India is that kind of country where it is hard to find some peace and quiet. With a population of 1.3 billion people, India is kind of a subcontinent on its own. However, serenity can be found, and sometimes in the most unexpected places. One of my favorite places so lush, so serene, must be Kerala’s Backwaters. The Kerala Backwaters are unique to the state, and are spread all over Kerala in the form of lakes, rivers and canals. The best way to explore… by boat. Hop on a boat and see daily life go by while seeing some of the most beautiful and magnificent views of Kerala. Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about taking a boat tour through Alleppey’s backwaters!
Where is Alleppey
While the backwaters stretch over roughly half the length of the state of Kerala many tourists and travelers decide to visit the backwaters from Alleppey. Alleppey is only a short ride away from Kochi and is the perfect base to see some of the most beautiful backwaters of Kerala. To give you a better idea of where Alleppey, or Alappuzha, is located, check out the map below.
Where to stay in Alleppey
Artpackers.life is a great hostel for backpackers on a budget, we had an amazing time here, the pictures honestly don’t do it any justice. Rooms are spacious, staff is amazingly friendly and a delicious free breakfast is included. Make sure to book a room with AC in the summer months, the heat in Kerala is exhausting, you sure want a break from sweating during your sleep. However, if you are not fan of a dorm room or a hostel there are plenty of other hotels in Kerala to stay in or check out the map down below to find a place that suits you!
Alleppey Boat Tours
Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, must be the most convenient location to start exploring the backwaters. While it is also the option to go from Kochi, you will have to travel for more than an hour by bus before actually being able to explore the backwaters. And when situated in Alleppey, you are right in the centre of the backwater tours. The easiest way to explore the backwaters is through a tour via your hostel or guesthouse or booking a tour at a nearby tour agency.
Tours can include a large variety of things and can last from a couple of hours to several hours! The tour will take you over big lakes, and if the boat isn’t too big, over the small rivers past houses and cafes. You will see people doing their daily washing in the river, boats filled with produce as a form of transportation, and you might even be able to go for a refreshing dive into the water! However, there are a large variety of tours available, so which boat tour will suit you best? Keep on reading to find out which boat tour will suit you best!
Canoe Tour Through Alleppey’s Backwaters
After researching our options this is the tour we decided to book through our accommodation at Artpackers.life and we could have not been happier with our decision. Our tour included pick up, a public ferry to the starting location, a half a day tour on the boat with our guide, and a small but tasty lunch! The best thing about this tour is that you can just sit back and relax while enjoying the peace and quietness of the beautiful surroundings. Due to the smaller sizes of the boat, that you only share with max 3 people and a guide, you are not restricted to the bigger canals and lakes like some of the other options below. And while not the best options for budget backpackers, it is fairly cheap (1000 Rs) compared to the next option, renting a house boat.
Alleppey’s House Boats
Perhaps the most popular choice for tourists and travelers who are not traveling on a budget (not us sadly) is by taking a boat tour on a house boat. This is the perfect choice for those who are looking for a bit more privacy and the unique experience of not just seeing Alleppey’s backwaters for a couple of hours, but to actually spent the night on the backwaters as well. However, it comes with some minor disadvantages. Due to the size of the house boats they will not be able to go through the smaller canals. And perhaps the most major disadvantage for many travelers… the price tag. With the cost of a night on a houseboat starting at roughly $100 per person for the night, many budget backpackers opt to go for a canoe tour instead.
Discover Alleppey by Public Transport
Last, but definitely not least, if you don’t want to splurge on the house boat, or even find the price tag of the canoe tour a bit too hefty, there is one last budget option instead: taking public transport. This option is also great for people that want the freedom that tours don’t offer as you can ultimately decide wherever you want to go. Leave as early as you like or stay out as late as you like, there is no other tour that will offer as much freedom as exploring the backwaters by yourself. The largest downside to this option though is that you are restricted to the ferry routes, who mainly stay on the larger lakes and canals.
Alleppey Boat Tour: Packing List
If you are planning on going on a canoe tour, or any tour of that matter, there might be a couple of things you want to bring along to make your experience as enjoyable as possible. So to make it easier for you we have gathered a list of things we would bring on our next boat tour through Alleppey.
- Sunscreen – it is easy to burn when you are on the water.
- Water – Kerala is hothothot, you’ll sweat, even in the shadow so be sure to bring enough water.
- Bikini/swimming shorts – Should you think about taking a dive in the water make sure to bring your bikini or swimming shorts.
- Snacks – while you will be supplied with some small snacks and food, be sure to bring some extra so you won’t go hungry.
- Camera – The backwaters are beautiful and the risk of your canoe tipping over is small (as long as you listen to your guide) so be sure to bring that camera to document your day.
- Some small money – even if your tour is pre-booked, bring some small money to tip your guide at the end of the day or to buy some small snacks along the way.
- Mosquito spray – If you are planning on spending the night on a house boat you might want to bring some mosquito spray along, just to be sure!
Where to go after Alleppey
Alleppey alone is reason enough to make your way to the South of India, however, there is so much more to explore in the area. Spend a couple of days exploring Kochi or head up to the beautiful lush hill. Not sure where to go? Check out all our South India articles here or perhaps read some of the articles below for some more India travel inspiration:
- The best beaches in Goa for backpackers
- 10 Unforgettable things to do in Hampi
- Go Trekking in Munnar – One of India’s Most Beautiful Hill Stations
Oh, and don’t forget to pin it!