This one is probably long overdue, but as they say the memories from a good trip will last you a lifetime. I can still close my eyes and be transported back to the vivid blues and intense yellows of Fort Kochi. The smell of spices, the soothing backwaters and the sound of crashing waves. The hunt for alcohol, the chatty auto drivers offering sightseeing tours and the pretty cafes with their seriously good coffee (and tea). And so many perfectly instagrammable spots all over the place that it seems impossible that they weren’t specifically planned.
We went to Fort Kochi for an impromptu girls trip – in group of 4. Three of us were bloggers and one who turned out be a surprisingly good photographer. A match made in influencer heaven some would say 😀 We were there for 3 days and I would say that is the perfect duration to explore the quaint little town of Fort Kochi.
While planning this weekend trip though Fort Kochi wasn’t my first choice I was quite happy to go along after I read up a little bit it about the place. Its a gorgeous little coastal town in Cochin, Kerala. Its not really a physical Fort, more like the whole town is fortified and thus is called Fort Kochi. It has access to both the beach and the backwaters that Kerala is famous for so if you love water, this is the place for you. It has very tranquil and beachy small town vibes. Filled with art galleries and interesting cafes, the town has made remade itself to appeal to tourists. It proudly displays its foreign (Dutch & Portuguese) influences, as well as the more Indian offerings – has tons of Ayurvedic spas and beauty stores, amazing looking yoga centers, Indian spice markets and so many amazing cafes and restaurants that it was difficult for us to choose. And the art – it was everywhere! From the graffiti filled streets to the numerous cafes and art galleries filled with antiques, paintings and amazing photographs. It kept us camera happy people very busy.
What to pack:
Before we left I was incessantly googling random things like “Can I wear shorts in Fort Kochi?”, “Weather in Fort Kochi”, “Is Kerala a dry state?”. So I want to make sure to provide this very useful information to other like minded travelers, who obviously understand that these are the most important things to research 😀
The quick answer is – yes you can wear shorts, but you probably shouldn’t. Instead pack beachy flowy knee length or maxi dresses. If you want to wear shorts (which I did), pack a cotton shrug or a kimono sort of thing and it will be fine. You will fit in better, and be more comfortable. We went in May, and it was so very hot. We couldn’t leave the hotel till after 1-2 PM when the sun was slightly less intense, but even then we could not walk for more than 20 mins without having to duck into a cafe for (mainly air-conditioning) some shade and cold coffee. So don’t even think of bringing anything that isn’t cotton. And pack shades and a hat, and mosquito/bug cream. I didn’t see too many mosquitos but all the blogs I read before mentioned this so I will trust my brethren and throw that one in.
Its not exactly a dry state, they just make it very inconvenient to buy alcohol there. If you plan to drink, please try to carry a bottle or two of whatever your preference is with you. In three days we didn’t really see any stores that sell alcohol there. Between 4 of us, we took 1 bottle of wine (was not enough 😀 ), 1 bottle of rum and 1 bottle of whiskey. All packed in our check-in baggage. We did not run into any issues at the airport. I am not recommending you do exactly this, it is just what we did. There were some restaurants that serve wine and beer only, but they are very unnecessarily expensive, probably just because they are allowed to serve booze.
Girls trip tip – If you’d like you can plan coordinated fun outfits as there are a lot of very nice spots to take fun group photos in. Especially around the Princess street and Burgher Street area. Though we didn’t specifically coordinate or plan our outfits ahead, we took a ton of photos! We also had an impromptu dance party in our hotel room in our pajamas, so we were all very happy to have packed cute jammys. So maybe pack cute pajamas too 😀
From Bangalore to Kochi via air is about an hour. If you prefer to drive down its about 10-12 hours. My up and down flights from Bangalore – Kochi and back were INR5300. I booked them 2 weeks before the trip. I think they would’ve been cheaper if I’d booked much ahead.
Bus tickets range between INR 850-1500 one way. All 4 of us managed to get seats on the same flight while going to Kochi, but ended up on different return flights to Bangalore as the prices changed considerably in a day. So I would definitely recommend you to get your tickets early.
There are tons of very cute boutique hotels in Fort Kochi. The real decision is which area you want to stay in. We stayed at a beautiful heritage hotel called The Waterfront Granary. Highly recommended. It was right on the river, offered free boat rides to all guests and had a gorgeous vintage car displayed in the lobby. We spent some very fun hours every evening in the hotel pool to cool off after a hot day of walking around town. It was located in the Matancherry area, right next to the local spice market. There are no words to explain how delicious the air smelled when all the spice shops were open. It took us about a 5 min auto ride to get to Fort Kochi everyday. You could probably walk during the colder months. However, if you prefer to be closer to the action, I would recommend you pick a hotel right in the Fort Kochi area, as that’s where all the main attractions are.
We didn’t really plan on doing a lot of touristy things, mostly spent our time walking about town or sitting in cafes sampling all the great food. We did however also see a few things about town. We walked to the beach, saw the Chinese fishing nets which were very underwhelming to be honest. The beach we went to see was not very clean either. Though we really enjoyed our walks in town – along Princess Street, and to see St. Francis Church and the Jew town. We did most of our shopping in Jew Town, its a treasure trove of unique trinkets, filled with shops selling everything from homemade soaps, locally made jewelry to antique clocks. It was really fun walking down the street looking at all the brick-bracks. We also went on a boat ride on the back water arranged by our hotel, which was a lot of fun and a highlight of our trip.
Girls trip tip – When planning for a group, it really helps if you do some research early on to figure out what everyone wants to be doing when you get there. This will not only help while planning the itinerary but also help avoid any waste of valuable vacation time arguing about where to go and what to see. Of course once you get there, there will always be ad hoc things you will want to change but thats okay. It still helps to have a general idea of what everyone prefers to do.
Places to eat:
Food in Fort Kochi gets it own section. We went to quite a few places in our 3 days there, but I’ll only mention my favorites. First would be the Tea Pot Cafe – best coffee we had there and the food was absolutely delicious. We went there twice. Then theres the Kashi Art Cafe. Its almost a local attraction. I loved the vibe of the place, lots of art everywhere you look. The food was great too. Its located on a street thats filled with tiny cafes and local boutiques. If you visit you must walk through and see all the street art and the graffiti on the walls. We also went to a place called the Ginger House which I liked for the decor and the fact that its right on the river and the view while you eat is amazing. The food there wasn’t the best we had in Kochi, but it was still pretty good.
Our 3 days in Fort Kochi was incredibly fun, mostly because of the company. It was the perfect combination of sightseeing and exploring a new place, gorging on delicious food, and even some shopping. Not to mention the impromptu hotel room dance parties 😀 Kochi turned out to be the perfect place for a quick weekend getaway.
Hope this helps if your planning a trip to Fort Kochi. If you have any specific questions, let me know. Make sure you are following us on Instagram and please say hi and let us know where you are on Instagram as well. Till next time!