Language - Good
news for visitors - you don't need to speak in Malayalam to
manage your way through Cochin. English will do just fine, but
you can always carry a Learn Malayalam through English book,
by Balaji publications.
Clothing - The city is hot and humid. So put away those
suits, sweaters and scarves, instead carry light cottons.
Etiquette - People in Cochin are warm and friendly. They
will go all out to make you feel at home. Remember to take your
shoes off before you enter a home or temple / places of worship.
One should always leave one's footwear outside.
Eating Out - The
food in Cochin is diverse and is mostly cooked in coconut oil.
Restaurants are referred to as'bhavans'. Star hotels
serve western food. After a meal, a small dish with sugar, aniseeds
and spices is served, to give a refreshing taste to the mouth.
Fresh fruits and tender coconuts are widely available.
Drinking Water - Unless you are at a well-run restaurant
or hotel, avoid drinking water other than that from sealed water
bottles (mineral water).
Beggars - If you encounter beggars, give in kind rather
than in cash.
Important documents - Avoid carrying valuable things.
Wear a money necklace or stitch a pocket inside your outfit
to keep important documents like passport, credit cards, travellers'
cheques, etc. It's always better to take photocopies of important
documents and leave them with someone trustworthy. Make sure
you keep a card mentioning important contact numbers, your age,
blood group, etc, so that people may help you in the event of
Carry only essentials - Taking cognisance of time, place
and season of visit, carry only the most important things with
you. Avoid unnecessary items like too much of eatables, bulky
clothing, heavy items, etc.
Bargaining - Asking
for a discount is part of the shopping experience - you might
be lucky and the shopkeepers may oblige. Otherwise the prices
are more or less fixed at most places. Remember, it's a game
you should both enjoy and if you get "swindled", you are contributing
to the local economy! Begin by quoting half of whatever the
Suitcases with code
numbers - Try to carry suitcases made of light material
with wheels, or suitcases with number lock system. Keep your
suitcases locked, and always carry an extra lock and suitcase
chains, so that if you have to leave your luggage for some unavoidable
reason, you can lock them in waiting rooms, hotel rooms, etc.
Carry your wallet and credit cards in an inside jacket pocket
or side trouser pocket, never in the hip pocket.
Leave valuables and important papers, such as jewellery and
passports in your hotel's safe deposit box. Never leave these
items unattended in your room.
Beware of unexpected persons coming to your hotel room. Never
open the door to unsolicited room service or maintenance people.
If you schedule a meeting with a potential client, research
the company and the individual with whom you are meeting. Meet
in a public place, such as a restaurant.
Make sure that luggage is only given to a member of the hotel's
bell staff and a receipt is issued for stored luggage. Never
leave luggage or other expensive items, unattended at airports
or taxi stands.