May 11, 2013

Kochi, India

Kochi (Cochin), Kerala, India
कोच्चि, केरल, भारत

09 (Thu) - 11 (Sat) May 2013

Lodging: John's Residency, T.D Road

1 of 5, 14 days India trip

It takes courage, tolerance and adventurousness to travel to India. *jaw dropping*
I traveled with Wilsen and 2 girls (Emilia and Susan). *double jaw dropping"
You witness this blog entry, so you witness my survival back to my homeland. *put your jaw back*

The basis of the initiation of the trip is the fact that Wilsen had been there for his Student Exchange Programme a year ago. Now you know who's the most courageous, tolerative and adventurous among us.

8:55pm from Kuala Lumpur LCCT, we flew on AirAsia for 4 hours and touched down at the first city of India that we're gonna visit - Kochi (aka Cochin), which is 2.5 hours behind Malaysia.

The total return flight cost is SGD123.42 (Singapore ✈ Kochi) + SGD140.34 (Srinagar ✈ New Delhi) + SGD175.88 (New Delhi ✈ Singapore) ≈ SGD440

Day 1

10:30pm at the Cochin International Airport, we looked for a taxi which can get us to our lodge, John's Residency, located along T.D Road and I believed the only way to get there is to show the driver the word "T.D" rather than pronouncing T.D to a native there accustomed with Hindi or Malayalam accent.

Susan, mummifying herself

It's late night when we reached there, apparently we had no choice but to bathe and sleep.

Can you imagine, I started to sweat again after stepping out of the bathroom, and it's nighttime. Who lives under this temperature??

Day 2

Good morning! I've seen my first sunlight in India.

Before exploring the city, we had to get two SIM cards for the entire India trip which was going to last for a fortnight. Buying SIM card in India requires going through tedious process - registration is required, and the people who're selling were also unsure of the availability of 3G in the latter time, as 3G is not activated immediately right after you purchase the SIM card. That made us walk to another more civilized district for alternatives, which effort was somehow fruitless - no shop was opened until 10am. We ended up waiting there, enjoying the hot air...

Auto rickshaw
Be prepared to rely A LOT on the auto rickshaw when you're travelling distantly in India. Do bargain. Show that you're not interested at all if you think the price is absurdly unreasonable. The fare usually ranges from a few hundred rupees to ₹1000 (₹1000 is however a bit overpriced for a typical ride). I would say ₹400 is the median if I'm not mistaken.

4 persons is just nice to fit into the auto rickshaw, without luggage.

Anyway, we're heading toward somewhere nearby for lunch after purchasing the SIM cards. Which attraction and where to eat, are all decided as per recommended in the Lonely Planet. =)
You might wanna consider getting one of those guide books especially for a less touristy destination for a normal traveler.

He just trolled Mr.Pringles

Tandoor, Layam Road, Ernakulam South
If you don't have a strong and immune stomach, refrain from eating the street food in India. Throughout our India trip, we had all our meals in the restaurants (except for packaged snacks and bottled drinks), and this was one of the reasons our travel expenditure in India was relatively high (approximately SGD1000 including air fare).

Ok, back to the story. So we found a decent restaurant to have our brunch. I think it was a good start for me as I started to be able to tolerate higher level of spiciness at that very first Indian meal despite being the me with extremely low spiciness tolerance, ironically I'm from Malaysia.

Masala Papad @ ₹50, Butter Chicken (Quarter) @ ₹250

Kulfi Ice Cream @ ₹90  Butter Scotch Ice Cream @ ₹80
Kulfi Ice Cream (the grey conic one behind) tastes really weird by the way.

Just like Penang, Kochi is made up of the island part and the mainland part. We're going to take a boat ride to the opposite island, departing from Ernakulam Jetty, docking at Fort Kochi Boat Jetty.

Another auto rickshaw ride to Mattancherry, to visit the Jew Town.

Jew Town

Jew Town is supposed to be a busy town, but looking at the clear stretch of road in front of us, ya, we came at the wrong timing, it's the off season of Jew Town. What to do? We could just walk around the town, buy cheap Indian clothes and have afternoon tea.

Chinese fishing nets
Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is a fort without a fort, but with plenty of Chinese fishing nets along the beach facing the Arabian Sea. There's history behind the fishing nets that explains why are they 'Chinese' although it's mostly found in Kerala, the Indian state which Kochi belongs to.

This small child appeared to be my in blind spot before realized there's a kid sleeping on the pavement

St. Francis Church

Hopped onto the boat back to the mainland, had dinner and that's basically the end of the day... after everyone getting hydrated with a facial mask =)

Day 3

Day 2 (Left) and Day 3 (Right)

Kerala Backwaters

Ernakulam Jetty
As you can see, we're all on our Indian wears bought the day before, prepared to sail across the Kerala Backwaters, which are the coastal lagoons lying along the Malabar Coast.

Tickets were purchased at the Ernakulam Jetty the day before, I forgot how much it cost per person.

The boat was supposed to set sail at 9am, but delayed for half an hour. So we boarded the boat to take some photos first, and at the same time get ourselves shaded, it's really hot outside, even on the boat.

The pictures of the Kerala backwaters look beautiful, even for those from my camera, to the extent that it really can deceive people, however the real thing is, okay scenery was not bad, but the weather was FREAKING HOT! Enjoying the scenery was like seeing an oasis in a dessert. Well at least snacks and juice box were given to satisfy our thirst.

Now let's enjoy some nice photos of the backwaters.

Chinese fishing net

The boat docked at a headland along the coast for us to take a short stroll.

Check out the latest Kerala Great Backwaters campaign by Kerala Tourism

We're finally done with Kerala backwaters, so badly we desired to have our lunch at an air conditioned restaurant after touching the mainland. The restaurant is called South Star Restaurant.

Masala Papad @ ₹30

Mattancherry Palace

Like the 2nd day, we again took a boat ride to the island to visit the Mattancherry Palace.

We paid a fee of which I don't remember to enter the palace where you photography is not allowed and which has nothing much interesting. As usual, I like to take photos at places where photo taking is prohibited, like what I always did in Europe.

The palace was basically our last attraction in Kochi. We headed back to the mainland and had our last dinner in Kochi before going to bed early, as we had a 7am flight to Delhi in the next morning.

Javin Tham A master's degree graduate in engineering, a musician at heart, loves playing with soft toys.

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