KURTC: Cochin International Airport to Fort Kochi

<—-Previous Story

After eating light snacks of Appam, Elai Adai, and Samosa, I completed my breakfast by slowly sipping hot Chai which kept my body warm after being exposed to the cold of the airport air conditioner all night.

Chai’s last sip indicated that I had to get ready to head to the main destination of that day….Moreover, if it wasn’t Fort Kochi, an area where four cultures blended: Dutch, Portuguese, British, and Indian.

Leaving Cafe Sulaimani, I headed back towards the roundabout around the main gate of Cochin International Airport. When I got there I felt lucky that there was a police officer on duty.

“Sir, where is the bus shelter which can deliver me to Fort Kochi?”, I ventured to ask.

“Just wait there, the bus will come in fifteen minutes”, he looked at his watch and pointed to a street corner.

“Thanks, sir”


I immediately crossed the road and waited right around the corner. There wasn’t a bus stop on that side of the road. It was just that the police officer’s instructions convinced me that the bus could be stopped at that corner of the street.

Fifteen minutes of waiting was a calming period, how could I not, the police officer always seemed to be paying attention to me when directing traffic around. He seemed to be making sure I was caught by the bus at the nearest departure.

It was true, in exactly fifteen minutes, an orange bus with the KURTC (Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation) logo came out from the airport. I quickly caught its presence, and so did the police officer. When the bus slowly approached, the officer looked at me from a distance and pointed his finger at the bus while smiling. I gave a thumbs up and smiled back at him.

“Thank you, kind police”, I cheerfully thought.

I entered the bus from the front door and took a seat in the middle. Exiting the airport, the rows of bus seats still looked empty. Not long after sitting down, a female conductor with an EDC machine came up to me.

“Where will you go?”, She asked a question.

“Fort Kochi, Mam”, I answered smiling.

“88 Rupees”, the conductor shook her head.

It was half past eleven when the bus slowly headed west leaving the Aerotropolis Nedumbassery. The bus pushed through Airport Road, the main road with sidewalks between the two sections.

Slowly but surely, the bus picked up its passengers one by one along the way. Some were picked up at the bus stop and some were picked up outside the bus stop.

In fifteen minutes, my curiosity paid off when the bus passed by an MRT station.

“That must be Aluva Station”, I thought to myself.

In my surfing in cyberspace, I found that Kochi is a city that has MRT facilities. That day I found the trail and I was determined to try Kochi Metro even just once. Maybe when I was coming back from Fort Kochi that afternoon.

Leaving Aluva, the crowds of residents began to look massive when the bus entered an industrial area, the Kalamassery area. Big industrial trucks seem to fill the streets, while other types of city buses were crammed with residents who were busy with their activities.

Then leaving the Kalamassery area, I began to see apartment buildings. I guess that most of the workers from the industrial area live in apartments built up around the Ernakulam area.

Aluva Station is one of the stations in the Kochi Metro network.
The atmosphere of HMT Road in an industrial area of Kalamassery.
TBPL GK Arcade (front right) is an apartment building in Ernakulam district right on the side of Ernakulam-Thekkady Road.

After 45 minutes of the journey, the bus arrived at a terminal in the Vyttila area. Most passengers got on and off at that terminal. This was a large bus hub in Kochi. Buses from and to other areas in Kerala seem to stand by at that terminal.

After picking up passengers at the Vyttila Hub Bus Terminal, the bus returned to the streets. Farther west, large rivers began to acquire views. I understood that the bus I was on was getting closer and closer to the west coast of Kerala. The rivers branch off and split the land. As more and more land was separated by water, I started to find lots of bridges at the end of the journey to Fort Kochi.

One of them was the longest bridge in Kerala, the Kundannoor Bridge, which connects two areas, i.e. Maradu to the east of the bridge and Thevara to the west. Those vast waters make the panorama as far as the eye could see cooler and bluer.

After crossing the longest bridge in Kerala, the bus spun its wheels along Willingdon Island, which was a stretch of land surrounded by water, making it separate from the mainland of Kerala. Meanwhile, the Fort Kochi area itself was part of mainland Kerala which was located in the far west so buses must once again cross a bridge to get there.

