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Things to do in Kochi

Things to do in  Kochi

Welcome to Kochi

Built along Kerala's Malabar Coast, Kochi is one of India's most eclectic cities. Founded as a 14th-century spice-trading port, with strong connections to China, Europe, and the Middle East, Kochi was ruled by three successive foreign empires (Portuguese, Dutch, and British) during the colonial era. Modern Kochi has emerged an economic and commercial hub, and makes a popular starting point for exploring the waterways of Kerala, India's Venice of the East. Packed with colonial bungalows and diverse religious sites, the UNESCO-listed Fort Kochi district showcases the city's mix of influences. Visit Saint Francis Church, one of the oldest European churches in India, and the Gothic Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica. Tour the 700-year-old Paradeshi Jewish synagogue and Mattancherry Palace, a Portuguese colonial relic full of intricate, painted murals illustrating ancient Hindu mythology. Soak up some living culture with a demonstration of the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that Kochi fishermen have used for centuries, and be sure to catch a Kathakali dance performance, a colorful 17th-century art form that originated in Kerala. A cooking class in a local home is a delightful way to immerse yourself in South Indian culture and cuisine. And don't overlook the mainland: Kerala Folklore Museum in Ernakulam is a wonderful place to learn about regional folk arts. Once you've explored Kochi, you can book a small-group cruise on a classic houseboat through Kerala's rural backwaters. Other options include hiking along Chalakudy River to Athirappilly Falls, or touring the tea plantations and Munnar Hill Station.

Top 14 attractions in Kochi

Mattancherry Palace

The Portuguese built the 16th-century structure as a gift to the then king of the Kochi dynasty, though it underwent significant remodels under Dutch rule, earning it its current moniker: the Dutch Palace. It's celebrated for its stunning murals, many of which depict scenes from Hindu epics, notably the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.More

Kerala Backwaters

The Kerala backwaters refers to a large region spanning some 558 miles (900 kilometers) consisting of an interconnected network of brackish lagoons, lakes, and canals. The best way to truly experience this beautiful area is aboard a traditional houseboat; journeys last anywhere from a few hours up to a few nights.More

Chinese Fishing Nets

Fort Cochin’s Chinese Fishing Nets have been a beach installation for centuries, well before the arrival of Portuguese colonizers. It’s thought that the nets were introduced to this coastal area by the legendary Chinese explorer Zheng He in the early 15th century.The nets are permanent horizontal structures, lowered and raised by a network of cantilevered ropes, bamboo poles, and balancing weights and pulleys. They are operated by teams of up to six fishermen, but the catch is usually quite modest.More

St. Francis Church

St. Francis Church is the oldest church in India, built in 1516 by Portuguese settlers to replace an older wooden church constructed in 1503 on the same site. It was once the burial site of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who died in Kochi, and though his gravestone is still in place here, his remains have since been moved to Lisbon.More

Paradesi Synagogue and Jew Town

One of the world’s oldest active synagogues, and the oldest in the Commonwealth, can be found in the center of the port’s spice district, Jew Town. The synagogue sits at the center of the district once inhabited by Fort Cochin’s prosperous spice trading community of Malabari Jews, who traveled here from Holland and Spain.More

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica is notable for its Gothic architecture, with a whitewashed façade and beautiful interiors, with intricate pastel frescoes and paintings, and large stained glass windows. While it’s a popular attraction, it’s also a working church and the Sunday mass services here provide a great insight into local Catholic culture.More

Dutch Cemetery

Believed to be the oldest burial ground in the country, the Dutch Cemetery in Kochi dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. It houses the tombs of Dutch soldiers and traders who left their homeland in order to expand their country’s colonial empire—and as a result changed the entire course of history in India.More


Surrounded by the backwaters of the Arabian Sea, Mattancherry is an old port area of Kochi, not far from Ernakulam Town. The area was once the main trade port for spices such as pepper and turmeric, as well as tea. Today, it’s a bustling and cosmopolitan community that welcomes people from all religious backgrounds and walks of life.More

Indo-Portuguese Museum

The Indo-Portuguese Museum was set up by the late bishop of Kochi to preserve and showcase the significant influence of the Portuguese Catholic community in Fort Kochi and its surroundings. A popular attraction, it depicts the art, architecture, and culture of this community and gives visitors a glimpse of the original fort’s foundations.More
Fort Kochi (Fort Cochin)

Fort Kochi (Fort Cochin)

Fort Kochi (Fort Cochin) is an historic district and a main draw for tourists in Kochi (Cochin). It’s a charming neighborhood full of colonial-era homes (many of which have been converted into boutique hotels), lovely old houses of worship, charming shops and markets, and the city's famous Chinese fishing nets that flank the harbor.More

