Kochi is one of the most interesting destinations in Kerala with a glorious past that is steeped in colonial history. Nurtured and shaped over centuries by many foreign powers such as the Dutch, Arabs, Chinese, British and Portuguese, Kochi has over the years developed its very own cultural identity. No visit to Kerala is ever complete without a visit to Kochi. The unique artistry, culture, lifestyle, and cuisine of Kochi work together to create a great vacation. Here are some of the things to do in Kochi, Kerala that can make your trip a wonderful experience.
15 Things To Do In Kochi To Make It Memorable
Putting together your Kerala trip itinerary? Don’t forget to add these thrilling and soothing experiences that only Kochi will provide to make your holiday an exceptional affair.
1. Mattancherry Palace – Visit
One of the best things to do in Kochi is to pay a visit to the Mattancherry Palace, which includes Kerala murals showing exhibits and portraits of Rajas of Kochi. The Palace was originally built by the Portuguese in 1555 and presented to Verra Kerala Varma, the Raja of Kochi, as a grand token of appreciation. Later in 1663, additional restorations and extensions were carried out by the Dutch, which is why it is also known as the Dutch Palace.
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2. Fishing Villages – See Gorgeous Chinese Fishing Nets
The Chinese Fishing Nets in Kochi are often regarded as one of the most picturesque sights in Kochi. Legends tell that these nets were originally brought down from the royal courts of Kublai Khan, the great Chinese emperor and introduced in 14th century by Zheng He, a Chinese explorer to the local fisherman in Kochi. You can also buy fishes from the fishmongers and get them cooked in some local shacks.
3. Elephant Training Centre – Play With Elephants
Kodanad is a relatively small riverside village in Ernakulam district in Kochi. It is also the home to an elephant training center where the baby and adult elephants are washed and trained. You can come to Kodanad for a day trip and be a part of this unique experience and watch the elephants early in the morning. Watching the elephants roll and play in the water is fun.
4. Paradesi Synagogue – Explore
The Jewish Synagogue in Kochi is the oldest of its kind in the Commonwealth of Nations. It is locally known as Paradesi Synagogue since it was mostly visited by Jews from the Middle East and Europe, who were deemed as foreigners or pardesi. The synagogue was originally built in 1568 and later restored by the Dutch. The synagogue has a gold pulpit as well as hand-painted, willow-pattern floor tiles that were imported from China. An exquisitely beautiful Belgian chandelier illuminates the synagogue and the unique clock tower further adds to its charm.
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5. St. Francis Church – Admire!
You should definitely include the St. Francis Church in your Kochi sightseeing tour as it is among the oldest churches in India, built by the Europeans. It was built by the Portuguese in 1503 as Roman Catholic Church. However, later in 1864, it became a Dutch Reformist Church and then an Anglican Church building in 1804. This church became the original burial place for Vasco De Gama after his death in 1524 even though his remains were removed to Lisbon fourteen years later.
6. Kathakali Center – Watch A Kathakali Dance Performance
Kathakali is a classical dance form originating in Kerala and is quite well known for its fascinating and colorful costumes. The dance form presents themes and stories that are derived from Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana as well as many other folk stories. The Kathakali Center in Kochi runs regular performances as well as offers a backstage look at the artists as they prepare for the classical dance events.
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7. Princess Street – Street Shopping, Cafes, And More
Princess Street, also known as Loafer’s Corner is widely hailed as among the oldest locations in Kochi, which is why it is often loved by tourists. If you are looking for fun things to do in Kochi, then you should certainly visit the Princess Street. It offers the perfect amalgamation of traditional and modern world. The influence of colonial heritage is strong here as you can see numerous homes and buildings on both sides of Princess Street that have European architectural styles, mainly British, Dutch and Portuguese. The place is notable for cafés, street shopping, books stores, handicrafts and souvenir shops and vibrant people.