It is the Gateway of Cochin BOT Bridge that facilitates the connection between the island and the mainland.

Vyttila Hub Bus Terminal on the banks of the Kaniyampuzha River.
The scene on the bus after leaving the Vyttila area.
View from the top of the Kundannoor Bridge.
The Gateway of Cochin BOT Bridge connecting Willingdon Island with mainland Kochi
Bustle in the Thoppumpady area around eleven o’clock in the afternoon.
Another scene of the Thoppumpady area around AK Xavier Road.
Cemetery in the Fort Kochi area.

And in the end, even after an hour of journey, the bus started to enter the Fort Kochi area. At that time the crowd around was more dominated by tourism activities. Both local and foreign tourists mingle in every corner of Fort Kochi.

It took half an hour for the bus to push its way through the crowded streets of Fort Kochi until it arrived at the last stop of the KURTC bus which was located not so far from the west coast of Kerala.

Okay….Time to explore Kochi for the next few hours.

Next Story—->

Hotel Royal Wings: Tasting the Appam, Elai Adai, and Samosa

<—-Previous Story

Darkness was still overshadowing Kochi’s sky when the time pointed at six. Making my guts shrank for stepping towards the inn which was only one and a half kilometers away. I decided to still seated in the arrival hall’s waiting room at Cochin International Airport Terminal 3.

But it turned out….

I was so sleepy, I even sat asleep while hugging my backpack….

A few minutes after eight o’clock, I jerked awake. The bright light had penetrated the airport’s glass walls. I walked past a soldier armed with a long barrel who had faithfully guarded the airport’s exit door since early morning.

I walked across the drop-off zone, passed the edge of the car parking zone, crossed the bustle of Chili Restaurant, and then arrived at the main gate of Cochin International Airport which was beautifully adorned with the sun on the eastern horizon.

After passing through that exotic gate, I stood at a very busy roundabout with vehicles which going in and out of that main airport in Kerala State. Standing on a side, I could see the existence of a row of modern buildings on a side street.

“There’s no mistake, my inn must be there”, I thought.

“Very close,” I happily smiled.

Now, I was right on the south side of the straight road and getting ready to cross to the modern building complex. The crowds of vehicles that morning made me difficult to cross. Being on the streets of foreign countries has always been something that I always pay attention to, I don’t want to do silly things and endanger myself, because half of my journey wasn’t over yet.

I trudged across Airport Road to arrive on its north side and then started looking for the whereabouts of the accommodation which I had booked through leading travel e-commerce for 800 Rupees.

Yiiaaiiyy, I found it….

I’ve left the main gate of Cochin International Airport.
A roundabout on the west side of the main gate of Cochin International Airport.
Rows of modern buildings on the north side of Airport Road.
This was the Royal Wings Hotel, where I was staying that night.

Back again in advance of my backpacking departure, it was so difficult to consider the location of the inn which I would choose. My desire was so strong to stay around the beach which would certainly provide many opportunities to enjoy the exotic west coast of Kerala for a longer time.

It was just that, the next morning to Dubai was a limitation for me not to be too far from the airport when choosing a lodging. Finally, I decided to stay at the Royal Wings Hotel and decided to just spend the whole day enjoying the situation in the Fort Kochi area.

“Hello, Sir. Can I put my backpack here?”….I asked a male receptionist.

“I have booked a room in this hotel. This is the e-confirmation”, I added information.

Receiving the confirmation letter, he started surfing on his desktop and checked the whereabouts of my inn order.

“Okay, Sir. I have checked your order. You can put your backpack here and you can check on at 1 pm…Come!”, he started to direct me to a small room behind the reception desk. The room was specifically used to store the belongings of the inn guests.

Half of my backload had been deposited at the inn, then I would step away to start exploring.

But before going any further, I decided to look for breakfast around the hotel.

Smelling the sweet smell of a cafe, I was intrigued to approach it, seeing the tempting Indian-style breakfast menu, I decided to enter and took a seat.

