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Flights to Kochi

Cochin International Airport serves the city of Kochi (also known as Cochin), located in district Ernakulam of the state of Kerala, India. The city, situated by the Arabian Sea, is a major port for India and is often referred to as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’; on top of that, it is also the commercial and industrial hub of Kerala, and its largest urban agglomeration. Kochi is one of the fastest-growing Indian cities on India’s west coast and its airport, Cochin International, is the largest in Kerala (as of July 2014) with an area of more than 1,000 acres. It consists of 2 terminals – one for domestic travellers and the other for international – and sports traditional Kerala architecture. Considered a gateway to Kerala, Cochin International Airport is also one of the busiest airports in the state, handling more than 5 million passengers yearly.

Getting around

Located about 30km from Kochi, getting from Cochin International Airport to the city isn’t difficult. Tourists can take a public bus – they can choose between an air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned bus – that connects straight from the airport to the heart of the city, or book a pre-paid taxi using fully computerised pre-paid taxi counters at the airport. The ride from the airport to the city in a taxi would take about 30 minutes or so, although it is highly dependent on traffic conditions.

Renting a car and driving into the city is not recommended for tourists, as traffic congestion is a common occurrence within Kochi. Rather, tourists are advised to use buses, taxis or auto-rickshaws available in the city to get around instead.

What to see and do

With its strategic location on the East-West trade route, Kochi is – and has always been – a major port for India. It used to be a spice trading centre back in the 14th century, and today is a bustling city with a diverse population made up of people of various ethnicities from all over India.

If you are in Kochi, don’t miss Fort Cochin – a top tourist site in Kochi that includes a beach, church and even a basilica. The beach is a popular destination for strolling, watching ships going to and from the port, and sunset-gazing, while the St. Francis Church and Santa Cruz Basilica is a must-see for history buffs. Built in 1510 by Portuguese friars, the church is the oldest European church in India and was the burial site for Vasco de Gama (before his body was sent back to Portugal). Immerse yourself in the past as you look at the gravestones still in the church, as well as an 18th century register of baptisms and marriages officiated in the ancient church. Next, move on to the Santa Cruz Basilica built in 1902, also by the Portuguese. A Roman Catholic Church, it boasts some old and gorgeous paintings as well as a high decorative ceiling.

If you’ve had enough of the past, grab a boat and go island-hopping from Kochi. With nearby Vypeen, Bolgatty, Willingdon and Gundu Islands available and ready to be explored, your island adventure awaits. Discover some ancient forts and palaces, romantic lighthouses and unspoilt beaches.

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