House boats in Kerala backwaters have all the creature comforts of a good hotel: well-furnished bedrooms with AC, modern hygienic toilets, cozy living rooms, a beautiful kitchen and in some cases even a balcony for angling or they use to incorporate a swimming pool too. Fresh food, cooked in inimitable traditional Kerala style is the rage of the tourists. Tourists, both domestic and foreign are flocking for house boat journey. Most tourists prefer to stay overnight in a houseboat as it offers a holistic backwater experience while day cruise package in houseboat is also a popular options.
The houseboat route in Kerala backwaters begins from Punnamada jetty in Alappuzha. After the journey in daytime, the boats would be anchored in any beautiful shore in night. In many spots were the houseboats anchors; men would be waiting with small country boats. If any one interested, they can have a voyage in the country boats through the small canals. For an hour they charge Rs 200 for this journey, which is best to know the pulse of backwater life.
Boats in a variety of shapes and sizes have traditionally been the main means of transport of men and materials in the Kerala Backwaters since olden days. In particular, these boats which are locally known as Kettuvallam were used to ship rice and spices and other goods between Kuttanad and the Cochin port. These boats even became comfortable living quarters for the workers. It was the important mode of transportation in coastal Kerala just because of its accessibility to the most remote areas. However, the scenario changed when new mode of transportation like lorries took over the sector. Many of the boats were remained unused and some were sold for cheap price. But when the idea of houseboats struck, the boats, which were used to transport goods, were taken a new attractive shape with all facilities. The price for the boats soared to Rs 10 to 15 lakh.
Travel Information about Kerala Houseboats and route
The crew of a Kettuvallam comprises three perosns, two oarsmen and a cook.
Life jacket for each traveller and one life buoy for two travellers is a must.
Two fire extinguishers weighing 5 kgs, two fire buckets , two cubic feet sand box and first aid boxes are compulsory in the house boat.
The boat must have certificate from pollution control board, canal licence, fitness certificate and the attested copies of these must be shown in the boat.
As per the report of Pareedupillai commission, a board showing all these must be exhibited.
Things to be noted
The peak sessions are from December 15 to January 10. There would be heavy rush during New Year and Christmas. The rent would be high in these days.
Best Time to visit Kerala backwaters are all times of the year. However monsoon rides may not be enjoyable as Kerala has a knack of throwing up sudden bursts of showers in monsoon and if it is a heavy shower you may not enjoy as much as you would wish to.
The check in times is 11am, 12 noons and 1 pm and check out is next day 9 am. The boat is permitted to ride on the lake till 5.30 to 6 pm. The lake during night is for fishermen.
Food would be cooked in the boat itself and vegetarian and non-vegetarian food are available.
Keep mobile in pouches. Take photographs by hanging the camera strip in your neck.
Don’t throw wastes, especially plastic to the water
Keep vigil on kids
Follow the instructions of boatmen.
Ensure that life jacket and first aid kit are available
When agents approach you with ride for less charge, before journey, the boat riding hours and facilities must be ensured.