“Cafe Sulaimani …”, I read the name of the cafe on a wall.

I decided to buy a simple breakfast like the locals did in the cafe. This was my breakfast menu that morning.

Appam, Elai Adai, and Samosa and a glass of Chai for 55 Rupees….Hhmmhhh looked delicious too.

After breakfast, I rushed to the roundabout near the main gate of Cochin International Airport to find a bus to Fort Kochi….I would tell you how I got there later.

Still regarding Hotel Royal Wings….

I was only able to enter the hotel after exploring Fort Kochi.

I arrived back at the hotel by taking the airport bus from Aluva Station. Towards six o’clock in the evening, I immediately asked for the key from the hotel owner who was at the reception desk.

After getting the key, I was escorted by a room boy, I carried a backpack to the room upstairs to immediately bathe. Oh God, the last time I took a shower was 30 hours before I arrived at the hotel.

Want to know how the hotel I stayed in, here it is:

Reception desk.
Double bed.
Look at that old TV….Hahaha.


Remembering the location of the Royal Wings Hotel which is close to the airport, of course, this hotel is very close to various public facilities that make it easy for its guests.

At least I could easily go to Fort Kochi using the KURTC bus that departed from the airport. Apart from that, it was also easy for me to get halal restaurants, money exchange, and minimarkets around the hotel.

The distance which could be reached in fifteen minutes from and to the airport, makes it easier for me to catch the next morning’s flight on time than when I had to choose accommodation around Fort Kochi.

Reasonably priced restaurants around the hotel.
Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) bus bound for Fort Kochi which runs on Airport Road in front of the hotel.

In the end, visiting India was always fun because that country has hotel facilities and a wealth of culinary delights at very affordable prices for a backpacker.

Therefore, never hesitate to travel to that Sub-Continent Country.

Come on, visit India.

Next Story—->

KURTC: Cochin International Airport ke Fort Kochi

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Usai menyantap jajanan ringan Appam, Elai Adai dan Samosa, aku menyempurnakan sarapan dengan menyeruput perlahan Chai panas yang membuat badan menjadi hangat setelah semalaman terpapar dinginnya penyejuk ruangan bandara.

Seruputan terakhir Chai menandakan bahwa aku harus bersiap diri menuju destinasi utama hari itu….Apalagi kalau bukan Fort Kochi, sebuah kawasan perpaduan empat budaya yaitu Belanda, Portugis, Inggris dan India.

Meninggalkan Cafe Sulaimani, aku kembali melangkah menuju bundaran di sekitar gerbang utama Cochin International Airport.  Setibanya di sana aku merasa beruntung karena ada seorang opsir polisi yang sedang bertugas.

“Sir, Where is bus shelter which can deliver me to Fort Kochi?”, aku memberanikan diri untuk bertanya.

“Just wait there, bus will come on fifteen minutes”, dia melihat jam tangannya dan menunjuk ke sebuah pojok jalan.

“Thanks, Sir”


Aku segera menyeberang jalan dan menunggu tepat di tikungan. Tak ada halte apapun di sisi jalan itu. Hanya saja petunjuk opsir polisi itu sudah membuatku yakin bahwa bus bisa dihentikan di pojok jalan itu.

Lima belas menit menunggu adalah masa-masa menenangkan, bagaimana tidak, opsir polisi itu sepertinya tak lengah memperhatikanku sembari mengatur lalu lintas di sekitar. Dia sepertinya akan memastikanku terangkut oleh bus pada pemberangkatan terdekat.

Benar adanya, tepat lima belas menit, sebuah bus berwarna oranye dengan logo KURTC (Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation) keluar dari arah bandara. Dengan cepat aku menangkap kehadirannya, begitu pula dengan opsir polisi itu. Ketika bus perlahan semakin mendekat, sang opsir menatapku dari kejauhan dan telunjuknya diarahkan ke bus tersebut sembari tersenyum. Aku mengacungkan jempol dan membalas senyumnya.

“Terimakasih pak polisi yang baik hati”, aku membatin ceria.

