I’m a Celebrity – Get me out of Fort Kochi!

  • 0
Fort Kochin

I’m a Celebrity – Get me out of Fort Kochi!

We arrived at Ernaculum Town station in Kochi later than expected – it was already getting close to dusk. We didn’t know it, but we still had another 1 hour journey to take us to our guesthouse in Fort Kochi.

Outside the train station, there was a large queue … and a surprisingly orderly system for picking up a rickshaw. You first go to a booth and pay 1 rupee to the cashier. After stating your destination, the cashier gives you a ticket and a fixed price that you must pay to your rickshaw driver when you reach your destination. The rickshaws are all queued up by the booth waiting for customers, just like taxis at an airport.

This was much better than flagging down a rickshaw from the street and haggling a price on the spot.

It was a long journey from the station to Fort Kochi since the driver had to take a long detour south to reach the bridges. There were two long stretches of river we needed to cross. After that we had the busy rush hour traffic to deal with before reaching Fort Kochi.

It can be cheaper (and quicker) to take a ferry followed by a shorter rickshaw ride, but after a long day travelling in a Sleeper Class coach, we really didn’t want the extra hassle.

Get me out of here!

We had booked a 3-night stay at the Fort Muziris hotel in the center of Fort Kochi. We’d arranged to pay 1,000 rupees per night, including breakfast (€14 per night).

All the staff at Fort Muziris were friendly, helpful and courteous. We exchanged emails before our arrival and received useful tips and information. Our problem was with the room they gave us when we did arrive.

It was on the ground floor right next to the main entrance. Inside the room, we had a window view of a brick wall 2 feet away. The area outside just below our window was full of rubbish. The room was pretty run-down, with an old creaking metal filing cabinet for a wardrobe.

Fort Muziris Hotel, Kochin
Fort Muziris Hotel, Kochin
Fort Muziris Hotel, Kochin

We later discovered that this filing cabinet covered an unlocked door leading to the outside of the guesthouse. With a good push on the door from the outside you could hear the filing cabinet move inside the room.

The room was grubby, with threadbare towels and a wafer-thin mattress. We asked for a different room, but apparently there was nothing else available.

The real issues started when we switched off the lights to sleep. After an hour, we were woken up by something crawling over us. It turned out to be a large cockroach. That sort of ruined our first night, knowing that when you see one, there’s another 10 you can’t see.

… and being on the ground floor in a town like Kochi doesn’t help.

The rest of the hotel was oddly ramshackle and not too clean, so we decided not to eat there. In fact all we really wanted was to be somewhere else.

The Fort Kochi Town Experience

Fort Kochi itself is a low-key Indian town with the usual quota of gift shops, tourist restaurants and travel agents. We spent the following day walking around, and had seen pretty much everything by early afternoon. The restaurants were uninspiring, but perhaps the most frustrating thing of all was the absence of booze.

After our under-whelming introduction to Kochi, the one thing we needed was a drink. Everywhere seemed to be tea-total. It was only when we inquired at one particular establishment that we struck lucky. They were prepared to serve us what they called “Special Tea”. This was simply a large bottle of beer decanted into a tea pot and served with 2 large tea mugs. The beer wasn’t too cold, but we weren’t complaining as long as we could order a 2nd pot.

The state of Kerala is officially a dry state, and there are fines for places which overtly flout the law by selling alcohol.

If you want the name of this establishment, you’ll have to email us. We don’t want to be reason why this oasis in Kochi has to shut down. We also had a couple of good meals in this same establishment.

Fort Kochi - Getting in and out

The No. 18 Hotel, Kochi

There are a few beaches in Fort Kochi, but you wouldn’t want to use them. They’re not too clean, and you’d quickly gather an audience of leering fishermen if you tried to sunbathe.

I overheard a local Travel Agent advising some young tourists to take a taxi out of Fort Kochi if they wanted to find a decent beach.

Fort Kochi - Getting in and out

Fort Kochi – Getting in and out !

You can visit the old jail complex at Fort Kochi. This is a prominent heritage landmark of erstwhile British Kochi. In fact, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are the oldest European settlements in India.

This jail complex seldom catches the eye of visitors. Located near the Fort Kochi police station, the compound houses a well and eight cells where freedom fighters were imprisoned.

Fort Kochi - Getting in and out - Fort Kochi Jail Complex

Fort Kochi Jail Complex

We just wandered through the open gate through curiosity (we couldn’t find much else to do in Kochi). A caretaker soon descended on us and invited us to take a look around (and make a donation).

It was the highlight of our day 🙁

We also half-heartedly checked out a number of other guesthouses in the area – we really didn’t want to spend another night in Cockroach Central.

Map of Kochi City

Map of Kochi – Click to Enlarge

Our Kochi Exit Plan

After just 18 hours in Kochi, we were looking for the exits.

We’d pre-booked ourselves in for 3 nights, but we’d already had enough. We had some lunch and brainstormed our options.