Hill Palace Museum

The Hill Palace Museum of Tripunithura, a 49-building complex where the Maharaja of Kochi once lived, is today the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. The palace was built in 1865 on 52 acres (21 hectares) of landscaped grounds. In 1980 the Kochi royal family handed over the estate to the Kerala government, and in 1986 it opened as a museum.The museum’s ethno-archaeological collection includes murals, sculptures, oil paintings, coins, manuscripts, furniture and other items that once belonged to the local royal family. Particularly notable is the collection of some 200 pieces of pottery from Japan and China. The surrounding gardens, recognizable from many Malayalam films, include a deer park and horse riding facilities.More

Kerala Folklore Museum

The Kerala Folklore Museum opened to the public in 2009 as a space to showcase the cultural and artistic heritage of the southern Indian state. The 4,000-item collection spans three floors, each exhibiting a different architectural style, Malabar, Kochi and Travancore. The various items on display throughout center on art and dance and include masks, costumes, musical instruments, jewelry, sculptures, Stone Age artifacts and ancient astrological manuscripts.In the evenings, a theater on the top floor hosts various cultural performances ranging from traditional dance to Kerala-style martial arts.More
Wonderla Amusement Park Kochi

Wonderla Amusement Park Kochi

The Kochi branch of South India’s Wonderla Amusement Park chain has state-of-the-art land and water rides for all ages, plus live shows daily. Highlights include two wave pools, a 120-foot-high (37-meter-high) vertical-drop ride, and India’s first reverse looping roller coaster. The water park is a popular way to cool off when the weather’s hot—which it often is in Kochi.More
Kochi Harbour

Kochi Harbour

One of India’s major seaports, Kochi’s harbor is up there with the world’s most scenic waterways, providing one of the few all-weather safe harbors on India’s west coast. In the center of the harbor, between Fort Cochin’s promontory and the mainland, is man-made Wellington Island, the area’s main seaport and transport terminal.More

Trip ideas

Kerala Backwaters Cruises from Kochi

Kerala Backwaters Cruises from Kochi

How to Spend 1 Day in Kochi

How to Spend 1 Day in Kochi

How to Spend 3 Days in Kochi

How to Spend 3 Days in Kochi

Top activities in Kochi

Private Day Trip to Munnar from Kochi (Cochin)
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Kochi Private Tour: Overnight Alleppey Backwaters Luxury Houseboat Cruise
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Recent reviews from experiences in Kochi

Amazig and The Best way to xplorer Kochi
Dvid_B, Feb 2023
Adventure Tuk Tuk Tour in kochi - A Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick up
Speak english and know everything Kochi.
Amazing experience
Micha_D, Feb 2023
Adventure Tuk Tuk Tour in kochi - A Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick up
That was amazing experience to visit most of the unique places around Fort Kochi.
Coffee colonial religion all in
PAUL_R, Dec 2022
Private Guided Kochi Tuk tuk Tours with Pickup from Cruise Ships
I would highly recommend this tour a fantastic way to see Kochi and it’s past and present ways we loved it all especially the coffee shop he took us to
Perfect way to explore Kochi- a must do!
Nina_P, Dec 2022
Adventure Tuk Tuk Tour in kochi - A Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick up
We were able to see so much of Kochi in just a few hours, at our own speed.
Excellent driver!
Bart, Feb 2020
KOCHI Tuk-tuk tours with Pickup from Cruise Ships
Our driver Raheem JK was a very reliable and easygoing driver who listened very good to our wishes about what to see and what not to see.
Great experience
lynnbidd, Feb 2020
Private Guided Kochi Tuk tuk Tours with Pickup from Cruise Ships
Our guide was good but English not too good but he understood where we wanted to g o.
Great Tour!
TheJonesysontour, Oct 2019
Kochi Tour Guide -A Heritage walking tour in Fort kochi and Mattancherry !
Its a must to visit these places whilst in Kochi.
Fantastic snapshot tour of Kochi!
Rosie_G, Jan 2019
Fort Kochi Ethnic City Tour
With our limited time to see Kochi it was important for us to have a quick tour of the area to take in all of the key sights - this is certainly what we received and more!
Our tour provider was Carnival...
Donald U, May 2017
Cochin Shore Excursions from Pier
All in all it was en enjoyable day and half we would recommend it as a way to see and experience some of what Kochi has to offer.
Christmas Day on a house boat in...
Philip G, Jan 2017
Cochin City or Backwater Shore Excursions from Cruise Terminal
our coach was on time very clean and good air conditioning,our guide spoke very good English and was very pleasant,the house boat was charming,the crew friendly,the food they cooked was delicious.
A fabulous day out - not to miss!
Natasha_W, Mar 2023
Adventure Tuk Tuk Tour in kochi - A Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick up
It was the best experience, and the best way to see Kochi.
Great Tour of local life and sights.
GERARD_B, Feb 2023
Adventure Tuk Tuk Tour in kochi - A Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick up
Had a great tour with Biju, he is very knowledgeable and proud of his home city and speaks very good English, his auto rickshaw is in great condition and is very comfortable.
Only way to see Goa
Gary_T, Feb 2020
Private Guided Kochi Tuk tuk Tours with Pickup from Cruise Ships
A really great fun way to see Kochi.
Best Tour ! Absolute must!
Bushra_A, Jan 2023
Adventure Tuk Tuk Tour in kochi - A Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick up
We had one day in Kochi and felt like we covered almost everything there was to see within 4 hours!
Best tour in Fort Kochi
Anya_B, Dec 2022
Adventure Tuk Tuk Tour in kochi - A Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick up
Biju is a wonderful guide, that speaks very good English and is very knowledgeable and very kind.
A beautiful day in Kochi
Sneha_P, Dec 2022
Adventure Tuk Tuk Tour in kochi - A Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick up
I look forward to visiting Kochi again, and learning more about this beautiful place from you, my friend.
Great way to see Kochi...
Jeremy T, Jan 2018
Adventure Tuk Tuk Tour in kochi - A Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick up
Great way to see Kochi.
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All about Kochi

