God's Own Country - Cochin, Kerala, IndiaAuthor: Sam
Date of Trip: September 2006
I had the experience of life time visiting Kerala, India this year and I want to share it with others. This was my second visit.
Plan in advance and reserve your room. I reserved through the internet in Thomas Inn, Cochin. At time of booking we have to pay 8-10% as deposit.
It is rainy season from June to September. (Pack an umbrella. I had to borrow one from Mr. Thomas.) Temperature 22-34 degrees C depending on season.
Cochin is the ideal place to stay as it in central Kerala. You can access any tourist location in Kerala from here. Cochin is the largest city in Kerala, with international airport, railway stations with direct flights to all major places in India. It has good restaurants, shopping centers etc. Most attractions in Cochin are within city limits. So select a city hotel. We selected 'Thomas Inn' because it is in the heart of the city, close to restaurants, shopping malls, bus station. The web address is www.thomasinn.com.
All tour guides and websites give list of attractions. But always ask the local people for recommendations. Mr. Thomas suggested some excellent spots. For example, the Elephant Training Centre in Kodanad is not mentioned many guides and turned out to be a gem of an experience.
Go for the local cuisine, it is spicy but tastes great. My favorite was appam and chicken stew that Mrs. Thomas makes so well. As humidity is high and we tend to sweat drink lots of water.
Beware of auto rickshaw drivers who charge extra if they know you are tourists.
Shop in the city for spices, artifacts made from coconut. Bargaining is allowed. City malls have international and local brands. On seeing tourists shopkeepers inflate prices. After hard bargaining we got couple of carvings on coconut for Rs 150 each (they asked for Rs 300 each). So bargain hard.
Use mosquito repellent cream while traveling during night. Our hotel had windows with mosquito net so we didn't have problems. So book a room where windows have nets and are air conditioned.
Have a nice trip!!
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