Kochi Harbour mouth, seen from Willingdon Island
Kochi (earlier known as Cochin) is a cosmopolitan city in Kerala with a bustling commercial port. Kochi is known as the financial capital of Kerala and it is the biggest urban agglomeration in Kerala. With a population of more than 2 million, it is an important second-tier Indian city.
The Kochi City corporation limits are just 150 sq kms, but the city has grown more than ten times within the last two decades, making it one of the largest urban agglomerations in India. This has resulted in the creation of large districts and small towns & villages within the city, and in Kochi becoming one of the most densely populated town areas in India. Kochi city consists of:
- Ernakulam Mainland City, the heart of the Kochi City where trains from all over India have connections. It has 3 distinctive parts; the Central Business District (CBD) which has Mahatma Gandhi Road (MG Road) as the main arterial road along with Marine Drive and Chitoor Road; the Downtown which houses many posh residential areas having numerous of colonies like Panampally Nagar, Girinagar, GCDA Nagar and upcoming business district at SA Road and Vytilla Junction (largest Junction in Kerala); the Suburb which has many posh business and commercial areas like Kaloor, Edapally, Palarivattom etc.
- Willingdon Island, generally referred as island, is one of the largest man-made island in India, which houses the Kochi Port, Southern Naval Command Headquarters of Indian Navy, many posh 5 star hotels and offices of various national and international export-import houses.
- Islands of Mattencherry and Fort Kochi, generally called as Old Kochi, which is primarily the tourist enclave which houses a numerous colonial era heritage buildings, Jew town having many Jewish remnants, synagogues, museums, palaces and center of spice trading of Kerala. There are nearly 3 to 6 small islands like Kumbalangi etc which has numerous tourist villages and aqua-tourist spots.
- Bolgatty Island- an historical island where the English established a Royal Residency, which is now converted into a 5 star heritage Palace hotel. Famous for its large golf course, horsing tracks and honeymoon villages.
- Vallarpadom Island, where the new Kochi International Mega Container Terminal (ICT) is under construction. It also houses a famous Basilica.
- Vypin Island, one of the largest natural island which is listed among top densely populated islands in world. It has numerous of fishing villages and some good aqua-tourist villages. The popular Cherai Beach is located here.
Apart from these districts, numerous towns and villages make up the Greater Kochi urban agglomeration including:
- Aluva- the largest town inside Greater Kochi U/A after Kochi city, famous for its Periyar river banks and a major commercial area. Kochi International Airport is located very near to this area.
- Kalamasserry- the industrial hub of Kochi Industry, it houses a numerous heavy and medium industries.
- Thrikakara Town- famous for the large Vamana Temple, its the focal center of Onam, the national festival of Kerala. Today this area is the home of Cochin University and numerous educational institutes and colleges.
- Kakkanad- the upcoming IT destination, it houses Infopark, one of the largest software parks in India and numerous campus of various IT companies. It also houses the headquarters of Ernakulam District Administration.
- Thripunithara- the erstwhile capital of Kingdom of Kochi, it is famous for various historical palaces, museums and temples. It is also known as the cultural point of Kochi, with numerous performing arts centers and regular arts performances.
- Maradu- the next door town of Kochi city, its famous for being the upcoming business corridor of Kochi City. It houses a dozen of leading automobile showrooms, star hotels and many business establishments.
Cochin was formed as an ancient port city after the Great Floods of the Periyar River in 1344, which choked the ancient port of Muziris (Kodungallor, the largest ancient port in the world) and created a natural port at Cochin. The partitioning of the Chera Kerala Empire in the 14th century, brought a new dynasty that ruled much of central part of Kerala under the same name-- Kochi. Its name was derived from Malayalam name- Kochu-Azhi(Small Harbour).
Kochi merchants began trading in spices such as black pepper and cardamom with the Arabs, Dutch, Phoenicians, Portuguese, and Chinese more than 600 years ago. This helped Kochi to prosper much more than any other city of ancient or medieval India and earned its reputation as the gateway to old India. It was from Kochi that the colonization in India started. Portugal was first to establish its base in Kochi, followed by the Dutch, French, and English. Finally the English managed to establish their influence over Kochi and established an English Residency in Kochi, after the Kochi Maharaja signed a subsidiary alliance with Britain to protect the kingdom from Portuguese-French attacks. Kochi Maharajas were reputed for their people-friendly policies and most of the Rajas were popular among subjects. However the real administration was done by Diwans (Prime Ministers), leaving the Maharajas to patronize culture, arts and focus heavily on public health and education areas.
In the 1930s, Kochi Maharaja joined with the public outcry to form a common state of Malayalam-speaking people by merging with the Kingdom of Travancore and British Malabar to form the United States of Kerala (Aikya Keralam). Kochi Maharaja Kerala Varma Raja was on the forefront of this agitation and passed the Aykiakerala Resolution in the Kochi Parliament. In 1947, the Kingdom of Kochi and Travancore merged together to form the Royal State of Travancore-Kochi. Kochi Maharaja was also the first ruler, to advocate for merging the state into the newly formed Indian Union. Finally in 1948, the state of Travancore-Kochi merged with India.
Since the formation of Kerala on November 1st 1957, Kochi has been the commercial capital of Kerala as well as the seat of the Kerala High Court. Since 2000, Kochi has revitalized its economy, with focus on tourism, information technology and the port-based economy.
Kochi has a typical Indian-style address system. The address system is a bit confusing, as there is no sector numbering or house numbering system in Kochi. The official city limit is divided into 5 zoness, Ernakulam North, Ernakulam South, Island, Fort-Kochi and Mattencherry. Each zone has numerous roads, cross-roads, lanes and avenues, named individually. Most of the houses/establishments buildings have their own names, so it's common to use the house/building name along with road name as the address, such as "Alappatt House, Diwans Road, Near Lakshmi Hospital".
Some posh colonies and residential areas have their own house numbering system. The posh colonies of Panampally Nagar and Giri Nagar are divided into various zones and each house has its own zone number followed by a house number. Nowadays, many residential areas have formed their own associations and established their own addressing system. In most of the residential colonies or areas, a map sign is located at the entrance. However despite the numbering, most of the people use a mix of house number with house name as the address.
For most address usage, while communicating with auto/taxi drivers, you must know the nearby landmarks. Many times drivers know landmarks like hospitals or banks more than road names.
Fort Kochi has a more western-style numbering system, considering the colonial structures. Yet still, locals do understand the nearby landmarks addressing system, rather than house numbers. Having a map is handy while in Kochi.
Kochi's has a cosmopolitian culture highly influenced by many global cultures with which they traded. The influences of the Portuguese, Dutch, Arab, Chinese, and Japanese are present in almost all spheres. Kochi is the seat of the Latin church of Kerala, therefore has many Catholic churches and followers.
Kochi was traditionally a potpourri of various Indian and international communities. Syrian Christians started the first wave of migration, followed by Jews in between 7th to 10th century. Arab merchants also made a strong settlement in Kochi. Towards the 15th century, Gujaratis made a settlement in Kochi, especially in Mattencherry island, where the played a strong role in spice trading as well as in many other business areas. Later, towards the colonial era, the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English all made their settlements in Kochi. The Portuguese played a strong influence in Fort Cochin, bringing a lot of Latin culture into the Fort Kochi ethos. The English culture was strongly felt, lending Kochi a strong community of Anglo-Indians. Towards the early 1970s, a small settlement of Punjabis made their settlement in Kochi, focusing their strong presence in the local automobile industry. Tamilians, Telugus, Kannadigas have made small settlements since the days of royalty, as part of administration services. Recently students from Japan, Korea, and Indonesia have settled down in Kochi for studies and research activities. Recently due to growth of the city, the majority of the local population are immigrants from other parts of Kerala or India.
Kochi has a cosmopolitan attitude in general. Generally Kochinites are modern and fashionable. Being a city that has a tradition of various cultures equally respected, a high level of tolerance and passivity exists among local population. Hence a high level of passiveness exists. Even though the city has a modern attitude, still some basic social modesty prevails, especially in village/rural areas.
Kochi is well connected by air, road, rail and ferry from others parts of India and to some international destinations.
Cochin International Airport (IATA - COK)is in Nedumbassery, 29 km from the city. Cochin International Airport is the largest airport in Kerala and the 4th busiest in India. It has an international and domestic terminal, adjacent to each other.
The airport is well connected by many international & national carriers, that operate regular flights to the Middle East and elsewhere in Southeast Asia and South Asia. There are regular direct chartered services from Europe and US during tourist season. Direct connections to Europe and America is planned by next year.
Domestically the airport is well connected to other main cities in India.
More information about flights and the airport is in the main Kerala article.
Cochin is a very large airport, though it doesn't have much glitz or glamour. There is a large Duty Free area at the International Arrivals terminal, which has good collection of all international brands and rates are competitive. Formalities and paper works are pretty easy and one can get out easily.
Transit passengers can use the airport bedrooms for a charge of RS 750 per 4 hours. Transit visas are available for selected nationalities and a short trip to nearby Kalady or Kodanadu or even the city is possible.
There are 4 major airport hotels: Abad Airport Hotel (3 star), Lotus 8 (4 star), Best Western Airport Hotel and Saj.
Connectivity to and from the airport
KSRTC operates mainly 4 class of bus services from the Airport. Regular, Fast Passenger, Super Fast Express, Low Floor A/C Volvo services. While Regular, Fast Passenger, Super Fast Express operates to most of the nearby towns and places, Low-Floor Volvo operates only to Kochi City via Aluva, Kalamassery, Vytilla and terminates at Fort Cochin. Passengers bound to Ernakulam, while using Low-Floor Volvo needs to alight at Vytilla area as the Bus donot enter to Cochin CBD. While other former 3 buses ply from the Airport, almost every 20 to 30 minutes, Low floor A/C buses ply within every 45 minutes. The best comfortable means to reach the City and vice-versa is using Low Floor A/C Buses. The charge from Airport to City Junction (Vytilla Junction) is around Rs 60 and around Rs 80 to Fort Cochin.
There are two types of Taxis. Regular Taxi and Pre-paid Taxi. All taxis are normally white in colour and donot have TAXI sign on top of it. Most of the Taxis are Indian Ambassadors, though recently vehicles like Tata Indica operates.
Regular Taxis could be caught from Taxi Stand on Right side of the Terminal.
For Pre-paid taxis, you need to book at Prepaid counter at Arrival Halls of both International and Domestic terminals. Take a receipt and walk at Prepaid Taxi counter next to Regular Taxi counter and catch the Taxi waiting first.
Many car rental companies operates counters in the arrival area of both the Domestic and International terminals. Do check for rates and policies, as each car rentals have different policies and rates.
Many hotels and travel agents provide complementary pick-up/drop-off services in their cars. Do check for this option, if you are guest of any 3 star above hotel.
Copter services are available for those who wish to reach via air. Pawan Hans operates a wide range of Helicopter services. Its an expensive option and those for wish to seek, can visit Pawan Hans counter in Arrival terminals of International and Departure side of Domestic Terminal. Recently a few private Jets are also available. Check for details with the Airport Manager.
Proposed Rail links and Metro Line- Kochi International Airport has proposed for opening a Nedumbassery Railway Station as the prime railway line passes near to the Airport. The expected Railway station is scheduled to open this year. Likewise the proposed Metro Kochi do plan for having its terminus at Kochi International Airport. But no reliable source indicates the completion of Kochi Metro.
Currently By train, you need to get down at Aluva Station which is just 12 kms from the Airport. Most of the long distance trains and short distance trains heading towards North direction have a stop at Aluva Station. You can catch a Taxi or Auto from the station and reach Airport. Normally Autos charge around Rs 70-100 for one way trip and Taxis around 150 Rs. Night Charges differ with a premium of 25% extra.
Facilities in and around the airport
The Airport is a well equipped premium airport. The New International terminal has more dining facilities as well as a very large Duty free. The Airport itself has Money changers as well as Banks, ATMS, Mobile kiosks as well as an Airport Hospital etc. Large screen television sets dots most of the lounge and waiting area, though most of the channels are Malayalam. There is an Internet cafe as well as coffee shops inside International terminal. Recently an 18 hole Airport Golf Course has been opened near to Airport. Golfers can use this facility, by registering at Airport Golf Counter. There is a club inside the Golf Course equipped with a bar lounge and a few recreational facilities. A very large Shopping Mall as well as state-of-the-art Convention center and an English-Ayurvedic Hospitals are coming up within the Airport complex. Construction would be completed by next year. Almost all airlines have offices within Airport complex. Airline offices are located at extreme right side of Arrival side of International Terminal at Airline Center. Booking counters of some airlines are available at Departure area of International terminal.
- Passengers flying from Kuala Lumpur can try AirAsia  for low-fare flights direct to Kochi. Many low fares international carriers operate from Kochi. They are Air Arabia to Sharjah, Tiger Airways to Singapore, Jazeera Airways to Kuwait and Dubai, Silk Air to Singapore and Air India Express to many international destinations.
- Trivandrum International Airport, which is around 220 km from Kochi, and travel to Kochi by road/rail. It is 5-6 hour journey.
Kochi is well connected by train from all parts of India. Most of the trains bound to Kerala, have major stop at Kochi. Kochi is also a major city having many non-stop express and super-express trains.
