Chinese Fishing Nets

Activity Charges / Entry Fee: No entry fee.
Time Required
One to two hours
5:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Difficulty Level
Best Suited For
Couples and Families who are interested in sightseeing.

Quick Info

The Chinese fishing nets also known as Cheena vala are at Fort Kochi, located in the Kochi city of Kerala. They are in use for the last 500 years and make up a very popular tourist attraction. While commonly known as "Chinese fishing nets" in India, the more formal name for such nets is "shore operated lift nets". They are fixed land installations, which are used for a very unique and unusual method of fishing. 


Rankings & Ratings

Spellbinding to a first-time viewer.
Editor's Rankings

#9 in 16 Things to Do in Cochin
#3 in 7 Sightseeing Spots in Cochin
#2 in 2 Outdoor Activities & Parks in Cochin

TripAdvisor Ratings

Editor's Review

The Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi is a photographer's delight. Along with the scenic beauty of the fishing nets with the sea as the background, there a lot of activities you can take part in. This is not a place everybody would like but you can try it once.


  • Nice place to walk and meet fishermen 
  • Plenty of beach activities available.
  • Feast for photographers.
  • There are stalls where you can get fried fish.


  • Beach is not too clean.
  • Some people might not find it too interesting.


Detailed Info

The entire structure of the Chinese fishing nets is about 10 meters in height. Each fishing net spreads to about 20 meters over the water body and is operated by a team of some six fishermen. Each net has a limited operating depth. Due to this, an individual net cannot be repeatedly operated in tidal waters. There are different fishing nets for operation, depending on the state of the tide. The whole paraphernalia is such that the weight of a man walking along the main beam is sufficient to cause the net to descend into the sea.

The net is left into the water for a short time; say for four-five minutes, before it is raised back by tugging the ropes. The catch is usually modest, but these can be sold to the passersby in a jiffy.

Rocks, each 30 cm or so in diameter are suspended from ropes of different lengths. As the net is raised, some of the rocks come to rest one-by-one on a platform so that everything is kept in balance.

While some accounts mention that the nets were set up between AD 1350 and 1450 by traders from the court of Kubla Khan, some others say that the Chinese explorer Zhang He introduced the nets to Kochi shores. Recent research shows that these were introduced by Portuguese Casado settlers from Macau. It’s amazing to see something so fundamental and ancient still in use today. The water covered with these nets at the time of sunset makes a bewitching and pleasant scene to the travellers.