What is Kerala Houseboat
The houseboats in Kerala backwaters are converted Kerala backwater cargo vessels called 'Kettuvallams' that used to transport rice, coconuts, coir and other commodities through the backwaters of Kerala. These cargo boats lost out to road transportation when better roads were built in Kerala.
This was about the time when tourists discovered Kerala and started coming to visit Kerala in their thousands. Most of them wanted a trip on the backwaters of Kerala, but there were not enough boats to take them around. So someone got the bright idea to convert these huge traditional Kettuvallams of Kerala backwaters into houseboats. In the beginning these houseboats had the barest of comforts, but now these old Kettuvallam converted houseboats of Kerala have been replaced with modern fiberglass hull houseboats with 5 star hotel facilities. So now most of the house boats that ply the Kerala Backwaters have two or three air-conditioned bedrooms with attached toilets with modern European type closets and washbasins. Other facilities in Kerala houseboats include sitting room and balconies, dining facilities with fully equipped kitchen, etc.
What is Kerala Backwaters
Kerala backwaters are a chain of large lakes linked by canals, both man-made and natural. More than 40 rivers empty into the backwaters and the backwaters are connected to the sea. Water from the backwaters, either empty into the sea or there is reverse flow depending on the tide. Dams or Bunds as they are called locally, are built across some places in the backwaters in order to prevent saltwater entry, thus preserving the freshwater for use in agriculture and domestic use. One such bund has been constructed at Thanneermukkom on the road to Kumarakom from Cochin. The Thanneermukkom Bund has helped farmers of Kuttanad to grow rice on lands below sea level.
The Backwaters of Kerela extend almost the full length of Kerela. These large lakes has been used from time immemorial to transport cargo and people throughout the State. Now these lakes are the biggest tourist attraction of Kerala with thousands of visitors coming to Kerala to enjoy the beauty of the Backwaters with an Houseboat Cruise.
The main backwater lakes of Kerala are Vembanad and Ashtamudi Backwater or 'Kayal' as it is known locally. Vembanad Backwater is the largest of the backwater lake and has the cities of Alappuzha or Alleppey and Kumaragom on its shores. The port of Cochin or Kochi and Fort Cochin is at the outlet or estuary of the Vembanad backwater into the Arabian sea. Alapuzha or Alleppey, known as the "Venice of the East", due to its large network of canals crisscrossing the town, is the most popular place to hire House boat trips. Kumarakom has many hotels and resorts and is the place to enjoy a relaxed stay.
How good is houseboat tour in Kerala backwaters
Houseboat trips in Kerala backwaters are very popular with the tourists coming to Kerala. We have a video here to let you actually experience what a houseboat trip in Kerala backwaters feels like.
A day trip on a Kerala houseboat in the Backwaters of Alleppey takes you through many canals . On the banks of these canals you can see the people of Kerala doing their daily work like washing clothes and cleaning fish, etc. You also see a lot of children playing around. It is a golden opportunity to see how the ordinary people of Kerala live their lives.
Cost of renting houseboat in Kerala
The costs for hiring a houseboat in Kerala is not expensive. It costs about US$ 200- for a group of upto 10 people for a day trip on the backwaters of Kerala. In the $200- the cost of lunch and tea is covered for 2 persons. Other persons in the group will have to pay a charge of about $10- each for lunch on board the Kerala houseboat.
The staff on a Kerala Houseboat consists of a supervisor, a driver and a cook. The rates quoted are for Airconditioned 2 bedroom Houseboats in Kerala. The different types of voyages on a Kerala houseboat and its prices are as follows:
- Houseboat Day trip: starts at 10 AM and lasts till 5 PM and cost of this trip will be $200 as explained above.
- An Overnight trip will start at 5PM and ends the next day at 10 AM and the cost will be $250 for 2 persons
- For full day trips of 24 hours, cost of the houseboat will be about US $ 400- per day.
Note: The rates quoted are only to give an idea. The actual rates are normally lower depending on the seson or demand for houseboats. Also note that for overnight journeys the houseboats are normally anchored close to a shore point. Guests have the option to choose the route they want to take on full day trips.
The Best place to hire a Kerela Houseboat is in Alleppey and Alleppey houseboat rates are reasonable. The best Kerala Backwater Resort and Hotels are in Kumarakom and Kerala Alleppey Resorts.