Kochi day one was spent in a seafood lunch at Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi. To reach that place our car had to be ferried to another side of the water. The above two incidents had enough X-factor to start an exciting tour.
The Chinese fishing nets experience is a must do at Kochi – buy fresh seafood from the fishermen and take to any small dingy outlet to there cook for you. We took a mix of kingfish (spicy fried later), lobsters grilled and Karimeen (pearl spot) fish in banana leaf. Pure non-veg meal – no rice, no curry, no bread and just some drinks.
Since we have done Kochi before (2007, 2010) on Day two, this time, we ventured unchartered territories. We took a tour of Thumboormuzhi dam and hanging bridge, Athirapally falls and Vazhachal falls. From our Cherai beach resort, it was worth an 8hr trip.
Our travel guide Febin (under Lijo Jose travels – very highly rated on Trip Advisor) picked us at 11am and we were back by 630pm.
Our first stop Thumboormuzhi dam and the hanging bridge was actually best of the lot. The suspended bridge does shake as people move around and that gives a wobbly feeling! The view from the bridge is fantastic and something you can admire for hours.
The area has enough activities for kids (park with slides etc) and adults (hike through rocky terrain, wade through knee-deep water, admire the lush green spot laced with mountains and water gushing through the dam). This is a must do immediately after the rainy season (Sep-Dec).
Word of caution, toilets in this part of the world are very bad to worth throwing up. Stretch your bladders and whenever you find a decent toilet, use it!
Athirapally falls was our next stop and this waterfall has been made popular thanks to the shooting of the blockbuster superhit movie Bahubali. While the waterfalls is majestic and worth a view, however the pathway from the ticket counter to the viewing spot is rocky and very steep in parts.
My Woodlands sandals gave away during my ascend and descend of this path. Hence the effort is too much and views not worth that much effort. Unless if you crave for a waterfalls view. I would recommend watching Bahubali movie on the big screen instead, its epic.
The other waterfall, Vazhachal, doesn’t have a great fall, it’s more of water gushing down a slope. Again, not as great worth the walk, the time, the wet rocky path and the mischievous monkeys.
The ticket prices aren’t a concern, they barely cost 100 INR = 2 SGD = 1.5 USD nett for tickets (for two adults two kids), parking fees and camera charges, for both waterfalls.
Unless you are a waterfall fan I will recommend you to only see the Thumboormuzhi dam and the hanging bridge and then proceed to the revered Guruvayur Temple and elephant sanctuary. A word of caution – the temple has dress codes for men (bare top and a mundu in the bottom) and ladies (salwar or saree) and meant only for Hindus or at least people who believe in Hinduism. The elephant sanctuary doesn’t allow photography. Now you know why I skipped them and instead went to the waterfalls!
Back to my day and one of the highlights was our lunch at a shady smallish Chinese restaurant. When in India, as a budget tourist, to keep your stomach free from any bugs, ironical as it may sound, best to always have Chinese food. Our meal had soft paneer chilly and chicken chowmein. It was a restaurant between the hanging bridge and Athirapally falls. Total bill for two adults, two kids and our travel guide – barely 750 INR = 15 SGD = 11 USD. Street and highways food in India is cheap, great taste and give unique experiences!
Day three (tomorrow) is dedicated to shopping and after that, we proceed to Delhi and Agra on a VMF – Vacation only to Meet Friends. I do this often, cause friends make me what I am and for us seeking FriendsBond >> Pokemon!
Cheers! With the most unique drink I ever had – Chilli Ginger Lime juice! Each sip gave a kick to all my sensory organs! Yeah, Chilli and Ginger in a drink – welcome to Kerala, India!