There are two major Rail station inside Kochi city limits( Ernakulam Town and Ernakulam Junction, locally known as North and South railway stations respectively). South Railway Station is a major railway and declared as an International Station by Indian railways, though works for it is yet to start. Most of the long trains from Kerala do include Ernakulam South. North Railway Station is mainly meant for Inter City trains. Long distance trains do operate from North also. However Kochi has many important suburb railway stations, where long distance trains stop. The most important is Aluva Railway station, Thripunithara, Angamally etc. The Indian Railways  serves Kochi with very large number of train services connecting it to other parts of the state and the country.However most of the trains running to Kerala, runs on full capacity and utilization of trains to Kerala are more than 150% making it one of the most busiest routes. Do book in advance, if planning to travel by train. If You don't get booking in normal way, try using Tatkal- an emergency booking system which costs double the normal rate, but opens only two days before the departure of the train. One of the best ways to get to Kochi 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.
Kochi 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 service. Most of the KSRTC buses start/end their journey from KSRTC Central Bus Station (CBS) located in the heart of the city at Rajaji Road. Inter-State buses of Kerala KSRTC, Karnataka KSRTC, Tamil Nadu SETC etc also start/end their journey from this station. Recently some of the KSRTC buses do have start/end their services at KSRTC Boat Jetty Stand located in Park Avenue, to reduce congestion in CBS.
All KSRTC buses are classified into Ordinary Passenger, Limited Stop, Fast Passenger, Super Fast Passenger, Super Fast Passenger A/C, Lightning Express A/c and Garuda. The last option is an air-conditioned service operating on the Thiruvananthapuram-Coimbatore 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. Lightning Express A/C has been renamed recently as Deluxe AC. Sleeper Bus also ply for over-night transport.
There are also numerous private buses or 'route buses' that connect pretty much every single district/city/town in Kerala to Kochi. All private bus start/stop their journey at Private Bus terminal (PBT) in Kaloor. Both the K.S.R.T.C and the private buses offer very basic comforts and 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 (14 hrs). These are run by both private operators. The private buses offer better comfort, are cleaner and more modern, and are more expensive. A ticket on a private operator-run bus, especially an A/C Volvo bus, is costlier than a 3-AC train ticket.
Most of the National-permit Taxis do operate to Cochin. The mostly used taxi route destination is to Trivandrum and other southern parts of Kerala. Regular Taxi trips run from Guruvayur and Kozhikode. Currently there is no Central Taxi stand in Kochi, though the proposed Mobility Hub will the focal point of all taxi services.
Fishermen in Kochi Harbour
Kochi can be reached by sea in yachts or by occasional cruise ship from Goa or Bombay or Lakshwadeep as well as from Colombo and Male. Kochi is only major Indian city to be included in most of the global cruisers for the world voyage. Recently many cruisers operates to Kochi from US and Europe, however there is no booking office or boarding point from Kochi, which is expected to start soon, with the completion of Kochi Central Cruise Terminal.
A direct ferry service between Cochin and Colombo has bee started on a regular basis. Talks for similar ferry services between Middle Eastern cities are proposed.
By city bus
Kochi 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 color, 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.
'City Bus Tariffs
- Minimum Charge- Rs 4 for first 5 Km
- 55 Paise per Km for every subsequent Km after Minimum charge
A/C Volvo service
- Minimum charge- Rs 10 for first 5 Km
- Rs 2 per Km for every subsequent Km after Minimum charge
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 Kochi's city bus service include Fort Kochi, Thoppumpady, Edakochi, Mattancherry, Island (Willingdon Island), Thevara, Kaloor, Palarivattom, Kakkanad, Kalamassery, Edapalli,North Paravur, Alwaye, Tripunithura, and Vytilla Jn.
The main bus routes are
ROUTE 1- ALUVA-FORT COCHIN
Many key routes that pass through the city (from ALUVA etc to Fort Kochi/Thevara Jn etc) will have the following route/stops
- Kalamassery Apollo Junction
- South Kalamassery Junction- (Closest point to go Cochin University)
- Edapally Toll Gate (Its from here NH Byepass road starts)
- Kaloor (interchange for Long Distance Private Bus Services for Kottayam, Palai, Changanacheri, Mundakayam, Erumeli, Pathanamthitha etc.& night services towads Calicut, Kannur, Wayanad)
- Lissie Jn (Some Private Long Distance Luxury Bus Operators)
- Town Hall (Closest point to Ernakulam Town (North) Station)
- Kacheripady Jn (KSRTC State Transport Bus Stand - 1 km away & MG Road Start)
Some buses split here to take a turn towards left to proceed to Chittoor Road. Some buses take the next left turn from PNVM Junction to enter into MG Road and proceed towards Thevera thro' MG Road. However most of the buses continue their journey from Kacheripady thro' the main Banerjee Road to,
- High Court Junction (KSINC Boat Jetty for Ferry to Vypeen, Mulavukad, Panambukadu, Ochanthurth, Murikkumpadam & Bolgatty. Align here to catch reverse Route 3 bus operated by private ordinary Bus Services to Vypeen,Cherai Beach,Munabam,North Paravur,Kodungallur via Goshree Bridges starts from here)
- Menaka Junction (Those who need to go to South Railway station or Tripunithara side, to catch Route 2 Bus, must align here and catch bus Route 2 bus from first bus stand in Menaka)
- Hospital Junction (align here to reach KSRTC Park Avenue Bus station. Long Distance Private Bus Services to Guruvayoor,Thrissur, Calicut,Irinjalakuda,Kodungallur,North Paravur)
- KPCC Junction, MG Road
- South Area- MG Road (Nearest to South Railway Station)
- Atlantis Junction (Align, if you have to catch Route 4 buses)
- Thevera Junction
- Willington Island- Naval Base Stop
- Island Stop
- Thoppumpaddy Main stand
- Fort Cochin- Terminus
ROUTE 2, MENAKA-THRIPUNITHARA
There are many buses start from Aluva, serving on previous route (Route 1, from Aluva) till Menaka and restart in following order.
- Hospital Junction
- KPCC Junction
- Chittoor Road Junction
- South Bus Stand (the major bus stand just 100 mtrs from South Railway station)
- Manorama Junction
- GCDA Kochu Kadavanthara Stop
- Kadavanthara Stop
- Janatha stop
- Vytilla Bus Stand (a major junction, from where buses to Edapally and Northern areas can be caught at Right Stand, buses to Alleppey, Cherthala etc can be caught at Left Stand, Vaikom and Kottayam at North Stand and City buses at south Stand)
- Petta Stop
- Vakekotta Stop
- Thripunithara Terminus
Some buses proceed further to Udayamperoor, Vaikom direction too after stopping at Thripunithara Terminus
ROUTE 3 VVPIN-HIGH COURT JUNCTION
- High Court Main Boat Jetty (Boat Jetty for Ferry to Vypeen, Fort Kochi, Mattencherry, Willingdon Island) Buses of Route 1 and Route 2 can be caught from this area, to proceed further
ROUTE 4- ATLANTIS-KAKKANAD
- Shipyard Stand
- Atlantis Stand (Deviates to side road of shipyard)
- Church Landing (near to Pallimukku)
- Foreshore Road
- Park Avenue
- Marine Drive
- Palarivattom Civil Lane Stop
- Padivattom Byepass Junction
- Kakkanad Civil Station
All these services have a reverse service route too.
Buses from/to North Paravur follow the following broad route
Kaloor Jn., Edapally,Varapuzha,North Paravur
Some services may operate directly between Alwaye, Edapally, Kakkanad and Vytilla Jn using the Byepass Road via Palarivattom Bye Pass.
Some buses take a turn at Kaloor Junction to enter into Kaloor-Kathrikadu Road, which byepass entering into city and takes to Kadavanthara.
LOW FLOOR A/C BUS ROUTE
Route A- Thoppumpaddy Bus Stand to Airport, via Thevera Bridge, Kundanoor, NH BYEPASS, Vytilla Junction, Padivattom, Edapally Toll Gate, Kalamaserry, Aluva, Desom, Airport.
Route B- Aroor-Angamally by Seaport-Airport road, covering Kakkanad, Thripunithara, Aluva and Angamally
More routes will be added by May 2010.
Kochi does not have any local intra-city train service. However many of its suburb towns are well connected from the city through regular passenger and long distance express trains. The most commonly connected rail route is between Ernakulam to Aluva. Almost all regular passenger, express and intercity trains have stop at Aluva. It will be good option to take rail, during busy peak hours when buses will be overcrowded.
Regular Passenger trains do have 1 minute stops at Edapally station, Kumbalangi station, Angamally station, Aroor station, which are some major areas of Kochi. Many long distance express and passenger trains operate between Thripunithara and Kochi North station. Check at Railway enquiry to know more about stops.
There are proposals to start an Intra city rail for Kochi, though no reliable source of its commencement is known. Works for Kochi Metro Line has started and expected to operate by end of 2012.
Regular Auto Tariffs
- Flag Down Charge/Minimum Charge- Rs 10 for first 1.25 Km
- Rs 6 per Km for every subsequent Km after Minimum charge
- 10% premium as Night charges (7:00 PM-6:00 AM)
This is a cheap way of transport between attractions. You can find an auto stand at almost every bus stop and important places near to junctions and residential areas. This is the ideal way to cover short distances. Make sure you agree on a fare with the driver before the journey because almost none of the autorickshaws have working meters. Beware of autorickshaw drivers who charge extra if they know you are tourists. One easy solution is to approach pre-paid auto stands (they are available only in railway station) if you are coming through the rail.
The taxis in Kochi are very convenient and comfortable. Most of the vehicles are Tata Indica cars or Ambassador cars, which are much safer than Auto rickshaws, and the drivers are polite. If you are alone or going to an unknown destination, you are strongly advised to choose this option, even though the rates will be double that of an auto.
Unlike most Western countries, taxis are not usually marked with 'TAXI' signs on the top as well as do not have taxi meters inside the cab. There are two type of taxi services, Regular and Call taxis. Regular Taxis are normally available in designated taxi stands. Most of the designated taxi stands are located in important tourist/travellers places like Railway stations, airport, boat jetties, major bus stations as well as in front of important hotels. Call taxis are taxi companies, that need to call upon and book to pick you from designated pick up point and drop off. Some of the important call taxi services are
- Connect Cabs, +91-484-40-50-60-1/2/3/4/5/6 (Very commonly available)
- Executive Cab, +91-484-237-107-8/9
- Broadway Taxi, +91-484-236-007-4 (Good Service)
- Menon&Menon Taxis, +91-484-230-4833
- Sankar City Cabs, +91-484-236-133-4/5/6/7 (Good Service)
- Fortune Cabs, +91-484-243-0599
- SRM Taxis, +91-484-240-0305
- Yatra Cabs, +91-484-231-4778 (Highly recommended)
- Yes Cabs, +91-484-235-0733
- Kumar Taxis, +91-484-222-5558/222-1213/222-3558/557-8555/558-7222/223-1661 (Very Good Service)
- Prince Taxis, +91-0484-235-2751/236-9997 (Good service)
'Regular Taxi Tariffs
- Flag Down Charge/Minimum Charge- Rs 50 for first 3 Kms
- Rs 8 per Km for every subsequent Km after Minimum charge
- 10% premium to above rate, if the taxi is air-conditioned
- 15% premium as Night charges (7:00 PM-6:00 AM)
- Airport-City transfer charges Non A/C- Rs 650, A/C- Rs 750
- Full day services- Standard Non A/c:- Rs 1100 for maximum of 10 hours and 110 Kms
- Full day services- Standard A/C:- Rs 1500 for maximum of 10 hours and 80 Kms
The call taxis come with Air-conditioned and Non Air Conditioned options, for which charges differs. There is no need to negotiate with taxi regarding tariffs, as most of them follow standard Government fixed rates. Regular taxis, have tariff cards displayed in front of the dashboard inside car. Call Taxis, have charges fixed ny respective companies (though normally uniform). However when taxis are called for Per day basis (full/half day) or Per week basis, standard rates donot apply and need to negotiate for better rates. Standard rates differ, if city taxi is used to ply inter-city or inter-state routes. Government has fixed standard city transfers charges from Airport and Railway station, which some taxi drivers try to overlook and try to negotiate with arriving tourists who are unaware about lawful rates. Hence the better way is book your cab from Prepaid counter. There is a prepaid counter inside Arrival terminal of both International and Domestic terminal of Airport as well as right outside South and North Railway station. As per government rule, a Tariff receipt must be issued after using the taxi, by the taxi drivers, which is an official record. Travellers must seek for the receipt, even if the taxi driver forgets to issue.
Westerners may find understanding this process, a bit complex initially. A good option is, to seek assistance of any helpful hotel staff who can help in arranging taxi for you, for a courtesy tip of Rs 10 or Rs 15.
By private car
Driving discipline in Cochin is almost non-existent and rated worse. There are long stretches of roads passing through thickly populated areas that have no median breaks, so vehicles, including motorbikes and cars, simply drive on the wrong side of the road. Moreover city buses are known for their reckless driving, making it dangerous for non-Indians, who are not accustomed to Indian road tactics and tricks. Yet an adventurous person, can make a try in Kochi roads. There is no express way in Kochi and most of the roads are bi-lane roads. A few major roads are two lane-dual carriageway like MG Road, NH Byepass Road or Marine Drive, having good medians. The official speed limit inside city zone is 30 Km/hr and minimum driving age is 18 years old. Kochi, like rest of India, drives to left (UK style) and needs a valid International Driving Licence for foreigners, which needed to be attested by Road Transport Office (RTO). Drunken driving is illegal and roadblocks are installed by traffic police to check during night. Mostly single men driven cars are stopped more than cars having ladies. If caught, a fine of Rs 1000 would be charged. Kerala Motor and Traffic police has a computerized network, to identify the credentials of car registration across the state and in case wrong information is given, additional fine would be charged and possibly jailed for a day. Driving outside the city limits, is a fine experience, without much traffic and good scenery.
