A House On The Water

Alleppey Travel Blog

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Another houseboat cruising through the backwaters

Varkala turned out to be a wonderful town to relax and unwind. But as I travel through Kerala, I’m finding that this whole state is simply easier on travelers, at least compared to Tamil Nadu.

At the train station in Varkala I was lucky enough to break my solo streak. I joined up with a trio of cheerful English women who warmly welcomed me into their group. We took the train together to Alleppey, and from there, made arrangements to hire a houseboat for an overnight cruise through the Keralan backwaters.

A houseboat tour through the backwaters of Kerala is the main reason many people venture to this state.

The view from the driver's seat of our houseboat
I was worried about needing to spend a fortune to be able to do this trip, but split between the four of us, it was perfect.

It’s such a relief sometimes to be able to travel with awesome people. It spreads the responsibilities of everyday life so that everything becomes less stressful, less of a hassle. In fact, I probably would have given up on getting a houseboat if it weren’t for my new friends. As a tourist magnet, the houseboat industry is over-saturated with touts hollering at you from motorbikes as you walk down the street offering the best houseboats with the best service and luxury for the cheapest prices. But of course, when you ask too many questions the whole deal just begins to scream RIP OFF. The entire process can be exhausting, but with the support of fellow travelers, the hassle becomes less stressful and more of a joke shared between friends.

My new friends lounging on our houseboat
Plus, when haggling with these touts, there isn’t just safety in numbers, but more power as well.

After some frantic running around comparing prices and making deals, we finally settled into a gorgeous, roomy, private houseboat complete with food, cooks, and drivers. The staff catered to our every need from serving us chai in the afternoon to clearing one of the rooms of all the bugs that had got caught in the mosquito net. Our meals were delicious, traditional Keralan foods set for us at a shaded dinner table on the comfy deck of our boat.

Houseboats are known to be one of the most expensive tourist attractions in all of India and it’s well worth the money. But when you actually think about it, a spacious, fully staffed private houseboat for four people for 24 hours including all your meals is an excellent bargain at $35 US per person. And of course, cruising through the backwaters at sunset while watching the villagers going about their day and enjoying the wonderful views…. well, it’s pretty much priceless.

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Another houseboat cruising through…
Another houseboat cruising throug…
The view from the drivers seat of…
The view from the driver's seat o…
My new friends lounging on our hou…
My new friends lounging on our ho…
The backwaters near Alleppey full …
The backwaters near Alleppey full…
The backwaters
The backwaters
photo by: Stevie_Wes