Kochi is the largest city in Kerala South India. It is such a beautiful city and it was on my list to revisit. The city of Kochi was as lovely as I remembered.
Kochi has been an international city for the last 600 years and became the first international gateway to India because of an extremely good natural harbour. Spice trading became very important, traders came from Europe and the Middle East. Kochi was known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea
The colonization of India started actually in Kochi, Portugal came first in 1503, followed by the Dutch and English. I am not a big fan of colonization, but I love Old Kochi where you can see the buildings from this era.
You may be a little confused about Kochi Cochin, are Kochi and Cochin the same city? I can assure you, it is the same city. The original Indian name is Kochi while the British called the city Cochin. In the early 90’ies, the official name became Kochi.
Last time I visited Kochi I stayed in a large international hotel, and this time I wanted to stay in the old city of Fort Kochi. I stayed in a cosy guesthouse within walking distance to all the areas I wanted to explore. I know where I will stay next time, in the old city – for sure!
The Chinese fishing nets are maybe the most famous and most photographed attraction in Kochi. I have heard from others that it can be a hassle just walking in this area, that the fishermen will explain how they fish and then ask for a good amount of money.
As a solo female traveller I did not experience this at all. There were some souvenir sellers around, but I am not into souvenirs and did not give it any attention. As a vegetarian, I am not interested in eating the fish from the nets, so I was able to enjoy the sight by myself without any hassle. It is a must to see when visiting Kochi, it’s like seeing the Eiffel Tower the first time you are in Paris, it’s just something you have to do at least once.
When the Chinese came in the early 1400 century they thought the area looked like China. It’s said that “co-chin” means “like-China”. That is the explanation of the city name.
I walked by the seaside to Fort Kochi Beach, it’s a nice stroll with a lovely sea breeze and passing old colonial buildings. There is no need to bring your swimming wear, this is a place for walking not swimming. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset.
I walked from the seaside to Jew town in Old Kochi. It was an interesting stroll passing colonial houses, seeing daily life and admiring all the large trees. The trees are wonderful, they look amazing and make a comfortable shadow from the sun.
Paradesi synagogue is one of the main attractions. It has an interesting history and the area has a lot of individual shops selling spices, art, jewellery and souvenirs. The Cochin Jews controlled a major portion of the worldwide spice trade, they moved to this area in the 1400 century. Paradesi means foreigner in several Indian languages, which is interesting. They were welcomed as foreigners and was allowed to build a synagogue. The Cochin Jews are the oldest settlements of Jews in India and Paradesi synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the former British empire. The synagogue is still active, but most of the Cochin Jews chose to move to Israel after the 2 world war.
It is nice to pop into an art gallery or an antique shop in this area, there are plenty to choose from.
My favourite India dish is masala dosa and Sree Ganesh Restaurant made it perfect. I would recommend this little cafe if you are in the area, great vegetarian food in a little garden just off the busy street.
I had an enjoyable walk back to Fort Kochi, lovely buildings and daily life in this part of the world. In the Fort area, you will find charming streets with restaurants and shops. I found a favourite shop in Princess Street. The shop is called Craft Tree and sell organic cotton clothes and interior. The shop is clean and modern, each item has a price tag. I had a very sweet lady helping me, it was one of my best shopping experiences on this tour.
The area above Princess and Rose Street has also a good selection of restaurants. I must admit that I found a local veggie restaurant with amazing food just outside this area. I am always looking for a small restaurant with plenty of locals, maybe not so fancy but the chance for delicious food is huge.
Locals in Cochi are very friendly and open, I had a lot of interesting chats during my day by foot.
My second day I had agreed to see the city from a local perspective with Aaru in his party decorated tuctuc.
I was picked up at my B&B as agreed and taken on a wonderful tour to see the local areas and taste local food. It’s of course very interesting to see the city with a local, you get to know the city in a different way.
Aaru is the funniest and friendliest driver you will find, we had a big laugh and great conversations. I got to know about daily life, how it is to grow up and live in Cochi.