Car rental is not so popular among foreign tourists, though common among domestic tourists. Many car rental companies do refuse to provide self-drive cars to westerners, considering the poor knowledge among them regarding Indian style of driving. Normally a bank guarantee letter or security cheque/ traveller's cheque worth of value of car or passport of the driver is taken as security for leasing the car, in case of self drive, which shall be returned on return of the car back. Car rental companies have different tariff rates for each segment of the car used. However no security deposit is needed, if car is chauffeur-driven. Normally for foreign tourists, chauffeur-drive cars are better option. Some private individuals, who are engaged in preparation of online customized itineraries for tourists through web, provide option of private cars mostly belonging to them. The rates are flexible and a good negotiation can help to bring down the rates.
Most of the 3 star above hotels provide private cars for their guests which will probably be slightly more than rates elsewhere, but have a higher degree of security. Like everything else in India, rates are very fluid.
There are also good ferry services between islands.
A useful service called Junkar between Fort Kochi and Vypeen that helps you to transport with your private car. There are regular boat services operated by KSINC, every 20-30 minutes, from Ernakulam to Mattancherry, Fort Kochi, Vypeen and Willingdon Island which are much cheaper than the buses. This ferry service is also faster also in many cases because a bus or taxi has to travel longer & through crowded routes. E.g. if you are somewhere near M.G. Road and travelling to Willingdon Island or Mattancherry, it will be cheaper & faster to catch the ferry from Ernakulam Main boat jetty.
Kochi is traditionally not a pedestrian friendly city, considering the tropical climate coupled with humidity, poor state of pedestrian walkways and reckless traffic. However Fort Kochi is one of the most pedestrian friendly areas in Kochi, with elobrate colonial styled stoned pavements etc. Since there are many attractions in Fort-Kochi, its better to walk and explore the places, considering the narrow paths, presence of many alleys etc.
Walking in MG Road is also a good option, considering the vast shopping options located there and poor availability of parking spaces forcing many car-owners to park at some far-away areas.
A walk across the famous Broadway Bazaar is true experience of Indian market life, with wide shopping options and get lost in a maze of alleyways.
Those who prefer for an evening stroll, a walk across the beautiful laid Park Avenue and Marine Drive is recommended. As this area has a good canopy of trees, a walk thus is a never tiring experience in this area. Panampally Nagar is also a pedestrian friendly area with well designed walkways etc.
Crossings at most of the roads is a tricky and dangerous affairs in most of the Kochi roads, considering poor traffic management coupled with reckless driving style. A better option for a tourist is either cross in those areas that have a signal area in the zebra crossing or else seek assistance of any traffic policeman for crossing.
Kochi is a tourist destination with a wide range of places that are of tourism interest. If you have a limited time to explore all the places individually, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation- KTDC offers several tour options .
- Hill Palace Museum  - The erstwhile Kochi Maharaja's palace, now converted to a museum along with a small zoo, is 12 Km south-east of Ernakulam at Tripunithura. Has paintings and epigraphy from the collections of the Travancore & Kochi royal families. This is the largest Archeological Palace in South India with more than 200 artifacts. The highlight of the Palace is the display of Multi-Billion worth Cochin Royal Crown and Crown Jewels. This is located in a very high security area.
- The Palace complex is very huge and maintenance is not effectively done, unlike some other Palaces in Rajasthan or Mysore. However there is a good Deer Park inside as well as a peacocks. A small fauna garden was set up in 2003, though there are plans to increase it to make into a large zoological gardens. Also the Palace is very famous for its varied flora. More than 100 different species of trees and plants are located inside and many are of high medical value
- Museum of Kerala History - at Edappally, 10km. north of the city, if a good well maintained Light-sound museum meant to understanding Kerala History within its 40 minute of Light and Sound show. The entire museum depicts the history of Kerala thro' life like statues and recreating the each tableau in its natural environment supported by sound and light. Shows are arranged alternatively in English and Malayalam. Adjacent to it, houses Museum of dolls and a large Art Gallery.
- Pareekshith Thampuran Museum contains oil paintings, old coins, sculptures and Mughal paintings, and models of interesting temples and traditional Kerala buildings. This was the official Durbar Hall of Kochi Maharajas, now converted into a large Fine arts Gallery. Located in heart of City, at Durbar Hall Ground, the museum is a heaven for those interested in Fine arts. A small studio is set up near to it, to promote young artists to try using their creativity.
Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi
- Chinese fishing Nets  - at Fort Kochi. This serves as the offical icon of the Kochi and a strong testimony of Traditional relations between Ancient Chinese Empire and Kochi Kingdom. The Chinese Fishing nets were gifted by Chinese Emperor to Kochi King thro' his traders, to tap fish easily, thro' the ancient Chinese technique, in 14th century. The Wood and nets came from China and there were more than 100 of such nets in Kochi, though currently only a few remains in working condition. The success of these original nets, made Malayalees to adopt this technique elsewhere in Kerala and one can find similar structures in many part of Kerala.
- Dutch Palace - constructed by the Portuguese in 1568 for Maharaja of Kochi Veera Kerala Varmaas a gift to the Maharaja for the permission of constructing Fort Immanunel in Fort Kochi. However during the Dutch siege on Kochi, many parts of the original palace was destroyed, which Dutch Governor agreed to repair and restor. Later rebuilt by the Dutch, to call it as Dutch Palace. The traditional coronation of Kochi Maharajas are always held here. A large throne and coronation costumes are on display here. There is an extensive collection of Royal Chariots, Swords and other Artifacts. The most interesting part of this palace is the Mural room, which has entire Ramayana and Mahabharat depicted in a single mural. (closed on Fridays)
- St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi - constructed by the Portuguese. Vasco da Gama was buried here  and later his remains were transferred to Lisbon, Portugal. His tombstone can be seen inside the church.
St. Francis Church, Kochi
- Jew Street and Synagogue - at Mattancherry, the synagogue was constructed in 1568 after the Copper Grant issued by Kochi Maharaja allowing Jewish Refugees from Jerusalem to settle down during the Crusade War. The Raja funded for building a Jewish Synagogue here and rebuilt in 1662. This is the Commonwealth's most oldest Synagogue and there was an active Jewish settlement in the adjacent Jew Town. An Indigenous Jewish population, called Cochin Jews lived in harmony with other Jews, untill creation of Israel, by which many migrated to Israel. Though many continue to foster their relations with their homeland, today only a handful of Jews live in Jew Street, though most of their homes are retained in erstwhile charm.(Synogogue closed on Fridays and Saturdays - confirmed)
- Chendamangalam - Historically the seat of Paliath Achan, the Prime Minister of Kochi Kingdom, old Oriental Jewish synagogue and colony. Now a centre for handloom weaving and coir manufacturing, view of annual fair "Mattachanda" (Barter Systems). It is 42km north-west of city near North Paravur .
- Pallipuram Fort - built by the Portuguese in 1503, the oldest existing European Fortification in India. Situated in Vypeen island at Pallipuram.
- Durbar Hall Ground  - venue of many fairs during festivals and a regular ground of evening concerts and other programs.
- Fort Kochi is a primary tourist enclave and is the upper part of the island of Mattancherry. It was first called as Fort Immanunel built by Portuguese in honour of their King Immanunel. However during the Dutch raid, followed by Arab attacks, the fort was destroyed. Yet even today this part is still called Fort Cochin. Its a very famous area, where buildings still look like Colonial charm. Neatly arranged old buildings, narrow well paved roads, French-Dutch influenced buildings and presence of large of antiques shops, make Fort Cochin, one of the must places to see.
- Mattancherry is primarily a trading city well famous for its thriving Gujarathi settlement. Gujarathis came in bulk during 16th to 17 century for trading spices, which made this area, a little Ahmedabad. There is a beautiful Jain temple here. It is great to visit at about 12:15hrs when the pigeons are feed by Jain mandir people, which they have been doing for the past 17 years. A huge number of pigeons first take three circles of the temple and listen to mantra before eating.
- Willingdon Island  - An large artificial island made out of sand dredged from the backwaters to deepen the Kochi Port. This Island was built by Sir Robert Bristow- Father of Kochi Port and named this island after Long Willingdon- then the reigning Viceroy of India, who came to inaugurate this island. The island was built to house Kochi Port Offices, Ernakulam Wharf, Container Hold areas. Royal Navy was the first occupants of this island, fearing a Japanese invasion during World War II. However after independence, this helped Willingdon island to become headquarters of Southern Naval Command of Indian Navy. A Crown hotel built to accommodate then the visiting Princess of Wales (Queen Elizebeth II),was later handover to Taj Group after Independence, which became iconic Taj Malabar Hotel, which is heritage property, an icon of Kochi. Other than port and many export-import agencies offices, nothing much to see in Willingdon Island, though a glimpse of Taj Malabar is worthy. Its the most expensive hotel in Kerala and one of few heritage hotels in India. A large part of the island is under utilized.
- Vypeen and Gundu Islands - One of the most populated Island, Vypeen has the distinct of being Highest population Density in an Island in World. The Island boasts a lighthouse at Ochenthuruthu, beaches and the early 16th century. There are some good unexplored beaches here, though many are not known to outsiders. Fresh Seafood catch and on-the-spot grill and serving is an attraction here.
- Bolgatty - built in 1744 as Dutch Palace; one of the KTDC Hotels with green lawns and Golf Course. One of the first golf course in Kochi city. This Historic Palace was the Residency of Hon British Resident to Kochi and Travancore Kingdom. The Fort was destroyed by Travancore Army and Nair Forces of Kochi during the Kundara Revolution against British. However after the suppression of revolt, the Palace was re-modified to present structure without any fortifications. Today it is a 5 start hotel owned by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. Non-Guests can walk inside the Lawns of the palace, though cannot play golf. The most famous part of this Palace, is the Honeymoon Cottages, exclusively for honeymooners overlooking the Kochi Port.
- Kalady - Birth place of Sri Shankaracharya (Adi Shankara) [786-820], the great Indian philosopher and founder of the Advaita philosophy. Shrines of Shankaracharya here are open to all pilgrims, irrespective of religion or caste. 48km north of the city. There are many shrines and areas related to Hindu Culture in this small suburb town of Kochi. The most important is Sharada Temple and Sankara Ashram where Shankaracharya was born. The most interesting museum here, is the Shankara Advaita Tower, which is spiral tower that has detailed history of Guru Shankara life and idols /sculptures related to his life and his philosophies. One can catch a bird's eye viewpoint of major parts of Kochi City from this tower. The Sree Ramakrishna Ashram nearby is a very peaceful area. One can't believe that its located inside a bustling city. From this Ashram, lots of Hindu Books can be brought and good library related to various religious philosophies. A common prayer and Meditation hall is available, open for all religions and Castes. Also Kalady houses Kerala's Sanskrit University- the only Sanskrit University in South India. It is also a major center for Dance and music courses. There is also a cultural school called Sankara School for Dance and Music, which has short term courses on Indian Classical artforms.
- Aluva - called "Alwaye" till a few years ago, town on the way from the international airport to Kochi, has some places of interest - Sree Narayana Guru's Advaita Ashram and a large Travancore Maharaja's Rest Palace which became a rest house now. The Aluva's icon is the famous Marthanada Varma Bridge named after then-the crown prince of Travancore (Current Maharaja of Travancore).
- Poru - a small river bank inside a forest area, near to Kodanadu (Approx 4 Kms), is an unexplored beautiful scenic river bank. The Periyar river that flows here is in its original pure form, without any kind of pollution. This could be seen that the river is crystal clear and one can see river floor easily. During Summer season, when the volume of river water is less, its very easy to cross the river from one bank to other which has a width of nearly 2 kms Ideal for romantic experience as well as those who love to enjoy natural beauty. Beware during rainy reason, when a large volume of river water flush these area and its extremely dangerous to swim river during that season
Places of worship
- Thrikkakara Temple - at Thrikkakara, is a temple devoted to the Hindu deity Vamana. Thrikkakara temple is a major centre for celebration of the festival Onam, that is celebrated in great pomp and colour throughout Kerala. Get here during Onam time and you can catch the famous 10-day festival at the temple, peppered with performances of Kerala's traditional arts and ending with a Onam feast on the last day.
- Thirumala Devaswom Temple - at Mattancherry. A temple built by the Gowda Sarawatha Brahmins, Lord Venkateswara the main deity, famous for second-largest brass bell in Asia. The North Gopuram is fully roofed with copper.
- Ernakulam Siva Temple - situated at the centre of the town, near the Durbar Hall Ground. The Ernakulam got its name from this Shiva Temple and thus its the most important temple. The god is considered as City God. The temple do have adjacent temples like Murugan Kovil built by Tamil Brahmins and a Hanuman Temple built by Udupi Brahmins, highlighting the social mix of various communities in Kochi.
