FISHING NETS AND CONTEMPORARY ART: Three days in chilled Kochi

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DAY 1

We took a taxi from Amritapuri ashram to Kochi, arriving at lunchtime. We dropped our bags at our hotel and set off exploring the area of Kochi Fort.

Kochi is a beautiful city – it combines the lush green of Kerala and colonial architecture with Portuguese and Dutch influences.

The area close to the beach is very laid-back and full of cool cafes and shops. We had lunch at Malabar, an amazing restaurant and hotel on impressive grounds serving the most delicious food (lunch for 2700 rupees for three).

We carried on wandering around and taking in the atmosphere until we reached XL, one of the few places selling beers in Kochi (three beers for 670 rupees).

We then reached the promenade right in time for the sunset, when the crowds were hanging out and enjoying the good weather.

We bought some ice cream on the way to the hotel and headed back to enjoy a chilled night in.

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DAY 2

We woke up early and headed to instant favouriteĀ Loafers for breakfast. This is a great cafe serving the most delicious food in massive portions (breakfast for three for 1000 rupees).

We then decided to walk to the area of the Jewish Synagogue – although not too far, the 2km to get there felt quite long as it was insanely hot.

We stopped at the Dutch Palace (tickets for 5 rupees), a beautiful building where you can learn about the history of Kochi. We then walked around the many shops selling all sorts of handicraft of the way to the synagogue – the shops really are an attraction themselves.

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We took a tuk-tuk to Oceanos, a Portuguese-Keralan restaurant serving lots of traditional local fare (mostly seafood) – it was delicious (lunch for 1400 rupees).

After resting at the hotel for a bit, we headed to a challenging but fun yoga class at Sivananda, which offers an open class every day at 5pm (400 rupees per person).

We then hopped on a tuk-tuk to the Seagull hotel, which has a popular restaurant overlooking the harbour (light bites for three for 500 rupees). We ended the night right back where we started at Loafers for some yummy and rich dessert (500 rupees for three), and then it was time to head back to the hotel.

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DAY 3

We started our last day in Kochi at Teapot, one of the many nice cafes around the town centre (breakfast for 1000 rupees).

We then took the ferry to Ernakulam (tickets for 4 rupees), another area of the city. Although it was good to take the ferry for the views along the way, Ernakulam itself doesn’t offer much – we just stopped at Volga for beers (two beers for 400 rupees) before heading back to Fort Kochi.

We had lunch at Kashi Art Cafe, another beautiful place serving nice food and much needed iced tea (lunch for 1200 rupees), before heading back to the hotel to get a break from the heat.

We had another yoga class at Sivananda, then headed to David Hall, a beautiful arts centre and restaurant, for a much deserved break and a meal. They served delicious pizzas (dinner for three for 1200 rupees) in their green backyard where you can enjoy the surroundings and pretend you’re in a scene from a Wes Anderson film.

Then it was time to head back to the hotel and pack for the morning.

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HOW TO DO IT:

  • Stay: We stayed at Reds Residency, a nice B&B in Fort Kochi. Kochi is spread over a few different areas, but Fort Kochi is definitely the best place to stay as everything is within walking distance.
  • Transportation: Kochi is relatively small (at least the areas we wanted to see) and many things are close together. Particularly in Fort Kochi, you can cover most places on foot. However, with the heat it is sometimes a better option just to take a tuk-tuk – we found they had much better prices in Kochi than elsewhere in India, and most trips cost just 50 rupees or so. Transportation to and from the islands is done by a regular ferry service.
  • Drink: Although we found loads of cool cafes and restaurants, not many places in Kochi serve alcohol. XL (which wasn’t that good), Seagull and Old Harbour were the places to go for a drink in the evening – and clearly all the other tourists around knew about this too.

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