This was my first time visiting Fort Kochi in Kerala and my very first girls only trip. There are a lot of firsts here including this experience which I will remember for a very long time and for all the good reasons. We landed at Cochin airport around 7 am and headed straight to our hotel in Matancherry which was about 90 mins from the airport. We reached way before time but our hotel staff let us check into our rooms at no extra cost. Having slept for only 3 hours the night before to catch our early morning flight, we were happy to get to our rooms and relax for a while before leaving to explore the city.
Fort Kochi is a gorgeous little town that looks like a perfect mix of old and contemporary, giving way to modern cafe culture but still holding onto its traditions and history. The old town still has signs from the time when Portuguese and Dutch ruled it centuries ago. It is not very big area wise and can be easily covered on a bicycle but we couldn’t do that as it was extremely hot, I mean we could barely walk a few steps in that heat. Uber is conveniently available but autos are a cheaper option if you can dodge the autowalas insisting on showing you around town in their auto, handing you business cards.
The serene old town of Fort Kochi has options for all budgets, ranging from cozy hometstays to backpacking hostels to luxury and boutique hotels. We stayed at this heritage property called Waterfront Granary hotel, an old granary converted into a museum hotel now. It is located in the busy Bazaar road of Matancherry area but as you enter inside, there is a beautiful display of antique artifacts in the hotel’s lobby giving it a very traditional feel. The buffet breakfast is good but they need to bring variety in their menu, rooms were comfortable and spacious! There was a decent pool in the property which we couldn’t resist every afternoon after a tiring day of exploration in the heat.
Things to do –
We were there to have a relaxed time so we didn’t rush into doing a lot of touristy things. But over the period of 3 days, we could still cover a lot of places. On our first day we walked around the princess street looking for a breakfast spot and then took an auto to see the St. Francis church. It is one of the oldest European churches in India and Vasco da Gama was originally buried here after he died in Kochi on his third visit to India. From there we walked down to Kochi beach to see the very famous Chinese fishing nets. This place is dirty with piles of plastic and sea waste lying on the shore and near the fishing nets but if you are able to look beyond that, the sunsets here can be quite mesmerising. We spent later part of our afternoon sitting in a cafe before heading back to the hotel.
On our second day, we took a boat ride into the back waters arranged by our hotel and later went on to explore the by-lanes of old town for some boutique shops and cafes. The boat ride was fun as we spent about an hour cruising over the calm back waters and ended up spotting dolphins.
On our third and last day we went to see the Jewish synagogue and cemetery which were unfortunately closed. But I did manage to reach Dutch palace before closing time and did some local shopping in the Jew town market. The Dutch palace is more like an old museum displaying the life of Cochin royals and also has an impressive display of Hindu mythological murals inside.
Where to eat –
You will find all types of delicious food in Fort Kochi from local dishes to restaurants serving international cuisines. The Appams have become my favourite after this trip and I cannot stop thinking about the coffee we had at the Teapot cafe. I can go back there just for their whipped coffee and coffee shakes, plus the fact that this pace is totally Insta-worthy brings it on the top of my list. Besides that the food at our hotel was good too as we ended up ordering room service for dinner every night.
Here is a small list of places I have put together in the order of our preference –
Tea Pot Cafe – It is a cozy cafe with an interesting interior decorated with hundreds of old and new tea pots. The sea food curries that we ordered for main course were amazing and so was the coffee! I highly recommend this place for a good meal and to just chill.
Kashi Art Cafe – It is one of those famous places where everyone who has access to Zomato visits. But we did not find anything exceptional there other than the old courtyard style sitting area surrounded with lot of greens and the art displays at the entrance. The omelette that I ordered was good but the coffee was kind of ok.
Koder House – I could have put this restaurant in the spot above but besides the fact that they serve wine and beer and is opposite the beach, there is nothing extraordinary about it. And if you are thinking how serving alcohol is an exception, it is because Kerala is a dry state and only few restaurants have the permit. Food was average and our order was super delayed because the waiters decided to wait unless the fries that we had ordered (because we were super hungry) were over, without even asking us!
Ginger House – It is a beautiful sea-side restaurant on the other side of an old hotel courtyard. We went there in the afternoon while walking around Jew town but I can imagine it to be a perfect spot for drinks and dinner at night.
Three days were enough for us to cover Fort Kochi as we were travelling from Bangalore and the flight duration is just a little above an hour. You can also take a train or a bus but it is almost 12 hour journey from Bangalore. Whatever the case, Kochi is a place worth travelling to. And I hope you enjoyed reading my experience. Do let me know if you have been here before and how was your experience.