Cochin (now known as Kochi) is Kerala's most cosmopolitan city with a bustling commercial port.
Cochin merchants began trading in spices such as black pepper and cardamom with the Jews, Arabs, the Dutch, Phoenecians, Portuguese, Chinese more than 600 years ago.
Cochin has a lot of remnants from the past still clinging on. The famous landmark in Cochin is a row of Chinese fishing nets at the mouth of the harbour leading to the Arabian sea. It is a blend of modern India on one hand and while the old quarter -- the Fort Kochi area and Mattancherry area -- maintains a colonial air.
Now Cochin includes Ernakulam city, Willingdon Island, Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Kumbalangi and outlying islands
Cochin is comparatively cleaner and quieter than many other Indian tourist places. Having said that, Cochin is still a health and sanitation problem. Trash and rubbish litter most public areas. The infastructure of proper sidewalks and grey water control remains a problem. Be careful walking especially at night as poorly lit areas and multi-level sidewalks are common. Often gaping holes could land you in a puddle.
This area boasts of hundreds of islands, some even uninhabited, and is part of the Backwaters of Kerala. A famous island is that of Boghatty (local name Mulavukad) where the Dutch built a palace. This palace was later used as house of the British Resident administrator. Right now the Dutch Palace is a tourist hotel, and you are welcome to live there as guest.
Cochin International Airport  is located in Nedumbassery approximately 29 km from the city. There are flights to and from Colombo, Dubai, AbuDhabi, Singapore, Sharjah, Jeddah, Muscat, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Take a pre-paid taxi to your destination.
There are two major Rail station in Cochin( Ernakulam Town and Ernakulam Junction, locally known as North and South railway stations). The Indian Railways  serves Cochin with a number of train services connecting it to other parts of the state and the country. One of the best ways to get to Cochin is to take the Konkan Railway train from Mumbai that passes through the Konkan coast. The train ride is renowned for the breathtaking scenery and the natural beauty of the terrain that the train passes through.
Cochin is accessible from all parts of the state of Kerala, through the extensive state run Kerala Road Transport Corporation (K.S.R.T.C.) bus services. These are generally cheap and reliable, but the drivers are notoriously reckless, although they have excellent control over their vehicles. There buses are classified as Ordinary Passenger, Limited Stop, Fast Passenger, Super Fast Passenger, Lightning Express and Garuda. The last is an air-conditioned service operating on the Thiruvananthapuram-Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram-Calicut routes both passing through Kochi. These are modern buses and compare with buses in Europe, with well maintained interiors and comfortable seats.
There are also numerous private buses or 'route buses' that connect pretty much every single district in Kerala to Cochin. Both the K.S.R.T.C and the private buses offer very basic comforts are rarely air conditioned.
There also exists daily services to and from other major cities in South India including Mumbai, Bangalore(12 hrs), Mangalore (12 hrs), Coimbatore (4.5 hrs) and Chennai (12 hrs). These are run by both private operators and by the respective State Transport Authorities. The private buses offer better comfort, cleaner and modern buses, though they are more expensive.
There are also illegal services called 'parallel services' running between cities in Kerala. These are normally run parallel to the KSRTC service by private operators on the same routes and is normally a car-share or sharing a mini SUV. A solicitor will walk around a bus station informing people about the service. These are a bit more expensive than the normal bus service, but is marginally faster and is considered an option if you miss your bus.
It is also possible to hitch a ride with truck drivers if you pay them a marginal amount of money. Since most of the trucks are front engined, it would be very noisy in the drivers cabin and some travellers may find it uncomfortable. It is nevertheless hard to find trucks that would go to your intended destination. The truck drivers again are reckless drivers, so this option is not for the faint hearted.
Also, you could always get a 'lift' mostly for short distances, but as with anywhere in the world, caution is advised.
If travelling as part of a large group (14+) it is better to book a tourist coach that will take you to your destination. They also would take you sightseeing and is available in most of the cities. The full rates for the trips should be negotiated prior to departure to Cochin.
Cochin has an excellent and cheap local bus service system, operated by private bus operators. The numbering system is rarely used although it appears to exist. The buses are red in colour, and though they may vary in appearance, they still can be distinguished as city bus services.
Destination boards display signs prominently in Malayalam and in small letters the English version. Using the local bus service is not that difficult as most bus conductors would be able to provide assistance with basic knowledge of English or Hindi or even Tamil. Remember however that peak hours on weekdays can lead to overcrowded buses. That is not the best time to use these buses, like in any busy city.
Travellers must remember that a certain number of seats are allocated for ladies in the forward portion of each bus. Unless these seats are empty, gentlemen are not expected to occupy them, and they must be vacated when a lady wishes to sit there. The standard precautions of being wary of pickpockets and other anti-social elements must be maintained.
Several important points serviced by Cochin's city bus service include Fort Kochi, Thoppumpady, Edakochi, Mattancherry, Island (Willingdon Island), Thevara, Kaloor, Palarivattom, Kakkanad, Kalamassery, Edapalli, Alwaye, Tripunithura, and Vytilla Jn.
Many key routes that pass through the city (from Alwaye/Kakkanad etc to Fort Kochi/Thevara Jn etc) will have the following route/stops
Buses from/to Tripunithura/Vytilla Jn will deviate after Jos Junction to pass through:
Buses from/to Alwaye follow the following broad route Kaloor Jn., Edapally, Kalamassery, Alwaye
Buses from/to Kakkanad follow the following broad route Kaloor Jn., Palarivattom Jn., Palarivattom Bye Pass, Chembukmukku, Padamugal, Kakkanad
Some Services may operate directly between Alwaye, Edapally, Kakkanad and Vytilla Jn using the Byepass Road via Palarivattom Bye Pass.
This is a cheap way of transport between attractions. You can find an auto stand at almost every bus stop. This is the ideal way to cover short distances. Make sure you agree on a fare with the driver before the journey.
Tourist taxis are the most convenient way to travel around attractions, especially while travelling in a group. Most airports and railway stations have tourist taxi services that would take you anywhere you would want to go.
There are many Car rental companies offering cars with drivers or self drive.
There are also good ferry services between islands. A useful service is the 'Junkar' between Fort Kochi and Vypeen.There regular boat services from Ernakulam to Mattancherry, Fort Kochi, Vypeen and Willington Island which are much cheeper than bus.
Museums and Galleries
Landmarks in and around Kochi
Depending on what you are looking for, many clothing and jewelery shops along MG road and Marine Drive are available. Prices are reasonable for western budgets. Shopping Malls are a new concept for Cochin and the new Bay Pride Mall offers air conditioned comfort with a small food court and a nice coffee shop.
Good seafood is available aplenty. Worth visiting is the Fort Kochi beach where you can buy fresh fish and get it cooked in the nearby food stalls. Fish fry, fish molly, fish curry and fish peera are the favourites, usually taken with rice or steamed tapioca (cassava).
Also worth trying are the traditional rice based breakfast snacks - puttu and kadala, appam and stew.
Pizza Hut, for those of you missing it is available.
It is quieter and more scenic than the rest of the city. There are quite a lot of tourists so prices are relatively high, but that’s still very cheap by western standards. Some of the heritage hotels are located here.