Cochin is the melting pot to end all melting pots. Everyone from the Ming dynasty to the explorers of Portugal to the British Raj have forged the city over the millennia. The result is maze of cobbled lanes where churches a la Lisbon meet quaint teahouses and traditional Chinese fishing nets, all perched on a palm-fringed island just above the Indian Ocean. Cheap flights to Cochin from Australia are also your ticket to the greater region of Kerala. That's a doozy for explorers who want to sample the exotic southern end of the subcontinent. Coconut curries bubble in the street stalls there, while the mist-gathering tea fields of the Western Ghats loom high, and boathouses bob on the murky backwaters. What are you waiting for?
Be enchanted by the tight-knit alleys and Dutch-style cottages of cute Fort Kochi, where yoga cafes mingle with sari shops.
10,000 shades of green dress the palm forests of the Kerala Backwaters. Ride traditional houseboats here to see kingfishers and stilted Indian villages.
Get down to the port sides of Fort Kochi to watch fishing folk operating the ancient Chinese Fishing Nets – a unique method of catching that requires levered cranes.