The backwaters of Kerala, situated parallel to the coast of the Arabian Sea, beckon a traveler with their peculiar charm. These serene stretches of canals, lakes and lagoons, flanked by drooping palm trees, are quite synonymous with the image of Kerala.

The best way of discovering these backwaters is on a traditional houseboat. Known as “kettuvallams” in the Malayalam language, these traditional houseboats were used to transport large quantities of rice and spices in the past. Their modern day avatars, however, are used for undertaking leisure trips and are equipped with amenities which befit a good hotel. The best part about them is that they transport you to the otherwise inaccessible rural parts of the state, thereby gifting you with newer experiences. Interested in going for a houseboat ride? This blog tells you where to go for a houseboat cruise in Kerala.

Kumarakom

One of the best places to discover the backwaters on a houseboat cruise is Kumarakom. No wonder, this place attracts a large number of tourists the year round. The landscape here is defined by its tranquil backwaters which are dotted with paddy fields, rich flora and fauna and a thriving human settlement on its banks. One has the option of selecting from a category of houseboats, depending upon one’s budget and requirements. Guests have a range of options to choose from, from single bedroom to triple room and from AC to non-AC houseboats.

Alleppey

Alleppey is one of the top backwater destination in Kerala. Infact, this place boasts the largest concentration of houseboats in the entire state, numbering to almost 120. A part of the houseboats here have bamboo roofing, which is used for rest and relaxation by the guests. Here, an exclusive experience awaits the guests in the form of special meals including pearlspot fish, which is prepared by crew cooks on board after they are caught straight from the waters. Further, relaxed in your well-furnished cabins, you will discover those parts of Kerala which you never knew existed.

Kozhikode

The best way of exploring the backwaters of Kozhikode is on a traditional houseboat. The houseboats of this region resemble a floating villa which are designed for leisure trips. They take you to picturesque surroundings lying in close proximity to the calm Kallayi River. The houseboats are classified into different categories including double bedroom, single bedroom and 3 and 5 bedrooms. They also comprise a private gallery which is furnished with comfortable chairs, sundeck, AC and in-house kitchen toilet.

Kasargod

Kasargod, famous for its coir process, rice cultivation and varying terrain, offers the ultimate experience of taking a cruise on a houseboat in Kerala. Houseboats here are generally around 67ft in length and 13ft wide in the middle and is composed of ecofriendly materials like bamboo poles, coir carpets, coconut fiber ropes and bamboo mats. What enhances the experience of taking a cruise on the backwaters here is that it’s still away from the prying eyes of the tourists. Among the other options where you can enjoy backwater houseboat cruises, two of the most famous ones are Chandragiri and Valiyaparamba.

Kollam

If you are looking for the longest backwater cruise in Kerala, you should take the one from Kollam to Alappuzha. The entire rise will gift you with cherishable memories. All along the way, you are treated to sights like the beauty of the Chinese fishing nets along with lotuses and water lilies sprouting out of the water.

Kochi

A houseboat cruise in Kochi, also known as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea,” promises to be an unforgettable experience. Other than the magnificent view of the city that it provides, you are taken to some of the most important and legendary islands scattered throughout this region. However, the attraction and the ride is not limited to viewing nature’s bounty in all its different aspects. One also comes across monuments of historical importance, churches, traditional villages, etc. The houseboats here are divided into three categories, standard houseboat, deluxe and premium.

Kuttanad

The Kuttanad region, with its well-developed network of lakes, canals, rivers and rivulets, is believed to be one of the best backwaters in Kerala. Clothed in dense tropical greenery, it offers a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of Kerala. The houseboats here are created out of Artocarpus timber and are adorned with coir, bamboo mat and palymra leaves, besides others. The houseboats are classified into standard, deluxe, premium, honeymoon, luxury and punting.

Trivandrum

Trivandrum, also known as Thiruvananthapuram, is famous for being a gateway to some of the most amazing beaches and backwaters of Kerala. Discovering its enchanting backwaters on a luxury houseboat delivers an experience of a lifetime. However, the most popular backwater route is the one which goes through Kovalam because it’s a spectacular backwater stretch. The best place to enjoy a houseboat cruise here is Veli Village, situated about 8km from Trivandrum. Houseboats here are available at a very nominal rate.

Kottayam

Kottayam is a major contributor to Kerala’s economy in terms of tourism, and its backwaters play a major role in it. Of course, taking a trip around the backwaters on a houseboat here enables you to witness the beauty and splendor of the region, as well as the surrounding flora and fauna. One can enjoy all this while relaxing on a houseboat and enjoying the sumptuous seafood. The houseboats can be basically classified into the premium and luxury ac type, while the rooms can be divided into one bedded to five bedded rooms.

Ashtamudi

Ashtamudi Lake holds the distinction of being the largest lake in Kerala. It flows into the sea through Neendakara Estuary and hence is also called the “gateway to the backwaters of Kerala.” Taking a houseboat cruise here is pure bliss, as the peace and calm encompassing you seems so heavenly. One can take houseboat cruise from here to Alappuzha, a ride which takes 8 hours. You can select from a range of options. However, all houseboats are broadly classified into the bedroom, sitting and dining areas.

Published in Asia, Destination
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2 Comments
  1. Yesh 2 weeks ago

    Beautiful pictures – this is something I really want to experience!

    • Author
      Nikhilchandra 2 days ago

      Thanks Yesh! You must visit Kerala to experience houseboat cruise at the famous backwaters.

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