- Santacruz Cathedral- at Fort Kochi, is the First European Church in South Asia, built by Portuguese during their reign, which was taken over by Dutch later. However after the defeat of Dutch by Travancore Army, the church was taken over by Latin Church of Kochi. One can find historical interested paintings and rare collection of traditional Portuguese architecture.
- Kanjiramattam Mosque - Muslim pilgrim center, venue of Kudikkuthu Festival, 30km east of the city
- Aluva Manalpuram - is famous for the Shivarathri festival on the sandy banks of the Periyar river. A Siva temple is located along the banks too.
- Malayattoor Mount - A Christian pilgrimage centre, supposed to be a place visited by St. Thomas. (St. Thomas visited Kerala in AD 52. Don't forget Christianity reached India much before it reached Europe!)
Parks and gardens
- Subhash Park- One of the largest parks in Kochi. It is located in Park Avenue, one of the green lungs of Kochi City
- Children's Park, is located very near to Subhash Park, with many children's ride, a musical fountain, a small lake with boating facility
- Indira Renewable Energy Park, located near to Children's Park which has many unique rides and gadgets, that run on renewable energy.
- Managalavanam- a thick mangrove forest located excatly in heart of Kochi, which is a declared flora sanctuary. More than 30 unique flora is found here. Its also a major bird sanctuary, where migratory birds rests during winter days in North. Spread across in 80 acres, this forest is a paradise for bird watchers.
- Rajendra Maidan located in Park Avenue, Marine Drive Musical Walkway Promenade, Parade Ground in Fort Kochi, Marine Drive Maidan, Stadium Grounds at Kaloor, Maharaja's Stadium Gardens etc are popular open spaces for evening games and walks.
- Cherai Beach - near North Paravur is a new-generation tourist hot-spot with golden beaches (with big sand grains, like those of river sand used in construction, probably deposited by the Periyar river at some point in time), coconut palm corridors, backwaters, and historical monuments. You can reach Cherai Beach by bus, auto rickshaw, etc., from Ernakulam town though bus is a lot cheaper. Frequent buses are available from High Court that go through Goshree bridges and Vypeen Island.
- Kodanadu Elephant Training College - Kodanadu lies on the southern banks of Periyar amongst the scenic beauty of the high ranges. It is the head quarters of Malayattur forest division and very near to Airport (Approx 15 Kms from Airport and 35 Kms from City Center). It has one of the India's the largest Wild Elephant taming centers. There is an elephant training college, Elephant orphanage and a mini zoo here. Its a major interest for tourists, primarily because its here wild elephants are brought from forests after being captured for domestication. Wild Elephants are first tamed in special cradles and after taming them, they are taken to nearby Training college, where they are trained to effectively intermingle between humans and train for using various proposes etc. An Elephant Orphanage also functions, which houses orphaned Elephant babies and those that lost their way. They are reared by leading elephant doctors and Vet specialists, untill their age for sending Training college. Currently there are 6 to 8 baby elephants as orphans. The Elephant Training College remains open, where elephants are trained. Now a days, elephants from other states are brought here to be trained in each specialized area like timber transport, festival purpose, Tourism purpose etc. A re-training course for domestic private elephants are also available for re-orienting the domestication process. There is a Mini-Zoo inside the College, where one can see deer, Peacocks and another herbivorous animals to make elephants comfortable with new surroundings.
- Boating on the Kochi backwaters, (at Marine Drive). Get a feel of the backwaters at Kochi .Be sure to Check the Safety Measures In the boat. Many guesthouses offer the trip (so then you get picked up in front of your guesthouse) and in the centre you can arrange it by yourself as well. There are many cruises offered by many private players as well as Kerala State Inland Shipping Corporation. The Sun-set cruises are very famous option
- Take an Ayurvedic Pleasure treatments, at numerous Ayurvedic Spas and Massage centre of your choice. Some of the recommended ones are Kerala Ayurvedics in South (Near Arun's Studio, Warriam Road- between MG ROAD and Chitoor Road) or at Punarva Spa and Ayuvedic Hospital (Edappally North, NH 17) or ar Birla Kerala Spa etc
- Kathakali (kathakali in Kochi), Kalathil Parambil House Kathakali Parambil Crossroad Second Left from Govt. Girls High School on Chitoor-Valanjambalam road Ernakulam South Kochi 682016, ☎ 0484-2376471/72 or 9846140691. Located in heart of Kochi city, this theatre now functions from the 160 year old Vakke Bungalow of Kathakali Parambil House situated in Kalathil Parambil Crossroad which is very near South Railway Station (Ernakulam Junction). With regular evening performances starting from 06:00PM, guests can watch the elaborate Make up performance with explanation followed by a detailed demonstration and narration of Kathakali styles, history etc. This is followed by an hour long presentation of Kathakali dance ending at 8:00PM with a brief open house for an intellectual discussion on Kathakali matters. Special shows with more dancers and non-traditional stories in other timings can be arranged in the theatre. Likewise special outdoor shows are also performed for various events, corporate get-togethers, and social functions as well as on shows on request for quite reasonable charges. Their contact email id is [email protected]
- Do visit at Veegaland Amusement Park- one of the largest in India and South India's largest Water Theme park, located in Kakkanad. The Theme park is a prefect place, where you do forget everything in life, except joy and thrill. With more than 50 Rides and various shows, the park is well suited for all age groups and families. The park is open from 9:30 AM in morning till 7:00 PM in evening.
- A stroll in early evening from North End-MG Road to Atlantis, making best of shopping opporunities as well as window shopping.
- Stroll around the town during the day time when the city comes to life. Unlike other cities, the prime activities ended by 7 pm in evening, while in Kochi, with most of people retiring to homes. It is advised not to venture out alone late into the night
- Watch the magical sunset from Marine Drive Musical walkway, enjoying yourself with a corn-on-curb or pop-corn
- Visit to Broadway Bazaar to experience the best way to learn art of bargaining in prefect Indian way. Do shop for Kerala's special Spices as well as latest fashions at half the cost anywhere else
- Visit any tourist villages located at Fort-Kochi, where you can experience glimpse of Kerala, in nut-shell, including kerala's marital art- Kalaripayittu.
- Visit to Basilica Palli (Kappal Palli), the headquarters of Latin Archdiocese of Verapoly. located in heart of City at North of Shangumugham Road, famed for its Ship styled architecture and traditions. A stroll in the Basilica Lane, helps to buy Christian souvenirs, rosaries, Bibles as well as copies of famed Christian paints of Michelangelo and other famed Italian paints at rates which is damn cheap compared to western rates for similar articles
- Watch a Malayalam movie in Kochi Theaters, located within MG Road stretch. Malayalam movies are famous for its distinctive Social-reality oriented movies, sans glamour and glitz with lot of sensibilities. Else watch Hindi Movies either from Sridar Cineplex or Shenoys Cinemas.
- Kochi is extremely famous for its regular events. Be it consumer exhibitions, special discount sales Open Bazaars (mainly arranged at TDM Hall or Kalishnath Grounds or Marine Drive Grounds) or book fairs or Flower shows or beauty pageants, Kochi's city life is always dotted with any major out-door event, happening in parts of city. Check Dailies on regular basis on its "Events" page, to know whats happening in the city. Normally One month prior to any major festive occasions, multiple fairs and events dot major parts of city. The common fair grounds are Ernakulattappan Kalishnath Grounds, TDM Hall, Marine Drive Ground, International Stadium Ground, In-door Stadium Auditoriums
- If interested in Theater arts, Dramas, Dance or music, Kochi has regular performances, mostly on weekends. Fine Arts Hall of Kochi located at Foreshore Road or JT Pac Theatre at Thevera. Most of the weekends, special programs dot on these places. The Durbar Hall Ground now a days, do have free public concerts on many days, depending upon occasion. During Festival seasons, regular Kathakali concerts happen at Royal Kalikota (Concert Palace of Kochi Royal Family) in Thripunithara.
- Take a rain walk - if you're there during the monsoons, buy an umbrella and walk from place to place in the magical monsoon.
- Laze around on the pristine beach of Cherai, helps to retain some cherishing memories, with beautiful beach. Nearby a beautiful Backwater lake exists, helping to experience two different world, within 500m distance.
Kochi has some good Cineplexs, featuring regular shows for Malayalam, Tamil, English and Hindi movies. Most of the theaters have uniform movie timings. On all weekdays, there will be 4 shows, Noon show (11:30AM/12:00 Noon), Matinee (2:30PM/3:00PM), First Show (5:30PM/6:00PM), Night Show (9:30PM/10:00PM). On weekends, a morning show at 10:00 AM will additional.
- Shenoys Cineplex (2 screens); Shenoys Junction, MG Road, Ph-0484 2353233- It is a two screen theater. The main Shenoys is a large theater with a seating capacity of 1400 in 3 class configuration. Little Shenoys, a small 250 seater theater in single class configuration. Mostly Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi movies are screened. English movies are screened sometimes, though rare.
- EVM Kavitha (1 Screen); Kavitha Junction, MG Road, Ph-0484 2352777- A good air-conditioned 1500 Seater, 2 class configuration theater. Mostly Malayalam and Hindi movies are screened here.
- Padma Cinemas (1 screen); Padma Junction, MG Road, Ph-0484 2354233- A modern, well maintained 1000 seater theater in 2 class configuration. It has a good cafe and Texas Wild theme restaurant called Cafe 20. Mostly Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi movies are screened here.
- Sridhar Cinemas (1 Screen), Marine Drive, Ph-0484 2352529- A modern, well maintained 1300 Seater theater equipped with 3D facilities. It has a good cafe called Sridhar Cafe. This theater regularly screens Hollywood English movies. Malayalam and Hindi movies are screened sometimes, though rare.
- Saritha Cineplex (3 Screen), Banerjee Road, Near Marine Drive, Ph-0484 2366183- Its a 3 screen theater. The large one is called Saritha, which is a 1400 seater theater in 3 class configuration. The middle one is called Savitha, which is a 1200 seater theater in 2 class configuration. The smallest one is called Sangeetha, which is 800 seater single class configured theater. Mostly Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi movies are screened.
- Kanoos Theater (1 screen), Ravipuram area, MG Road, Ph-0484 2357330- Its a 800 seater 2 class configured theater. Tamil and English movies are screened on regular basis.
Kochi has many good performing arts complexes across the city, offering a good experience of various artforms and culture
- Kerala Fine Arts Complex; Foreshore Road- This is one of the oldest performing arts center, with regular cultural performances by various parties. Many performances require prior booking, as most of them are organized by prestigious societies and groups. There are some performances that have free entry. The monthly cultural programs of Bank Employees Union is one such.
- Kalikotta; Palace road, Thripunithara- This is official concert hall of Kochi royal family. The royal family are patrons of more than a dozen of cultural institutions and societies. Hence regular cultural performances are organized at this concert hall. Most of them are free to public entry. The mega Kathakali festival organized prior to Temple festival of Thripunithara Poornathresya Royal temple, is one of the largest Kathakali treats.
- JT Pac Cultural Theater; Choice House, Choice lane, Kumbalam- One of the most modern upscale performing arts complex, which has regular musical concerts, drama festivals, dance programs and other arts and cultural activities. A 1000 seater theater, it also has a good gallery and latest visual-audio systems, to enjoy the experience
- Greenix Tourist Theater; Greenix Village, Kalvatty, Fort Kochi- A good cultural theater, that is famous for various cultural shows, a good gallery, food court and mini museum.
- Kerala Folklore Theater; Near Thevara-Island bridge, Folklore Junction, Thevara- a Good cultural theater with regular evening performances with a state-of-the-art museum and cultural gallery.
Kochi is one of the fastest growing metros in India today. If you enjoy shopping this is a place for you, that offers an unlimited choice of almost anything under sun at comparitively low prices.
The Onam Festival (mid of Aug-Sept)is one of the best shopping seasons, when you get heavy discounts ranging between 10% and 50% for almost all items. Its also the best season for any whitegoods purchase, when you can get lot of combo options at rock-bottom prices. X'mas is the next best season after Onam, where you get similar discounts. The Kerala Government has started the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (Dec 15-Jan 30th), to promote Kerala as a shopping destination. Kochi is the main focal center of this festival snd you get heavy discounts at participating stores and regular lucky draws.
Jew town in Fort Cochin has numerous antique and craft stores. Most of the antique shops sell colonial era and heritage pieces, as well as Jewish items from the traditional Jewish homes of the area (most of Cochin Jews left to Israel, so their possessions are uofor sale). You can also find many kinds of Indian sculptures, decor, interior artifacts and souvenirs, brought from elsewhere in India. Bargains are available but be warned that many 'antiques' were probably made in the owners backyard! Shop with care and bargain hard. Never trust touts, who get hefty commissions from unscrupulous antique dealers.
Check with local DTPC or KTDC Office to find authorized shops. Some of the better options are listed below.
- Isidore Art Palace, Jewtown, Kochi 662002 (Next to the Synagogue), ([email protected]). Will reliably ship stuff outside India. Bargain hard!
- Galleria Synagogue Art Gallery, Jewtown, Kochi 6820002 (Walk down from the synagogue), ☎ 484 - 2222544. Showcases art work from many different local artists. Prices are reasonable, and they very often have exhibitions showing some amazing art work from the region.
