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Tips for Visitors

Tips for visitors:

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 an emergency.

Emergency lines
Police : 100
Fire: 101
Ambulance: 102

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 vendor quotes.

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.

Safety Tips
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.

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