Kochi, also called the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is a beautiful coastal metropolitan city with a rich history. Although the town itself is crowded and abuzz with the noise of development, there are many popular scenic spots on the outskirts of Kochi that are isolated from the hustle and bustle of city life and make great destinations for a day trip from Kochi. These can be reached in an hour or two by car or by using the well connected public transport here.
Athirapally, which is 67 km from Kochi, is a land of rivers, forests and cascading waterfalls. It is a great place to spend the day drenched in water or go for a trek into the forest. The waterfalls that is part of the Chalakudy River is 80 feet high and is located in the centre of the forest and is the largest waterfalls in Kerala. A great picnic spot; it is also a favorite among movie makers. Only, five kilometer away is the Vazhachal waterfalls, which is also a bewitching sight. Swimming is permitted in the region, though with precautions in place, and police lifeguards from the local tribal community take care of the security here.
Daily jungle safari are organized though the forests of the Sholayar ranges offering tourists a unique opportunity to enjoy the rich flora and fauna of Athirapally- Vazhachal eco system. Several endangered species reside in these forests. The safari moves across the rain forests in the regions and pass through the Thumboormuzhy Dam and butterfly garden. The butterfly garden is the natural habitat of various species of butterflies, and is a great locations to observe the colorful winged creatures right from their pupa stage.
Distance from Kochi: 67 km
A sleepy hill station untouched by civilization, Vagamon is filled with meadows, idyllic villages, clear streams, tea plantations and thick pine forests. Around 110 km from Kochi, Vagamon is also a hub of adventure sport activities with arrangements for trekking, paragliding, mountaineering and rock climbing. The ride up the hills through the curling hair pin bends offers an awesome view of the picturesque green hills and deep valleys, to add to that the road to Vagamon is lined with pine trees. Vagamon has made it to National Geographic Traveler’s 50 most attractive places to visit in India and is a great summer retreat.
Flower lovers will find much joy in the variety of orchids that grow in the wild here. Apart from being an enchanting hill station with plantations, the region is an abode of calm and spiritual delight. Christian devotees can be seen trekking up the Kurushumala, some with heavy crosses propped on their shoulder. A huge dairy farm is run by the monks here .
An annual international paragliding festival is organised here, attracting enthusiast of the flying sport from around the globe.
Distance from Kochi: 110 km
Ezhattumugham Nature Village
Ezhattumugham is a prisitine nature village in the outskirts of Kochi, with the glistering Chalakudy River flowing through it. The village is in the midst of thick forests. Ezhattumugham translates to ‘seven faces of a river’ and is called so because here the river bifurcates into seven streams. There are big boulders in the river here and many tourists choose to lazily relax on these rocks with their feet dipped in the cool water of the flowing river in the backdrop of the sound of parrots on the huge trees.
Ezattumugham can be clubbed with the trip to Athirapally, but the nature village though lacking in the glamour of the Athirpally waterwalls is much less crowded and kept in its original form.
Distance from Kochi : 47km
Kumarakom is a village that comprises of cluster of islands on the Vembanad Lake. A hotspot for houseboat tourism, the highlight of Kumarakom is the bird sanctuary here which is spread across 14 acres. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is host to many migratory birds from the Himalayas to as far as Siberia and is the perfect place to watch avian life . Birds such as Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal, waterfowl, cormorant and Brahminy kite can be spotted here. The bird sanctuary that is 55 km from Kochi, which is an hour-and-a-half drive, is open from 6 am to 6 pm.
The crystal backwaters of Kumarakom offer many leisure water activities such as an array of boating and fishing activities. The best spot to capture photographs of Kerala’s much famed backwater and coastal life.
Distance from Kochi : 55 km
Kumbalangi model tourism village, which is India’s first designated ecotourism village, is on the outskirts of Kochi. Although this fishing hamlet is just 15 km from the city, it is tucked away from the maddening crowd and noise of city life. Bait fishing and boating activities are popular among tourist here. Around 100 Chinese fishing nets dot the backwaters here and mangroves separate land from water providing a breeding ground for prawns, crabs, oysters and several fishes.
Distance from Kochi : 15 km
Perfect spot tree huggers, Thommankuthu is famous for its seven-step waterfall. A popular picnic spot,. Thommankuthu attracts nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. The destination has several caves and is apt for trekking and mountaineering activities. To get around the entire forest area, you will have to trek 12 km in the woods, which is as close to nature as one can get. A two hour drive from Kochi, Thommankuthu is nature’s treasure trove.
Distance from Kochi : 72 km
Thattekad Bird Santuary and Bhoothathankettu
Thattekad Sanctuary, also known as Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, is located 65 km from Kochi. A regular haunt of Ornithologists, 500 bird species including many forest and water birds thrive here. Tourists can go bamboo rafting on the lake and explore the surrounding areas. Around 10 km from this sanctuary is the Bhoothathankettu Dam in the midst of virgin forests. Bhoothathankettu in Malayalam means ‘ghosts’ fort’, and the myth is that dam was built by Bhoothams (spirit/ghosts) overnight by using rocks. Trekking through the forest to get to the dam is very exciting. Apart from the scenic beauty many famous and ancient temples and churches are located in this area.
Distance from Kochi : 65 km
Alappuzha ( Allepey)
Alappuzha is for a paradise for sea lovers. This Venice of the East, which is 53 km from Kochi, is filled with tranquil palm fringed canals and lagoons. The town is famous for boat races, backwater holidays, beaches, marine products, sea food and coir industry. Kettuvallam or houseboat tourism is the most popular tourist activity here. These are several well-maintained beaches in Alappuzha which are safe for swimming and unwinding.
Distance from Kochi : 53 km
Although neither a picnic spot nor nature paradise, Thrissur is a great place to treat yourself to the rich culture of Kerala. Thrissur is best known for the Thrissur Pooram festival, the most colorful and spectacular temple festival in Kerala. Thrissur has a number of world famous temples and churches worth visiting. Thrissur zoo is home to many exotic animals and birds. If you want to indulge in history visit the many museums here and Kodungallur Kovilakam, a palace that belonged to the royal family of the medieval ages.
Distance from Kochi : 85 km
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