- Cochin Crafts Antique Shop, Jewtown, Kochi 6820002 (Walk down from the synagogue), ☎ 484 - 0484 2221927. good collection of crafts and antique shops.
- Crafters Exports, Jewtown, Kochi 6820002 (Walk down from the synagogue), ☎ 484 - 0484 2227652. This shop has certified large collection of artifacts and heritage pieces. Its a very popular option.
Government sponsored Emporiums are available here. They are called Surabi for Kerala State Emporiums, and Cavery for Karnataka Emporium. All are located between Jos Junction and Dwarka Junction of MG Road. No bargains here, but you get best guaranteed art/wood/decors as well as heritage pieces, souvenirs and art pieces. However, the prices are higher.
Large western style shopping malls are new to Kochi and more than 30 large malls are under construction in various parts of city, all scheduled to open between first quarter of 2010 to end of 2013. Currently only two are functional. Apart from shopping malls, there are numerous of shopping complexes in Cochin (a shopping complex in local terms is a large complex having many shops close to each other, selling mostly only one type of product). Operational shopping malls are
- Oberon Mall (Near Padivattom Signal Junction- NH Byepass Road)- is the first large scale multi-format shopping mall that fits to western style, seen in any other country. A typical mall, having a wide range of branded stores, fitting almost all kind of shopping list. Apart from brand stores, there is a large hypermarket, an anchor store of Reliance Trends (multi brand apparel store), an anchor book/stationery store, a spa, beauty saloon, a large food court, a 4 screen multiplex and lots of entertainment options like Horror House or Mirror Maze or Cricket Bowling Center etc.
- Bay Pride Mall (Marine Drive) is a small sized family mall, located in heart of city. It is a small mall, having few brand stores, a small food court, a fitness center, a gift shop and a music store. Ideal for spending evenings.
- Grande Gold Souk (Vyittila Junction), is a partially opened Mall. It will be the largest mall in South India having more than 150 stores selling various jewellery brands and branded/unbranded apparels, along with regular other Mall features. Currently a few stores are open, along with some restaurants. The Mall will be fully opened by end of November 2010.
MG Road (the arterial road) is lined with many premium brand stores, leading apparel shops and boutiques.
For dress and fabrics the best options are:
- Kalyan Silks:-(General Hospital Road) one of the largest silk saree showroom, its a best place to get almost all kinds of Indian and western clothing, including popular western brands, at very reasonable rates. Silk Sarees are its trademark and most of them are very reasonable, yet quite fashionable.
- Seematti:-(North End- MG Road) is one of the posh Silk and Dress fashion centre. The Seematti is a trend setter in creating unique designs and special materials for its Sarees, making it a favourite among non-conventional and youth. Its owner- Beena Kannan is a leading fashion designer and new designs dominate the showroom, once in every 6 months. Seematti houses one of the most trendiest and large collection of both Western dress as well as Youth special casual & Party wear. Most of its sarees are out-of-traditional kind, making its absolutely unique. However due to its unique and specialties, its comparatively more costlier than other brands. Men's area is not so elobrate and has only few collections, though most of international brands are available.
- Jayalakshmi Silks:- (Shenoys Junction- MG Road) The oldest and most popular destination for bridal collections, Jayalakshmi is very popular thro'out Kerala for its absolutely unique Bridal costumes and special Silk Sarees. It also houses a very large Men's collection almost all kinds of Traditional and modern outfits. It has all range of budget, hence an ideal place for shopping. There are so many shopping assistants inside the store, making availability of individual shopping assistant for each person. However those who donot like it, can ask them to go, if required, though its slightly offensive.
- The Chennai Silks:- (North End- MG Road) The recent entrant into Kochi market, it offers mainly Tamil style collections. Is a best place, to buy tamil styled Kanchipuram sarees and other costumes. Has a small, but well stocked men's options, though its brands in men's dress are limited.
- Reliance Trends:- (1st floor- Oberon Mall- NH Bypass) One of the best place to buy Men's trendy brands. Almost all international Brands are available, at rock-bottom prices, with regular store promotions, making it an ideal youth hang out. Best for its vast T-Shirt collection and all western Formals, casuals, Office, party wear collections. It also houses an in-house Indian ethic collection. Ladies too have a good option, perhaps the only place where branded ladies wear could be brought. Lots of kid options. However it has less traditional costumes on offer and mainly target young.
- My Kingdom:- (Shenoys Junction-MG Road) one of the best upscale fashion hub, this is a uniquely themed apparel & accessories store. Spread over 4 stories, each storey designed for different age group and gender, thus has many wide options. Has an extensive collection of almost all latest and ethnic clothing. The store has a large accessories corner, each for each age group & gender, as well as a large spa, beauty saloon, a baby center etc.
- Dew Drops- (Near Seematti's- North End, MG Road), has a good latest collection of girls and ladies dress. It sells mainly western kind of clothes more.
- Graffitti (Kavitha Junction- MG Road) - is very famous apparel store, that sells cheap, yet highly trendy and peppy summer clothing. Its a popular option, as you get fabulous discount and good stuff. It has an extensive Men's collection and fairly good ladies collection. Mainly limited to summer cotton clothes and most of them are of western tastes.
- Kasavukada (South End of Foreshore Road near Church Landing) is a good place to buy a wide range of ethnic Kerala dress like Mundu, Kasavu Mundu Neyriyattu and ethnic men's Jubas (looks much similar to Kurtha)
- Maharajas Textile Supermarket (Durbar Hall Road) - is a good option for those who are budget conscious. They have an extensive collection of cheap apparels of all range and interest. It has an extensive men's casual wear, pants etc as well as famous for its wide range of collection of Kerala lungi, mundu, ladies nighties and almost of brands of lingeries.
- The MG Road has many single premium brand store of national and international players like Arrow, Zodiac, United colours of Benetton, Levis, Wrangler, Zapp, Raymonds, Urbana, Scullers, Louis Philips, Van Huesen, Vimal, Wills Lifestyle, Jockey etc.
- Kochi also has many famous designer boutiques. Most of the famous boutiques are located in Convent Junction (Between MG Road-Marine Drive), which houses a dozen of premium designer stores. Many are also famous in stitching and designing etc. Convent Junction has a large number of lady stores meant for various lady accessories. Panampally Nagar also houses many top premium exclusive designer boutiques selling highly fashionable apparels and exclusive designed outfits.
For unbranded apparel or fabrics at lower prices, Cloth Bazaar near broadway is a good option. It is one of South India's leading cloth trading centres, and you can buy clothes and farbics at wholesale rates. You need to buy in bulk (more than 5). This is a Gujarathi-Konkani dominated area, so you can bargain in Hindi, Malayalam, Tulu or Tamil.
- Bookport (English Bookshop),Ground Floor,Kurian Towers,Banerjee Road Phone: 0484-2397129,9746401310 
- Hamlet, Kurien Towers, Banerjee Road
- DC, Kurien Towers, Banerjee Road
- DeeCee, Island Castle, Chitoor Road
- Shankar, M.G rd,Padma Road
- Alphabet, Kadavanthara Road
- Bay Pride Mall, Marine Drive
- H & C, it has its stores just off m.g. road
- GCDA Shopping complex, Marine Drive
- Reliance Time out- Oberon Mall, Edapally
- Pai and Co, M.G Road and Broadway
- Idiom Books,P.O Box 32,Behind St.Francis Church,Fort Kochi Tel 0484 2217075,2225604
- Kochi Books,Princess Street,Fort Kochi- Tel 00 91 484 2218730 E:[email protected]
Footwear and Luggage
There are many good shops selling footwear and luggage of all range. For those who look budget options, footwear shops near both the railway stations are good options. Beware that many of these shops, offer cheap varieties which may not last a long. However a few shops like Victory Shoes in Anand Bazaar (near South), Kings shoemart (DH Road), Foots (Convent Junction) etc offer better range at comfortable range. Some of other popular options of higher range are
- Sylcon Footwear (Oberon Mall)- is a leading Kerala footwear chain, that offers many national and international foot brands as well as premium luggage brands.
- Reliance Footprints (Oberon Mall)- is a national footwear chain, having almost all leading international brands. More famous for its inhouse brands and also has amazing discounts and special offers almost around the year
- Metro Shoes (Bay Pride Mall- Marine Drive)- offers good varieties brands, with regular shoe festivals where budget range is also available
- There are many famous national and international footwear & Luggage brand stores like Bata, Lotus Bawa, Woodlands Reebok, Nike, Samsonite, American Tourist etc, dotting all over MG Road and Marine Drive.
- There is a small dedicated Footwear Bazaar located in North Western side of Broadway Market, with nearly 4 to 5 shopping complexes dedicated to these shops. Bulk purchases helps get to good brands are wholesale rates.
Kochinites have a special love towards almost all electronic products, particularly Consumer White goods and Mobiles. For past few years, Laptops/Desktops have topped electronic purchase list of Kochinites. You can get almost all electronic gadgets at comparatively lower rates. Kochi hosts many large consumer electronics fairs on regular basis, where latest technologies are brought into.
Computer and Acessories
- Apple store in Kadavantra,
- Dell Store in Kadvanthara,
- HP Store in Oberon Mall
- Toshibha in Palarivattom and Oberon Mall
- Lenovo Shop near Edapally High School Junction
- Sony World located in Atlantis-MG Road as well as in NH Byepass Road
- Focuz Computers in Banerjee Road-North End offers multi-brand computers and laptops
- Online IT-Shoppe in Ravipuram and Atlantis Junction in MG road, offers a large collection of latest computer systems of all brands and almost all kind of accessories
- ITNet Infocom in Sreekandath Road, is famous for its good range of systems, at amazing discounts
- There are many shopping complexes located in Atlantis Junction as well as in SA Road, famous for various local, national and international computer brands.
Electronics and accessories
There are many famous electronic brands stores located primarily in MG Road and Marine Drive. Many new shops are opening in Palarivattom area also. Most of these shops are multi-brand electronic shops selling a wide range of electronic items like cameras, personal grooming, etc.
The Electronics Street (Opp. Medical trust- Pallimukku) is one of the best places, where one can buy a wide range of electronics at rock bottom prices.
Kochinites do have a strong passion towards latest mobiles and its accessories. Almost everywhere, one can find small and medium sized mobile shops selling all the latest International and national brands. Penta Menaka Mobile Mall in Marine Drive is a shopping mall purely dedicated for Mobile Phones and its accessories, where one can buy latest mobiles at extreme low prices. GCDA shopping complex in Marine Drive is also a leading Mobile shopping area. Apart from these many national players selling multi-mobile brands selling Univercell, Mobileshop, Mobileworld etc operates in Kochi.
White Goods like consumer electronics are extremely popular shopping options. With wide range of discounts and regular sale, these are good options for purchase. Large White goods centers likes QRS (in MG Road and in NH Byepass Road), White Planet (MG Road), Bismi (Kaloor, near Stadium), etc provides a good shopping experience for almost all white good, which are normally very cheap for foreign tourists in western standards.
Kochi is extremely famous for its gold, silver, diamond and platinum jewelry. Gold is a passion here and lot of large and small jewellers operate. Most of the jewellers are concentrated in Jewel junction, on MG Road near Hotel Woodlands. Jewel junction is also known as Woodland junction.
Normal gold purity in India is 91.6 (22 carat gold). 100% pure gold (24 carat) gold ornaments are not so popular, yet are available in many leading jewellers. They are called thankam in local language. Normally gold bars and coins come in 24 carat purity. Recently light weight collections in 18 carat gold, have become popular among youngsters and teenagers.
The gold rates are determined by international standards. Worked pieces cost 10% to 15% on top of the normal gold price, with the extra being deemed the manufacturing cost. Bargaining working charges is common in small and medium jewellers.
- H. Venkatesha Naik Jewellery- 0484 4041890, Rajaji Road, Near Kavitha Junction, Kochi - This is a new generation jewellery, offering modern designs and light weight collections. It also has an extensive Diamond gallery and trendy collection of watches
- Alapatt Gold- - 0484 2381862, Jewel Junction, MG Road - One of the oldest jewelleries of Kochi, this has been renovated recently. It has an extensive gold collections, ranging from traditional to modern collections
- Paul Alukkas Jewellery, Opposite Maharaja`s College Stadium, MG Road- This a very large jewellery, featuring gold, diamond and silver collections.
- Francis Alukkas Jewellery, KPCC Junction, MG Road- A new jewellery, famous for large bridal collections. It also has a diamond and platinum gallery.
- Malabar Gold, Jewel Junction, Opposite Grand Hotel, MG Road- A large jewellery, featuring extensive gold collection. It has a very large premium watch house inside it, featuring all latest international brands. It also has a very large platinum gallery and a diamond gallery.
- Joy Alukkas, Alukkas Wedding Center, Marine Drive- An international chain originated from Kochi, Joy Alukkas is famous for its internationally certified gold, diamond and platinum collection. It also has a premium watch gallery as well as perfume center operating inside.
- Bhima Jewels, Jewel Junction, MG Road- A famous traditional jeweller of Kochi, they are famous for its traditional collections. It has a large collection of precious stones and very famous for its birth-stones and lucky stones collections. It also has a diamond gallery.
- Tribhuvandas Bhimsingh Zaveri- Jewel Junction, MG Road- A famous National jeweller, famous for its ultra modern collection and peppy designs. It also has a large diamond and platinum gallery.
