Something that hasn’t seem to have hit social media’s radar yet is getting your rear down to the south of India to a town called Alleppey (Alappuzha), located almost at the very southern tip of the country. There you’ll find India’s Venice: long winding canals and lagoons on which travelers can rent bamboo houseboats and lazy away the days and nights. For this part of the world, Goa seems to get all the attention but if you travel a bit further south to the state of Kerala, you will find this rustic, tropical, sleepy town and all its winding water roads a perfect place to unwind (and take Insta-worthy photos). They don’t call this area “God’s Own Country” for nothing.
My first piece of advice is to not book your houseboat in advance. There are a myriad of websites for these companies to book through, however sometimes you don’t know what you’re getting until you arrive. I’m so glad we didn’t book ahead because once we got there, we got to tour the boats first and decide which one we wanted. They go from basic and full of holes to super lux; we chose somewhere in the middle.
Our boat, above, was two bedrooms (we were traveling with friends) and came with a two person “crew” of sorts. One guy drove around and they both cooked the meals and snacks that are included in the rate and were really attentive and brought us tea whenever we wanted. For two days/one night for all this we paid around $200.
Usually you will board your boat around noon and set off. They will always pull aside and park the boat during mealtimes, the first of which is lunch once on board. You will cruise along the palm fringed canals all day watching people do laundry in the river water (that you will later be showering in), children taking their school-boat to class and we even saw people practicing for the annual snake boat race. It was one of the most relaxing days of my life.
You’ll park again for dinner, where then we got off the boat and roamed around wherever we were. You will mostly just be parked along some rice paddies, but it still makes for lovely walks while dinner is being cooked.
Our boat, although like the others was bamboo and thatched, had a killer sound system, so we all played cards and had a mini boat party as we watched the sun go down over the canals, Bollywood music playing off in the distance.
The trip to Alleppey is certainly worth it and doing the overnight houseboat is something you really shouldn’t pass up. There are other options for cruises down the canals like day trips or just a few hours in a smaller boat, but if you’re going to slightly splurge on anything, the overnight houseboat needs to be it.
Have you ever been to this off-the-beaten-instagram location?