Madurai to Cochin overnight sleeper bus or train. Best way to get to Fort Cochin, to Ernakulam, to Kerala, public transportation. Backpacking South India travel blog

 

So you’re backpacking around South India, and you’re going from…

 

Madurai…

 

Madurai to Cochin Kerala bus. best things to do in Madurai. Backpacking South India

 

…to…

 

Cochin!

 

Madurai to Cochin Kerala bus. best things to do in Fort Kochi. Backpacking South India

 

 

How to get from Madurai to Cochin by taking an overnight bus

aka how to get to Fort Cochin, to Ernakulam, to Kerala!

You might also take this bus to go from Madurai to Alleppey!

Madurai to Cochin Kerala overnight sleeper bus. Best way to get to Cochin Kerala, public transportation. Backpacking South India travel blog

 

The quick list:

  • Buy your bus ticket
  • Arrive at bus departure point in Madurai
  • Get on the bus
  • Enjoy the bus ride! (And SLEEP!)
  • Get off the bus at Cochin drop-off point
  • Find a rickshaw to take you to your hotel!
  • Visit Fort Cochin!

 

 

Buy your bus ticket

How to get from Madurai to Cochin bus to Kerala. best way. How to buy book bus tickets. Backpacking South India

 

Arrive at bus departure point in Madurai

How to get from Madurai to Cochin bus to Kerala. best way. Near Mattuthavani bus station, omni bus stand, pick-up point. Backpacking South India

 

Get on the bus

How to get from Madurai to Cochin bus to Kerala. best way. Near Muttuthavani bus station, omni bus stand, departure timing pick-up point. Backpacking South India

 

Enjoy the bus ride! (And SLEEP!)

How to get from Madurai to Cochin bus to Kerala. best way. overnight sleeper bus in india, interior. Backpacking South India

 

Get off the bus at Cochin drop-off point

How to get from Madurai to Cochin bus to Kerala. best way. Ernakulam bus stop, arrival timing drop-off point. Backpacking South India

 

Find a rickshaw to take you to your hotel in Fort Cochin!

How to get from Madurai to Cochin bus to Kerala. best way. Ernakulam bus stop, rickshaw to hotel in Fort Kochi. Backpacking South India

 

Visit Fort Cochin!

How to get from Madurai to Cochin bus to Kerala. best way. visit best things to do in Fort Kochi. Backpacking South India

 

 

How long does the bus ride take?

So just to give an idea, these were the bus timings when I took this bus:

  • 9:00pm – Depart from near Madurai bus station
  • 2:45am – Stop for break at road-side rest area (15 minutes)
  • 5:30am –  Arrive at Ernakulam bus stop

 

So to get from Madurai to Cochin, it was about an 8.5 hour bus ride. 

 

The timings listed on the bus ticket:

  • 9:00pm – Depart Madurai
  • 5:15am – Arrive Cochin (Ernakulam)

 

 

How much does the overnight sleeper bus cost?

I paid 840 rupees (US$12) for my Madurai to Cochin bus ticket.

 

 

What about a Madurai to Cochin train?

Madurai to Cochin bus or train - Madurai train station for Madurai to Kerala train. Fort Kochi, Cochin - Ernakulam. Backpacking South India

 

There are trains from Madurai to Kerala, and this includes Madurai to Cochin.

The Ernakulam train station is the main train station of Cochin you’ll be looking to get off at.

Similar to the train to Alleppey though, the arrival timing to Cochin isn’t great. 

The scheduled arrival timings for the 2 trains to Ernakulam are 12:05am and 3:30am. (And if the train is delayed, which is very possible, the timing could be even later.)

 

 

So…

When you’re headed to Cochin from Madurai by bus…

 

So you have a few options to get from Madurai to Cochin.

Which option you’ll want to go for will depend on your travel preferences and how comfortable you want to be during your overnight trip.

 

For me, I wanted:

  • AC bus
  • sleeper
  • single space

 

 

AC vs non-AC on overnight bus

I generally don’t mind traveling on a non-AC bus during the day.

Even if it’s hot outside, open windows on non-AC buses means that it’s a mostly manageable temperature during the bus ride.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. non-ac bus. Backpacking South India

 

But at night, since I would like to increase my chances of being able to sleep, I prefer to have closed windows so I won’t be bothered as much by outside noises.

