An Ultimate Guide on Cruising the Backwaters of Kerala in a Houseboat

Posted On March 22, 2018 by Tours In India

Kerala houseboat guide

If there is a heaven to visit on earth, it is none other than Kerala and no wonder it is known as God’s own country. Being a place rich with backwaters beauty, it is one of the best places to explore on houseboats in Kerala. A houseboat, locally known as kettuvallams imparts a unique experience and comforts and an awesome view of countryside outside. Due to its advantages, houseboats are gaining popularity among tourists across the world.

Are you planning a houseboat ride in Kerala in near future? Then, this article will definitely be a help in understanding the authentic taste of Kerala, type of activities and cruise route to spice up the unique experience.

So, let’s explain right from the origin of houseboats.

It is always better to know completely before planning any trip to the land of rich cultures and traditions. A detailed digging from its origin makes your visit worth.

There were times when the individuals in Kerala harvested rice on the fertile fields alongside the backwaters. Depending on the market days in nearby Town, they carry tones of rice, coconut in kettuvallams through the waters to sell the products at a decent price. This was quite normal way of life for the people who were living in the villages. Bur after some time, the rich people began using these boats with minor adjustments to use as living quarters. With advanced options, fewer villagers opted for slow country boats as their means of transportation.

But now, the old kettuvallams have changed into full-fledged and customized leisure centers for the tourists. Kettuvallams, otherwise known as ‘Boats with knots’ was either sewed or tied without using a single nail. Everything in the boat is handmade with natural products like coir, palm bark or bamboo. To make this hand crafted hospitality center, it will take half a year to build by 10 artisans.


Know the types and categories of houseboats in Kerala for a lifetime experience

Know the types and categories

Not only the houseboats are made of eco-friendly materials but also they provide every comfort the luxurious hotel has. Houseboats can come with single or multiple bedrooms with fully furnished kitchens, balconies, toilets and sundecks.

The types include:

  • Heritage boats

These are the transformed form of traditional kettuvallams without any single nail in the construction. Most of the houseboats are made from Anjili, a special kind of wood. These boats are the choices of international travelers to enjoy a world-class experience in Kerala Backwaters. All modern amenities are available with minimal luxury with old world feel.

  • Modern boats

Modern houseboats are the most commonly used type of houseboat. Even though the appearance from the outside is quite traditional, the interior is luxurious with all modern amenities. The modern houseboats come in different categories like deluxe, luxury and premium based on the number of individuals and the necessities they require. Kerala houseboat honeymoon packages with honeymoon houseboats are made on this special platform with a lower deck. You will get a package at affordable costs.

  • Houseboats with upper deck

The houseboats with upper deck are a good option for conferences or families or friends with more individuals travelling together. The deck can be converted to dining area and it has 3 minimum rooms with attached bathrooms, air-conditioning and music systems.

  • Houseboats with sundeck

If you seek a private time in the houseboat, choose the one with sun deck. The sun deck can be opened or closed with a glass.

  • Standard houseboats

These types of houseboats have basic necessities and mostly it doesn’t have air-conditioning systems too. This is an apt option if you are focusing a lifetime experience at your budget.

  • Premium/luxury houseboats

These houseboats will have more amenities for a perfect night stay. Let it be your honeymoon trip or a family trip, deluxe houseboats will be your best choice. Luxury houseboats have spacious glass-paneled rooms for a good view outside. The houseboats are usually one to four bedrooms with fully furnished interior as per the requirements.

  • Deluxe houseboats

If you really need world-class luxuries and comfort, choose super deluxe houseboats and enjoy your holidays in the backwaters. The deluxe houseboats will have day cruise and overnight stay that you can be checked-in at 12pm and leave at next day 9 am.

Deluxe houseboats in Alleppey will have a double deck for more people to relax and the tourist can view breathtaking views of backwaters. It has one to six bedrooms with all modern facilities and attached bathroom and a sundeck. You can enjoy the home-made food served in boat.

  • Super deluxe houseboats

This is similar to deluxe houseboat with full time air-conditioning. This is a good option if you have small kids too.We know you will be eagerly waiting to know how a typical day and night trip in Alleppey houseboatsBesides these types of boats there are some unique houseboats in Kerala which can be opted for large family gatherings or meetings or exclusively for honeymoon.

  • Conference houseboats

These houseboats have all modern amenities with fully air-conditioned with seating capacity of 150 persons. It can also be used to arrange functions or parties. You can enjoy the lovely home-made food too.

  • Honeymoon houseboats

Honeymoon houseboats are designed with all the requirements of newly married couples. These houseboats are fully furnished rooms that creates perfect ambience for memorable honeymoon days.


Be ready with your dates to cruise on the emerald backwaters!! Leave rest to us!!

