December 5, 2016
Kochi: It’s tourist season in Kerala and Kochi has turned into the usual tourist hub of God’s own country with tourists flying into the capital city first and then making their way to other places of interest. If Malaysia and other South Asian destinations are the most sought-after, Kochi too has spots that can match them.
Tucked away from the heat and dust, and filled with a serene calm, Chellanam is now a hot spot not just for its green waters and rustic beauty but because of the various Mollywood and Bollywood film shoots done here. A little away is Cherai, known for its sprawling beach and high-end resorts.
“Cherai with its pristine beach and Athirappally with its scenic waterfalls have become hot favourites among Arabs visiting Kerala,” says Thomas Jose, a tour operator.
Ships cruising along Kochi’s waters too have found their favourite spot in Kumbalangi, a lagoon where rustic life can be seen at its best. Travellers tired of endless days on the sea can hop on to a country boat and have a closer look at local activities like toddy-making and crab farming, or else have a taste of ethnic Kerala food served at the various homestays around here. Kumbalangi even boasts of a floating resort, said to be the first in the state.
If all this doesn’t seem exciting, the new name on the tourist circuit is Paniyeli Poru, next to Kodanad Elephant Sanctuary. Another tourist spot gaining popularity is the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary.
“Those relying on bookings through tour operators has come down heavily as online booking is catching on,” says Peter Pannathara, who takes tourists for village tours in and around Kochi.
To give a boost to tourism, the Port Trust is also planning tourism by boat to the islands of Willingdon and Fort Kochi.