which performers do not sing or speak but enact the stories through graceful gestures, postures, and facial expressions.

Other cultural performances including Bharatnatyam, Koothu, and Mohiniyattam you must need to see in Kerala. In the evening, enjoy a kathakali dance show. The elaborate makeup, intricate eye and body details and bright costumes makes the performance even more lively.

3. Shopping at Princess Street

This pulsating street is the hangout place for all the social party-loving people and is one of the best places to visit in Kochi on the way to Munnar. It gives a European feel to the by-passers owing to the small houses built with French and Portuguese sensibilities. It is also dotted with coffee shops and quaint eateries that serve lip-smacking food and beverages.

4. Trying the Varied Cuisine in Kochi

Kerala is known as God's own country for a reason. The lush green trees, the local delicacies, the cool sea breeze and coming to food, Kerala has quite an interesting palette and if there’s one dominant flavour its of coconut. Every dish of this state is made from spices and herbs fresh out of their gardens, making it one of the tastiest cuisines to ever have from South India.

You can experience Kerala's culture is through its gastronomic delights. Either for vegetarians or non-vegetarians, the food options are many and the taste will be really good. Here is a list of things that you must try when in Kerala. Even on the roadside, Appams, idiyappam, bajjis, and other snacks are worth tasting! You will lose count of the number of appams you are eating.

They just melt in your mouth. You should also not miss Indian coffee house coffee and the tiffins they offer. Sadya is a not to miss specialty and so are the pal payasams and other sweets. The state is known to serve the freshest seafood in the country. Savor a meal served on a green banana leaf, along with refreshing palm wine. Other must-try items are appam with stew, ghee roast dosa with sambhar and Karimeen Pollicahthu.

Kerala is renowned for spices. Spices are nothing but taste enhancers used in food by the cooks while preparing different meals. Every spice has a different use. If you have always wanted to experience the famous cuisines of Kerala, this may be the perfect opportunity. You can visit different cafes dotting the areas.

Why not experiment with your taste buds when there is no dearth of options! You can try local cuisines, choose from an array of cafes and restaurants. You walk into any home or restaurant and ask for water, you will be served Pink/Red water. Its called Pathimugam (Sapanwood soaked in water).

Idiyappam is made from rice flour and goes well with stew, egg curry or sambar. It’s like one fluffy disk of thin threads bound together and almost tastes like idly. Banana chips, made from raw banana, fried in coconut oil is available in almost every corner of the street.Pack a few packets to get home so that your trip memory can linger on for longer.

Fish pollichathu is made from cooking a fish in local spices all wrapped together inside a banana leaf. The fish is steamed with all the local spices and the banana leaf lets the bonus flavours and nutrients infuse into the fish. Do not miss this dish if you love seafood. Puttu is a cylindrical steamed rice cake topped with grated coconut. It is the most popular breakfast dish and is usually served with kadala curry.

Soft and fluffy in the centre and paper thin around the edges, appam is hands down the most addictive dish from Kerala. Appam is often had with creamy coconuty stew. Pop into the nearby toddy shop, and order yourself the Kappa and meen curry. It's a well spiced fish curry served with some boiled Cassava/tapioca roots (the kappa). Dip the soft boiled Kappa into this spicy red fish curry and sluurpp, enjoy the dish like a local!

Sadhya is a traditional meal served on a banana leaf with around 20 dishes. Though this is a speciality made during the local festival of Onam, most restaurants offer this meal round the year. It usually has chor, avial, pappadam, a sweet tamarind-ginger pickle and many other interesting vegetarian dishes.

The cuisine of Kochi is influenced by different ethnicities from across the world. Banana makes an integral part in its preparations and Pazham Pori, Kurukku kaalan, Appam and freshly fried banana chips in coconut oil are must-haves. Soft cotton like Appams and a creamy veg/meat stew makes for a wholesome breakfast.

5. Ayurvedic Massage in Kochi

Kerala is the land of Ayurveda where you can get a traditional oil massage at one of the many Ayurvedic massage centers and spas. The Ayurveda massages not only enhance your outer beauty, but they also cure various illnesses besides giving your mind relaxation and peace.

Take a break from the beach and head to the many shopping complexes and an Ayurvedic health center that abounds in the beach town or head out to sea in a kayak or on a surfboard, the choice is yours!

If you think this is all that the Kochi has to offer, you are in for a surprise. There are around more than forty places to visit in Kochi if you want to explore every nook and corner of Kochi. You can visit churches, synagogues, shopping centres, museums, lake and still not be done with. If you have been postponing the visit for quite some time, you should take the plunge. Book your tickets and experience all that this city has to offer.

Also, don’t worry about accommodation and food expenses and this city is not expensive. You can find hotels with budget-friendly rates and restaurants and cafes serving an assortment of dishes. Good Luck!
Kalyan Panja