Popularly referred to as the ’Queen of the Arabian Sea,’ Cochin (Khochi) has been a trading post since early Roman times, due to its strategic location between Europe and China. From the court of Kubla Khan to the captains of Europe’s great Age of Exploration, travelers and merchants from far-off lands have been coming here since ancient times in search of spices, sandalwood and ivory. Explore St. Francis' Church, the oldest existing European church in India. View one of the oldest synagogues in the world – a jewel of incomparable beauty with its brass columns, Belgian hanging lamps, and exquisite hand-painted, blue-and-white Chinese porcelain tiles.
The following Shore Excursions are available for this port on this cruise, and may be reserved beginning 240 days before the cruise begins for guests receiving Concierge amenities, and 180 days before the cruise begins for all other guests. Guests receiving Concierge amenities will receive a 5% discount off of the prices shown below for Regent Choice tours.
Most Active or Strenuous
Minimal Activity Required
This half-day tour is an introduction to the captivating wonders of Cochin, a picturesque city of peninsulas and islands originally built by the Portuguese, and capital of the southern Indian state, Kerala.
Cochin has one of the finest natural harbors in the world and for centuries was the center of the spice trade. Ancient mariners from the Middle East, China and Europe all left their mark on this beautiful island city, and its diverse past is reflected in its steep-roofed bungalows and colonial residences, its spice and antique shops, and its cathedral, palaces and synagogue.
Driving along the narrow passageway at the water's edge, you'll see the first visual symbol of ancient trade and the age-old shared influences of Cochin: the Chinese Fishing Nets. These fixed and cantilevered fishing nets are the icon of Cochin sea trade, and cannot be found anywhere else in India. It is believed Chinese traders brought these huge fishing nets to Cochin from the court of Kublai Khan.
Leaving the waterfront, you'll stop at St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India, built in 1503 by Portuguese friars. Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524; however, in 1538 his remains were taken to Lisbon. His sepulcher can still be seen at the church. Next, a short stop will be made at the engaging Indo-Portuguese Museum, currently housing outstanding examples of the art and architecture of the region.
Continuing on, you'll pass through the district of Mattancherry, noted for the medieval-style Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace). A large but modest-looking building with sloping roofs, the palace was built by the Portuguese in 1555 and given to the Raja of Kochi (Cochin). It is now a museum with exhibits recording the history, traditions and culture of the area.
Your last stop will be the ancient neighborhood known as Jew Town, once a thriving Jewish enclave in the late 1500s. The community has dwindled in numbers, but the synagogue, built in 1568, is beautifully preserved. After strolling the narrow streets of Jew Town, passing the synagogue and an assortment of shops, you'll rejoin your coach and return to the ship.
Please note: The Dutch Palace in Mattancherry is closed on Fridays, therefore there will be no interior visit, exterior only.
Queen of the Arabian Sea, Cochin is a pleasant seaport built on a series of interconnected islands and peninsulas. Considered one of the best natural harbors in the world, Cochin was for centuries the center of the spice trade, and its geography and history distinguish it from any other city in India. The oldest European settlement in India, Cochin is an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and English country village grafted onto the tropical Malabar Coast. On your tour explore exotic Cochin, with its spice-filled markets, lush foliage and pastel houses.
Leaving the pier, drive to Mattancherry to visit the Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese in 1557 as a gift for the Maharaja of Cochin in exchange for trading rights. The Palace houses royal costumes, palanquins, furniture and weapons but its striking feature is a series of murals painted on wooden walls.
Continuing on, stop at the ancient district of Jew Town. Jews used to occupy virtually all the houses on Jew Town Road, where they sold fruits, vegetables and spices or worked as carpenters or oil pressers. The spice markets are still located on the narrow street, but most of the homes and businesses belong to non-Jews. Of the seven synagogues that once graced this street, only one remains.
Drive to Fort Cochin with a stop at St. Francis Church, built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars. This is India's oldest European-built church, and the original burial site of Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama. Continue to the Chinese Fishing Nets, the first visual symbol of the ancient trade and age-old shared influences of Cochin. Lined along the sea-front, these intriguing fishing nets exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish, introduced by Chinese traders from the court of Kublai Khan.
The final portion of your tour will be by motorized boat. Observe the diverse activities of the busy harbor, including local fishing colonies and glimpses of locals going about their daily lives on the assorted islands. Pass by the outlying island of Vallarpadam, where an enormous construction project is underway to make it one of the largest container ports in Asia. Cruise past Gundu, the smallest island in the harbor. See the long narrow peninsula of Bolghatty, famous for the Bolghatty Palace built by the Dutch in 1744, and now a resort hotel.
