There are many beautiful things to do in South India, but the Kerala Backwaters tour is definitely among the best of them. So we’ve put together a guide on how to approach your trip and what to expect from a Kerala Backwaters houseboat tour.
A Complete Guide To Kerala Backwaters
Getting To Kerala
So the first problem you’ll probably come across is how to get to Kerala?
Well we took a bus from Hampi to Mangalore, then switched on to a train directly to Kerala. It was an all round 24 hour trip. The longest of our travels so far. Although after a lot of research this was the easiest way to do it coming from up north and recommend staying in Fort Kochi.
Where To Book Your Kerala Backwaters Tour
There are plenty of travel agents in Fort Kochi that you can book your Kerala Backwaters tour through.
You have a choice between a shorter 4 hour tour – around 600 rupees or a 7 hour full day tour – around 800 rupees. Both include lunch.
Most people choose to book directly through their accommodation just because it’s easier. We booked ours through Santa Maria Hostel and a mini bus should collect you from your accommodation the morning of the trip.
At 7:30am sharp we were collected and within just short of an hour arrived in north Alleppey. The beginning of Kerala Backwaters. We opted for the full day Kerala Backwaters tour which we believe was fantastic value for money and an ideal amount of time.
So after arriving by mini bus at a small tuck shop on the edge of Alleppey, we headed down with a group of around 15 people to the entrance of the river.
The bamboo boat was incredible. Woven into a beautiful design, held together by rope, with open arched windows.
Our Kerala Backwaters Tour Guide
Our Indian boat driver did an amazing job of guiding us through the narrow backwaters, that were neatly overgrown with trees creating a tunnel. This lead out into some beautiful locations and it must have been a tough job in the scorching heat. With constant pushing off the bottom of the river with his HUGE bamboo stick, he was a master of his craft.
As we cruised along, it was sometimes hard to stay awake, especially when you caught a few moments of blissful silence. We did learn a few very interesting facts about Kerala and it’s history though.
The Kerala Backwaters tour really opens your eyes to see how normality sits with other walks of life. The locals happily passed us down the narrow rivers in their small canoes, some of them being taxis, going about their daily routines. The river taxis are highly depended on in order for locals to reach civilisation away from their backwater huts.
Before midday hit, we’d stopped at a couple of interesting, government run factories. We were shown how rope is made from start to finish by breaking down coconut fibres which was crazy!
It was refreshing to see the local authorities supporting families on the backwaters. Setting up these factories they were creating jobs for people in the rural areas.
After learning a few tricks of the trade, but not quite mastering how to build a boat, we were ecstatic to find out it was time to eat. Lunch was an all you can eat traditional Kerala Thali. Served on a banana leaf and eaten with nothing but our hands.
We ate until we couldn’t breathe and just about wobbled back onto the houseboat. It must have dipped a few inches in the water when we stepped on. It was then plain sailing (excuse the pun) all the way back to Alleppey. We used the time to capture photos and sit back and relax whilst chatting to our new multi cultural group of new friends.
Round Up Of Our Kerala Backwaters Tour
Overall the day was amazing. With beautiful scenery and such a relaxed vibe, our cruise through the vast backwaters of Kerala felt like nothing in India. It was such a drastic change from the crazy cities we’d previously visited and was the perfect way to unwind.
So sit back, relax and enjoy your Kerala Backwaters tour to the max.
Where To Stay In Kerala
We decided that we wanted to stay in the main touristy area of Kerala, which is Kochi. Within Fort Kochi you’ll find plenty of hostels or luxury accomodations depending on your budget.
Luxury – Kochi Marriott Hotel – A five star experience in a beautiful historic Indian town. The Marriott lives up to its companies reputation by standing out as one of the top hotels in the area.
Mid-Budget – Koder House – We spent a couple of nights in heaven at Koder House, a historic building with a huge amount of character. It has 6 boutique suites that are fit for a royal and you can read all about our stay here.
Backpacker – Santa Maria Hostel – A local run hostel with a great vibe and affordable AC dorms. If you’re lucky enough you’ll arrive on a family dinner night where the guys cook up an amazing local curry.
You can also check out the prices of other places to stay in Kerala here.
For things to do in India or which route to take, make sure to check out our break down – The Best Of India – A Route & Trip Guide
Pin It For Later!