Cochin is a modern city well connected by air, rail, and road to other parts of India and abroad. That is the main reason why it is considered as the gateway to Kerala.
Cochin airport is located at Nedumbassery, about 37 kms from the city centre. It is the largest airport in Kerala and one of the leading airports in India in passenger volume (usually the fourth). It is well run and usually maintained clean which is a great contrast to many other airports in India.
You will not have much trouble in finding a flight to Cochin airport since it is connected to several international destinations by direct flights. Dubai, Abudhabi, Doha, Bahrain, Muscat, Riyadh, Jeddah, Kuwait, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo are some of them. Whether you are in the Far East, West or any other geographical location, it is most likely to find a flight that connects you to one of the above cities.
Unless you have plans to visit North India, there is no need to pass through Delhi or Mumbai airports. You can reach directly at Cochin without touching any other Indian city.
Apart from 18 International airlines, several domestic carriers also operate regular flights to Cochin. You will find several daily flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore.
The domestic and International terminals are adjacent. You can walk from one to another.
Once you arrive at the airport, the best way to reach Cochin city or other places is a pre-paid taxi. Cochin Airport Taxi Society (CATS) operates taxis from the airport. Arrival terminal has CATS counter, where you can pre-pay and get a taxi.
A cheaper alternative is to take a bus. These bus services are operated by KSRTC, the state transport company. You will find buses in every half an hour or so to the city. They also operate a few long distance services as well.
Whether you are to the city or any other place, check before hand, if they will stop at the precise location where you want to reach.
In India, other than expressways, the major roads are National Highways. They are vital long haul roads.
National Highway 47 (NH 47) between Kanyakumari and Salem, passes through Cochin. NH 17 and NH 49 are two other highways connected to Cochin.
Cochin has a couple of important railway stations and several suburban ones.
Ernakulam Junction Station (also called South Station) is the main station, where all long haul trains stop.
Ernakulam Town Station (North Station) is the choice if you are travelling to Kottayam or to the northern areas of Cochin. A few long distance trains stop here.
The other rail way stations are at Aluva, Thrippunithura and Angamaly.
If you want to take a train from Mumbai, Konkan Railway is a great choice. Konkan Railway, which connects Mumbai to Mangalore, has some breathtaking scenery to offer. May be better to step down at Goa, spend a few days there and head to Cochin.
You can arrive from Delhi to Cochin in a single train ride. Kerala Express is a fast train that runs between Trivandrum and Delhi. It is a daily service. The only problem is that the journey takes more than fifty hours.
You can arrive at Cochin from Bangalore and Chennai by direct trains.
There are daily services between Cochin and major South Indian Cities. Night services to Chennai and Bangalore are popular because you hop on a bus at night and will be in the destination by early morning.
KSRTC, the state run bus company, mainly operates long haul services. While most of their services are within Kerala, they also have regular buses to Bangalore, Chennai, and Coimbatore etc. Similarly, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka state transports have regular services to Cochin as well.
There are also plenty of private coach companies that specialise on interstate travel. So you will find it quite easy to reach Cochin from most major towns in South India. The only issue is sitting in the bus for so many hours.
Several cruise liners have included Cochin as a destination. You can visit Cochin as part of a cruise trip. The cruise stop at Cochin will be only for a day or two though.