Traveling with closed windows also means you’re exposed to minimal dust and pollution during the bus ride.

If you’re not bothered by these things, then you might further consider a non-AC bus for your overnight trip to Cochin, and there will generally be more buses available too.

 

 

Sleeper bus

Another ideal “requirement” for me when traveling overnight by bus is to be able to lay down. 

Once again, there are more options (and it’ll be cheaper) if you don’t mind being in a (nearly) upright position all night. 

There are regular seats on overnight buses that do have the ability to recline somewhat.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. reclining seats. Backpacking South India

 

But I’d still prefer to be completely flat!

 

 

Single vs double

Some buses allow you to book a double sleeper seat or a single sleeper seat.

If you’re traveling with a partner, then you’ll probably prefer to book the double.

But since I was traveling alone, I didn’t want to be sleeping directly next to a complete stranger, so I prefer to book a single.

 

Single sleeper seat

Madurai to Cochin bus. overnight sleeper bus, single. 2+1. Backpacking South India

 

Double sleeper seat

Madurai to Cochin bus. overnight sleeper bus, double. 2+1. Backpacking South India

 

 

How to buy bus tickets to go from Madurai to Cochin

So once you’ve decided how comfortable you want to be during your overnight trip, you can then see if there’s your preferred seat available for your travel date!

I used redbus to book my overnight bus ticket to Kerala. 

It’s also possible to buy bus tickets through a travel agency when you’re in Madurai.

You’ll find a ton of private bus company offices at the Omni bus stand in Madurai, near the Mattuthavani bus station which is a major bus terminal in Madurai.

 

Booking redbus tickets

Madurai to Cochin bus. How to buy bus tickets. redbus. Backpacking South India

 

If your search comes up empty, you might have to select another “Cochin” option.

When I was buying my bus ticket, I had to be sure my destination was just “Cochin” instead of “Cochin/Ernakulam.” There were no buses listed for the destination Cochin/Ernakulam. 

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai to Ernakulam bus. How to buy bus tickets to Kerala. redbus. Backpacking South India

 

So once you put in your departure and arrival points, you’ll get a list of bus options.

This may include both government bus options, as well as private bus companies.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. How to buy bus tickets. private bus company or government local bus timings. Backpacking South India

 

You can take a look at what your government bus options are (TNSTC), as this will likely be the cheapest option.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. How to buy bus tickets. government local bus timings. Backpacking South India

TNSTC = Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation. Keep your expectations low for “ultra deluxe” government buses!

 

You can click on each of the options, and it’ll show you the type of seats so you can check.

For Madurai to Cochin buses, these will be regular seats you’ll get on a government bus. 

 

Since I was going for a sleeper seat, government bus wasn’t an option for this bus journey for me, so I was looking at the private bus options.

I generally don’t pay attention to a specific bus company or the reviews, and I’ll mostly just go for the seat type as a determining factor. (Many of the bad reviews seem to be “bus was late.”)

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. How to buy bus tickets. private bus timings. Backpacking South India

 

So you can click on each option to see what seats are available here too.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. How to buy bus tickets. available seats, sold out. Backpacking South India

 

This is where you’ll also select your seat.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. How to buy bus tickets. lower or upper seats. Backpacking South India

 

You can choose between lower berth and upper berth.

I try to go for lower and towards the front as much as possible, as I feel the bus ride will be less bumpy this way.

 

Once you select your seat, you’ll be prompted to choose a boarding point in Madurai.

The best way to know which location is closest to you is really just to use Google Maps to try to figure it out.

In the case of this bus from Madurai, it could also be easiest to board the bus at the starting location, even if another pick-up location is closer to you. 

I boarded at the first point, called the Omni bus stand that is located near the Mattuthavani bus terminal. The Mattuthavani bus station is one of the main bus stations in Madurai.

This ended up being a little further from my hostel than another location I could have chosen (like the Periyar bus stand), but I still felt good about choosing to board at the Omni bus stand since it seemed like there’d be a good chance that there was a company bus office here. 

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. How to buy bus tickets. bus timings, Madurai pick-up locations. Omni bus stand, near Mattuthavani bus station. Backpacking South India

 

Then you’ll be prompted to choose a drop-off location in Cochin.

