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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in ernakulam
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in ernakulam, Bed and Breakfast!
Kochi (official name) is Kerala's most cosmopolitan city with a bustling commercial port. (In past it was known as Cochin in English)
Kochi merchants began trading in spices such as black pepper and cardamom with the Jews, Arabs, the Dutch, Phoenecians, Portuguese, Chinese more than 600 years ago.
Now Kochi includes Ernakulam city, Willingdon Island, Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Kumbalangi and outlying islands
Kochi has a lot of remnants from the past still clinging on. The famous landmark in Kochi is a row of Chinese fishing nets at the mouth of the harbour leading to the Arabian sea. It is a blend of modern India on one hand and while the old quarter -- the Fort kochi area and Mattancherry area -- maintains a colonial air.
Kochi is comparatively cleaner and quieter than many other Indian tourist places.
This area boasts of hundreds of islands, some even uninhabited, and is part of the backwaters of Kerala. A famous island is that of Boghatty (local name Mulavukad) where the Dutch built a palace. This palace was later used as house of the British Resident administrator. Right now the Dutch Palace is a tourist hotel, and you are welcome to live there as guest.
Ernakulam District consists of following towns.Some towns like Koothattukulam lies 57 KM from Ernakulam City!
Towns Nearer to Muvattupuzha
Kochi International Airport (http://www.cochin-airport.com/) is located in Nedumbassery - approx 29 Km from the city. There are flights to and from Colombo, Dubai, AbuDhabi, Singapore, Sharjah, Jeddah, Muscat, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Take a prepaid taxi to your destination.
You can reach Kochi from other cities Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kozhikode (Calicut), Madras, Bangalore, Bombay, New Delhi, Calcutta by train. There are two major Rail station in Kochi( Ernakulam Town and Ernakulam Junction, locally known as North and South railway stations). The Indian Railways (http://www.indianrail.gov.in) serves Cochin with a number of train services connecting it to other parts of the state and the country.
The trains are divided into General or second class, Sleeper class, First Class, A/C Chair car, Third A/C, Second A/C, First A/C on an increasing cost/ticket basis. Not all the classes are available on all the trains. One of the best way to get to Kochi is to take the train from Mumbai that passes through the Konkan coast. The train ride is renowned for the breathtaking scenery and the natural beauty of the terrain that the train passes through.
Generally, it is normal for people to strike up conversations with people in the next seat on trains. On the commuter trains it is normal to see the 'regulars' congregating to discuss politics and news or just play cards. Caution must be taken in accepting food or drink from strangers on train as people have been drugged on several occasions and been robbed of their belongings.
Kochi is accessible from all parts of the state of Kerala, through the extensive state run Kerala Road Transport Corporation (K.S.R.T.C.) bus services. These are generally cheap and reliable, but the drivers are notoriously reckless, although they have excellent control over their vehicles. There buses are classified as Ordinary Passenger, Limited Stop, Fast Passenger, Super Fast Passenger, Lightning Express and Garuda. The last is an air-conditioned service operating on the Thiruvananthapuram-Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram-Calicut routes both passing through Kochi. These are modern buses and compare with buses in Europe, with well maintained interiors and comfortable seats.
There are also numerous private buses or 'route buses' that connect pretty much every single district in Kerala to Kochi. Both the K.S.R.T.C and the private buses offer very basic comforts are rarely air conditioned.
There also exists daily services to and from other major cities in South India including Mumbai, Bangalore(12 hrs), Manglore(12 hrs), Coimbatore(4.5hrs) and Chennai(12hrs). These are run by both private operators and also by the respective State Transport Authorities. The private buses, albeit being a bit more expensive, offer better comfort, cleaner and modern buses.
Most airports and railway stations have tourist taxi services that would take you anywhere you would want to go. There is normally a minimum rate for the first 100km and an additional charge per extra kilometer travelled. These rates should be negotiated prior to departure to avoid being overcharged by the operator. The cars are generally, but not always, air conditioned and air-conditioned cars come at an extra charge.
There are also illegal services called 'parallel services' running between cities in Kerala. These are normally run parallel to the KSRTC service by private operators on the same routes and is normally a car-share or sharing a mini SUV. A solicitor would walk around a bus station informing people about the service. These are a bit more expensive than the normal bus service, but is marginally faster and is considered an option if you miss your bus.
