Being an avid traveler myself, I always see to it that I do not leave any stones unturned during my journeys. Kerala was always in my travel wish list but I never could visit the God’s own country until 2 weeks before. Yes! I finally made it to the paradise we call Kerala. It was last week of March when me myself and my best mates from my office in Bangalore decided to hit Kerala for the weekend. Since we had only 3 days, we visited Cochin and then the famous Alleppey Backwaters. The highlight of the trip for sure was the stay in a houseboat at Alleppey.
Wow! That is the first word that comes out of me when I think of the houseboats.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be a really great experience as my mum who has tried the houseboat cruise before, told me it isn’t worth the hype. I totally disagree that because for me and my friends it was an out of the World experience. The backwaters, lagoons, narrow canals sandwiched between paddies, the smiling people, the food, OHH! I am super excited when it comes to Kerala now, and especially the heavenly backwaters.
The best tip I would give you is “CHOOSE AUTHORISED HOUSEBOAT TOUR OPERATORS”.
My trip was with Cruise land Houseboats and it was totally a worthwhile experience. Starting from the houseboat owner Mr Lineesh who initially spoke to us, to the whole houseboat crew, everyone were so professional and welcoming. I would give them 10/10 for their patience and yes the food.
There were 4 of us and therefore we hired a 2 bedroom houseboat. We started from Bangalore at 8 pm and we reached Alleppey the next day 9 am. On reaching the Alleppey city, we caught a rickshaw and reached the boarding point as advised by Mr Lineesh. The houseboat crew was waiting for us. Mr Mithun welcomed us and helped us load our luggage into our houseboat.
The crew helped us with a refreshing welcome drink, some tender coconut water. That was very much needed considering the hot weather. We settled in and got freshen up in our room. One of the crew member [I forgot his name though] asked us to sit in the living area rather than locked inside our room. He told the actual backwater show is outside and the best way to enjoy it is at the comfort of their comfy cushioned sofas.
We spent our next 1 hour enjoying the beautiful cruise as we moved along the blissful backwaters of Alleppey. By 2 pm, Mr Mohan and crew set up the dining table for lunch. The aroma of spice rich fish fry already got my mouth drooling. It was not just fish on the table, there was my favorite Chicken and that too the Kerala style Chicken curry, rice, chapathi, Sambar, cabbage cooked with coconut, pickle, pappad and curd as well. I must say we all enjoyed the meal to the core. The best thing was that none of us even spoke during lunch time, the credit goes to the houseboat crew. Their cooking was simply fantabulous.
After lunch we four began to get drowsy. No wonder why. We had a heavy meal which I guess reached our throat. We all sat comfortably on the sofa and as soon we started to chat, all of us got into a short nap. Likely after 10 minutes I woke up into this view-
I could not sleep more because I did not want to miss even a second of this thoroughly entertaining houseboat cruise. We came across beautiful paddy fields which treated our eyes with soothing green color all around. We came across many smiling faces by the side of the backwaters and many rowing country boats which is the major source of transportation for people living in this part of the World which is dominated by the backwaters. We saw toddy shops where the famous local drink made from Coconut trees is served. We came across big fish markets, vegetable markets, churches, temples and a lot more which I cannot jot it down with my words.
Evening snack was another beautiful thing happened to us. We were served with some fresh “Pazhamporis”. Pazhampori is basically Banana fry and I do not know what all things they mix with it but it tastes simply out of the World. A hot cup of tea in your left hand, crispy Pazhampori in your right, the houseboat and the backwaters, it gets nothing bigger than this. We all enjoyed our tea time a lot.
By 5:30 the crew informed us that they will anchor the boat for the rest of the night. At first I could not accept it because we were not done with the backwaters. We wanted more, but we realized later that it is the govt. rule. The houseboats must be anchored before dusk to aid the fishermen community living at the backwater area. Their only source of income and food is fishing and Kerala govt. has done a wonderful job creating a balance between tourism and local life.
Rest of the night we spend chatting, posting Instagram pictures of our Alleppey backwater experience, we played cards, boozed on a bottle of whisky we brought with us. Finally, we were treated with some lip smacking food for dinner. Rice, chicken, eggs, fish, chapati and any other vegetable dishes as well. With our hearts and bellies full, we went to bed.
Morning 7:30 am, Mohan gave us a wake up call and asked us to come out and enjoy the early morning cruise. At first we were a bit lazy though, however, when we came out, we thanked Mohan a lot, for the call.
Why? The scene outside got us speechless. The morning time is always the best to enjoy a landscape and the Alleppey backwaters is literally a heaven. As the morning sun lights up Alleppey, everything about this place is unreal. The yellow and bluish hues coupled with the greenery of the palm fringed countryside of Alleppey. There is nothing more you could ask for from our mother nature. This place truly has a divine touch.
By 9 we had a sumptuous Kerala style breakfast. Idli-Sambhar, Dosa-Chutney and my favorite Puttu-Kadala which is basically steamed rice cake served along with some spicy curry made of chick peas. 9:30 am, it was the sad end of our spectacular houseboat experience in Alleppey. We waved good bye to the houseboat crew and Mohan helped us with an auto rickshaw to reach the Alleppey railway station. Our train was scheduled at 1:30 pm noon and so we explored more of Alleppey town by walk.
That was my experience with the houseboat cruise at Alleppey.
If you are planning a houseboat cruise in Alleppey, do not change your plan. Go for it.
It would be one of the best trips you ever had. I am sure you will come back for more because you feel you never have had enough of the God’s own country. Such is the liveliness and beauty of this truly paradisiacal destination Alleppey.
So wait no more, pack your bags, a houseboat is waiting for you somewhere at Alleppey.
If you are wondering about how to find a reliable houseboat operator among thousands, i can highly recommend you Cruiseland Houseboats.
You can find their Houseboat packages here or possibly call Mr. Lineesh directly and ask him for a houseboat quote.