When to visit

October to March is the best time to visit Kochi; temperatures in this period range from a sightseeing-comfortable 64°F (18°C) to a hot-but-bearable 84°F (29°C). December to February is the apex of this winter tourist season, and you’ll find larger crowds and higher prices. Savvy travelers can opt to visit in September, when the weather isn’t too muggy; or in April, when things are quieter but temperatures are over 80°F (30°C). In summer, you might catch one of Kochi’s annual temple festivals, which include colorful processions.

Getting around

While there are plenty of buses in Kochi, they’re usually sweltering and overcrowded. Most visitors choose cabs or tuk-tuks (auto-rickshaws); take cabs for longer city and tuk-tuks for shorter trips (just make sure you agree a flat rate or time-rate). For a spot of fun, try out Kochi’s cheap and cheerful ferries, which run to Fort Kochi and other sights. To spend a day exploring other parts of Kerala, book a car and driver or a guided tour.

Traveler tips

While exploring Fort Kochi, stop at the Pepper House Café for a bite to eat. This charming heritage center on the waterfront is housed in two restored colonial-era warehouses and boasts a café, gallery, design shop, and garden. Dig into simple European-style dishes, sip a barista-made coffee or mint lemonade, check out the colorful artwork, and then slip through the garden archway for magical views of Vembanad Lake.

People Also Ask

What is Kochi known for?

Fringing Kerala’s coast, Kochi is historically known as a fishing port, spice center, and Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial hub; and also a jumping-off point for cruising the state’s serene backwaters. Tourists visit to see Kochi’s faded buildings and iconic Chinese fishing nets; and on route to joining backwater houseboat cruises.

How can I spend my day in Kochi?

Admire the colonial-era highlights of Kochi’s Mattancherry district, including the 16th-century Mattancherry Palace and Pardesi Synagogue. Then, wander into Fort Kochi to lunch on banana-fritter-topped beef curry—a favorite local dish—before touring churches like the Portuguese-built Santa Cruz Basilica. Conclude at the nearby Chinese fishing nets, silhouetted against the sunset.

What is there to do at night in Kochi?

At dusk, head for Fort Kochi’s Chinese fishing nets: these spidery structures look amazing at sunset. Afterward, catch a traditional Kathakali show— a classical dance featuring richly masked and costumed performers—before dining on local specialities like ishtu (coconut milk–based stew) at one of Fort Kochi’s many restaurants.

What's special in Kochi?

Kochi’s Chinese nets make this city truly special: these fascinating contraptions are rarely seen outside Kerala or southern China. Likely introduced here by Chinese explorers in the 15th century, the giant nets are lowered into the sea before being raised via pulleys: usually revealing only small catches of fish and crab.

Is Kochi worth visiting?

Yes. With its storied colonial history, fresco-adorned churches, Chinese fishing nets, cobbled lanes, and tasty coconut-laden cuisine, Kochi promises rich pickings for history buffs, photographers, foodies, and sightseers. Kerala’s nearby network of tropical backwaters adds to its appeal, with many day-long or multi-day houseboat cruises departing from Fort Kochi.

What can I do for free in Kochi?

Kochi’s landmark Chinese fishing nets are free to view, although there’s usually a small fee to go aboard for a closer look. Many of Fort Kochi’s colonial-period sites don’t charge admission, either: so wandering around treasures like the frescoed Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, and Paradesi Synagogue costs nothing.


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