Houseboat Cruise Through Kerala Backwaters – My Experience!

Houseboat Cruise Through Kerala Backwaters - My Experience!

A houseboat cruise in Kerala is a uniquely different experience that must not be missed. Read on to see why I refer to this experience as ‘different’.

For the purpose of this review, I decided to go on a houseboat cruise, not as a tour operator but as a regular tourist. For our wedding anniversary this July, I booked a houseboat (under a different name, of course) and didn’t inform the crew about it. I’ve done this experiment in the past with hotels too, in order to experience things firsthand.

We got in to the houseboat at 12 Noon from one of the jetties in Alleppey. As soon as embarked, my first impression was that the boat crew was warm and cheerful as they welcomed us with light refreshments. The booking agent introduced us to the crew and left us with a warm smile. As the boat slowly departed, we were shown around to our rooms. We left our luggage in the room and came back out into the open to do a little sightseeing.

Houseboat Journey Through Kerala Backwaters The boat cruised along narrow canals where we saw the full glory of village life. People traveled in canoes to reach the main land as many houses there do not have an approach road. Even children were using canoes the way we use cycles and bikes to move around. It was amazing! We passed by other boats and it was a delight to see the guests there having a ‘Wow’ expression on their faces.

Villager on Country boatThe boat gradually moved towards the lake and this was a completely different experience. We felt lost in the wide expanse, while also feeling like royalty. Just before we drifted on to the lake, the guide stopped at a small toddy shop where we could buy local snacks like tapioca, fish curry, Karimeen fry and obviously, toddy!

Karimeen fry The boat stopped for lunch by 1 PM right in the middle of the lake, making us feel all the more awesome. After it was anchored, the boat started slowly rotating on its own. We loved the feeling it gave us, and we had a really good time. For lunch we were served fish fry, chappathis, rice and a few more dishes. They prepared the food differently, and it tasted superb. After we had our lunch, and the crew had theirs, the cruise resumed.
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By 5:30 PM, the boat was docked near its owner’s house. The boats usually have their own regular parking slots. The boat’s TV was connected to the cable in the owner’s house and we were able to watch television for some time. We spent more time roaming around, though. By 8 PM, dinner was served, and we hit the bed by 10 PM. Let me tell you, sleeping on a floating boat is very different!

Housboat Docked for Night Stay

We got up in the morning to sounds from the village, songs from a temple nearby, the gentle thumps of village folk washing their clothes and the squeals of children playing. It was an amazing experience! I wish I could get up like this every day! By 8 AM, we were done with our break fast and we started cruising back to check out from boat. We left the boat by 9 AM, and our remarkable trip came to an end.

There are a few things every one should have in mind while undertaking a houseboat cruise. The boat is travelling on water, so you cannot expect it to be as big or as comfortable as a hotel room. You will have to make sure the boat’s door and windows are closed by 6 PM. If they aren’t, mosquitoes will enter in, and it will not be that easy to get rid of them.

Alappuzha Backwaters

The houseboat will look very different from the photos you might find on the internet. Those photographs might have been taken the day the boat was built. Continuous exposure to sunlight 
will make a difference in how your boat actually looks. But your houseboat will be clean and tidy. If it is not, you can inform the crew and make sure it is tended to. Try to maintain good relations with the crew. If you would like to tip them, do it during the cruise rather than after it’s over.

Don’t set your expectations too high by perusing pictures on the internet. Your houseboat will not be like a hotel room, which requires cooperation from both the sides in order for you to have a great experience.

My honest suggestion is this: book houseboats to experience something different, not to have all the luxuries you can find in a hotel. It is a different kind of experience, but definitely, not one to be missed.
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Article written by

Managing director at Paradise Holidays Cochin

13 Responses

  1. Abhay Singh
    Abhay Singh at | | Reply

    Wow! its amazing…My next vacation plan is to stay in house boat in Kerala with my wife …thank you for this post for remembering again my vacation plan….

  2. Arun - Tina
    Arun - Tina at | | Reply

    nice article ratheesh.
    hope to see other kerala destinations too.

  3. Maria Gomes
    Maria Gomes at | | Reply

    I have been to Kerala a few times and the house boat ride was also one of my favorite activities. The Backwaters of Kerala are really beautiful. Kerala is known for this scenic beauty, vibrant culture and delicious cuisine.

    1. Sunu Philip
      Sunu Philip at | | Reply

      oh That awesome Maria!! Do share your unique experiences with us!

  4. Sonali
    Sonali at | | Reply

    Nice article and pictures…

    1. Sunu Philip
      Sunu Philip at | | Reply

      Thank you!

  5. Divya
    Divya at | | Reply

    Great write up, The post and the pictures are beautifully weaved.Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience in Kerala backwaters.

    1. Sunu Philip
      Sunu Philip at | | Reply

      Thanks Divya. Keep reading our other blog articles.

  6. Nithya
    Nithya at | | Reply

    Alleppey houseboats create a unique relaxing experience in your Kerala tour packages. The main aim of Alleppey Houseboat tour is to create great memories, magic, tradition, romance, blessing of an intimate and enjoy the precious moment together. If you wish to enjoy a beautiful day in Kerala, Alleppey houseboats are the better option.

    1. Sunu Philip
      Sunu Philip at | | Reply

      Thank you, Nithya

  7. Mathew Antony
    Mathew Antony at | | Reply

    This is a great article and I would like to thank you to promoting Kerala houseboat tourism.

  8. Aditi
    Aditi at | | Reply

    Beautiful article.Keral is beautiful place. Thanks for sharing

    1. Sunu Philip
      Sunu Philip at | | Reply

      Yes, Kerala is a very beautiful place.

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