Aku memasuki bus dari pintu depan dan mengambil tempat duduk di sisi tengah. Keluar dari bandara, deretan bangku bus masih terlihat kosong. Tak lama duduk, seorang kondektur perempuan dengan mesin geseknya datang mendekatiku.

“Where will you go?”, dia melontarkan pertanyaan.

“Fort Kochi, Mam”, aku menjawab sembari tersenyum.

“88 Rupee”, kondektur itu menggeleng khas India.

Waktu sudah menunjukkan pukul setengah sebelas ketika bus perlahan bergerak ke barat meninggalkan Aerotropolis Nedumbassery. Bus merangsek melalui Airport Road, jalanan utama berpembatas  trotoar di antara kedua ruasnya.

Perlahan tapi pasti, bus menaikkan penumpangnya satu per satu di sepanjang jalan. Ada yang dinaikkan di halte dan ada juga yang dinaikkan di luar halte.

Dalam lima belas menit, rasa penasaranku terbayarkan ketika bus melintas di sebuah stasiun MRT.

Itu pasti Stasiun Aluva”, aku membatin.

Dalam peselancaranku di dunia maya, aku menemukan bahwa Kochi adalah kota yang memiliki fasilitas MRT. Kini aku sudah menemukan jalurnya dan aku menjadi berniat untuk mencicip Kochi Metro walau hanya sekali saja. Mungkin sepulang dari Fort Kochi sore nanti.

Meninggalkan Aluva, keramaian warga lokal mulai terlihat masif ketika bus memasuki sebuah kawasan industry, daerah Kalamassery namanya. Truk-truk besar khas industri tampak memenuhi jalanan, sedangkan bus-bus kota jenis yang lain dijejali oleh warga lokal yang sibuk beraktivitas.

Kemudian keluar sedikit dari kawasan Kalamassery, gedung-gedung apartemen mulai kutemui kehadirannya. Dugaanku, para pekerja dari kawasan industri itu sebagian besar tinggal di apartemen-apartemen yang didirikan di sekitar wilayah Ernakulam.

Stasiun Aluva, salah satu stasiun dalam jaringan Kochi Metro.
Suasana HMT Road di sebuah kawasan industri Kalamassery.
TBPL GK Arcade (kanan depan) adalah gedung apartemen di distrik Ernakulam tepat di sisi Jalan Ernakulam-Thekkady.

Setelah 45 menit menit perjalanan, merapatlah bus ke sebuah terminal di daerah Vyttila. Sebagian besar penumpang naik dan turun di terminal ini. Inilah bus hub yang berukuran lumayan besar di kota Kochi. Bus-bus dari dan menuju daerah lain di Kerala tampak merapat di terminal ini.

Usai menaikkan penumpang di Vyttila Hub Bus Terminal, bus kembali merangsek ke jalanan. Semakin ke barat, sungai-sungai besar mulai mengakuisisi pemandangan. Aku faham bahwa bus yang kunaiki semakin merapat ke arah pantai barat Kerala. Sungai-sungai itu bercabang-cabang membelah daratan. Semakin banyaknya daratan yang terpisah oleh perairan menyebabkan aku mulai menemukan banyak sekali jembatan di bagian akhir perjalanan menuju Fort Kochi.

Salah satunya adalah jembatan terpanjang di Kerala yaitu Kundannoor Bridge yang menghubungkan  dua area, yaitu Maradu di timur jembatan dan Thevara di baratnya. Perairan-perairan luas itu membuat panorama sejauh mata memandang menjadi lebih sejuk dan biru.

Selepas melewati jembatan terpanjang di Kerala itu, bus memutar roda menyusuri Willingdon Island yang merupakan hamparan daratan yang dikelilingi sepenuhnya oleh perairan sehingga menjadikannya terpisah dari daratan utama Kerala. Sementara itu, area Fort Kochi sendiri  adalah bagian dari daratan utama Kerala yang terletak di bagian paling barat sehingga bus harus sekali lagi melewati sebuah jembatan untuk menuju ke sana.

