Kochi is a large modern city spread across a few coastal islands and peninsulas near the city’s large port. The newest part of the city has the usual Indian city feel to it, compact, crowded and hectic, the massive modern port and the huge heavily restricted naval base is close to this part. Kochi’s saving grace is its old quarter, a low rise part of town that feels like an amalgamation of cultures, with catholic churches, mosques, and temples mixed together under the slow sway of coconut trees. Old Kochi should feel like an amalgamation of cultures, everyone has come here to trade for spices at this ancient spice port, there is recorded history of romans trading here, dozens of other cultures have come here since then, many have had colonies here, eventually blending into the local community.
Old Kochi has a great vibe, with a few heritage hotels and a funky and interesting artist’s community throughout the mismatched buildings that make up the old city. There are a few tourist focused shops and a few shacks near the Chinese fishing nets, trying to catch a few tourist rupee.
Local fishermen work the traditional style Chinese fishing nets, lowering the nets into the waters, letting them sit, before raising them again, to see what is there. There are small boats pulled up on the beach, littered with nets and fishing related debris, the small shacks and stalls several metres from the boats sell the catch, there are other kitchen stalls nearby that will cook the fish you buy for a fee.
Kerala is famous for a few things, spices, tea and back waters. From Kochi all three are quite tantalisingly in reach.