- Encounters with locals
- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
Kochi will probably be your first stop in Kerala, where it's a good departure point for hikes along the coast and exploring seaside markets, full of stalls selling shellfish and yummy spices; don't forget that Indian food is designed to be so spicy it brings tears to your eyes, but it's delicious nonethless!
I fell in love with the sunsets on Kochi's beach, a time of day when families head out to play ball until darkness falls. Plus the amazing view of huge fishing nets being dragged across the sea. The sight is exactly the same as the images on postcards sold in town - and justly so.
Kochi attracts a lot of tourists, so you'll find numerous restaurants, bars and hostels to suit all budgets. It also has a great nightlife.
The city of Cochin has the highest population in Kerala and offers an amazingly eclectic social and religious mix: Hindus, Christians, Jews, and Muslims live there side by side, peacefully and in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
The city is above all famous, from a tourism point of view, for its Chinese fishing nets, which are real works of art, and for its ancient Fort Cochin quarter. It's also a good base for exploring the region and the backwaters.
When I was traveling in India, I went to Cochin several times to report on a variety of issues, including girls' education. The region and the city have a literacy rate of nearly 98%, for both girls and boys, a unique and extraordinary fact in India.
Arriving in Kochi is a bit like arriving in Lisbon. It's a surprising sight to see during a trip to India, as its streets have a Mediterranean feel. This is, no doubt, thanks to Vasco de Gama, a Portuguese explorer, who died here in 1524.
I suggest you distance yourself from the touristy areas, if you want to see a more authentic side of Kochi. There are always a lot of visitors, so, yes, you need to battle through the crowds to see its main sights - the St.Francis Church, the Dutch Palace, the Jewish quarter and its synagogue. At sunset, you'll get a fanastic view from the quays. Here, you'll see huge fishing nets, hung from long, wooden poles. They're called Chinese fishing nets and are a photographer's joy.
In brief, Kochi is tourist ridden but remains enchanting nonetheless. It's a pleasure to come here.