The official tourist office of Fort Kochi is situated at the northern peak of the peninsula in the house next to the boat jetty for the ferry to Vypeen The tourist office is open to the public from 10 a.m. on. Here you will get a map of Fort Cochin and Ernakulam, and you will obtain support for finding accomodation and for planning your trips. To beginning of page
There are good restaurants in any hotel. Prices vary significiant with the hotel category. It is not easy to find restaurants offering typical Indian food in Fort Cochin. For breakfeast from 8.30 .am. on and for lunch we prefer
Cafe "Kashi" (2a) This is an excellent place in every respect: food atmosphere, service and music are perfect. www.kashiartcafe.com
From 7.30 a.m. on you may visit cafe "Vasco" (2b) in the Bastion Street. Here you get all the South Indian breakfeast specilities like Idli and Dosa. By way of variation, you may take a tea or a "whipped coffee" in the cafe "Teapot" (2c) which is situated in the southern extension of Princess Street.
We like to have teatime at "Brunton Boatyard" (2d) where we also sometimes take our evening drink. Our favorite restaurants for dinner are:
The Old Courtyard (2e) , Malabar House Residency (2f) , Fort Heritage (2g) or (for grilled fish specialities) to Brunton Boatyard's roof terrace. (2d) . All these restaurants have gardens or terraces for enjoying the mellow air in the evening. - Never forget to bring mosquito creme! To beginning of page
Morning walk - see way Nr 3 on the map at the beginning of this page.
In the morning time, at 7 a.m. and at sunset we like to stroll around the waterfront. We start at the northern end of Fort Cochin, about 100 m west of the main bus stand and the taxi office. The beginning of the promenade is somewhat hidden, but you cannot overlook the nearby Chinese fishernets along the way. In the morning a small fish market takes place. The sandy beach serves as port fo the small fisher boats, where, from about 7 a.a. on, the fishermen are occupied with the maintenance of their nets At this time the (male)) resident people do not have to share the beach with the tourists. They use to take bath in the sea, play badminton and jog, walk and do exercises of different type.
At the end of the promenade we turn left in front of a small bay in direction of Fort Cochin center. We pass the old Dutch cemetary and walk to the left of the large Parade Ground where there are a lot of football activities during morning and evening hours. Some steps further on there stands the oldest church of Fort Cochin, St. Francis. Turning to the right immediately behind the church, we arrive at the center where you may find restaurants and shops.
In the evening many tourists like to go to the open fish stands on the beach where they choose a fish and have it served freshly-fried. Residents and tourists sit alongside the promenade and enjoy the fresh breeze coming from the ocean. Together they observe the blood-red sunset. To beginning of page
Travelog with photos: Morning walk in Fort Kochi
Kathakali is the classical art of dancing drama on the topic of the Ramayana. Singers present the ancient story in Sanskrit and Malayalam language, and drummers accompany. Today's form of Kathakali originate in the 17th century. The actors use an expressive sign language of their hole body with special emphasis on facial expression. They use the eyes as well as each muscle of the face. - It is also possible to attend the artful decoration of the actors about one hour befor the performance begins. www.kathakalicentre.com
The Kathakali Center is now situated at the beginning of the River Road, opp. to the hotel Brunton's Boatyard. To beginning of page
Withdrawing money, ATM, Bank
Like at many places of India, it has become very easy to draw money from a bancomat (ATM). The nearest ATM to the center is situated at Soth India Bank directly at Santa Cruz Cathedral, corner Bastion Street / KB Jacob Road. Here you may draw up to 20 000 Rs in one transaction. This amount is different at different ATM's. To beginning of page
Bank Internet, Telephone
There are some Internet cafes in Princess stree. We prefer "Shop'n Save"; which is supervised by a very efficient young man. There you may also print your data, use your USB stick, microphone and camera or download and install programs. Additionally, you will find 4 telephones for cheap long distance calls. To beginning of page
Bus in Fort Cochin
Going by bus in Fort Cochin is not an easy task for Westerners, because all labeling on the buses is done in Malayalam language and script. But the conductors always help you to get off the bus at the right station. The main bus station is located at the northern peak of Fort Cochin. Frome here all buses go via Pandikudi, Thopumpadi and Willingdon Island to Ernakulam. Most buses then cruise MG Road or Marine Drive. To beginning of page
Ferries in Fort Cochin
We got used to taking the ferry for our trips to Ernakulam, which is the most comfortable and rapid method of transport (about 15 minutes). The boat jetty is located at River (Calvetty) road. As there are some different destinations, make sure that you will get the correct boat. There are two boat jetties in Ernakulam: High Court Jetty in the northern, and Main Boat Jetty in the southern part of the city (which is more suitable for going to most destinations in the center of the town). You may also go for a pleasant walk on the sea side promenade from High Court Jetty to the southern end of Broadway. To beginning of page
Going by rikshaw
The three-wheeled moror rikshas are the most prominent means of transport for tourists. They stop on a sign of your hand. Fort Cochin's main riksha-stand is situated dirctly at the main bus station. Many drivers speak English to a certain extent. Unfortunatly, most riksha drivers don't use a taximeter, even if th law compels them to to so. Minimum price is 10 Rs. which, for example, covers the distance from the main bus station to the boat jetty. Starting from the bus station, a ride to Jew town or the Dutch Palace should not cost more than 20 Rs. Sometimes drivers demand fancy amounts - for us it is o.k. as long as it is not many times as high as the correct price which residents have to pay. In the evening after getting dark you have to pay 5-10 Rs. more. There is also a very small extra charge for waiting times. The riksa - driver Jithu (mobile: 9895155042) has been a very important help for me when searching for and visiting many of the newly built homestays. He speaks English well, knows every corner in Fort Kochi and is a good guide! To beginning of page
