Forget about the monsoon-ravaged Kochi and other parts of coastal Kerala. The floods have already started receding and the life is limping back to normality, however, a bit wet though. Kerala will be greener than ever now after the torrential downpour.
Kerala travel is always on, rain or shine. After all, the Mother Nature has decided to make Kerala her own abode.
Even though Trivandrum is the capital of Kerala state, it is hardly a tourist destination except for the most revered Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy Temple. Kochi (Cochin) is always the tourism capital of Kerala as most of the sightseeing attractions in Kerala are around this hot and humid port city. If you ever want to see the true Kerala life and culture, Kochi is the place to visit.
So, what are all you can see in and around Kochi if you happen to stay just one day in Kochi? There are about 10 places to visit as one-day trips from Kochi. I have listed them here; the choice is yours.
1.Alleppey Backwater Cruise
Every Indian or foreign visitors to Kerala would be eager to go to Alleppey, the Venice of the East. Here is where the famous, ultra-luxury houseboats are available for hire. For one day trippers, you can happily enjoy a leisurely boat cruise on the backwaters surround by miles and miles of coconut trees and paddy fields.
Alleppey is only about an hour away (55 km) from Kochi. You can easily go to Alleppey, spend a few hours either in an open boat or a closed houseboat, enjoy a sumptuous Malabar lunch in a restaurant, splash around in the Arabian Sea in one of the beautiful and clean beaches, and return to your hotel in Kochi in the early evening. You will still have enough time to do some shopping in the famous Lulu shopping mall, a huge mall occupying 170 acres of space.
Your Kochi hotel reception desk will arrange a trip to Alleppy backwater cruise. You will be picked up from your Kochi hotel and will be dropped back safely after the journey to Alleppy.
Alleppey is undoubtedly the most sought after day trip destination from Kochi.
First, watch this roaring waterfall and then tell me whether you want to go to Alleppy first or to the Athirapally Waterfall.
So, what have you decided? More than 70% of the viewers would want to go to Athirapally first as a day trip from Kochi. After all, it is only 65 km away from Kochi.
The River Chalakudi falls from nearly 80 feet from the Western Ghats and the resultant falls are one of the most filmed locations in India. The Athirapally waterfalls are rightly called as the ‘Niagara of India’. A short distance (only 5 km) away is the ‘Vazhachal Falls’.
The surrounding area is a dense forest and if you love to enter such a thick jungle, you are not likely to return to your hotel in the early evening.
If you decide to stay in one of the forest resorts near Athirapally falls, you can inquire around for a wildlife safari in the Sholayar Forest Ranges. You can spot some stunning flora and fauna here.
The best resort to stay in Athirapally is the ‘Rainforest’ that is located about 15 km away from the Athirapally waterfalls, in a scenic surrounding. Nearby attractions are the Thumboormuzhy Dam and a butterfly park.
For more details about the Rainforest Jungle lodge, visit http://www.rainforest.in/
Athirappilly is a must-visit place as a day trip from Kochi.
3. Vagamon Hill Station
This is a little far off from Kochi (110 km) but still, you can go and come back on the same day provided you start early in the morning from Kochi. This hill station is spread over two districts of Kerala namely the Idukki district and the Kottayam district. Not many people in India are aware of this beautiful hill station in Kerala that retains all its rustic beauty by staying away from brutal modernization.
The Vagamon hills are covered with acres of tea plants, the evergreen tall pine trees, cool mountain streams and beautiful avian range.
At any given time, you can see hordes of youth from Kerala engaged in various adventure sports such as trekking, rock climbing, paragliding, and mountaineering. Of all these adventure sports, it seems the paragliding has gained much popularity here. It will be beautiful to see those colorful gliders moving about here and there in the background of green meadows and blue sky.
4. Kumarakom, Kochi
Kumarakom in Kerala is not only famous for backwater cruises but also for ayurvedic health resorts and spa. Next, to the Alleppey backwaters, Kumarakom is popular for backwater countries and houseboat holidays. Here the backwater from the Arabian Sea meets the fresh water Vembanad Lake thus creating a wonderful medium for a great range of marine creatures such as fish, crab, and lobsters.
