The city of Kochi, a cultural and historical gem, is a must-see when in South India. It has the pride of being a port since the year 1314, and contains within it a heritage that is as rich as the timeline of its existence. Another bonus of being in Kochi is its proximity to nearby sites, namely the Kerala backwaters. Renting a bike in Kochi is effortless, and the perfect way to undertake a day trip from Kochi. Read on for our handpicked list of the five best destinations for a day trip from Kochi.
1. Athirapally Falls
With a drop of over 80 feet, the Athirapally falls are the largest waterfalls in Kerala. Watching the waters of the Chalakudy river cascade over a cliff to descend into mist with a loud roar is sure to leave you breathless. The best time to visit is in the months of September and October, when the falls wil be swollen with the monsoonal rain. Once you pass through the entrance gates, you head towards a path that leads to the falls. This is shaded by trees and winds through the dense jungle for about a kilometer before you reach the top of the falls. Here, you can take a small dip in one of the pools of water. A 15-minute walk down a muddy path takes you to the bottom. Swimming here is strictly prohibited.
Athirapally falls is a short and pleasant 2 hour ride from Kochi. You can leave your bikes parked at the entrance gates to the falls. The falls have a small entrance fee of Rs.15.
Distance: 72.5 kms
Route: NH 544
Time: 2 hrs
Anyone who is in Kerala will want to see the mystical backwaters that hold so much attraction. While a lot of people head to Alleppey, we recommend heading to Kumarakom instead. Sitting on the banks of Kerala’s largest lake, the Vembanad lake, Kumarakom is an undisturbed backwater village. The Kumarakom bird sanctuary, stretching across 14 acres, and home to a number of local and migratory birds is unmissable. Kumarakom’s canals are much emptier than those of Alleppey, which means the houseboat costs here are more expensive than in Alleppey. However, for a day trip, it works just fine.
A lot of people opt to go from Kochi to Kumarakom by boat on a cruise. But, let us tell you, there’s no better way than hitting the road with a bike for company. Your drive is scenic, and NH 66 is smooth and well maintained. You will see several water bodies even before you reach Kumarakom, which makes the ride even more exciting. Leave early in the morning to get the best of the ride and the best of the park, as it is open from 6 am.
Distance: 50 kms
Route: NH 66
Time: 1 hr 15 mins
3. Cherai Beach
Cherai beach is one of the most famous beaches in Kerala, and yet it remains one of the cleanest. It lies on the other end of Vypeen island and is connected to the mainland by bridges. This makes it easily accessible by road. Cherai beach has loads to do – take a dip in the salty waters, stuff yourself on fresh seafood and laze back and get your fill of Vitamin D. The most exciting part is that Cherai beach is a great spot to see dolphins in their natural habitat. You can even take a boat ride to see them up close.
You can go to Cherai beach from Kochi by NH 66. However if you’d rather avoid the tolls, stick to State Highway 63. Both routes are equally well maintained and both take around the same time.
Distance: 40 kms
Route: NH 66 or SH 63
Time: 1 hr
4. Thattekad Bird Sanctuary
Founded in 1983 and known for its richness in biodiversity, the Thattekad bird sanctuary is Kerala’s first bird sanctuary. Over 280 species of birds have been recorded at the sanctuary. In addition, long distance migratory birds also drop in to the sanctuary. Ride here for a day away from the pollution and chaos of urban life and escape into the arms of nature. Walk around the park and try to count the number of birds you see, or grab a pair of binoculars for some birdwatching. Lush greenery pervades throughout the year, but the best time to visit is from September to February.
There is plenty of parking available at the bird sanctuary. You can head here via NH 85 or via the Aluva – Munnar road. Both take around the same time and are equally convenient.
Distance: 70 kms
Route: NH 85 or Aluva – Munnar road
Time: 2 hrs
There are some drives where the journey is almost better than the destination and one of these is the ride from Kochi to Munnar. The ride is 4 hours, winding its way through the hills. But it is one of the most breathtaking and unforgettable journeys that you can take. Munnar itself is nestled among the hills and a beautiful destination. The British came here as it was their Summer Resort, and the pleasant weather throughout the year means you can be in Munnar whenever you want.
A few words of caution – your ride is extremely scenic, but not an easy one. Do not overestimate your riding skills or underestimate the road ahead. There will be hairpin bends to navigate and you must ride as safely as possible. It is a long ride, so we recommend stopping along the way to take in the sights and maybe get in a few good photographs. We recommend taking this day trip from Kochi right after the monsoon. This way the rain won’t get in the way, but the weather will be cool and misty.
Distance: 125 kms
Route: NH 85
Time: 4 hrs
The classic vibe of Kochi is irreplaceable and unmissable, and while you should definitely explore every corner of the city, it is important to not miss out on its surrounding jewels. These day trips from Kochi can be undertaken by anyone, as long as you know how to ride. We’ll guide you when it comes to what bike you should rent from where in Kochi, just so you get to go on an unstoppable adventure.