Cruising 101: Houseboat cruising in Kerala

Kerala is a charming tourist destination. Those who have visited Kerala at least once will never forget the serene feel of the lush green land. Yet if there is one thing that stands out about the place, it will be the backwaters. The beautiful turquoise blue lakes with bordering emerald-green shores are quite heartwarming. A slow cruise through the placid water in a Kerala houseboat is one of the most exciting activities that one can involve.

This blog is for those who have no idea about House boating and its options in Kerala. Here are some of the most common confusions and their replies

What is a houseboat?

Houseboats, known locally as ‘Kettuvallom‘, are huge boats in Kerala that have all the facilities of a home. There are different types of houseboats, but most of them have multiple bedrooms, washrooms, living rooms, dining areas, and a balcony from where you can enjoy a great view. These tourist boats can be air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned ones.

So, they are luxury boats. But where do they take you?

There are many boating routes in Kerala. The most famous one is in the Alappuzha district. There is another famous point in Kumarakom. Usually, these boats do a round trip through the lake and drop you off from where it picked you up.

How much time would it take for a full trip?

A full trip will last almost 6 to 8 hours, during which the boatmen will anchor the houseboat in the middle of the lake for almost 2 hours.

Are these boats available 24/7?

No. Boathouses in Kerala do not have permission from the tourism department to conduct tours at night. Hence they start their journey in the morning. Depending on the agency where you have booked your trip, the cruise can begin anytime between 9 and 11.

Ok, So do we have to cook our lunch?

Every houseboat has a cook in their kitchen. He or she will prepare delicious Kerala meals for you. A local delicacy called Karimeen Pollichathu, which is fried Pearl spot fish, is served and is loved by tourists. Some houseboats will even provide tea and snacks in the evening.

How much does it cost?

Depending on the number of people and type of boat you need, a houseboat package can cost between 7,000 and 30,000 Indian Rupees.

How many people are allowed in a boat?

Each houseboat package in Kerala has a limit for the number of people that can travel in the boat; decided by its size. Nevertheless, the usual number is between 2 to 15 members. The more the number of travelers, the more the cost.

What are the activities in the houseboat?

Houseboats in Alleppey will take you to some of the best sights. Most people love to sit back and enjoy the turquoise water emerald green shores with swaying coconut trees. You can involve in fishing if you like that. The cooks in the boat are ready to cook dishes with your catch.  Some houseboats allow you to swim in the lake. But make sure you have clear communication with your tour operator about it before you venture on the journey.

Which is the best season to enjoy houseboat cruising in Alleppey?

Kerala is an all-year-round tourist destination. Because of the mild climate, you can have fun throughout the year. Nevertheless, it is better to avoid houseboats during the monsoon season as the rains can be quite heavy. Many travelers prefer the time between December and February as it is the winter season in Kerala and the climate will be pleasant. Another tourist season is in August, during the time of Onam.

What about newly wedded couples? Do they have a special package?

Sure. Most tour operators provide honeymoon packages to newlyweds. You can enjoy a romantic time in a houseboat with no one else to disturb you. Many people prefer this, as this is a unique experience.

How much would that cost?

It will be the same rate as for a package of 2 adults. Depending on the tour agency, it can be between 6000 and 8000 Rupees. You may have to pay for any additional facilities that you need.

Can I customize these packages?

Definitely. When booking houseboats in Alleppey or Kumarakom, travel agencies in Kerala are happy to make changes to the packages to suit your needs. They encourage you to give suggestions to make the more trip enjoyable. However, they may not be able to change their course in the waterway because they are set routes.


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