Adalah Gateway of Cochin BOT Bridge yang memfasilitasi penghubungan antara pulau dan daratan utama tersebut.

Vyttila Hub Bus Terminal di tepian Sungai Kaniyampuzha.
Suasana dalam bus setelah meninggalkan daerah Vyttila.
Pemandangan dari atas Kundannoor Bridge.
Gateway of Cochin BOT Bridge yang menghubungkan Willingdon Island dengan daratan utama Kochi
Kesibukan di area Thoppumpady sekitar pukul sebelas siang.
Suasana lain wilayah Thoppumpady di sekitar AK Xavier Road.
Pemakaman di kawasan Fort Kochi.

Dan pada akhirnya, genap satu jam melakukan perjalanan, bus mulai masuk di area Fort Kochi. Kali ini keramaian sekitar lebih didominasi oleh kegiatan pariwisata. Baik wisatawan lokal maupun mancanegara berbaur di setiap penjuru Fort Kochi.

Perlu waktu setengah jam lamanya bagi bus untuk merangsek membelah padatnya jalanan Fort Kochi hingga tiba di shelter terakhir KURTC bus yang lokasinya tak begitu jauh dari pantai barat Kerala.

Okay….Saatnya mengeksplorasi Kochi selama beberapa jam ke depan.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Hotel Royal Wings: Mencicip Appam, Elai Adai dan Samosa

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Gelap masih menaungi langit Kochi ketika penanda waktu menunjuk angka enam. Membuat nyali ciut demi melangkah menuju penginapan yang sesungguhnya hanya berjarak satu setengah kilometer. Aku memutuskan untuk tetap duduk di ruang tunggu arrival hall Cochin International Airport Terminal 3.

Tapi ternyata….

Saking kantuknya, aku malah duduk terlelap memeluk backpack….

Sedikit melebihi pukul delapan, aku tersentak bangun. Cahaya terang telah menembus dinding kaca bandara. Aku melangkah pergi melewati seorang tentara bersenjata laras panjang yang dari dini hari tadi setia menjaga exit door bandara.

Aku berjalan memotong drop-off zone, melewati tepian car parking zone, melintasi kesibukan di Chili Restaurant lalu tiba di gerbang utama Cochin International Airport yang cantik berhiaskan surya yang membulat di ufuk timur.

Selepas melewati gerbang eksotik itu, aku berdiri di sebuah bundaran jalan yang sangat sibuk oleh kendaraan yang keluar masuk dari dan ke bandar udara utama di Negara Bagian Kerala tersebut. Berdiri di salah satu sisinya, aku sanggup menatap jelas keberadaan deret bangunan modern di sebuah sisi jalan.

Tak salah lagi, penginapanku pastinya ada di sana”, aku membatin.

Dekat sekali ternyata”, aku tersenyum senang.

Kini, aku sudah berada tepat di sisi selatan jalur lurus dan bersiap menyeberang menuju kompleks bangunan modern itu. Ramainya kendaraan pagi itu membuatku susah menyeberang. Berada di jalanan negara orang memang selalu menjadi hal yang selalu kuperhatikan, aku tak mau berbuat kekonyolan dan membahayakan diri, karena alur perjalananku setengahnya pun belum usai.

Susah payah aku menyeberangi Airport Road untuk tiba di sisi utara jalan dan kemudian mulai mencari keberadaan penginapan yang telah kupesan melalui e-commerce perjalanan terkemuka dengan harga 800 Rupee.

Yiiaaiiyy, aku menemukannya….

Aku sudah keluar dari gerbang utama Cochin International Airport.
Bundaran di sisi barat gerbang utama Cochin International Airport.
Deret bangunan modern di sisi utara Airport Road.
Ini dia Hotel Royal Wings, tempatku menginap malam nanti.

Kembali lagi di jauh hari sebelum keberangkatan, begitu sulit menimbang-nimbang lokasi penginapan yang akan kupilih. Hasratku begitu kuat untuk menginap di sekitar pantai yang tentu akan memberikan banyak peluang untuk menikmati eksotiknya pesisir barat Kerala lebih lama.