- Josco Jewellers, North End, MG Road- Very famous for its bridal collection, this jewellery also offers whole-sale rates for bulk purchases. Spread over 4 stories, it has different levels for diamond, silver, platinum collections.
- Tanishq Jewellers, Padma Junction, MG Road- A national brand from TATA group, this jeweller is famous for its unique exclusive patented jewel designs, featuring in-house crafted Mughal, Rajasthani and Kerala designs. It also has a famous in-house Diamond brand gallery, featuring similarly patented designs. Also has a good collection of teenage jewellery and light weight modern collection.
Almost all leading gold jewelleries have a separte gallery for diamonds. However there are few exclusive diamond galleries in the town, famous for its diamonds and precious stone collections.
- Kirtilals- Opp. Maharaja's College Ground, MG Road- This is one of the most grandest exclusive diamond gallery, featuring more than 2000 diamond collections and jewel designs. It also has a large precious stones collection as well as studded gold collection.
- Sunny Diamonds- Rajaji Road- Chittoor Road Area- The celebrated diamond house, featuring original Belgium Diamonds, with international warranties. It also has one of the largest De-Beers diamond collection in Kochi. The best part of Sunny Diamonds, they have diamonds for all range.
- D'Damas- KPCC Junction, MG Road- A reputed national chain, it one of the oldest Diamond traders in India. It features a large collection of in-house branded diamond jewellery. It also have a gallery of diamond/precious stones studded gold jewels.
- Nakshatra Galleries- 3rd Floor, House of Alappatt, South Junction, MG Road- An exclusive gallery of Nakshatra branded diamonds.
Most gold jewellers have an inhouse gallery for silver ornaments, but there are some specialized siler jewellers.
- Bhima Silver Palace- Jewel Junction, MG Road- This store has a large collection of Silver ornaments, silver souvenirs, silver crockery items such as plates, spoons, cutleries etc.
- Kavitha Jewellers- South Junction, MG Road
- Navarang Silver Jewellers- Opposite Grand Hotel, MG Road
- Temple Jewellers- Jewel Junction, Behind Woodlands Hotel, MG Road
- Pooja Jewellery- Jewel Junction, MG Road.
Indian Bazaar itself is a tourist experience with a maze of alleys filled with shops offering all under sun. Kochi too has its own share of Indian Bazaar experience. A narrow strip sandwiched between Marine Drive and MG Road called Broadway Market, which is a street shoppers paradise. Broadway is one of the Kochi's oldest shopping corners, where one can buy literary from safety pin to Motor scooters. It was named as Broadway Market, built by Kochi Maharaja as a broad shopping corner in 19th century. However in today's context its no more Broad-Way, due to narrow streets. A spice market operates inside, offering best of Kerala's spices, Saffrons and various oils etc. Apart from spice market, it has a cloth market, a jewellery market, a fancy items market, a vegetable/fruit market and electronic market, operating within its sphere. A shopping experience at Broadway, is a good experience, which normally tops in a tourist's priority list to vist.
Food shopping is mainly done at supermarkets and bakeries. Bakeries normally sell breads as well as branded food products, while most supermarkets sell household provisions and packaged food items. There are a few recently-opened hypermarkets offering apparel, electronics, footwear etc.
- Varkeys - is the most popular supermarket chain in Kochi. It's a locally-owned chain with many branches elsewhere. It is very famous for its in-house bakery too.
- Reliance has many branches in Kochi, in 3 formats- Fresh, Super and Hyper. More commonly seen is Fresh, that offers a wide range of fresh vegetables and fruits with limited other grocery items. Super is a large supermarket, offering almost all groceries and vegetables/fruits. Hyper is a hypermarket operating in Oberon Mall and Vazhakala, which has a wide range of non-grocery items too. Note:- Reliance is a pure vegetarian supermarket chain and you cannot get any non-vegetarian products from there. However outside the supermarket, they operate a small store called DeLite that offers non-vegetarian items, including fresh meat.
- More is a national chain of small-scale grocery stores scattered mainly in residential areas.
- Spencers is a national chain with a few locations in town.
- Kerala State Civil Supplies Corp, popularly known as Supplyco- operates an extensive chain of small stores branded "Maveli" and regular supermarkets branded as Supplyco throughout the city. They offer many products at subsidized rates, as per government policies. They also have a medical pharmacy attached to the supermarkets, offering English medicines at a 30% discount. Recently they have opened a hypermarket in GCDA Nagar.
- KR Bakes is the most popular local bakery chain, with many locations.
For the past 600 years, Kochi has catered to many travellers from around the world, whether it was Arabs or Chinese or Portuguese or French or English or Dutch or Russians or Japanese. This has made Kochi a true melting pot of various cultures, and this diversity is seen in the cuisine of Kochi.
Being a coastal city, plenty of great, fresh seafood is the local specialty. Kochi is one of the main fish-trading centers of India and a wide variety of fishes are caught here in Kochi. As Kochi has many backwaters, freshwater fish is also very popular here. The most famous of Kochi's special dishes is Kochi Meen Curry, smoked freshwater fish cooked in a coconut sauce. Kochi's cuisine has many prawns, squids, shrimps as its popular options. The English popularized its smoked fish with steamed bread and potatoes in Kochi. One of Kochi's traditional vegetarian specialties is Kurukku Kalan, a thick yogurt curry mixed with toasted raw banana.
Visit Fort Kochi beach where you can buy fresh fish near the Chinese fishing nets and get it cooked in the nearby food stalls for a small fee. Fish mongers will sell you a kilo of tiger prawns for around $6USD and a kilo of squid for around $5USD. For a fillet of fish you may have to do a little bargaining. Try and find out what the locals are paying and work for that. The food stalls will charge you between 40 and 50 Rupee per person to cook your fish (grilled, curry, whatever...) and provide you with a serve of chips and salad! It is done reasonably hygienic so you shouldn't worry to much about the salad.
Fish fry, fish molly, fish curry and fish peera are the favorites, usually taken with rice or steamed tapioca (cassava). Also worth trying are the traditional rice based breakfast snacks - puttu and kadala, appam and stew. Try the "thattukadas" where you get hot, fresh-cooked, foods, where they don't have refrigerators to preserve the balance food.
Apart from this, Kochi is a great hub of New Generation food options.
- Chic King, KPCC Junction-MG Road; Civil Lines-Palarivattom; Byepass Junction-Aluva. It looks, smells and tastes pretty much more better than KFC. Is a global chain based in Dubai. Has good Chicken, Burger and Wraps combo Normal.
- Food Circle- Oberon Mall, Oberon Mall- After Padivattom-NH Byepass. The Food court in Oberon Mall is unique. Lots of varied Food option. The most fabulous eatery is Arabian Treat, providing really good class arabic cuisine. Lots of grill options and large quantity. The next good option is Papa Milano's, a Subway style on-the-spot Pizza and Subs restaurant. Its healthy option, though not as healthy as Subway. Good unique subs and pizzas are also good. The advantage is that there is no set pizzas, unlike Pizza Hut. U make pizzas as per ur liking, with all the options before u. Not so expensive. For Veg BTH Dosa express is more good with more than 12 types of Dosas and South India food. The French fries is really worth to try as well as Dahi Vada. Also Noodle Kings (popular Indian food chain company) offers the best of Oriental food, with lots of Indo-China-Thai options. Noodles and Crispy Chickens are very good. The least good is a KFC styled in-house food chain called Krispy Chicken which is a Local copycat of KFC. Though it offers American South style fried chicken combos, burgers, zingers and wraps, its not world class. In general the food circle is a complete food court with varied options including a bakery and ice-cream counter Normal.
- Pizza Hut, South Railway Junction- Between Jos Jn and Chitoor Road South Jn, Hotel Joys. 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. World famous PIZZA HUT, is a hot spot among young generation. Lots of Indianized Pizza options along with World pizzas. The advantage is that, the menu changes on every 6 months, with more new new items and really cost effective if going together with friends or family. Very good Pastas and Arabic stylized pizza wraps. Expensive if for individual, whereas highly cost effective if its more than 4 members. Lots of side options sightly expensive.
- Domino's Pizza, Near HDFC bank- Atlantis Junction-Ravipuram side of MG Road. 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. World famous Domino's, is a hot spot among young generation. Good Pizzas, but only international varieties. But good and good for individual option, as individually wise it won't cost when compared to Pizza Hut. sightly expensive.
- Artic Circle, Next to Hokkoba Lodge- Marine Drive, Near to Coffee Beanz. 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. The Best continental Steaks and Sizzlers are available here. There are more than 14 Sizzlers and 20 European Dishes, along with a few continental salads and French bread. A few American styled sizzlers along with Texas styled Mashed potatoes with Mushroom sauce makes the right combination. However its an Expensive destination expensive.
- Somewhere Else, Near to Muscat Tower (Sony and Vileno Showroom), Near Kadavanthara Junction. 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. The newest hangout in Cochin, with lots of coffee options, milk shakes and juice mocktails. More famous of its Sizzlers, Steaks and unique grilled wraps, burgers as well as desserts. Also offers some good biriyani as well as good Indianized Continental options. Also complimentary wi-fi is provided and good time for a chit-chat as well as coffee options moderate expensive.
- Hon. East India Company; Travancore Palace, Hotel Travancore Palace, Warriam Road, Durbar Hall Road. 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. A historical themed Restaurant operating within Travancore Palace, a 4 start hotel owned by popular Malayalam Actor Mohanlal. Very famous for its classic Paintings and Heritage photo galleries, this restaurant offers some classic foods, each famed during British Raj era. However the most famous is its Evening Buffet which is one of the largest, offering best of English, Kerala and North Indian Cuisine. Is slightly expensive, however best for a couple dining or a classical romantic dinner moderate expensive.
- The Malabar, Taj Malabar, Taj Malabar Hotel- Willington Island- Port Area. 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. Dining at Malabar Hotel at Taj Malabar is almost of similar to dine at Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace hotel. Taj Malabar is an Iconic hotel and was a Crown Property untill Britishers left India. Almost all the High profile visitors to Kochi, have dined at this Restaurant, its the most expensive Restaurant in Kerala. The hotel is listed as one of the top 30 most favourite restaurants of British Monarch Queen Elizabeth, who was guest at this hotel during her state visits to Cochin. The large spread is always accompanied by best of musicians and other contemporary entertainment. It won't be a bad idea for those having heavy pockets, to dine in this iconic heritage hotel. Most Expensive.
- Tandoor, Layam Road, near Hotel Woodlands, Woodland Junction-MG Road. 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. The best and most tasty North Indian food Hub, particularly Punjabi foods. The Kadai Chicken as well as Ginger Chicken is truly world class and no other place can offer than unique taste. Peas Masala is also really superb. The trademark is the Romali Roti and good stuffed bread options. Class settings and unique for couple dining. However expensive, though not so expensive when going group, as they offer in large quantity. A full Kadai Chicken can make atleast 4 to 5 people full, with large amount of chicken. Caution, its very spicy. The second floor of this restaurant houses Chillies- a very spicy Andhra Food. Very tasty, as well as extremely fiery food, particularly chicken options. Please note, veg options is very less, so best for Non vegs only. This is not as expensive as Tandoor Expensive.
- Ila, Near to Hakkoba Lodge, Marine Drive. 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. The truly Kerala food centre. Very tasty Travancore Food, with both Southern Travancore Veg options and Central Travancore Syrian Christian Non Veg specialties. Very tasty, but slightly expensive moderate expensive.
- Golden Dragon, Mercy Estate- Atlantis Junction- Ravipuram side of MG Road. 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. The best Chinese food in the town, offering pure chinese food. Please note, its only the pure Chinese restaurant without any indianization. All items are really tasty. The restaurant offers Alcohol along with food moderate expensive.
- Abad Plaza-Hotels, Kavitha Junction- MG Road. 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; 7:00 pm-11:00 pm. Abad Plaza is a 3 star hotel, having 2 restuarants. Kettuvallam, is a Kerala theme Restaurant, offering Kerala foods. Main restaurant offers Multi-cuisine. Both the restaurants has Buffet options for Lunch and Dinner, which is moderately priced. Food and service is good. Side Abad Plaza, houses another Abad hotel, which has a good 24 hours restaurant offering best simple foods,but really good moderate expensive.
- Two-Trees- Habour View Hotel, Opposite Shipyard- Atlantis Junction- MG Road. 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; 7:00 pm-11:00 pm. Best for its large spread buffets for Morning, Lunch and Dinner. Really tasty as well as Ala-Carte food options. Options of good cocktails as well as lots of alcohol options. There is a good Pub lounge in its ground floor offering wonderful snacks as well as varied cocktail and liquor options. There is a Disco Centre operating, with high end gala night parties and DJ music areas. moderate expensive.
- Bimbis Self Serve / Khyber / SouthStar, Jos Junction MG road; Menaka Marine drive (hours=""). Bimbis is a household name in Kochi City. Very famous for its Fast Self serve food options. It has 2 branches. One located in Jos Junction is the largest and the other in Menaka in Marine Drive. The Self Serve is pure veg restaurant offering fast North Indian and South Indian options. Best for backpackers and budget tourists. Jos Junction Branch has a full fledged North Indian- Afghan Food restaurant called Khyber Pass Restaurant offering some of the best North Indian-Afghani foods. The Menaka branch has a Multi-cuisine restaurant called SouthStar. Both Khyber Pass and Southstar are moderate expensive. Bimbis is very famous for its North Indian sweets as well as South Indian. The Jaleebis is very unique and most tastier.
