Athirapally Waterfalls

Exuding a mystique and serene vibe, Athirappilly Waterfalls are the most famous falls in the state of Kerala. Located about 63 km from Thrissur and 70 km from Kochi, they are a popular picnic spot and lie near the Vazhachal Waterfalls, which are another delightful sight. Athirappilly Waterfalls are multi-tiered and hidden amidst a thick forest of the Western Ghats. Birdwatchers find this place appealing as there are a variety of migratory and endemic birds here. If you are lucky, you can also spot the hornbill. Visitors can also indulge in adventure sports like river rafting and trekking. About 5 km away, lie the Vazhachal Waterfalls. They are known for their breathtaking view and the rich endemic fauna that call it home. About four endangered species of the hornbill are believed to reside there.

Athirapally Waterfalls

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

Lying on the outskirts of the city, Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, located on the northern bank of River Periyar, was the first bird sanctuary in Kerala. A tropical evergreen forest at the foothills of the Western Ghats, the bird sanctuary is home to over 300 species of birds including bronzed drongo, Sri Lankan frogmouth, bronzed drongo, racket-tailed drongo, shama, Malabar parakeet, Malabar grey hornbill, white-bellied blue flycatcher etc. The forest also has around nine species of reptiles and 28 types of mammals, living amidst beautiful plantations of mahogany, teak and rosewood. It was made popular by renowned ornithologist Dr Salim Ali, who called it the richest bird habitat in peninsular India.

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Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

Vypeen (Vypin)

Soaked in Portuguese charm, Vypeen is a quaint island on the outskirts of Kochi. Its sun-kissed shores, pristine beaches, old lighthouses and thrilling trekking trails make Vypeen a popular tourist stopover. Some of its beaches like Cherai, Kuzhuppilly and Puthuvype are among the longest beaches in Kochi. Puthuvype Beach is also home to one of the oldest lighthouses in Kerala. Tourists can visit Munambam, the largest fishing harbour in Kochi that lies to the north of Vypeen. Tourists can reach Vypeen via boats from Fort Kochi. This 27-km-long island is connected to the city by bridges called Goshree bridges. They start at Kalamukku in Vypeen, touch two other islands, Mulavukad and Vallapadam, and then end at Marine Drive in Kochi. Other popular attractions in Vypeen include Nedungad, Pallipuram Fort, Sahodaran Ayyappan Smarakam, Veeranpuzha, which is a part of Vembanad Lake, Criz Milagress Church, Sree Perumpadappil Bhagavathi Temple, Njarakkal Fish Farm and Elamkunnapuzha Temple.

Vypeen (Vypin)

Marine Drive

A stunning promenade facing the pristine backwaters of Kochi, Marine Drive is one of the most popular tourist stopovers in the city. Stroll along the scenic trail and spot the Kochi Harbour in the distance and enjoy the picturesque views of the backwaters as the cool wind ruffles your hair. Tourists can also explore the area by boating or cruising in the tranquil waters. Many cruises organise dinner settings amidst city lights that are reflected in the lake. Tourists can also visit a Rainbow Bridge, an arch-shaped structure that is lit up during the night, giving a visual treat to visitors. This 3-km-long drive is lined with malls and eateries where tourists can buy unique handicrafts and sample authentic cuisine.

Marine Drive

Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary

Situated at the heart of Kochi, Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary is popularly called the green lung of the city. It boasts thick mangrove vegetation that provides shelter to both endemic and migratory birds. Some of the popular species you can spot are little cormorant and black-crowned night heron. Tourists can also look out for black crow that is the major predator for eggs of various birds. Besides, you can spot mammals like painted bats, bandicoot, Eurasian otter, three-striped palm squirrel and Indian flying-fox. For a bird's eye view of the sanctuary, tourists can head to a watchtower located within the premises. The sanctuary is skirted by the Arabian Sea that adds to its panoramic beauty. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from January to March.

Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary

Willingdon Island

One of the largest man-made islands in the country, Willingdon Island is a stone's throw from Kochi. Surrounded by pristine backwaters of Kerala, the island is an ideal place to soak in natural beauty. The best way to explore the island is by strolling through serene walkways and admiring picturesque views of the Arabian Sea. Willingdon Island hosts some of the best hotels of the state and connects Kochi to the other seaports of the world. The island was created in 1933 and named after the then British Viceroy of India, Lord Willingdon. The architect of this artificial island was Robert Bristow and currently, the land is under the Indian Navy and Cochin Port Trust. The island was created with soil trench produced during the deepening of the famous Vembanad Lake for the construction of the modern Kochi Port.

Willingdon Island

Chinese Fishing Nets

Chinese fishing nets are unique to Kochi, and outside of China, are only found here. Called Cheenavala in Malayalam, they were perhaps introduced by Chinese explorer Zheng He. Many fishermen earn their livelihood by fishing using these nets, and a whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi and Vypeen is dotted with them. Watching the fishermen in action with these nets has become a major tourist attraction. Like huge hammocks, these cantilevered fishing nets are dropped in the sea and are left for a certain period of time. To sink the net in the water the fisherman only has to walk on it. His weight is enough to sink the net. Later, when they are full of fish, the fishermen draw them in. Once the fish is caught you can select what you like and also get one of the shacks to cook it for you. These fishing nets were established on the shores of Kochi between 1350 and 1450 AD.

Chinese Fishing Nets