Hanya saja, penerbangan pagiku di esok hari menuju Dubai menjadi sebuah batasan untuk jangan terlalu jauh dari bandara ketika memilih penginapan. Akhirnya aku memutuskan menginap di Hotel Royal Wings dan memutuskan untuk seharian ini saja menikmati suasana di kawasan Fort Kochi.

Hello, Sir, Can I put my backpack here?”….Aku bertanya pada seorang petugas resepsionis laki-laki.

I have booked a room in this hotel. This is the e-confirmation”, aku menambahkan informasi.

Menerima selembar surat konfirmasi itu, dia mulai berselancar di desktopnya dan menggecek keberadaan order penginapan tersebut.

Ok, Sir. I have checked your order. You can put your backpack here and you can check-in on 1pm…Come!”, dia mulai mengarahkanku ke sebuah ruangan kecil di belakang meja resepsionis. Rupanya ruangan itu memang digunakan khusus untuk menyimpan barang-barang para penginap.

Separuh beban punggungku sudah tertitip di penginapan, kini aku akan melangkah pergi untuk memulai eksplorasi.

Tetapi sebelum melangkah lebih jauh, aku memutuskan untuk mencari sarapan di sekitar hotel.

Mencium bau harum dari sebuah cafe, aku tergelitik untuk mendekatinya, melihat menu sarapan ala India yang menggoda, aku memutuskan untuk masuk dan mengambil tempat duduk.

Cafe Sulaimani…”, aku membaca nama cafe itu di sebuah dinding.

Aku memutuskan membeli sarapan sederhana seperti yang dilakukan oleh para warga lokal di dalam cafe itu. Ini dia menu sarapanku pagi itu.

Appam, Elai Adai, dan Samosa dan segelas Chai seharga 55 Rupee….Hhmmhhh, lezat juga rupanya.

Selepas sarapan, aku bergegas menuju bundaran di dekat gerbang utama Cochin International Airport untuk berburu bus menuju Fort Kochi….Nanti akan kuceritakan bagaimana aku menuju kesana.

Masih mengenai Hotel Royal Wings….

Aku sendiri baru bisa memasuki hotel selepas mengeksplorasi Fort Kochi.

Aku tiba kembali di hotel dengan menumpang airport bus dari Stasiun Aluva. Menjelang pukul enam sore, aku langsung saja meminta kunci kepada si empunya hotel yang sedang berada di meja resepsionis.

Seusai mendapatkan kunci, aku diantar oleh seorang room boy, aku menenteng backpack menuju kamar di lantai atas untuk segera membersihkan badan. Alamak, aku terakhir kali mandi adalah 30 jam yang lalu.

Mau tahu kan bagaimana hotel yang kuinapi, ini dia:

Reception desk.
Double bed.
Lihat TV jadoelnya….Hahaha.


Mengingat lokasi Hotel Royal Wings yang dekat dengan airport, tentu hotel ini sangat dekat dengan berbagai fasilitas umum yang memudahkan para penginapnya.

Setidaknya aku bisa berangkat dengan mudah menuju Fort Kochi menggunakan KURTC bus yang berangkat dari bandara. Selain itu aku juga mudah mendapatkan restoran halal, tempat penukaran uang dan minimarket di sekitar hotel.

Jaraknya yang bisa ditempuh dalam lima belas menit dari dan ke bandara, memudahkanku untuk mengejar penerbangan esok pagi dengan tepat waktu daripada ketika aku harus memilih penginapan di sekitar Fort Kochi.

Restoran dengan harga terjangkau di sekitar hotel.
Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) bus menuju Fort Kochi yang melewati Airport Road di depan hotel.

Pada akhirnya, berkunjung ke India selalu saja menyenangkan karena negara ini memiliki fasilitas hotel dan kekayaan kuliner dengan harga yang sangat terjangkau bagi seorang backpacker.

Oleh karenanya, jangan pernah ragu untuk melancong ke Negara Anak Benua itu.

Yuk, berkunjung ke India.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->