We had 2 more nights to look forward to in our infested guesthouse (and 2 more days in an uninspiring town). We then had the prospect of a 7½-hour train journey – leaving at 05:00 am – from Kochin to Mangalore (AC3 class), then a night in Mangalore, followed by another 5-hour train journey – leaving at 06:15 am –  from Mangalore to Karwar in South Goa (Sleeper class).

All of this was feeling a bit stressful, and frankly quite depressing. We knew in advance that this section of our trip would be unpredictable: What we thought would be an adventure was now just looking like hard graft.

What if we could just leave Kochi that evening on a train direct to Goa?

We’d already paid around 2,000 rupees for the train tickets we wouldn’t use, and may have to pay for the coming 2 nights in our guesthouse. But can you put a price on peace of mind?

We went to see a Travel Agent we’d noticed earlier, not far from our Guesthouse.

Miraculously, the agent was able to secure seats for us on an AC3 train leaving that evening from Kochi, and arriving the following morning in Madgaon, Goa.

Our relief (and luck) was palpable. We returned to the guesthouse to pack, and to let them know we would be leaving in the early evening. To their credit, they billed us only for 2 of the 3 nights, and even offered to help with our onward travel. As I said earlier, we had no complaints about the staff at Fort Muziris, just the condition of our room.

We had one last meal at the No.18 Hotel before hailing a rickshaw and heading to the train station. We were just hoping that our next train journey would be an improvement on the previous one.


If you enjoyed Fort Kochi, South-West India, you may also like:

Kochi

Tell us what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

__________________________________________

Getting to South India

India Travel Plan - West Coast
India Travel Plan - West Coast
Choosing the best dates and flights for a long-haul trip to the tropics involves a little more than [...]
Rome Hotels & Guesthouses
Rome Hotels & Guesthouses
We often use Rome as our launching pad for long-distance flights to Asia. Many of the bigger airline[...]
Turkish Airlines Inflight Experience
Turkish Airlines Inflight Experience
We were quite excited about flying with Turkish Airlines for the first time. Our expectations of the[...]
Istanbul Airport-City Transfer
Istanbul Airport-City Transfer
Planning our visit to Istanbul from the comfort of our living room, using Google Earth as our map re[...]
Mumbai International Airport
Mumbai International Airport
Arrival at Mumbai International Airport (Chhatrapati Shivaji) and transfer to the Domestic terminal [...]
Jet Airways Inflight Experience
Jet Airways Inflight Experience
Several weeks before starting our trip to India, we went online and booked 2 domestic flights direct[...]

________________________________________

Kerala

The Kovalam Lighthouse Beach Experience
The Kovalam Lighthouse Beach Experience
One week before arriving at Kovalam Lighthouse Beach, I sent an email to our hotel requesting an air[...]
The Windswept Cliffs of Varkala, Kerala
The Windswept Cliffs of Varkala, Kerala
The next place of interest travelling north up the coast from Kovalam is Varkala. The cliffs of Vark[...]
Indian Railways Sleeper Class to Kochi
Indian Railways Sleeper Class to Kochi
Our next destination after Varkala was Kochi. 5 days earlier, while we were still in Kovalam, we had[...]
I'm a Celebrity - Get me out of Fort Kochi!
I'm a Celebrity - Get me out of Fort Kochi!
We arrived at Ernaculum Town station in Kochi later than expected - it was already getting close to [...]

Get free updates by email

Don't miss any India updates, including hotel and restaurant costs & recommendations...

South Goa

South Goa via AC2 Train Class
South Goa via AC2 Train Class
As relieved as we were to be leaving Kochi, we were a little apprehensive about our forthcoming trai[...]
South Goa Beaches - Agonda
South Goa Beaches - Agonda
When we arrived in Goa, fresh off the night train from Kochi, we hadn't yet decided between the Sout[...]
Palolem Beach Goa
Palolem Beach Goa
A few kms south of Agonda beach is Palolem beach, which stretches across a 1.6 km curved bay. The be[...]
Goa Beach Hopping
Goa Beach Hopping
One of our favourite activities on visits to Asia is beach hopping. Just pack a lightweight bag with[...]
Palolem Beach Guesthouses
Palolem Beach Guesthouses
It was through circumstances rather than planning that we ended up spending around 10 days in a vari[...]
In the Footsteps of Jason Bourne
In the Footsteps of Jason Bourne
It's no doubt due to the seclusion and natural beauty of Palolem beach that this location was chosen[...]

Mumbai

Mumbai City Fort Area
Mumbai City Fort Area
We'd put off visiting Mumbai City until the end of our trip to India. Arriving by plane from Goa, we[...]
Mumbai & The Thousand-Yard Stare
Mumbai & The Thousand-Yard Stare
After spending more than 3 weeks in India, absorbing the dubious charm of overcrowded Sleeper coache[...]
INDIA - I'll Never Do It Again
INDIA - I'll Never Do It Again
‘INDIA - I'll Never Do It Again...’ I first came across this expression while chatting with a fellow[...]