Positioned in the southern tip of India Kerala is known as Gods own country or the paradise on Earth. An enchanting holiday location with variety of experiences, kerala presents a great deal of opportunities to experience a holiday in hill stations, backwaters , beaches and forests . The state descends from tea plantation-cloaked slopes to plain and tangle of backwaters, golden beaches that edge into vivid blue Arabian Sea. However the most renowned among the magical experiences in India is backwaters in Kerala which are 900km of emerald waterways that wind languidly past paddy fields and riverside villages. Gliding along in a traditional houseboat, watching local life and sleeping under the stars, is one of India’s most memorable experiences and houseboat experience is famous through out the world for activities like boating, fishing and sight-observing activities that are truly exhilarating.
Kumarakom , Alleppey & Kollam are the most well known backwater destinations in Kerala. Apart from these, there are a lot of smaller backwater destinations in Kerala as well. One of the major questions that many guests have is how to choose between Kumarakom & alleppey which finally boils down to whether you want to experience a village like Kumarakom or a town like alleppey.
Houseboat Packages in Kerala are famous throughout the world.Living in a houseboat, relishing fish curry and a traditional Kerala meal and enjoying the scenes in Kerala backwaters is one of the most popular ways to enjoy Kerala. However this is not the only way to enjoy Kerala and there are lot of less costly options as well that can help you enjoy the true beauty of Kerala backwaters
Most popular options to experience the beauty of backwaters in Kerala are the overnight houseboat packages and the day cruise in the houseboat . However there are some other backwater cruise options that can also help you to enjoy the beauty of the backwaters if you are on a tight budget or did not get a good houseboat in Kerala.
Shikara ride in backwaters is a popular day cruise option which involves cruise in a small boat with its roof covered and all the sides are open . Shikaras have luxurious reclining seats, couch bags inside but not so many facilities as houseboats and can carry 2 to 10 people depending on the size of the boat. The Shikara takes you leisurely through the backwaters to the Vembanad lake and again back to the boarding point. The cost of a Shikara ride is approx 500 per hour for the boat. Shikaras are mainly available in Alleppey near the bus station and the boat jetty.
Motor boat ride , costing approx 400 per hour for the boat. Each boat can carry 1-50 pax depending on the size of the boat and the same is available near the canals on the way to nehru trophy finishing point. Motor boats are available for cruise from 7 am to 6.30 pm and boats will upperdeck are also available. Motor boats are of various sizes and you can choose a boat depending on how many people are there with you and your bugdet.
Canoe ride in a traditional Kerala canoe where 2-3 people can go for a ride is another economic and cheap option and this will be costing 200- 250 per head generally . District Tourist Promotion Council has facility to book canoes or the same can be arranged from any resort or homestay where you are staying. One of the advantages of the canoe ride is that the canoes can pass through the smaller canals which will take you through the heart of backwaters and the same is not possible in large motorboats which will require much more space to maneuver .will be a truly memorable experience with a mind-blowing view of canal systems and endless lagoons , paddy fields, fishing in backwaters, small houses on small stretch of land There are villages in all over these backwater, The view of backwater birds, people working in paddy fields or people using small canoes as mode of transportation, small resorts, heritage homes are specialty of this area. There are small shops where you can stop for some of the best home ground coffee, tasty fish, fried bananas, coconut milk, coconut beer, fresh fruit and a wonderfully slow life around backwaters.
If nothing works out and you dot mind compromising a little bit on privacy, then ‘SEE KUTTANAD’ ferry service by Kerala state government water transport is the last option which will cost you 25 Indian rupees per head and that can take you through a backwater experience in the normal ferry route that local people frequent. However please note that this is a passenger-cum-tourist boat service operating from Kainakari to Alleppey and back where tea and refreshments will be provided only for tourists and upper deck while the lower deck is used for transport . The 90-seater boat has a mini-eatery, video facility and lower and upper deck seating arrangements. The ticket rate for tourists, for whom the upper deck is reserved, is Rs.25 per person. The rate for the lower deck is Rs.10 per passenger.