Kochi International Airport (IATA: COK) is the main airport serving the City of Kochi. It’s also one of the main gateways in and out of the State of Kerala and the rest of South India for both domestic and international visitors. All the carriers operating at COK are either domestic or offer flights to nearby destinations in south-east and south-west Asia and the Mideast.
In other words, European, American and African nation visitors will need to take a connecting flight from a larger airport in South India such as Chennai or Bangalore. However, many international carriers operate chartered flights direct to Kochi during the peak tourist season (Oct-April).
Kochi Airport has two terminals – one domestic and one international. Both are in the same complex and are connected through a building that houses an airport hotel and a large food court, in case your flight is delayed or you miss a connecting flight. Both terminals also have their own shopping and restaurant outlets, with duty free shops and branded fast-food joints in the international terminal. The domestic terminal has a more ethnic local feel with a shopping arcade offering all the well-known Kerala souvenirs and food items.
The prepaid taxi counter, currency exchange, book shop, convenience store and other such facilities can be found at the arrivals hall.
The airport is located at Nedumbassery, about 19 miles (30 km) from the city. The easiest and most convenient option is to buy the prepaid taxi ticket at the arrivals hall in either terminal. You have to choose a vehicle (a/c, non-a/c, large/small, company/model, etc.) and pay in cash (ATMs and currency exchange counters are also available in both terminals). The fare obviously also varies based on your destination in Kochi, but here’s an example – a non-a/c prepaid taxi trip from the airport to Fort Kochi (about 30 miles or 47 km) will take you more than an hour and will cost you just less than Rs. 1,000.
The more affordable option for budget travelers would be to take a KSRTC bus into the city. The bus stop is right outside the transit block between the two terminals. The ordinary non-ac buses run from the airport to destinations all over the city and towns in the Kochi metro area. Special air-conditioned airport buses (these are orange in color – called Garuda) run on routes between the airport and Ernakulum or Fort Kochi. Fare varies by destination, but it won’t cost you more than Rs. 70 max. Lowest fare is Rs. 40.
You can take the three-wheeler auto-rickshaws too, but you’ll have to exit the airport and then haggle with the auto driver to decide the fare before you hop in. Self-drive car rentals aren’t that popular in Kochi, but you can book the prepaid taxi for the day from the airport itself.
Have an authentic meal at a local families home. Experience the real food of Kochi, India.
Enjoy a trip through the eyes of a local. Get the ultimate tour in Kochi, India.
Everybody's good at something! Learn from Kochi, India locals and their cultures.
If you don’t want to have to think about all this, just find yourself a local guide to provide a smooth and hassle-free guided airport pickup and transfer. You won’t have to worry about a thing after you land – they’ll have a vehicle waiting for you, and you’ll be safely taken straight to your hotel or wherever you want to go in Kochi. You can find and book a local guide online before you arrive.