Your Kochi adventure begins with an auto rickshaw or tuk tuk ride towards the beach, where we’ll get hydrated with a fresh coconut water, beach side, as we chat about the traditional fishing techniques (often referred to as Chinese fishing nets) used in Kerala. While such nets are used commonly throughout Indochina, they are mainly confined to Kochi and Kollam in India, hence the nickname.
After enjoying our coconut water and soaking up the sea air, we’ll jump back on our tuk tuk and head towards the Dhobikhana (community laundry space), which is one of the oldest in Fort Kochi and is run by a friendly group of Tamils. The first sight (and sounds) that greet you upon arrival is the assortment of men and women ironing clothes as they sing traditional Tamil songs. They are big fans of the famous Bollywood actor Rajnikanth, whose posters you will spot all around!
We’ll take a wander around the Dhobikhana and see the techniques used by the experts. We think this is the only laundry space like this left in Kerala and has been run successfully for many decades. These old-fashioned techniques are dying out all over India, so it’s wonderful to see them still going strong here.
Next up is the famous Gujarati street. Merchants from the northern state of Gujerati moved to this area centuries ago and since then their community and businesses have flourished. We’ll explore the street’s hidden gems, admiring its temples and numerous spice shops before visiting the papadum factory, where you’ll see first-hand how these delicious morsels are handmade by the locals.
Coconut oil is not only one of the most important ingredients in the Keralan cuisine but it’s also our secret to long and healthy hair. So next up, we’ll take you to a place where you you’ll be able to see how pure oil is extracted from coconuts.
A great way to experience local culture is to visit the local market, so we’ll head there next to enjoy colourful displays of exotic fresh fruits and vegetable. This is a great opportunity to see how Indians shop daily and to get an idea of the sorts of ingredients they are using to prepare fresh meals everyday.
After working up an appetite, learning about local life and commerce, it’s time to try the best biryani ever (we hope you’ll agree!) at a joint famous for its signature biryani. Chef V.K. Kayee, known locally as Kayikka (Brother Kayee) started his career as a cook and waiter in the British army in the 1940s. Later he started working as a waiter in Bombay and by 1948 he had started his own tea stall in Mattancherry. It became so popular that he successfully converted it into a restaurant in 1951 and it’s still going strong. If you are vegetarian, we will take you to another place that is equally famous for its incredible veggie dishes.
After lunch, we’re going to pay a visit to a very special initiative that’s been supporting women in the area for over 30 years. The enterprise is run by women and involves the production of various crafts, clothing and spices and is especially celebrated for its stunningly beautiful hand-woven sarees and unusual jewellery. Everything is made by up to 600 local families who live in the surrounding villages, giving local women the opportunity to earn money and break down social barriers. Prince Charles is a fan and has previously lent his support to these female superheroes! We’ll chat to some of the ladies before having a bit of a dress-up session, where you’ll learn how to wear a saree the right way! If you wish to make a purchase, there will be time to do so, with all proceeds going directly back into the local community.
Last but certainly not least, we’ll stroll over to India's first (and only) museum/restaurant which will offer us a delicious ginger tea with a magnificent historic backdrop. As we sip the gingery goodness, the chef will let us into the secrets of the perfect ginger brew (amazing for a vast array of ailments!). The views aren’t bad either, offering up stunning vistas of the Kochi bay waters beyond.
Your tour will end with a ride back to Kaliveedu Lodge on our trusty tuk tuk. If you’d like a hand organising a ride back to your accommodation, please ask your guide. And don’t forget to ask for more tips on what else to see, do and eat during your stay in Kochi.
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, coconut water, lunch, ginger tea, tuk tuk transport.
Exclusions: Additional food and drinks, souvenirs and personal shopping, tips/gratuities for your guide.
Dress standard: Please wear whatever you wish to.
Your Trip: For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.
Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We'll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
Closure of sites: In the unlikely case of a monsoon, you may not see the washer men in the Dhobikhanas.
Child Policy: Travellers under 10 years of age are not permitted to join this tour.