Going by taxi
We got accustomed to going by taxi, making use of the taxi stand near the main bus station. This taxi stand, "Fort Cochin Taxi", is organized cooperatively and they claim to be in service 24 hours a day. For reservation use Tel.:0484 221 70 20
For short distances, for example to Ernakulam and back with waiting times while you go shopping, the rate is 80 Rs. per hour without AC, 100 Rs per hour including AC. On an extended touristic trip lasting some days, one pays 6-7 Rs. (no AC) per km, and 10 Rs. AC included. In addition, there is a daily amount of about 100-150 Rs. for the accomodation and food of the driver. As the drivers are well organized and have their own network in the whole region, you don't have to care about their accomodation. Good hotels take care of that, or the driver sleeps in the car. Professional drivers never take their meal together with their customers - but, of course, from time to time you may drink a tea together at a stand. There are widely differing cars with respect to age and comfort - but there is a common standard price for some of them: "Ambassador", "Indicar", "Indigo". A Toyota "Qualis" (which is somewhat more expensive than the other cars) is the best choice for trips with more than 3 persons. We know two taxi drivers with good English speaking capabilities which we prefer for longer trips (both are experiened also in trips to Tamil Nadu and Goa) Sebastian with his comfotable "Indigo"; mobile: 098 95 89 0110 and Joseph with his "Qualis" mobile: 094 47 18 5264. To beginning of page
Easy and unburocratic money and traveler cheque changing in Ernakulam: Go to Thomas Cook (Palal Towers, south Mahatma Gandhi Road, Ravipuram) To beginning of page
Cochin Airport lies at a distance of one hour from Fort Cochin. The road to the airport leads via the Bzpass Rd. to Edapallz in direction Aluva. Price for a ride: 500 Rs. There is an intrance for International flights, and another for Domestic flights. There are low cost carriers for domestic flight which maz be ooked through internet:
Airline Kingfisher: www.flykingfisher.biz
Airline Air Deccan: www.airdeccan.net
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The governmental bus station "KSRTC Central Bus Station" is situated in the center of the town Ernakulam, see the map. In addition, there various private bus companies near Jos Hunction. In total there are 10 different luxus bus lines. You will find their offices while walking from Jos Junction in diriction of the Durbar Hall Road. Contact the tourist office for more precise information. To beginning of page
There exist two railwaz stations, and the tourist office will inform you at which of these stations a certain train will stop. There are many train connections from Cochin, but usually they are booked out, if you come too late. Indian people like to travel by train, and they are used to book their seats long before the journey begins. While it is easy to obtain reservations for the third class, I would recommend to go by second class which is far more comfortable. In urgent casses, you just book third class and change to second or first class in the train. This works in most cases. To beginning of page
The climate in Fort Cochi is tropical. It is specially nice from November to February, when it is mostly dry with temperatures between 24 degrees C (night) and 31 (day).
Beginning in Mach, the temperature rises, and April and May are really hot, with temperatures above 30 degrees C and high humidity. This is burdensome for Indians as well as for Westerners.
The Southwest Monsoon start in June with heavy rainfall pertaining alos in July. In August, the weather starts to become pleasant even for Westerners. Southwest monsoon keeps on going sometimes until end of September, but the temperatures are round 30 C, and some people - including us - like this time because of the refreshing showers.
Mid of October the Northeast Monsoon begins which brings rain and thunderstorms during one afternoon hour but mostly good weather conditions.
Diagram Temperature and rainfall: www.users.skynet.be/link2/htm/chart.html
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Time shift between Europe and India: 4.5 hours in winter, 3.5 hours in summer. To beginning of page
1000 Rs are about 20 Euro (minus 10%).
1000 Rs are about 20 US$ (plus 10%).
Link: Currency converter
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Water and food
Drinking tap water in Cochin cannot be recommanded. If you prefer to eat and drink at small stands and teashop / look carefully not to be infected. The hygienic standard is not always as high as Westerners are used to. It is easy to catch a diarrhoea or stomach problems.
The restaurants we descibe at this webesite have been tested by us. We used to eat there frequently and never had problems afterwards. We like the small Indian dishes, and our favourites are Idli, Dosa, and Appam. One of our favourite vegetarian restaurants is the "Dwaraka", MG Road. Here thez serve many vegetarian specialities in excellent quality.
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Fort Coch is situated is situated at the border of the malaria free zone, and indeed, this disease is rare. But, of course, mosquitos are abundent, specially after six in the evening and around 6.30 in the morning. Then you cannot leave the house without protecting yiurself by repelling creme or spray.
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It is strongly recommended not to wear western revealing clothes. Don't wear transparent clothing or clothes which accentuate the natural body forms. As a woman, try to wear Indian clothes which are usually very comfortable. To beginning of page
There are three streets in Fort Cochin, where you can buy all goods for your daily needs: Princess Street (Touist oriented), Palace Road (which is mainly for the local paeople), and Jew town (mainly antiquity shops and spices). There is a small fruit market at Palace Road / Gujarati Rd where we used to buy fruits and vegetables. To beginning of page