I was bought up in Kochi and after 20 years I again got the opportunity to live in this place for 3 months. Auto Rickshaws are the backbone of the transportation network. They are available in plenty but it is important to keep in mind that in the night the service is poor. These autos normally run by the meter, but you would still find a lot of them refusing to do do. It is better to negotiate and bargain before getting starting the travel so as to avoid haggling at the end of the ride, where you will be left with no option but to pay. Most of the drivers are friendly and love chatting and many of them can manage to speak hindi or english apart from the local language malayalam. They can be a good guide to the city and provide you with a lot of information.
Air : International Air Port is at Nedumbassery, near Aluva, about 22 kms away from Ernakulam, Kochi.
Rail : The nearest station is at Ernakulam about 10km from Mattancheri. Kochi has 3 stations, Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town and Cochin Harbour Terminus. Trains from the Northern cities/Southern parts of India stop at Ernakulam Junction. Ernakulam Junction, D.H. Rd, Ernakulam South, Phone: 131; Ernakulam Town, Near North Bridge Phone: 2390920.
Road : KSRTC Central Bus station is near the Ernakulam Junction railway station. It runs Express and Fast services from Ernakulam to other major cities within Kerala and into the neighbouring states. Reciprocal services from other States are also available. Enquiry phone : 2352033, 2372033. There are plenty of private buses available for travel from Ernakulam to other cities. They operate from High Court Junction, Railway Station and Kaloor Junction.
There are frequent bus and boat services to Mattancherry from Ernakulam town. Mattancherryis about 10km from Ernakulam. The boats start from Main Boat Jetty near Subash Park at Ernakulam.
Ferries are the cheapest way of traveling between the different ares of bigger Kochi. A trip to Ernakulam will cost only 2,5 Rs.
There are 2 jetties in the Fort Cochin area, one to the islands, and the other to Ernakulam.
The last ferrie between Fort Cochin and Ernakulam is 21h30.
A cheap way of getting around. A single trip never cost more than 30 Rs.
The taxi drivers are also well informed. It is sometimes difficult for them to understand that you do not want to visit any shops/emporiums - "just look", they will say.
It is great to hire a driver for a day or more. You can plan your trip the way you like. Usually the driver will be from the area and you get to see things that is not part of the major tourist drag. We were very lucky in the sense that we could visit a Hindu Temple, eat at a local restaurant and stopped at more than one festival on the way. You can stop to visit shops, take pictures etc whenever you like. Prices are usually calculated per kilometre, and maybe give the driver a good tip.
We used an air-conditioned taxi.
I flew to Kochi via Dubai with Emirates Airlines. I fly often with Emirates and never han a bad experience.
Arriving in Kochi is better, compared to Mumbai and Delhi.
Emirates have 3 flights per day from Johannesburg to Dubai, and recently introduced flights from Cape Town to Dubai!
Another way to travel through India is by bus. Even though the busses are very old they appear to be more or less reliable. Some astonishing enough do not have windows - maybe a good thing - so they are airconditioned :-)) Prices are relativley cheap, and one should ask the locals before boarding what the fare would be, else one will pay a lot more!
I daresay things will be different now but none of the vehicles we travelled in were air-conditioned, and some might even have been described as bone-shakers.Rural roads were often bumpy and driving habits sometimes on the scarey side - particularly in traffic. However in spite of constant hooting of the horn. It did not appear to be aggressive driving. None of our journeys by road were very long but it was good to have bottled water because it did get very hot.
Look out for the colourfully painted buses and lorries!
As everywhere in India also in Cochin you will find plenty of Taxis and Tuck-Tucks available for hire. Make sure you negotiate your rate first and pay only once you have arrived at your destination. This mode of transport is generally inexpensive and on my two visits in Cochin did not find any problems. The drivers are very friendly and polite and will make sure that you see exactly what you would like to explore. However they seem to receive a bonus when they drop you off at some tourist trap shop. I always answered my drivers no tourist crap – he looked at me – understood and moved on.
The many public ferries link the islands and mainland of Ernakulam. The KTDC offers daily boat cruises that visit the main sights.
The ferries provide a quick and easy way to get about Cochin, with views of life around the bustling harbour. Small fishing boats bob alongside huge tankers.
Although it was overcast on the day we spent in Cochin, and I was feeling ill, we were cheered by the sight of a dolphin that briefly appeared at the side of our boat....some days you can be escorted by a family of these creatures as you sail along!
PREPAID TAXI SERVICE AT COCHIN AIRPORT
The flight was supposed to arrive at 0245 AM but it came in at 0345 AM. The luggage delivery and getting out of the customs area was fast enough
Yet another line. ( Indians love standing in line: on this trip, I have stood in line: once at Bombay immigration, second at the customs, third trying to get into air india area, fourth at luggage taping, fifth at the air india counter, sixth at the immigration to go into the terminal, seventh at the customs area, eighth at the security area, ninth at the departure lounge, tenth at the customs and immigration in cochin, so this was the eleventh time between arrival in India at 10 45 pm and arrival in Cochin at 03 45, in five hours in India.
The lady behind was pleasant, I wanted to go to MG Road, she prints out ( for an IT country, the computer and the printers are from another era, the kind you expect to see in an impoverished country) a receipt. 466 INR, roughly 8 Euros, to travel the 40 km to Ernakulum. I go out in the rain to the marked car. The driver does not speak English, so I say clearly the name of the hotel, and in 45 minutes through the heavy monsoon rain, we are in front of the hotel.
The English word the driver did know was, after the car stopped, without offering me an umbrella which he had in his possession, he said a favourite English Word:
TIP TIP DRIVER TIP.
I would recommend highly the Pre Paid Taxi service. The price is right, the cars are the old fashioned but charming Ambassadors without air conditioning.
This might be the best airline I've ever flown and its a discount airline. I was met at the curb by someone who helped me with my luggage and walked me all the way to the gate (which is great because Indian airports can be a bit confusing). They had more leg room than most flights, gave me a pack of goodies, and offer a meal and video for a one hour flight--unlike U.S. airlines which might not give you that on a cross country flight. I flew another discount airliner, Air Deccan, and it was what you expect of a discount airline--crowded, unorganized, and no frills (you could buy a bad sandwich and chips). And they're quite a bit cheaper than Jet.
Kingfisher flys in and out of Kochi and I honestly don't know why anyone would fly any other airline.
From the modern part you can take a ferry to Fort Cochin (the old), because the bay is too wide and it would take you too much to go by bus. There are frequent boats, which take about 20 minutes to cross.
As you leave the Customs area, directly in front of you is the Pre Paid Taxi office. They have set fees to take you to Cochin, fares depending upon where you wish to go. I am told there is a bus running to downtown ernakulam but after a flight with some luggage, i opted for the taxi
510 indian rupees slightly over ten dollars for the air conditioned white ambassador car to Hotel Metropolitan near the Railway station in Ernakulam
I arrived in Ernakulum on the train from Coimbatore after visiting Ooty and took an auto-rickshaw to the ferry jetty for Kochi. Ferries, here, depart every 40 minutes or so and operate from between 6am and 9.30pm and cost Rs3. It takes about 20 minutes to get to Kochi.