8. Indo-Portuguese Museum – Explore
The Indo-Portuguese Museum is located in the garden of Bishop’s House. It preserves the classical heritage and legacy of one of the earliest Catholic communities in India, including silver processional crosses, vestments, and altarpieces from Cochin diocese. When you are here, do visit the basement of the Indo-Portuguese Museum to explore the remnants of the Fort Immanuel. This is a must-visit destination for any history buff.
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9. Kashi Art Café – Relax And Dine
Located at Fort Cochin, the Kashi Art Café is known for its casual vibrations, Zen-like calmness, and an elegant semi courtyard space that are covered with many solid wood tables. If you want to have some nice western breakfast menus and a great lunch, Kashi Art Café is the best place to be. The coffee served here is quite strong as well, which should appeal to ardent coffee lovers. A small gallery here presents works created by local artists.
10. Ginger House Museum Hotel – Stay
The Ginger House is an elegant waterfront restaurant that offers some of the most heart-filled Indian snacks and dishes such as ginger ice cream, ginger prawns, and ginger lassi. The location of the restaurant is unique as well. You will need to walk past Heritage Arts showroom that offers glimpses of amazing antiques and sculptures as well as explores the giant, one of a kind snake-boat canoe. Having a delicious and wholesome dinner at this hotel is amongst the best things to do in Kochi at night.
11. Marine Drive – Hang Out
Marine Drive is among Kochi’s most beautiful beaches that is frequented by locals and travelers alike. You can hang out here with your amigos if you simply wish to relax and not really do anything. It offers marvelous views of the backwaters as well as the Kochi harbor, which is one of the many factors that makes it so popular and coming here one of the best things to do in Kochi, India. You can also take a walk here with your better half which would be the most soothing experience of your Kochi trip.
12. Fort Ayurveda Spa – Indulge In A Rejuvenating Massage
Take a step into the world of Ayurveda when you visit Kochi and experience the healing power of its many therapeutic massages and treatments. It’s among the most common, but necessary things to do in Kochi in one day for utmost relaxation and for opening up your mind body and soul. Kerala’s popular Ayurveda massage is sure to revitalise your senses and make you a newer, better person from within! Kochi is renowned for its ayurvedic medicines and numerous benefits because of which it is only befitting that you indulge in this refreshing activity here.
13. Fort Kochi – Take A Tour
Located mere miles away from the lively town of Ernakulam, the ancient Fort Kochi is where you can get acquainted with Kerala’s rich history, culture, and heritage through a guided walking tour. This fort exhibits the traits of the different cultures of English, Dutch and Portuguese infused in its age-old architecture, and is sure to bewitch you with its old-worldly charm. If you wish to explore this entire fort on foot, you can actually end up with a deep insight into its history, right to the time when it was built and what it was used for.
14. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary – Go Birdwatching
If you would like to meet some of Kerala’s most beautiful winged visitors, then we suggest you head over to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary which happens to be one of the favorite spots of all nature lovers and bird watchers residing in or visiting Kochi. Taking a tour of this birder’s haven is amongst the most unusual unusual things to do in Kochi as this place gives you the opportunity to spend time amidst more than thousands of residents as well as migratory birds and spot as many as 20-30 different species of birds in a day’s visit.
Timings: 6 AM – 5 PM
Entry fee: INR 50
15. Thiruvankulam – Snorkeling
Amongst the most exciting kochi activities, snorkeling here will let you get up close and personal with the bizarre marine life of Kerala. While it’s not as popular as other water sports and adventurous activities in Kochi, and in Kerala altogether, it still makes up for a fun feat for those who wish to try something different on their trip to this city. Many people don’t even know that they can try this activity here other than boating, dolphin watching, and paragliding. Various beaches in Kochi provide the opportunity to visitors to try this activity with the help of trained guides and quality equipment.
Timings: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
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If Kochi is on your bucket list on your trip to Kerala, these are some of the must-do things that’ll make you fall in love with God’s own country. Want us to help you plan your holiday? Creatie your own Kerala tour right away.
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