Be ready with your dates to cruise

Enjoy your family-time on a floating luxury. Gather some fond memories for your lifetime in the rustic beauty of backwaters.

Kerala climate is all-time favorable for the tourists across the world, so plan your dates according to your comfort and we will make your days amazing.

  • Check-in time at 12 p.m.

Kerala houseboat packages welcome you aboard at 12 p.m. with a lemon juice or cracked tender coconut. Enjoy the scenery where groups of birds fly in tight formation along with whistling ducks on the surface explore clusters of hyacinth. Tender coconut water cools your body well and don’t forget to ask the chef to get it opened to taste the tender coconut from the shell.

From your busy life schedule, you get a chance to enjoy totally different world lifestyle. So, let it not get wasted.

  • Feel the authentic taste at 1.30 p.m.

The boat stops for the cultured cuisine at 1.30 p.m. You will experience the real taste buds triggering to enjoy the taste of Kerala rice with avial (curry which has all vegetables with coconut shreds), fresh fish caught from Vembanad and fried, prawns and fish curry. The lunch provided can be customized based on tourists’ choices. You can choose and fix your menu while booking the houseboat because they can arrange the ingredients before starting the sail.

  • Optional canoe ride at 4 p.m.

Alappuzha Boat House ride will halt for a village walk alongside the backwaters. If you are interested for a canoe ride for a country ride into the narrow canals that gets the sights of water culture- boats laden with vegetables selling in front of every house, children on their way home, duck schools swimming past and coir making. It is quite amazing to see the lives around the water.

  • Relaxed evening with a cup of coffee/tea at 5 p.m.

Return to the luxury houseboats in Alleppey from traditional boat for an evening cup of tea/coffee. You can also enjoy the taste of Kerala banana fritters and tapioca chips. Enjoy the scenery as well. The boats will be anchored by 6 p.m. as per Government rules and regulations for the safety of protecting the local livelihoods and fishing nets.

  • Sneak peek to the kitchen at 8 p.m.

This is the right time to chat with the crew in the kitchen to take a look at the incredible food being prepared. Dinner menu will be Kerala paratha, chicken roast, mango kalan, fried rice, tiger prawns, fruits etc. Wow!! Irresistible watery mouth!!

  • Sweet and tight sleep at 10 p.m.

Have a good sleep like never before in the floating boats with a calm music. You will definitely fee that the life is really beautiful.

  • Witness the beautiful sunrise at 6 a.m.

Wake up to the temple songs nearby, the folk doing household activities and children getting ready for school. Relax on the upper deck when boat starts sailing again.

  • Breakfast at 8 a.m.

Enjoy coffee, toast, fresh fruits along with South Indian food like Idli, Dosa, Upma etc as breakfast and it’s time for check-out after the food.

Let the memories last forever.

Get the houseboat prices, amenities and comfort you are going to enjoy

Houseboat prices vary based on the type and category of boat and the duration of your cruise.


The options like deck type in deluxe or luxury or heritage will be costlier as only a few boats are available in these categories and they tend to picked up very fast by the tourists. The most budget friendly one is the modern deluxe houseboat. Single bedroom rental starts from INR 7500/- onwards to INR 14000 for super luxury boats.

Amenities include 3 meals a day with snacks. Only thing the travelers must inform the type of menu they need, say, Kerala cuisine or western style food, drinks for the trip, fruit basket, working fan in each room, toiletries and towels.

Know the cruise routes before planning your joyous days in the houseboat

Know the cruise routes before planning

The Kerala backwaters is in the beautiful palm-lined network of lakes, streams, and waterways that run inland from the shore of Kerala, from Kochi (Cochin) to Kollam (Quilon). The principle section point, arranged amongst Kochi and Kollam, is Alleppey. At the core of the backwaters is tremendous Vembanad Lake.

Customarily, the backwaters are utilized by neighborhood individuals for transport, agriculture and fishing.

Yearly snake boat races, held along the backwaters, likewise give an extraordinary wellspring of excitement for local people and sightseers alike.

The rich green landscape, assorted untamed life, and houses and towns that line the backwaters make an excursion along these conduits appear like an adventure through a different universe. No big surprise the backwaters is one of the must-visit visitor puts in Kerala. Try not to miss it! Explore through Kerala tour packages.

  • Reaching Alleppey from Cochin Airport

Alleppey can be reached in a little more than 2 hours by prepaid taxi from Kochi air terminal. The cost is around 2000 rupees. Tickets are accessible at the stall in the airplane terminal entries corridor.

A substantially less expensive choice is to take one of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation transport administrations from the airplane terminal to Alleppey. Exceptional quick transport administrations leave from the travel territory between the terminals at 9.15 a.m., 9.30 a.m., 10.40 a.m., 4.10 p.m, and 4.20 p.m. In any case, the schedule isn’t generally taken after.

