Cruising the serene backwaters of Kerala's canals are the traditional houseboats or ricebarges which have plied the waters for hundreds of years.
These boats, still used today to transport locals and their cargo around, comprise of two or three bedrooms with attached bathrooms with large open-sided sitting areas from where you can watch the world go by.
They are fully staffed with a captain and a cook who will serve up delicious and varied meals of fresh fish and local specialities. The accommodation and facilities are simple.
Houseboats are comfortably furnished with an open lounge, one or two ensuite bedrooms and a kitchenette, and are extremely eco friendly, merging smoothly into the panorama. Every houseboat is manned by a crew, usually with a cook, a Captain, and an Oarsman. The kitchen in the houseboat or ketuvallam is the production centre of the best traditional Kerala food. The availability of fish add special charm to authentic Kerala cooking. Only fresh produce are used and purchased locally to support the economy of the villages.
The majority of houseboats are hired from Alleppey, the gateway to the backwaters in between Cochin and Kollam. Most houseboat operators, and around 500 houseboats, are based there. From Alleppey adventure through the various backwaters to places such as Kumarakom, Kottayam, and Alinkadavu (near Kollam). Houseboats will usually slowly travel a distance of around 40-50 kilometers (25-30 miles) through the backwaters each day, passing lots of different scenery. Many resorts and luxury hotels have their own houseboats as well.
Cruising on the backwater canals, visiting local villages and markets.
Why we like it
A completely authentic experience on a traditional ricebarge that's been converted into a houseboat. Simple but charming.