- Gokul Restaurant and Gokul Ottupura, Jos Junction-MG Road and South End-Kaloor-Kadavanthara Road (hours=""). One of the most recommended Restaurant for Budget conscious Veg travellers. Best for its various Veg dishes, Very famous for its Tamil style food and Thali options. Gokul Ottupura in Kaloor Kadavanthara road offers some good North Indian Veg options too, though they are more famous for its traditional Tamil Food
- BTH Kempa, BTH Hotel- BTH Junction, Durbar Hall Road (hours=""). The most classic hotel of Kochi City, which dates back atleast for past 100 years since its operation. One of the most celebrated hotel, BTH and its restaurant Kempa is extremely popular among high end Veg travellers. It offers the best of North India and South Indian Veg foods, though its more famous for its Kannadiga-Udupi food. This is slightly expensive option
- Hotel Dwaraka, Dwaraka Junction- MG Road (hours=""). Dwaraka was the first Star hotel of Cochin and it still remain most popular option for North Indian VEG Travellers. One of the most popular traditional South Indian and West Indian Veg foods in Kochi, this restaurant offers a classic touch. Its an Expensive option, though it tastes very nice
- Sreekrishna Inn, Warriam Road- Durbar Hall Road (hours=""). Sreekrishna Inn is the best Veg option restuarant of the city. Very famous for its classic looks and theme, the restaurant offers a very large spread of best of Indian Veg food. The Dosas are most famous, and a must try, along with its elobrate Thali options. But its an slightly expensive option
- Hotel Dreams, Elamkulam Lake- SA Road. The High end hotel which is the sister concern of Times Hotel-New York, offers a high end Restaurant, Kochi's first Far East restaurant offering Vietnamese-Thai-Malaysian food, Multi-Cuisine options in another restaurant and a Grill Restaurant. The Hotel offers best of Pub Lounge bar, A DJ Bar, a world class coffee shop etc Very Expensive.
- Fort House Restaurant and Hotel, 2/6A Calvathy Road (next to Coast Guard), ☎ 0484 2217103, . Located at the water front and offers good Kerala food with great views
- Hotel Aaryas, (Near Varkeys, Manorama Junction). Vegetarian restaurant run by Tamilians
- Hotel Thali, (Opp Little Flower Church, Near Kadavanthra). Very good Kerala style cusine. Try their Dum Biriyani
- Just Biryani, 40/9534 Opp State bank of Hyderabad,Pulleppady, near padma jn m.g.road, ernakulam, ☎ 4022334. 12-3PM only. the finest original dhum biryani store, made using authentic cooking methods. 55.
- Kadaloram, Abad Plaza. Good buffet at about rs 150 per head.
- K.R Bakes. Cheap hygienic food. Both the bakery and restaurant offer pretty good food. Can be found at several places, including Palarivattom junction. Its almost called Kochi's most favourite Fast Food.
- Shala, 1/605 Peter Celli Street, Fort Kochi 682001, ☎ (0)484 2216036. A delicious Keralan restaurant which serves a small menu which changes daily in lovely surroundings
Keralites are well known for their drinking habits. Kerala is the largest consumer of alcohol among the Indian states. Hence finding bars or pubs is not a difficult in Kochi. Kochi has second highest number of bars in Kerala, after Kottayam. For those who do not drink, these are the following options.
- Karikku / ilaneer (tender coconut), could be found at many places as hawkers. Marine drive area has largest number of hawkers.
- Sambhaaram (buttermilk), especially on hot summer days, one can get this at most of the restaurants and cool-bars. In summers, Sambhaaram is distributed freely by some clubs at popular areas.
- Shakes, get them cold, like a Sharjah Shake for example - a good cooldown option. There are numerous cool-bars and juice stalls across the city.
- Fresh toddy (called Kallu in local language) from the coconut tree. Take caution as adulteration of the brew is very common. Your best bet would be to get it from a local who has given over his coconut trees for extraction. Mullapanthal Kallushap near Thripunithara is a certified Kallu brew shop, equally famous for its local cuisine.
- XL-Hotel, Rose Street, Fort Cochin, . Rs 90 for a Kingfisher, Rs 100 for a Fosters. And don't pay more!. The bar fills up each day with tourists who're looking for a beer in Fort Cochin. There's nothing cosy about the place and the staff's quite lazy. But it serves beer (Kingfisher and sometimes Fosters), so that's enough to join. It can be a nice spot to meet other travellers, since everyone has one thing in common: drinking beer. Ordering food isn't recommended.
- Velocity, Bnerjee Road. A seedy bar, yet well suited for budget tourists. It has all range of liquors and beer
- Oberoi Bar, MG Road. A small, yet good bar, however its a typical men's dominated bar.
- Polakkulattu Sliverspoon Bar, Jewek MG Road. A good, well maintained bar. It has branches in Palarivattom near Metlife and in SA Road at Janatha Junction
- Central Park Bar, Kaloor-Kadavanthara Road. A posh well maintained bar, ideal for moderate and splurge travellers
- Nasha, Metropolitan Hotel, Near South Railway station. A well maintained good lounge bar, ideal for families and westerners, offering almost all kinds of liquors, wines, beers at moderate rate. Very famous for its signature Kerala dishes as short eats.
- Sealord Bar, Sealord Hotel, Marine Drive. It has 2 kind of bars, a budget bar outside which is extremely seedy and not kept in order and a regular A/c Bar inside the hotel. A/C bar is well maintained, good for westerners and moderate travellers. Price is moderate and good choice is available. However its a men dominated bar hence not suitable for ladies
There are many Coffee shops as well in and around the city
- Kashi Art Café, Fort Cochin, Burgher street (the parallel street to Princess street), ☎ +91-484-2215769 ([email protected]), . from 8.30 AM to 7.30 PM. They serve great iced coffee, daily fresh lunch, and a variety of sandwiches and tasty cakes.
- Cafe Coffee Day - Opp. Shenoy's Cinema, MG Road; Oberon Mall and Ravipuram junction- your standard coffee hangout
- Barista - Bay Pride Mall, Marine Drive - the place to cool down with coffee after a walk at Marine Drive, however is slightly expensive
- Coffee Beanz - Marine Drive road; Oberon Mall - another place to get your cold coffee and snacks. Very famous for its traditional Kerala short-eats and Kerala coffee options.
- Teapot - Fort Cochin - famous English teas and traditional European short-eats.
- Cocoa Tree - Avenue Regent, South Area, MG Road- A upscale coffee shop, its extremely famous for its fine chocolate pastries and various chocolate drinks. It has many good western short-eats.
- BTH Coffee Shop - Near North Railway Station and near International Stadium, Kaloor - A moderate priced coffee shop, very famous for its traditional Kerala snacks and savories along with dosas, idilies etc.
- Cafe'Persia - TD Road, Near Banerjee Road - A unique Arabic theme cafe, famous for Sheeshas/Hookah smoking in its smoking area and excellent range of arabic coffees and tea along with arabic short-eats.
Kochi recently has transformed into a modern city, with a good nightlife with regular cocktail parties, discos and good pubs. Most of them are upscale and have dress code regulations. Some of the popular are,
- Tandav- Le Meridian, Maradu, Kochi- The most happening disco in town. Very famous for its lavish grand parties and cocktail celebrations.
- Glow & Cocktales- Harbour View Hotel, Atlantis Junction, MG Road, -lounge bar cum discotheque, promises not just exotic cocktails and signature drinks now. The DJ Nights here are not restricted to Fridays and Saturdays. It’s fun unlimited on Wednesdays and Thursdays as well.
- Loungevity- Hotel Avenue Regent, MG Road - With an inhouse DJ playing your favourite tunes and the latest in Electronic Dance Music, there is ample space even for those who want to jive to the thumping beats after a sip of the fizzy cocktail. One of the coolest places for families.
- Couchyn- The Grand Hotel, Woodlands Junction, MG Road- The traditional English styled lounge bar is rocking. The great music just takes you to the floor as you enter. And not to forget the wide variety of cocktails.
- Pool [email protected]- Ramada Resort- Panagadu, NH Byepass Road (10 kms from City near Aroor)- located away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is a 3 tier bar, with a large pool area. The pool parties are very famous.
- ÁVA lounge- Dreams Hotel, SA Road - A new posh lounge cum disco bar, its ideal for families. Good music, wide range of cocktails, dance floors, its ideal for those who doesn't wish to sleep and enjoy overnight.
- Champs Sports Lounge- Gokulam Park, Kaloor - Ideal for sports enthusiasts and business men, it has a good sports gallery, cricket theme interiors, 2 gigantic screens for regular broadcast of cricket or football amtches, signature cocktails and short eats.
When booking keep in mind the area around Fort Cochin 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. Home stays are common.
- Riverside Heritage Homestay, Cochin, ☎ 9388558830, .
- Tag und Nacht (Homestay), Beach Road, Mackenzie Garden, 682001 Fort Cochin (opposite the Naval Maritime Museum), ☎ +91-9846012604 ([email protected]), . Rs. 500-1200. Very clean and beautifully decorated rooms with comfortable beds. The owners, Antonio & Kristina, are extremely friendly and helpful. They provide free wifi, help people with arranging trips inside and outside of town, make fabulous breakfasts, and are willing to make your stay a pleasure. Highly recommended.
- Dream Catcher Home Stay, Vasavan Lane Road (Near Thamaraparambu Schoo), ☎ 0484 2217550 / 9746017881 ([email protected]). Good home-cooked food, clean rooms, but host quite unpleasant. Will pick up from Bus/Railway station free of charge Rs. 600-1200.
- Green House Home Stay, Kunnumpuram Road, Njaliparambu, Fort Kochi, ☎ 0091-9895262296 ([email protected]). Very nice and friendly home stay in a good location close to Princess Street (where Kumar has a shop, so try to track him down there if you can't reach him otherwise), which also offers a TV and a fridge in the common room/living room In high season doubles are around Rs500 (or more if you want A/C), whereas we paid Rs250 during the low season (May 2008).
- Leelu Home, Fort Kochi, Cheerans Ebenezer, Behind Fort Kochi Post Office, Quirose Street, '''Fort Kochi''' 682 001. (Hardly a 2 minute walk from the famous Santa Cruz Basilica), ☎ 0091-484-2215377, . A recently renovated Victorian building in the heart of Fort Kochi. Cooking classes are conducted at the kitche every day from 11a.m. - 1p.m. and from 6p.m. - 8p.m.
- The Gateway Hotel, Marine Drive, City, . Formerly Taj Residency near the harbour with good views over the sea from some rooms.
- Madaparambil Tourist Home, Chittoor Road (near S.R.V. L.P.School, Ernakulum), ☎ 682 011 Ph: 0484-2367533.
- Maple Regency Hotel, Cannon Shed Road, Ernakulam, ☎ +91-484-2371711 ([email protected]). Near the main boat jetty is well located, friendly place with a good restaurant Rooms are from USD 6.50 to 10.00.
- The Royal Kerala Boats, 304 - Lalan Towers, Marine Drive Kochi Kerala 682022India, ☎ +91 9 847153764, . If you are traveling to Kerala and are looking for a place to stay, there is nothing better than a One night stay on a House Boat. The boats are build on traditional transport boats and have now been modified into luxury house boats with all modern amenities.
- Taj Malabar, Willingdon Island, . On the tip of Willingdon Island is has to be one of the best located properties in Kochi. In its heritage wing, built in 1935, is full of Victorian interiors, while it's tower wing is more modern.
- Kimansion Inn (kimansion), 1/254, napier street,fort cochin (Near state bank training center), ☎ 9847032117, . checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11.30am. Kimansion is situated right in the heart of Fort Cochin, just a few minutes from the beach, the Chinese fishing nets and other major tourist attractions. Built by the Dutch and renovated by the Portuguese, Kimansion is a two storied century old mansion with six well appointed spacious rooms with attached bath/tubs, hot water. The services we offer are housekeeping& laundry and although we do not have a running kitchen, we provide breakfast and other meals with prior notice. We also provide guests with tourist information and taxi services. www.kimansion.com 1500 -3000.
Kochi is infamous for mosquitoes. Make sure any room you book has mosquito repellants or atleast a mosquito net.
Be wary of Private Line bus and KSRTC bus drivers on the roads. Pedestrians live a hard life especially during peak hours in Kochi.
Along with Trivandrum, Kochi stands out as one of south Asia's best medical hubs and it's not at all difficult to get medical attention. Many hospitals operate in the city, with 12 super-specialties hospitals and Centers of Medical Excellence. The emergnecy number is 102.
- Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS); Phone:0091-(0)-484-280-1234, 280-4321, HOTLINE 400-1234; Edapally North. One of the best Medical Super Specialty Hospital in the country. Spread over 94 acres with a super imposing structure of more than 2.6 Million Sqft, AIMS is reputed for its cost effective treatments and latest medical care facilities. Most of the doctors have visited faculties in leading European medical universities. More than 25 Operation theaters, state-of-the-art facilities, 210 equipped intensive-care beds, a fully computerized and networked Hospital Information System (HIS), a fully digital radiology department, a 24/7 telemedicine service and a NABL accredited clinical laboratory. It is the only medical mission accredited for Nuclear medicine in South India. Its Cardiology department is very famous for cost-effective surgeries. Even if you don't have any aliments, consider the cost effective Executive Medical Check.