It is also possible to hitch a ride with truck drivers if you pay them a marginal amount of money. Since most of the trucks are front engined, it would be very noisy in the drivers cabin and some travellers may find it uncomfortable. It is nevertheless hard to find trucks that would go to your intended destination. The truck drivers again are reckless drivers, so this option is not for the faint hearted.
Also, you could always get a 'lift' mostly for short distances, but as with anywhere in the world, caution is advised.
If travelling as part of a large group (14+) it is better to book a tourist coach that would take you to your destination. They also would take you sightseeing and is available in most of the cities. The full rates for the trips should be negotiated prior to departure to Kochi or anywhere else for that matter.
Kochi have an excellent local bus service system, operated by private bus operators, and it is cheap. The numbering system is rarely used although it appears to exist. The buses are red in colour, and although may vary in appearance, they still can be distinguished as city bus services.
Destination boards prominently in Malayalam and in small letters the English Version. Using the local bus service is not that difficult as most bus conductors would be able to provide assistance with basic knowledge of English or Hindi or even Tamil. Remember however that peak hours on weekdays can lead to overcrowded buses. That is not the best time to use these buses, like in any busy city.
Travellers must remember that a certain number of seats are allocated for ladies in the forward portion of each bus. Unless these seats are empty, gentlemen are not expected to occupy them, and they must be vacated when a lady wishes to sit there. The standard precautions of being wary of pickpockets and other anti-social elements must be maintained.
Several important points serviced by Cochin's city bus service include Fort Kochi, Thoppumpady, Edakochi, Mattancherry, Island (Willingdon Island), Thevara, Kaloor, Palarivattom, Kakkanad, Kalamassery, Edapalli, Alwaye, Tripunithura, and Vytilla Jn.
Many key routes that pass through the city (from Alwaye/Kakkanad etc to Fort Kochi/Thevara Jn etc) will have the following route/stops
1. Kaloor (interchange for Long Distance Private Bus Services for Kottayam, Palai, Changanacheri, Mundakayam, Erumeli, Pathanamthitha etc.)
Buses from/to Tripunithura/Vytilla Jn will deviate after Jos Junction to pass through
Buses from/to Alwaye follow the following broad route
Buses from/to Kakkanad follow the following broad route
Some Services may operate directly between Alwaye, Edapally, Kakkanad and Vytilla Jn using the Byepass Road via Palarivattom Bye Pass.
These are only the key routes and operational aspects. Please reconfirm this information. If you have anything to add/improve please do so for the benefit of the community.
This is a cheap way of transportation facility between attractions. You can find an auto stand at almost every bus stop. Ideal way to cover short distances. Make sure you agree on a fare with the driver before the journey.
Tourist taxis are the most convenient way to travel around attractions, especially while travelling in a group. You can hire a taxi or minibus with a driver for a specified number of days. Rates are reasonable (more than reasonable by european standards), and unless you are on a very tight budget, try to hire an air-conditioned vehicle. Usually, you pay a daily minimum charge - this charge includes the hire of the vehicle with the driver, and a specified number of kilometers. Any additional distance travelled is usually billed on a per kilometre basis. If the journey includes overnight stays, the driver is paid an additional allowance. The drivers are usually quite experienced and helpful. The usual style of driving on Kerala roads puts the fear of god into you, it is always a good idea to gently remind the driver that you are not in a hurry and that you want to reach your destination safely.
There are many Car rental companies offering cars with drivers or self drive.
There are also good ferry services between islands. A useful service is the 'Junkar' between Fort Kochi and Vypeen.
Many places of attractions are near by other so you could walk between them.
Museums and Galleries
Landmarks around Kochi
Live in a houseboat/take a cruise
Good seafood is available aplenty. Worth visiting is the Fort Kochi beach where you can buy fresh fish and get it cooked in the nearby food stalls. Fish fry, fish molly, fish curry and fish peera are the favourites, usually taken with rice or steamed tapioca (cassava).
Also worth trying are the traditional rice based breakfast snacks - puttu and kadala, appam and stew.
NOTE: Its a good idea to carry some sort of mosquito repellant.
Here is a list of hotels Abad Plaza, Abad Fort, Abad Metro, Hotel Mermaid, White House, Abad Airport, Abad atrium, Best Western Avenue, Casino, Gokulam Park Inn, Hilton, Le Meridien, Presidency, Renaissance, Burton Boatyard, Malabar House Hotel, Taj Malabar, Taj Residency