Once again, it could be best to just use Google Maps to determine which stop you want to get off at.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. How to buy bus tickets. bus timings, Cochin arrival locations, drop-off points. for Ernakulam bus station, for Ernakulam train station, for Fort Kochi. Backpacking South India

 

Since Cochin wasn’t my final destination (I was heading straight to Alleppey from Cochin), I chose Ernakulam as my drop-off location. 

Ernakulam is where you’ll want to go to catch an onward bus or train from Cochin. 

There’s the Ernakulam bus station and the Ernakulam train station.

If you’ll be staying in Fort Cochin, it seems like you’ll choose Thoppumady.

On my bus, the last stop ended up being Ernakulam, and I’m guessing that’s because there was no one on the bus that selected Thoppumady as the drop-off location.

So if Fort Cochin is your destination, just be sure to select the corresponding spot! Although this won’t drop you immediately in Fort Cochin, it’ll be the closest.

But even if you do end up at a bus stop in Ernakulam, it won’t be too big of an issue to get to Fort Cochin by rickshaw! (There is Uber in Cochin, but I’m not sure what the early morning access is like!)

 

And then, once you’ve selected your drop-off point, you’ll fill out your info!

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. How to buy bus tickets. pay for ticket. Backpacking South India

 

I was able to put in my US number (although they didn’t send any notifications to it).

I was also able to pay using my US credit card. 

When I used redbus to book another ticket a few weeks prior, it did require a second attempt, as the first attempt was declined by my credit card company as potentially suspicious behavior.

So if your foreign credit card doesn’t work, check your text messages and email to see if this is the case.

 

Then, once the booking went through, I received 2 emails.

 

One was from redbus…

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. How to buy bus tickets. redbus mobile ticket email. Backpacking South India

 

And then another one seemed to be specifically for the bus company I booked with. (SPS Travels)

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. How to buy bus tickets. SPS travels mobile ticket email. Backpacking South India

 

All you’ll need is these emails on your phone to board the bus. You don’t need a printout. 

I took a screenshot of both emails for easy access later on. 

 

 

Arrive at bus departure point in Madurai in evening

SPS Travels booking office

So the bus company I went through was SPS Travels.

They have an office in Madurai at the Omni bus stand, and that’s where my boarding point was.

Again, this was near the Mattuthavani bus station, a major bus terminal in Madurai.

The Omni bus stand seems to be a major bus terminal for private bus companies.

 

I took a rickshaw to get there, and the driver seemed to immediately know Mattuthavani, as well as where the private bus companies depart from. 

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. Rickshaw to Mattuthavani bus station. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Rickshaw to Madurai omni bus stand near Mattuthavani bus station. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Rickshaw to Madurai omni bus stand near Mattuthavani bus station. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand street. Backpacking South India

 

Once you turn onto the street with all the private buses, there’s a row of buses on one side, and a row of shops or offices for the different bus companies on the other side.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand, private bus company office shops. Backpacking South India

 

In the booking e-mail, it said that the departure point was “shop number 15” at the Omni bus stand.

So once on the street, it was a matter of looking for #15!

There are numbers located right on the signs.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand, private bus company office shops. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand, private bus company office shops. Backpacking South India

 

So once I got to shop number 15, I went inside the SPS Travels office to confirm the bus and that I was in the right spot.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand, mattuthavani, SPS travels office shop. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand, mattuthavani, SPS travels office shop. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand, mattuthavani, SPS travels office shop. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand, mattuthavani, SPS travels office shop. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand, mattuthavani, SPS travels office shop. Backpacking South India

 

Then, I waited until it was time to get on the bus. 

There’s a little waiting area inside, but it’s likely cooler outside.

There are a number of chairs, although it might be difficult to find an open spot.

You can also buy snacks and water for your bus ride at this bus stand. 

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand waiting area, mattuthavani. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand waiting area, mattuthavani. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand waiting area, mattuthavani. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand waiting area, food, snacks, water, mattuthavani. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand waiting area, food, snacks, water, mattuthavani. Backpacking South India

 

And there’s also a toilet at the Omni bus stand.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. Madurai omni bus stand toilet, mattuthavani. Backpacking South India

 

 

Is Madurai safe at night?