- Lakeshore Hospital:- Phone:- 91-484-2701032/2701033; NH Byepass; Maradu. One of the most high tech hospital in South India famous for its innovative, modern medical treatment. Has various specialized departments including cancer care treatment and bone/neuro treatment. The cardiac division is an awarding winning center with the latest facilities and highly qualified dcotors. There are 8 other specialist clinics. The hospital is well-equipped with all emergency services. Aslo ofers an Executive Medical Check Up. This hospital is part of Rapid Medical Action Force and they have accident care.
- Medical Trust Hospital:- Phone +91 484 2358001, 2358032/33/34, Pallimukku, MG Road. One of the oldest Super Specialty hospital located in heart of the city, this hospital is one of the most important referral hospital in Kerala. Famous for its transplantation operations. Has the largest number of intensive care facilities in the state. Its a very crowded hospital but is well organised. This hospital is part of Rapid Medical Action Force and they have an accident care.
Other important hospitals are
- City Hospital - 0484-2361809, Padma Junction, MG Road- This is an accident care hospital. It has a good orthopedics and paediatrics department.
- Cochin Hospital - 0484-2367714, Pallimukku, MG Road- Good for gynecology and general medicine.
- Cochin Port Hospital - 0484-2666403, Willingdon Island. - General medicine and has a large in-patient ward. Located near to Kochi Port area, its regularly used by sailors. For all certifications required for marines and sailors, they need to check from this hospital.
- Ernakulam Medical Centre - 0484-2332363, NH Byepass Road, Palarivattom - Famous for spine treatments as well as state-of-the-art neurology department.
- Indira Gandhi Co-operative Medical College Hospital - 0484-2314110, Gandhi Nagar, Kadavanthara. A large medical college, having extensive facilities in General medicine. Famous for its ENT department and radiology treatments.
- Krishna Nursing Home - 0484-2352739, Shenoys area, Chittor Road. Part of Rapid Medical Action Force and has a good accident care unit. Famous for its orthopedics and general medicine department.
- Lakshmi Hospital - 0484-2382114, Diwan's Road, Durbar Hall Area. Good for general medicine and paediatrics department.
- PVS Memorial Hospital Ltd - 0484-2345451, Near Kaloor Bus Stand, Kaloor. This is a large hospital, famous for many surgeries. It has a state-of-the-art ENT Department and research center.
- Specialists Hospital - 0484-2395066, Near North Railway Station, Ernakulam North. This is a very famous hospital, well reputed for its complex cosmetic surgeries and reconstructive surgeries. This also has a good dermatology department.
- Sree Sudheendra Medical Mission - 0484-2382390, Kacheripady area, Chittoor Road. This has a good accident care department and famous for its general medicine.
- Rapid Medical Action Force- 102
- Emergency Medical Assistance- 1298
- On-Road Accident Emergency Care Force- 98460-999-00, 98460-077-40
- Kochi Police Medical Assistance- 2366100, 100
- Amrita Jeevanraksha- 0484-2801234, 2802100
- Lions Club Free Ambulance- 0484-2354139
- NSS Community Free Ambulance- 0484-2369920
- Rotary Emergency Medical Force- 98470-60077
- Air Ambulance- +91-9845-44-66-34 / +91-9986-09-04-51 (Need to have prior booking)
There are many 24 hour emergency Blood banks. Most of the accident care hospitals have a blood bank counter within the hospital. In event of emergency, the services of following blood banks can be utilized.
- IMA Emergency Blood Bank - 0484 2361549/2383549, behind Maharaja's College, TD Road. Its a 24 hours Blood Bank
- IMA General Blood Bank - 0484 2354886/2361809, Warriam Road, Durbar Hall Area.
Branches:- a) Behind General Hospital, Convent road; b) IMA House, Stadium Road, Kaloor
- Amrita Emergency Blood Bank- 0484 2801234/28014321, Amrita AIMS, Edappally North.
24 Hours Pharmacies
- Gautham Pharmacy, Panayapally, - 0484- 2210514, 3096020
- Amritha Pharmacy, AIMS, Edappally - 0484-4001055
There are many pharmacies located near Medical Trust Hospital in Pallimukku, which all are 24 hours pharmcies.
The Area code for Cochin is 0484. If calling outside India, the format is 0091-484-xxx xxxx. Almost all national telecommunication operators, operate in Kochi.
Mobile Services :- If you don't have an Indian phone number, it is strongly recommended that you get a pre-paid calling card if you plan on using your phone frequently. To so this you need a photocopy of your passport (visa and the ID pages), a color photo, and (officially) proof of local address (in Kochi). Most of star hotels allows you to use their address for this and in event of not having address, you can still get a pre-paid connection using your visa number, finger prints (in some cases) and your passport size photographs.
Most of the mobile operators in India operate in Kochi, GSM as well as CDMA. Popular GSM Players are BSNL Mobile, Vodafone, Idea Mobile, Aircel, MTS, Airtel, Tata DOCOMO, Uninor, Virgin Mobile GSM and Reliance GSM. Popular CDMA players are Tata Indicom, Reliance India Mobile, Virgin Mobile.
Public Telephony :- PCOs are a good option. You will find them almost every 100m. These are public pay-phones (post-pay) and there will be a person on the shop to take the payments. Check your bill generated (from the billing machine) and make the payment accordingly. Payments are always in Indian rupees. Coin boxes are available everywhere where you can make local calls (In India Local calls means any call within a 200 km radius).
BSNL Calling cards are available in all stores, which is a prepaid calling card, that could be used in any phone, without charging the phone use. Vodafone World Cards and Airtel Globe cards are also another good option.
Kochi was one of the first places in India to be connected to the Internet. Being the landing site of 3 Major International Submarine Network cables (FLAG, SEA-ME, SAFE), it has the most best bandwidth at lowest rates. In addition to this, Kochi was the focal point for most of Optical Fiber Network in South India. This made net connectivity, much faster and easier than many other cities of India.
There are plenty of internet centres which charge around Rs.10 per hour. Some cafes behind St.Teresa's College in Convent Road even offer high speed net connectivity at Rs 5 per hour. If you have laptop with wi-fi connection, you can roam anywhere, as Kochi has 4th generation Wimax. You can get WiMax connectivity from BSNL thro' WiMax USB, which offers you an amazing speed starting from 40 Mbps upto 512 Mbps. In addition to this, Kochi is also a network city under 3rd Gen-EVDO network of BSNL.
Most of the 3 Star hotels provide Wi-Fi connectivity. You require pre-paid connections of Tata Indicom or Reliance (Majority of hotels do have Tata). Some hotels do provide complementary Wi-fi, only for its Guests.
Somewhere Else Cafe provides complementary Wi-Fi for all its guests.
India Post has offices throughout the city, generally open 8:30AM-5PM weekdays, 8:30AM-1PM Saturdays, closed Sundays. The Kochi Airport post office (located in Departure side of International Area) is open 6 AM-8:30 PM on all weekdays and Saturdays. The General Post Office (GPO) is located in MG Road (Opp. Avenue Regent) and in Edappally near High School. The Head Post Office (HPO) is located at Postal Complex, Hospital Road. The Speed Post (EMS Service) available at HPO and Edappally GPO, which is open 24 hours in all days except 5 state holidays. Service through EMS is very fast and reliable being registered services. Post boxes are available all over the city and daily clearance is at 10:00 AM and 4:30 PM. A postcard to anywhere in the world costs 5 Rs.
There are numerous of private courier companies operating in Kerala. Fedex, DHL, First Flight, UPS, DTDC, Aramex etc are some of leading private services, which offers services at competitive rates.
The major English language dailies are:
- The Hindu- one of the most popular among Malayalees due to its traditional socialist leanings. The Hindu is very popular for its high standards and heavy vocabulary. Hindu has special editions on each day. Metroplus Kochi provides a detailed insights to Cultural aspects of Kochi and its Suburbs.
- The New Indian Express:- the most commonly read English Daily, it has lots of articles and news directly related to Kochi and Kerala, when compared to national news focused Hindu. The City Express is a good option for most of the tourists to understand whats happening in the city.
- The Times of India:- is a more of National news focused Newspaper, with little news focused on Kerala. But good to know things in General. It has a separate Newspaper called Cochin Times, which covers lots of City news.
- The Pioneer:- is a class newspaper, which is well balanced. Good to know lots of things.
- English Deshabhimani:- is a mouthpiece of Communist party and its more popular in its Malayalam Version. Circulation limited to socialist circles.
Being seat of Cochin Stock Exchange and the principal Financial hub of Kerala, lots of Financial dailies in English operates from Kochi. Some of the popular dailies are The Economic Times, The Business Standard, Businessline, The Financial Express.
Lots of popular English Magazines are available. Many American and British Magazines like Forbes, Mirror etc is available in many supermarkets and bookstalls. Popular English Magazines are India Today, The Week, The Frontline etc.
Kochi uses the British three-pin and two-pin circular socket (230V/50Hz). Plug adaptors are available at any hardware store.
- EMS Co-operative Library, Near Ernakulam District Co-Operative Bank, Mavelipuram, Kakkanad, Cochin – 682030. Tel - 0484 -2421988
EMS Co-Operative Library located at Kakkanad was established in memory of EMS Nambhoodhiripaad, former chief minister of Kerala and well-known politician. There are different membership options here. Subscribers can register here for Rs. 150 by presenting proof of identity. This allows them to take one book for a monthly fee of Rs. 60. The other option is to pay an additional amount of Rs. 100 and take two books. Books can be kept for two weeks. This library also has a park near it, where you can sit and read your favorite books in the evenings. The library is open from 1 PM to 7 PM on weekdays and from 10 AM to 5 PM on Sundays.
- Ernakulam Public Library, Near Convent Junction, Cochin – 682035. Tel - 0484–2351894
The Ernakulam Public Library is one of the oldest public library in India and is located near Convent Junction on the Press Club Road. Here the registration fee is Rs. 1,000, which is also considered as the caution deposit. You can take up to four books at a time by paying Rs. 60. For two books you pay a deposit of Rs. 500 and Rs. 30 per month. For one book the deposit is Rs. 250 and the monthly payment is Rs. 15. Timings are from 10 AM to 7 PM on weekdays and 9.30 AM to 5 PM on Sundays.
- Eloor Lending Library, Near St. Theresa’s College, Convent Junction, Cochin – 682011. Tel - 0484 – 2363539
Eloor Lending Library has mainly two membership options. Unlike other libraries, this library has a different way of lending books. Here when you take membership by paying Rs. 1, 200 you can access books worth Rs. 1,800. When you pay Rs. 600 you can access books worth Rs. 900. Here you have to pay (an additional) 10% of the price of the books you take, as the reading charge. Timings are from10 AM to 1.30 PM and 3 PM to 8 PM on all days.
- Library Café, Opp. Spencer’s Churidhar, Press Club Road, Cochin – 682011. Tel - 0484–5526626
Library Café is popular among the youth in the city. Along with books, they also lend film DVDs. They have a good collection of films from renowned directors like Bergman, Kim Ki Duk etc. The initial payment here is Rs. 400 which is refundable after six months if you cancel your membership. It enables you to take two books and one DVD. The rent for the DVD is Rs. 25. If you want to take more number of books or DVDs, you can pay Rs. 300 every month, with which you can take unlimited number of books or DVDs a month. You can keep the books for 15 days and DVDs for a maximum of one week. Timings are from9.30 AM to 8 PM on weekdays and 10 AM to 8 PM on Sundays.
Kochi has got some good sporting facilities. Football is the official game of Kochi and regularly played by locals in open areas. Cricket is extremely popular and regularly played by youngsters. Greater Kochi Development Authority (GCDA) in association with Sports Council of Kerala, runs many good stadiums and sports facilities. The International Stadium at Kaloor has good fitness complex inside it. There is a good Football court outside where sports enthusiasts play regularly. St.Albert's College ground near to this football court, has a good Badminton court, which requires permission from St.Albert's college to play.
Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium located at Kadavanthara, has good Badminton court, a large tennis court, a squash court, a volley ball court and a large basket ball court. On paying prescribed fees at Indoor sports office, you can play there or join with regular users. There is a state-of-the-art fitness complex inside this stadium, which too can be used for a fee. A large Olympic sized swimming pool is available outside. Large football and cricket court is available outside, for which you don't need to pay. Regularly locals play in these courts, in which you can join with them.
There is a large football court in Parade grounds in Fort Cochin, where locals play regularly in evening, in which you can join. Likewise Maharaja's Football and Cricket courts near College Ground in MG Road, is one place where you can join with locals to enjoy. Same in case with Marine Drive grounds too, where evening matches are common. The Maharaja's College Stadium has good athletic tracks, where you can practice athletics, if no competitions are going on.
Major private gym chains include Ernakulam Men's Gym (South Railway station road- Ph: 0484 2378798), Destination Health (Edapally, Ph: 0484 4014353) and Women's World Muti Gym Health Club (Janatha Junction, Palarivattom, Ph: 0484 2349294). Facilities are better and locations more central, but the prices are also much higher as non-members have to fork out steep day fees.
The Children's Park in Park Avenue offers a good skating ring. The Marine Drive Walkway is regularly used by skaters, consider its good surface.
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