On either side of the backwaters, you can see thick vegetation making it ideal for several migratory birds to visit Kumarakom regularly every year.
The official Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary comprises 14 acres of greens. Some of the birds that are recorded as seen here are:
- Brahminy Kite
- Siberian Crane
- Moorhen (from Australia)
If you are interested in taking some topnotch ayurvedic treatments and massages for your overall health improvement, visit the Kumarakom Lake Resort.
5. Thattekad Bird Sanctuary
This small but terrific bird sanctuary is not far off from Kochi, gentleman! Only 65 km separates the two places and hence you can easily go to the Thattekad bird sanctuary and come back to Kochi in one day. Yes, it is perfect for a day trip to avid bird lovers.
Wikipedia and other birding sites and blogs have listed several bird species that are spotted here. The famous singing bird cuckoos are spotted too and in fact, even ornithologists were surprised to find a few species of cuckoo hitherto unknown to them.
Some of the rare species of cuckoo that are spotted in Thattekad are:
- Drongo cuckoo
- Indian hawk cuckoo
- Large hawk cuckoo
Other beautiful birds that live in the Thattekad bird sanctuary are:
- Orange-headed thrush
- Jerdon’s Nightjar
- Large-billed leaf-warbler
- Whiskered terns
- Grey hornbill
Other attractions near Thattekad Bird sanctuary, Kerala
- Bhoothathankettu Dam
- Forest walk
6. Thommankuthu Waterfalls
Here is one more day trip sightseeing location from Kochi, Kerala. It is located about 75 km from Kochi, in Idukki district. It seems Idukki is loaded with natural attractions. The nearest small waterfalls Thodupuzha are located 18 km away.
It is more of cascade waterfalls than dropdown thunderous waterfalls. Locally, it is known as seven-step waterfalls.
To reach the waterfalls, you need to walk through the dense forest, listening to the sounds of forests and spotting occasional darting birds. Beware, folks, the walking involves 12 km of trekking through uneven terrain.
7. Painavu Hill Station
If you want to visit this cute little hill station in the day starting from Kochi, you can do that as the distance is only about 100 km. This is one more sightseeing attraction in Idukki district in Kerala. Situated on the Westen Ghats, Pianavu town is located at an elevation of 3900 feet. Like any Western Ghat hill towns, Pinavu is also picturesque with tea plantations, mountain streams, mini waterfalls and so on. The weather can be very pleasant.
On the way to Pinavu from Kochi, you can see Idukki Dam and Cheruthoni Dam.
8. Cherai Beach
It is almost on the outskirts of Kochi city about 30 km away only. Since this is a beautiful beach near Kochi, it has become a popular tourist attraction and hence always crowded. It has a fairly lengthy beach measuring 10 miles. Several adventure water sports are offered here such as water scooter and speedboats.
9. Ezhattumugham dam, Kochi
This picturesque picnic spot is only about 50 km from Kochi city. The actual meaning of ‘Ezhattumugam’ in Malayalam means seven faces. In order to visit the dam, you need to pass through a typically beautiful Kerala village called Ezhattumugham where the River Chalakudi flows and the reservoir is built on this river.
10. Kuttanad, Kochi
Located 75 km from Kochi, Kuttanad also offers backwater cruising and houseboat stay. The place is extremely beautiful surround by vast tracts of paddy cultivation. A total of 7 rivers flow through this region that are:
Kuttanad is the only place in India where paddy cultivation is done below sea level.
Just to see this wonder farming, you can quickly go to Kuttanad from Kochi and return the same day, making it a true day trip from Kochi.
What else can you see in Kochi city?
Shopping in Kochi in the evening is pursued with great interest by the tourists. You can leisurely browse through the shops in Lulu Mall and Oberon Mall.
Otherwise, you can stroll through the colorful Marine Drive and M.G.Road. Don’t forget to taste the delicious Kerala street food in one of the so-called Thattukadas.