Madurai to Cochin bus. Is Madurai safe at night? omni bus stand, mattuthavani. Backpacking South India

 

At the time I was leaving, around 9pm to 10pm, and in the area I was, it was very lively with tons of people around.

This included men, women, children, and families. 

So for traveling at this time in the evening, I really don’t think there’s much of a concern in terms of night safety. 

 

 

Getting on the bus to Cochin and to Kerala!

Once it’s around 10-15 minutes before the scheduled departure time, you might want to go back into the office to see if it’s time to get on the bus yet.

I did so, and then I was pointed directly across from the office, where I could get on the bus.

 

So once it’s time…

Get on the bus!

 

Madurai to Cochin bus to Kerala. Madurai bus departure timings - getting on the bus. sps travels. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus to Kerala. Madurai bus departure timings - getting on the bus. sps travels. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus to Kerala. Madurai bus departure timings - getting on the bus. sps travels. Backpacking South India

 

Madurai to Cochin bus driver seat. Backpacking South India

 

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. sleeper bus interior. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. sleeper bus interior. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. sleeper bus interior. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. sleeper bus interior. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. sleeper bus interior. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. sleeper bus interior. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. sleeper bus interior. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. sleeper bus interior. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. sleeper bus interior. Backpacking South India

 

You can find your seat number on the bus ticket, and then look for the corresponding seat number on the bus.

 

Madurai to Cochin bus seat number reserved ticket. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus seat number reserved ticket. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin bus seat number reserved ticket. Backpacking South India

 

 

Luggage storage

Madurai to Cochin bus luggage storage for suitcase. Backpacking South India

 

I couldn’t fit my suitcase under the seat like my overnight bus to Madurai, so I left it in the aisle. I wasn’t the only one doing this so I felt okay about it!

Some buses have a luggage storage compartment under the bus, and I’m not sure if this bus did or not.

I was also traveling with a backpack, which came with me to my seat. (Always keep your valuables nearby!) 

 

 

AC control

Madurai to Cochin bus with AC. Backpacking South India

 

On this bus, you could control whether the air blows on you, in case you get a bit cold or hot.

 

 

Outlet for charger

Madurai to Cochin bus with power outlet charger, light. Backpacking South India

 

Sleeper buses also generally have an outlet for you to charge your phone or other devices. 

But… this one didn’t seem to work for me.

I have successfully used the outlet on other buses though.

 

 

And then once the bus has departed Madurai…

 

Try to SLEEP!

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. sleeping on bus. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. sleeping on bus. Backpacking South India

 

 

Rest area

The bus stopped once at a rest area that I noticed during this bus ride. 

During this rest time, you can buy some water and small snacks, and you can also use the bathroom.

This stop was at a little road-side area, at around 2:45am.

 

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. route map location of rest area break roadside for food snacks. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. rest area break roadside for food snacks. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. rest area break roadside for food snacks. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. rest area break roadside for food snacks. Backpacking South India

Madurai to Cochin overnight bus. rest area break roadside for food snacks, truck stop. Backpacking South India

 

This was around a 15 minute stop. 

The toilet was okay.

 

 

Arrival in Cochin!!Madurai to Cochin bus. Ernakulam Cochin arrival timing morning in Kerala. Backpacking South India

 

Since there are several stops in Cochin, you can ask the driver or other bus worker to know when your stop is. 

Once I got off the bus in Ernakulam, I was immediately approached by a rickshaw driver.

And from there, I got a ride to the Ernakulam bus station to get on a bus to Alleppey!

 

Madurai to Cochin bus. rickshaw to Ernakulam bus station, to Ernakulam train station, to Fort Kochi. Backpacking South India

 

 

Or if you’ll be spending a few days in Cochin…

 

Explore Fort Cochin!

Madurai to Cochin overnight sleeper bus. Best way to visit to Fort Cochin Kerala from Madurai, public transportation. Backpacking South India travel blog

Madurai to Cochin overnight sleeper bus. Best way to visit to Fort Cochin Kerala from Madurai, public transportation. Backpacking South India travel blog

 

Madurai to Cochin overnight sleeper bus. Best way to get to Fort Cochin Kerala, public transportation. Backpacking South India travel blog

 

HAPPY MADURAI TO COCHIN BUS RIDE!

 



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