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Old meets new in the city of Kochi – a fascinating coastal town in Kerala which boasts a plethora of impressive contemporary attractions alongside unique historic sites reflecting the Arab, Chinese and European merchants which operated in its harbour since the mid-1300s. The perfect blend of royal heritage and a modern lifestyle, there is no questioning why Kochi is one of Kerala’s most popular tourism destinations.
The centrally located Leisure Inn Kochi is the ultimate base for travellers who are looking to explore the city’s most popular tourist attractions by day, and relax in luxurious comfort at night. But should you feel stuck for things to do in Kochi during your stay, here are our insider’s must-do and see hot-spots
Lulu Shopping Mall
Located in Edappally, Lulu Shopping Mall is the largest shopping mall in India and is one of the most visited and iconic places in Kerala. Boasting a footfall of about 80,000 people per day through their one-of-a-kind hypermarket, the mall is home to countless stores and globally renowned brands including Adidas, Aeropostale and Levi’s, just to name a few. Not only is Lulu Shopping Mall a shopaholic’s heaven, it is also a mecca for unique, fun-filled activities, spread across three giant floors, making it the ultimate all-inclusive destination the whole family can enjoy.
Boasting an abundance of excitement, the mall offers everything from a 5D screening cinema multiplex, an arcade games zone, and a 12-lane bowling alley, to a party hall, an indoor climbing centre, amusement rides and even an ice skating rink. A day of exploring this impressive Kochi attraction is sure to leave you with an appetite but luckily, Lulu Shopping Mall boasts a 3,500-seater food court with every cuisine imaginable that is sure to satisfy any and every appetite.
Step back in time with a journey to Fort Kochi, a colonial style seaside neighbourhood steeped in rich history and culture. For a truly authentic look at this region’s fishing heritage, pay visit to Kochi’s most intriguing seaside destination, Vasco Da Gama Square, named after a Portuguese explorer and the first Count of Vidigueira, who was also the first European to reach India by sea. Here, visitors can wander along the quaint beachfront promenade aplenty with food stalls serving fresh delicious seafood and tender coconut delights, and stop to watch local fishermen use huge traditional Chinese fishing nets.
The legacy of these nets share a spellbinding past dating back over half a century, when the 10 metre high nets were first set up on teak and bamboo poles by one of the first visitors to the Malabar Coast, the traders from the court of Kublai Khan. For a quieter, relaxed afternoon or evening by the sea, Fort Kochi is the perfect destination.
Open the magnificent history book of Dutch Palace, otherwise known as Mattancherry Palace. Located just three 3 kilometres from Vasco Da Gama Square, this architecturally impressive site carries an equally intriguing history just waiting to be uncovered. Built in the mid-1500s by the Portuguese as a gift to King Veera Kerala Verma of Kochi dynasty, the historic palace spans an impressive 300 square kilometres and is home to a vast collection of murals that tell the tales of Kochi’s past. Believed to be completed between the 17th and 18th century, the palace walls document significant moments in Kochi’s history and explore tales of the great Indian epics like Ramaya and Mahabharata, along with Gods of the Hindu faith such as Guruvayoorappan.
Dutch Palace’s murals are also home to the great works of Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa, who is widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language of India. This is undoubtedly a site that is sure to impress even the most enthusiastic history buffs.
Marine Drive is one of the top tourism locations in Kochi, and for a good reason. Journey to the picturesque promenade which faces the pristine backwaters of Kochi, and stretches from the Jankar Jetty to the Emakulam Boat Jetty. Ironically, Marine Drive is a non-driving zone, making the 3 kilometre walkway perfect for a relaxing waterfront stroll at any time of the day. Featuring various shopping malls and restaurants, the area offers a unique variety of manmade wonders interspersed with natural gifts right in the midst of Kochi’s sprawling metropolis. Boating enthusiasts will love the various boats and small cruise services to jump abroad, and may opt to spend a candid dinner floating down the stunning lake reflecting the magnificent city lights. Upon nightfall, take a moment to admire the spectacular visual that is the famous Rainbow Bridge, an arch shaped bridge illuminated with rainbow coloured lights.
Backwaters of Kochi
Embrace Kochi’s awe-inspiring landscapes along the region’s backwaters – the peaceful and picturesque lagoons, lakes, rivers and canals that run inland from the coast of Kerala.
Lined by towering coconut trees, Kochi’s backwaters are considered among the finest in the world with their serene lakes and breathtaking views a must-see for those travelling to the region. The backwaters are also home to some of the most culture-filled areas of Kochi with diverse wildlife and local villages galore. Discover the backwaters by boat and embark on day cruise tour, or even by canoe or kayak for a relaxing day of exploration on the water. Pay visit to Kakkathuruthu Island on Vembanad Lake and watch sunsets that National Geographic have raved about, or be immersed in the vibrant atmosphere of a traditional Snake Boat race; an annual boating competition.
Formally known as Veegaland, Wonderla is India’s largest award-winning amusement park. Located in Pallikara, just 7 kilometres from the heart of Kochi, the park is set amongst the hill tops offering boundless panoramic views, making it the ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. While the thrill-seekers can opt for the one 50+ rides across both a regular and water park, the park is also dotted with wave and sunbathing pools that offer a relaxing break from the exciting pace of the amusement park adventures. Satisfy grumbling tummies and grab a bite to eat at one of the many Wonderla restaurants, catering to everything from traditional Keralan fine dining to rustic street-style foods. For a fun-filled and exciting day out, Wonderla is one of Kochi’s must-dos.