19 things to do in Kochi, Kerala

Kerala celebrates its birthday on Nov 1. With 2 weeks to go, I thought I’ll do a Kerala special post. I have spent a good 25 years in Kochi. My parents moved from Kozhikode to Kochi when I was 2. So I practically spent all my time growing up in Kochi. The place grows on you until you start to love everything about it (I would leave out the traffic at this point caused by the metro work though). Even though Trivandrum is the capital of the Kerala, Kochi is easily the biggest and faster growing city in the state. Translating some of my love into this blog post! Yes God's own Kerala is known for it's lush greenery, but I have quite enjoyed Kochi even though it keeps growing as a city. 

(Honestly I tried rounding it off to 20 to make it sound cooler, but alas, maybe someone can help me out!)
Top 19 things to do (in no particular order):
  1. Visit the Hill Palace in Thripunithura. Built in 1865, this palatial museum will take you back in time to Maharajas and Royalty. (I particularly liked the deer park behind the palace.)
  2. Stroll along the waterfront of Fort Kochi and watch the Chinese fishing nets slowly rising high and going low into the water – you can have a live catch being cooked for you if you’re a sea food connoisseur.
  3. Go on a long drive to Willington Island – the road is amazing. If you’re lucky, you can get to watch a military plane / helicopter take off and land. Later, sit by the water at Island and watch the Kochi skyline. I have realised that through the 20 years, the skyline has changed so drastically. High rise buildings and new bridges, all adding to an amazing silhouette of the city.
  4. If you’re a Dosa lover, go to Pai Dosa on MG Road (have their Kanchipuram Roast – actually all their Dosas are worth a try!)
  5. Take a day break (maybe a weekday – less crowded and slightly cheaper) and go to WonderLa Amusement Park – voted as one of the best in India. Some of their water rides are mind blowing - this park is one of the cleanest I have ever been to.
  6. Watch an entire sunset sitting by Chathiath – Sit facing the water. Watch a fisherman ride on his boat slowly, cutting through the quiet ripples.
    View from Chathiath
  7. Go an afternoon to the Jain temple in Mattancherry – and feed the pigeons – it’s an amazing feeling – Don’t be afraid if the pigeon decides to sit on your hand. The pigeons here gather around 12 in the afternoon everyday.

    Feeding pigeons at the Jain Temple
  8. Take a ferry to Mattancherry and visit the Jewish Synagogue – the last of its kind. The synagogue resides amidst a few Parsi families.
  9. Walk through the many small streets of Fort Kochi – visit the many shops and eat at some of the boutique eateries. (I recommend the chocolate cake from Kashi or the Appam Stew from Tea Pot).  
  10. Go to a regular movie theatre (Padma, Shenoys etc) and watch a Mohanlal / Mammootty movie – whistle with the crowd!
  11. Check the newspaper and go see a play, a dance performance or a musical at Fine Arts Hall or JT Pac ( check here ).  
  12. Again, check newspaper listings and visit an art exhibition at David Hall Art Gallery. To add icing to the cake, also try a freshly baked pizza. (they make the pizza out in the open so you can see)

  13. Ride a 2 wheeler through the old bridge connecting Kochi with Thoppumpady/Mattancherry. This bridge has been closed for 4 wheelers and heavy vehicles. So with little traffic, you get the bridge all to yourself.
  14. See the biggest Lulu Mall – land up at the entertainment section – Go on a ride or do some ice skating! This is one of the best entertainment sections in a mall that you'll find in Kochi - with so many rides cleverly constructed all on the top floor.
  15. Visit the Fort Kochi beach late in the evening and if you’re lucky – you can find the locals playing a game of volleyball. It sure is fun watching the match with strong winds gushing up to you. Trust me, you'll get so engrossed watching the match that you'll land up clapping and cheering for one team or the other.
  16. Sit leisurely by Marine Drive on one of the many benches provided and watch the reflections of Bolgatty and Willington Island on the water. Occasionally watch a ship cruise by slowly.
  17. Drive down to the light house beach – climb all the way to the top of the light house. It is beautiful. The road isn't the best, the climb to the top of the light house isn't easy, but the view from the top is worth all of it.
  18. While driving down to the light house, stop by the Vallarpadam Basilica. As the story goes, sailors would first visit this church before sailing out to the high seas – it was considered good luck. Do not miss the Vallarpadam church festival, when the lights and décor will give you goosebumps.
  19. Watch a Kathakali or Bharatanatyam performance – book early and you can also get to watch the make up being applied for these artists – it is just as enthralling as the dance itself. Also check here.
The above are purely my things to do. Most are free or cost marginally. I am sure I have missed out some, do comment to add your favourite thing (or ping me on twitter @shrutidshah) 
Experience the culture, Indulge in some delicacies, Drive by to realise how beautiful the city is, explore some off beat places and don't forget to enjoy each experience !

( All photos are my own )

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  1. Navin RajasekharanOctober 14, 2014

    Pretty useful list :)
    I have a suggestion. How about a drive from Kalamaserry to highcourt along the vallarpadom road preferably around sunset. The view is beautiful with water on either side.

    1. Thanks Navin ! I've been on that route, it surely is amazing. Will make a note :)

  2. Sums it all up more or less 😃.perhaps catch a cricket match if you are lucky enough.

    Ps. Shruti hope you are doing well

    1. Oh yes ! A cricket or football match for sure !
      Am doing well Ashwin :)

  3. Cocoa tree...! I've been there all my childhood

    1. Oh yea Eshank, Cocoa Tree - even I have spent so much time there !

  4. A ride to Kuzhupilly beach could be included:)That place is truly serene

    1. Kuzhupilly beach is beautiful, even the drive till there with water on both sides of that narrow road is so green. Good suggestion :)

  5. Hi, good one Shruti .But include more and more 'photos' and use 'bigger or huge fonts' for the names of the places .It will have much more impact and people feel more connected to what you are saying. Awesome work anyways.

    1. Hi Manu, Ya I agree. I need to figure how to change font size.
      I wanted this write up to be primarily a list, so avoided too many pics, but thanks for the feedback :)

  6. Hey, another suggestion.. the matsyafed fish farm near kuzhupilly : They have peddle boats there , and you can do some fishing as well. If you are lucky, you can also request for a local meal. Its also set in a very scenic place, perfect for a half day visit :)

    1. That's a great suggestion ! Will make a compilation of all the feedback and include this one too !