Please note: Light snacks and refreshments are served on the boat while returning to ship. The order of sites visited may vary. The Dutch Palace in Mattancherry is closed on Fridays, therefore there will be no interior visit, exterior only.
Explore the tranquil waters and byways of Kerala, with its palm fringed backwaters on this full day excursion.
The backwaters act as a vital waterway for the transportation of goods, people and their produce, often the only link between isolated villages and crowded towns. In Kerala, one of the most beautiful states in India and known as "God's Own Country," the total expanse of backwater stretches from north to south over 900 miles, with a network of 44 rivers, lagoons and lakes.
This morning, drive to the village of Alleppey, surrounded by coconut plantations and famous for its narrow maze of canals and backwaters. A place of immense natural beauty, Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, is referred to as the Venice of the East. After a brief comfort stop at a local resort, board motor launches for a leisurely boat ride past coconut thatched houses and old colonial warehouses, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Catch a glimpse into the lives of local families living along the banks of the canals as they go about their daily household chores. The well-known Vallamkali, Snake Boat Festival, originated here.
Following the cruise, you'll arrive at a local resort for lunch before the return to Fort Cochin for an orientation drive, with a photo stop at the Chinese Fishing Nets.
Please note: On port calls of less than 8 1/2 hours, the tour will not pass by Fort Cochin or stop at the fishing nets. The total tour duration will be reduced to approximately 6.5 to 7 hours.
Kerala is one of the most beautiful states of India, sandwiched between the Lakshwadeep Sea and the Western Ghats (mountains). The country is full of rice fields, mango and cashew trees and above all, coconut palms. Enjoy this insightful full-day journey into rural India with a visit to the village of Vaikom and experience first-hand the lifestyles, traditions, art and culture of the villagers.
Begin with a brief stop at Vaikom's famed Shiva Temple, believed to be the oldest in the country. Continue to the Khadi weaving center where the lovely khadi cloth is woven by hand using handspun cotton yarn. Cotton weaving is the heart and soul of Indian textiles and there are 23 different varieties of cotton found in India. Traditional cotton weaving is used in producing a wide range of items such as saris, bed sheets, napkins, shirts and summer wear.
An important aspect of Vaikom’s landscape is its narrow canals which you will explore in local canoes coming face to face with daily chores of folk around these parts.
A box lunch is arranged in the cool gardens of a local home set in the heart of the village. Post lunch, there is an opportunity to visit a local handicraft center where there will be demonstrations of the various trades and skills ofthe people in this region.
Please note: Order of sites visited may vary. Lunch is prepared by Taj Malabar hotel. On port calls of less than 8 1/2 hours, the duration of some stops will be shortened and the total tour duration will be reduced from 7.5 to 7 hours.
Terms & Conditions:
Free Unlimited Shore Excursions are for full fare guests only, capacity controlled and subject to availability. Requested excursions may not be available at time of booking. Supplement will apply on Regent Choice excursions (indicated by the above) and excludes Private Arrangements and all Adventures Ashore programs. Concierge benefits do not apply to Executive Collection private cars or other private arrangements. In order to ensure quality guides and sufficient transportation, we must provide the tour operator with passenger counts at least 36 hours in advance. Therefore no refunds will be given within 36 hours of tour departure for cancellations or no-shows. Please pay special attention to scheduling and tour lengths when booking your shore excursions. In many cases, it is not possible to participate in more than one tour per day in a given port. Tour Departure times are subject to change so please reference your actual tour ticket for the correct departure time. Tours operate rain or shine. Minor children 17 years and under must be accompanied by a an adult 18 years or older on all shore excursions. Tours require minimum participation levels to operate so please sign up as early as possible. Tours may be cancelled if minimum participation levels are not met. Prices, Itineraries and General Information shore excursion prices are subject to change to meet unexpected cost increases or currency fluctuations. Please consult the Destination Services Desk onboard for information. During local or national holidays, access to certain facilities (such as museums or archaeological sites) may be limited or denied. In such instances, adjustments will be made to minimize inconvenience to guests. Some tours have limited availability. Tours are generally available for reserving 180 days prior to the beginning of a cruise. Please sign up early to avoid disappointment. Regent Seven Seas Cruises reserves the right to require guests to complete a liability waiver for select shore excursions. For more information, please visit the Destination Services Desk onboard.