Also referred to as Ernakulam, Kochi is an important city and tourist destination in Kerala. This major port city borders the Laccadive Sea. For centuries now, cantilevered Chinese fishing nets have been a common sight in the backwaters of Kerala, especially around Fort Kochi and have now become a tourism icon.
Today, Kochi has emerged as a popular tourist destination, visited by thousands of travellers every year. In 2017, Cochin International Airport handled 96.63 lakh passengers, compared to 87.36 lakh in 2016, representing 10.6% growth in traffic. Of all the passengers who landed at Cochin Airport in 2017, 45.28 lakhs were domestic travellers, growing 20.28% from the 2016 levels, while 51.35 lakhs were international travellers, an increase of 3.29% from the previous year, according to data published by The Hindu Business Line.
The regions around Kochi have something for everyone, from tea plantations to scenic backwaters, beaches and hill stations. Here are my top 10 favourite weekend getaways from Kochi.
A spectacular hill station located in the Idukki district, 130 km from Kochi, Munnar is an amazing place to visit with the family. However, it is also a very popular choice of newlyweds for their honeymoon. Boasting greenery and mesmerizing natural beauty, Munnar is also called the “Kashmir of South India.” Situated at around 5,200 ft above mean sea level, Munnar is one of the highest elevations in Kerala. The plentiful tea plantations in Munnar have a magnetic effect and attract thousands of tourists each year. Don’t miss a visit to the Tea Museum here.
Popularly known as the “Rice Bowl of Kerala,” Kuttanad is located 74 km from Kochi, in the heart of the backwaters of Alappuzha district. Kuttanad received its nickname from its wealth of paddy crops. The rice plantations in Kuttanad are serviced by 4 major rivers, Pampa, Achankovil, Meenachil and Manimala. If you are travelling via houseboat, the lush green view of the countryside will leave you spellbound. There is more greenery here than you will ever see anywhere else.
Thrissur is the abbreviated form of the Malayalam word “thrissivaperur,” which means the “the city of the sacred Lord Shiva.” Popularly known as the cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur district is famous for its ancient temples, churches and mosques. It is also a famous pilgrimage site in Kerala, which makes it an ideal choice for weekend getaways from Coimbatore and Kochi. The Thrissur Pooram festival is a spectacular and colourful festival. If you are in Thrissur during April or May, don’t miss this largest festival of Kerala.
A famous tourist paradise with an endless number of must visit sites, Thekkady is acclaimed for Periyar National Park and Thekkady Lake. Name any exotic animal, be it tigers, elephants, gaur, sambar, lion-tailed macaques or nilgiri langurs, you'll find them all at Periyar National Park. Thekkady is located 145 km from Cochin International Airport. It can become your choice for a jungle vacation, amidst the dense evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands.
Located at a distance of 60 km from Kochi and 152 km from Trivandrum, Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, is a traveller’s delight. Here, one can enjoy a mixed experience of the backwaters and the beaches. This magnificent destination in Kerala is situated on the shores of the Arabian Sea, near the banks of Vembanad Lake. The major attractions of Alappuzha are its beach, Laccadive Sea, Pathiramanal, Ambalappuzha, Sri Krishna Temple, St. Andrew’s Basilica, Edathua Church, Krishnapuram Palace and more.
One of the 14 districts of Kerala state, Idukki came into existence on January 26, 1972. It is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful hill stations in Kerala. Here, you'll find a diversity of wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, mountain trek routes and spice plantations. Idukki is situated at a distance of around 100 km from Kochi, 50 km from Munnar and 240 km from Trivandrum. When in Idukki, don't miss visiting the popular Idukki dam for some of the beautiful boat rides in the backwaters.
If you are an avid traveller who is in constant search of places to chill and hangout, the coastal town of Varkala can be a perfect choice for you. It is situated at a distance of 160 km from Kochi. What will you do here? Just lay back and relax, enjoy the breathtaking views from the tranquil beaches. The myriad cafés dotting Varkala beach will take care of all your dining needs.
Malankara Dam is an artificial lake and reservoir situated on the Thodupuzha - Moolamattom Road, at a distance of about 6 km from Thodupuzha town. Water flowing from the tail-gate of the Moolamattom power house gets filled by this reservoir. You can do boating and fishing in the reservoir. You are also allowed to stroll along the pathway atop the dam, from where you can get an amazing view of the greenery adjoining the dam.
Situated at just 60 km from Kochi and 12 km from the city of Alleppey, Mararikulam is a major tourist attraction that should be visited to experience the true thrill of the backwaters. Marari beach in Mararikulam can be the ultimate destination to explore Kerala’s backwaters and spend some time in absolute proximity to nature. Don't panic if you find yourself getting lost in the tranquil environment, against the backdrop of swaying palm trees, coconut trees and the vast expanse of the sea.
A picturesque and serene town, Vagamon is one of the best hill stations of Kerala, located on the border of Idukki-Kottayam districts on Idukki’s side. The hill station is guarded by three beautiful hills, Thangal, Murugan and Krisumala, which lend this hill station its well-loved beauty. Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport that, at a distance of 150 km.
Kochi is an experience for all your senses but the regions surrounding the city will give you the true flavour of variety that only Kerala can offer. So, plan for the next long weekend and explore the heart of God’s Own Country.
Kerala is a beautiful state in the southern part of India. The state is famous for its backwaters, tea plantations, wildlife sanctuaries, and waterfalls.
The Kerala Tourism Packages have been designed to offer travelers a great opportunity to explore this beautiful state. They can choose from an array of packages that suit their needs and budget. Here are the best.