If you reached when there’s not a transport, you’ll find more administrations leaving from Aluva Rajiv Gandhi Bus Station, around 20 minutes away, and the advanced Vytilla Mobility Hub found 45 minutes away in Ernakulam.

On the other hand, Indian Railways trains stop in Alleppey. The railroad station nearest to Kochi airplane terminal is Aluva.

Another choice is Ernakulam South, around a hour away.

  • Feel the joyous moments in backwaters

Many tourists who visit the Kerala backwaters procure a customary Kerala-style houseboat (called a kettuvallam). It’s a quintessential Kerala experience, and the most serene and unwinding things you can do in India. Naturally cooked Indian food makes the experience much more charming. You can either go on a day outing or remain overnight in the boat.

A vacation on a houseboat can likewise be joined with staying at a resort, inn or homestay along the backwaters. The resorts and luxurious inns ordinarily have their own houseboats, and offer overnight and dusk travels. On the other hand, different inns can easily organize a houseboat for you. The greater part of the housing is bunched along the banks of Vembanad Lake close Kumarakom in the Kottayam area, and close Alleppey. Kumarakom backwater route has the famous bird sanctuary also this route covers pathiramanal island too.

Alleppey-Kumarakom backwater route allows the visitors to check in at Alleppey and check out at Kumarakom and vice versa. Some distance can be covered in boat if you are moving to Thekkady. You can easily explore paddy fields, narrow canals and village life at Alleppey before going to Kumarakom. This spot is quite popular among honeymooners.

Alleppey to Alumkadavu backwater route can be covered in two days. The major attractions are coir village, Matha Amrithanantha Math at Vallikavu, Kumarakodi. Visiting boat making yard at Alumkadavu is also a popular destination for tourists.

Another famous backwater cruise is from Alleppey to Thottappalley. Many attractions like Ambalapuzha temple, Champakkulam church and a sail on Punnamada lake are present here.

North Kerala is blessed with Valiyaparamba which is a heaven for tourists. A stay at Bekal offers you with pristine backwaters which are just 30 minutes away.

In case you’re going on a budget plan, it’s conceivable to go on entire day backwater visitor travels that are on offer. Then again, if you need to look at the backwaters economically, you can take one of public boat services by the State Water Transport Department, for example, the one amongst Alleppey and Kottayam.

Travel time is more than two hours, with various departures. The cost is just 16 rupees. The boat goes through many canals and towns. Do know that there aren’t any toilets in the boat.

  • Other options for Kerala Backwater Tourist cruises

Nowadays, many tourists are settling on “country boat” visits or canoe ride to towns along the smaller Kerala backwaters. This is the most ideal approach to truly encounter the backwaters. Some prescribed choices include:

Kakkathuruthu Island on Vembanad Lake is a little-known island rose to popularity when National Geographic highlighted it as an extraordinary sunsetting spot in 2016. Obviously, it used to be possessed exclusively by crows, yet is presently home to 300 or so families. The island is a rowboat ride from the Kodumpuram ship point close Eramalloor Junction on the terrain. Eco-friendly Kayal Island Retreat is the main place to stay there, with only four rustic waterfront houses.

Important tips for Kerala houseboat booking

Important tips for Kerala houseboat

Here are some major tips for booking a houseboats in Kerala.

  • The peak season in Kerala falls from October to February which will be very cool for a great time for a cruise. But houseboats are available throughout the year. Be sure your houseboats are air-conditioned if you plan a trip between March and May. A trip between June and September will have monsoon offers which are being promoted for a unique Kerala experience.
  • Since many individuals plan a trip during peak season, it is advisable to book in advance. The left out boats will be of low quality. So please schedule the dates for a trip to avoid delayed bookings.
  • If you have enough time, it is better to go for a night boat experience. But if you are running out of time, a day cruise will do. An early plan regarding day or night cruises will be good.
  • If you go for the cheap houseboat offers, you will not be satisfied with the quality to explore the backwaters. You can get recommendations from any good sources you rely.
  • Also, plan the meal menu, activities before your trip.


Hope you will have a great Kerala houseboat experience next time. If you have any doubts regarding the tour packages, feel free to ask in the comments.

ToursinIndia is one of the best tour operators in India to offer reliable and customized houseboat services in Kerala. Contact us today for more details and we will make your trip a memorable one.

Happy houseboating!!

One thought on “An Ultimate Guide on Cruising the Backwaters of Kerala in a Houseboat

  1. Aswathi

    Nice article.Keep up the good work. I’m a travel lover person basically from Kerala and so proud to say I’ve visited almost all places in Kerala. But, now after reading this post I am very much excited to take a Alleppey houseboat tour.
    Thanks for sharing the information about such a beautiful place . 🙂


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