Kochi – The king of good times

There are some places which just make me go like

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Kochi is one such place that just makes me happy. Like Pharell Williams 24 hours non-stop Happy –

When I was in Kochi, two years back, I had a great time. It was one of my best trips. As I promised you earlier, here’s the post on how I spent my holiday in Kochi. A simple guide to set you all up for your Kochi holiday trip. Also some nifty tips included to make your trip super special. You’re welcome 😉

Stay exotic

Although there are a lot of homestays in Kochi and Fort Kochi is actually famous for that, on my Kochi trip, I luckily stayed at one of the best places in all of Kochi. A heritage palace having a whole island all to itself – The Bolgatty Palace resort. Its huge, majestic and right in the centre of the town. With Fort Kochi on one side and Marine drive on the other.

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Here comes the surprising part-  this beautiful place is owned and operated by Government!! Considering the standards of Government service in other departments, you would expect the Government to be the last one to get involved in hospitality business! But hold on! Don’t rush to judge. Because you’d be wrong.

Although you probably can’t compare the service and maintenance level of Bolgatty palace to a Hilton, this place might change your view of Government service standards forever. The place is quite well maintained. It also has a good spa and a nice swimming pool too.

The property is huge has several buildings and vast garden. The food is also quite decent. The only downside is that its quite far away from other parts of the town so getting a cab can be difficult. Sometimes Uber and Ola drivers cancel your trip since they’d have to drive to the island all the way from the town. But there is an easier solution to getting around. Read on.

Just getting around is fun

The best way to getting around in Kochi is to rent a bike for the entire duration of your stay. You can get one in Fort Kochi. Just ask around anywhere near the dock and you should find some options. Riding around the streets of Kochi on bike is pure fun. Kochi happens to be a group of multiple smaller islands and the daily way of commuting for people is to take ferry ride between the islands. I did it for the first time and it is super fun too. You’ll carry your bike on the ferry with you.

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Most parts of Kochi are quite clean and beautiful. So  just have an evening walk on the Marine drive walkway is quite an experience.

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Marine drive in Kochi [Source]
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Cafes of Kochi

Fort Kochi is full of great cafes, literally dozens of them. You could walk into just about any cafe in Kochi and you won’t be disappointed. But there are a few which are quite famous around here. We went to Kashi art cafe, which happens to be more popular, especially among foreign travellers.

The place is small but nicely designed. It can have a bit of wait time before you get a place. The menu is quite unique and made to suit European travellers. Their burger, Lasagne and banana cake that we tried out were to die for.

Cafes of Kochi are great patrons of art and Kashi also houses quite a few art installations.

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Art installation at Kashi Cafe

Don’t miss the Biennale

Kochi has a vibrant art scene and an amazing artist community. There are a lot of art galleries in Kochi including the cafes of Kochi which serve as mini-galleries. Even if you’re not a huge art fan, I’d recommend you to visit atleast a few of them.

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Gallery OED, Mattanchery [Source]
In the earlier post I wrote about my travel to Kochi and how I happened to chance upon one of the most amazing experiences of Kochi – the Kochi-Biennale Muziris.  You can read about it here, if you haven’t done yet. If you’ve never attended a Biennale or any large art exhibition for that matter, this will be an experience of a lifetime you should not miss.

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As I also mentioned in the earlier post, if Biennale is on your wishlist, you should be packing your bags right away since Biennale is currently underway in Kochi and will be held until March 2019.

Add some spice to your life

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Spice market in Kochi [Source]
Kerala is famous for its spices. Kochi has a spice market with a string of shops selling all variety of spices that you can imagine. Some are wholesale shops which offer you a good rate.  You can buy really good quality spices grown in this region. We managed to purchase some excellent quality cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and a special blend of tea and coffee which you can get only here. The quality of cloves and cardamom is measured in their length in mm. You’ll see a 2mm and 4mm variety. The bigger the length, the higher the quality of the spices. You can easily make out the difference from the smell and colour. We bought enough to last us a year 😀

Treat yourself to an authentic Kerala massage

Kerala massage is world famous. Now that you’re in Kerala yourself, there is no reason not to treat yourself to this one of the most wonderful discoveries of mankind.

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Shirodhara ayurvedic treatment

Most hotels also have a spa which offer these massage treatments so you should be sorted right away. We tried out the Agastya Ayurveda Massage Centre and would definitely recommend it. If you’ve never had a Kerala massage you’re missing a heavenly experience. Shirodhara and Clay therapy are typical ayurvedic treatments particular to Kerala and they are best experienced here. So please don’t miss experiencing those. You can also book a 5 hours tour of Kochi along with an ayurvedic massage using this link.

Collect antique souvenir

I’m not a huge fan of collecting antiques. But couldn’t resist myself spending a lot of time gazing at these things while strolling in the antique market. The dozens of antique shops in antique market in Mattancherry are simply mesmerising. Market in Fort Cochin has this vibe of old rusty town from another era. Some parts of it feel like travelling back in time. With infinite treasure of antiques it feels like you just lost yourself in a cave of Alladin.

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Antique shop in Kochi [Source]
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Antique shop in Kochi [Source]
Here, you’ll find just about every antique under the sun that you can image. Antique furniture, wall clocks, crockery, ancient metal utensils and cutlery, and hundreds of obscure things. Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, simply strolling into these shops and experiencing history up so close is a wonderful experience. We ended up spending more than a couple hours in the shops but bought only a small flower vase and some cute metal toys.

While you’re in Mattancherry, you should also checkout the Mattancherry palace. Its closes early something around 4pm or so, so you better get there earlier. Sadly when I visited it was already past the closing time so I missed seeing it.

Also read: My most memorable experience of Biennale 2017

Chinese Fishing nets

The Chinese fishing nets of Kochi have become kind of iconic and everyone wants to see them. But visiting Chinese fishing nets has become touristy and commercialised. The fisherman these days usually rely mostly on the tips given by the tourists visiting them rather than catching actual fish with the nets. There may also be litter and sea waste around that area which makes it not so pleasant walking around. But if you’re visiting Kochi for the first time, you might as well give it a shot.

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Folklore museum

 

 

On your way back to the Kochi airport, don’t miss a chance to experience a little more of Kerala, its rich history and culture. The Kerala Folklore Museum houses some very interesting and important collection of historical relics. Some date back to 15th and 16th century.

 

 

Some relics from the Museum

The first floor of the museum has collection of costumes of different traditional and ritual dance forms of Kerala like Theyyam and Kathakali. The second floor has beautiful mural paintings. Apart from that, there are hundreds of wood carvings, ornaments, musical instrument and the museum guide would brief you about all of them.

So, when are you visiting?

I hope that your next Kochi trip would be as awesome as mine! If you have any more Kochi tips to share, do let me know in the comments below.

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