We were looking forward to our visit to Kochi, as we had read that Fort Kochi had colonial buildings with some nice streets with cute little cafés and restaurants.  A lot of travelers were telling us it is quite the charming place!

Sadly, our first impression of Fort Kochi consisted of us arriving at the Ernakulam bus station at 3:30am, when we thought we would arrive closer to 5am.  Our bus was what they called a semi-sleeper, which was just basically a reclining chair, but I was happy to have fallen asleep to their screening of one of my favorite films, Apocalypto.  When arriving in Kochi at 3:30am though, we had to wait around at the bus station until 6am to catch a ferry to Fort Kochi town.  We could have taken a tuktuk to our hotel, but checking in at 3:30am in the morning wouldn’t be an option, so we just stuck it out, grabbed a couple drinks at a bus station cafe and hung out til the first ferry.

We took the first ferry at 6am, then a rickshaw to i-One’s Home Stay.  It is just off of a busy street, in a family’s home.  We arrived around 6:30am and felt bad arriving so early, but the hosts were nice enough to let us in.  Because the rooms were already full, and the people in our room were not scheduled to leave until noon, our hosts were nice enough to let us chill on their roof deck.  They provided us with the wifi and some tea, until our room was ready. In a way, this was a blessing in disguise as Greg was able to book a lot of our upcoming flights for the next couple of months.  Two hours had passed, and one of the rooms became available, so they said if we needed to use the toilet, we could use that room.  At around noon, as promised, our room was ready.

I-One's Home Stay

I-One’s Home Stay on the left, Mother Tree on the right.  You can see how messy we get!

The room was simple, clean, with TV, AC, a clean and hot shower, and excellent wifi.  They probably had the best wifi in all of India!!!

We also stayed at Mother Tree, which was pleasant and slightly cheaper.  We had no air con and had to go to the roof for wifi, but got free breakfast in the morning. A great option for budget travelers.

After a shower and a brief rest, we ventured into town.  Fort Kochi is a cute town, filled with charming boutiques and cafés, Chinese fishing nets, and colonial buildings.  It is definitely touristy, and for some reason, I found it to be popular with middle aged tourists due to its fancy comforts of the west.  While charming, I didn’t love it because it didn’t really feel like I was in India.  It definitely felt like a little trendy colonial town for tourists.  A few things we did that we liked are as follows:

Dal Roti Restaurant: right when we entered this place, I felt like we were in an Indian Restaurant in Brooklyn.  The restaurant sort of has a warehouse feel, with some local art, and a trendy industrial feeling to the restaurant.  The prices for food were more than what we were used to, but we found their chana masala to be particularly delicious.
Loafer Cafe is a basic cafe with wooden detailing and vintage family photos on the wall.  It is located on the second floor, overlooking the road.  Great street watching if you sit by the window.
Oceanos Restaurant: Trip Advisor loves this place, so we opted to check it out.  We didn’t have to wait in line, but the place got busy very quickly.  The food in general is more expensive in Fort Kochi than other Indian towns, but the environment is comfortable and clean. For some, Fort Kochi may be better than the rest of India because they really cater to Westerners.
– Rent a scooter if you can and head to Jew Town for some more charming shops and cafés and historic buildings.  I found the Pardesi Synagogue to be particularly beautiful.
– If you like trendy art gallery slash cafés, you will probably like the stylish Kashi Cafe.  While I found the lemonade to have a strange taste, the cafe itself is design conscious with art scattered about.  We didn’t order any food, but some of the small bites looked tasty.
– A short scooter ride away (or a bit of a walk away), was my favorite restaurant, Shri Krishna Restaurant in Mattancherry.  It is a somewhat large and basic restaurant, serving mostly locals and a few tourists looking for a tasty, clean, and filling meal for cheap.  It is authentic, delicious, and isn’t trying too hard.  The food is what will bring you here.

Shri Krisha Restaurant in Mattancherry.  Our fave!

Shri Krisha Restaurant in Mattancherry. Our fave!

– If you are looking for beer, which a lot of tourists seemed to be doing, head to Cochin Fort Restaurant for outdoor seating and cheap beers.
– The delicious potato patty sandwiches, the vada pav can also be purchased in Mattancherry.  We love our vada pav!

Vada Pav at Goli

Vada Pav at Goli

Kochi food from top left to right:

All the amazing food in Kochi: Aloo ghobi, chana masala, kathi roll, paratha, veg pakora, Thali, vegetable noodles.

Costs for Day 94:
Mango juice and Mirinda at bus station 70
Toilet 5
Rickshaw to ferry terminal 50
Ferry 8
Rickshaw to I-One’s Home Stay 40
Dal Roti Restaurant : Chana masala, aloo paratha, chapati, paneer veg kathi roll, water, coke 380
Loafer Cafe: coffee and chai 80
Oceanos Restaurant: fried eggplant thali, Kerala rice, veg curry, water 39
Chocolate and water 30
I-One’s Home Stay 1300

Total cost for Day 94: 2002 rupees / 2 = $15.77 per person

Costs for Day 95:
I-One’s Home Stay 1300
Scooter rental 250
Gas 150
Pardesi Synagogue 10
Mattancherry Palace 10
Shri Krishna Cafe in Mattancherry thali and masala dosa and water 95
Mango juice 30
Gas 150
Ferry 7
Kashi Cafe Lemonade and chai 130
Vada pav x4 at Goli and Pepsi 165

Total cost for Day 95: 2297 rupees / 2 =$18.10 per person

Costs for Day 96:
Sri Krisna Cafe 124
Krishna Kripa Seafood Restaurant: prawn noodle, veg noodle, water, veg pakora 330
I-One’s Home Stay 1300
Oreos and crackers 50
Tax for home stay 195

Total cost for Day 96: 1999 rupees / 2 = $15.75 per person

Costs for Day 97:
Rickshaw to Sri Krisna cafe 40
Sri Krisna Cafe masala dosa x2, water, Pepsi, chai 134
Tuktuk to ferry 30
Ferry 8
3D Exodus: Gods and Kings movie at Sridar Cinema 220
Kitkat 30
Bimbi– pastry, parotax2, samosa x2, one more fried ball and water 156
Ferry 8
Beer and lime soda at Cochin Fort Restaurant 270
Mother Tree Home Stay 700

Total cost for Day 97: 1596 rupees / 2 = $12.58 per person

What I learned: Try to avoid arriving in Fort Kochi in the middle of the night.  You can take a rickshaw to drive you all the way around, but because we were on a budget, we refused to take a rickshaw and decided to wait for the first ferry.  If you do decide to take a rickshaw, share with other travelers, or even contact your host if they can do pick-up. 

Scenes from Kochi:

Scenes from Kochi:big trucks, Kashi Cafe, birds, waiting to get on the ferry on our scooter, cute building, Loafer Cafe.

Actual dates of travel: Dec. 6-9. 2014