Before you book your Kerala Houseboat rental read these tips so you choose:
the right boat with the right crew at the right price.
Cruising around the lush lagoons and palm-lined canals of Kerala’s backwaters on the deck of a thatched barge is amazing. Are you ready for this once-in-a-lifetime experience?….
Did you know? Kerala’s stunning backwaters of meandering waterways and
rainforest cover 900 kms of Arabian Sea coast.
What is the Houseboat Accommodation and Service like?
- Kerala houseboats are like floating hotels with comfy suites, clean en-suites, food service, lounges, and decks to lounge on as you drift through tropical scenery.
- Most houseboats have 1, 2 or 3 bed suites with en-suite.
- But if you want your own private houseboat then choose a deluxe houseboat with AC. These are around double the price.
- The showers have cold water but you can ask for a pot of warm water.
- Some boats have mosquito nets but not all – BYO in the rainy season!
- The lights are kept low so you’re not bombarded by millions of insects.
- The crew is usually a captain, oarsman and a cook.
- Food is delicious local Keralan cuisine. Seafood is a specialty.
What were the houseboats originally used for?
Long ago Kettuvallam Barges plied Kerala’s network of lakes, canals and estuaries ferrying rice, cashew nuts and commodities. Today these barges, made from bamboo, wood, palm leaves, coconut ropes and coated in cashew nut oil, are converted into bamboo houseboats for visitors from around the world.
Natural ecosystems and traditional village life meet at the water’s edge and the best way to see this stunner of a landscape is from the deck of your very own converted Kerala houseboat rental.
How much does a Kerala Houseboat Rental Cost?
Words out about Kerala Houseboats so expect to visitors galore and expect to pay tourist prices. It’s not cheap compared to Indian prices but Yuss…it’s worth the cost. You’re looking at prices from $100 to $300 per night depending on:
- if you share a boat with others it’s cheaper, e.g. a houseboat with more suites.
- booking at the dock is cheaper especially if you haggle. Visit the dock before 9am, and have a good look at the houseboats before you choose one – qualities vary and you want to discuss the route. Not so easy in the busy season.
- if you are staying at a resort or hotel you can book your houseboat from them but will cost more than the dock.
- a houseboat with AC costs more.
- Deluxe and Luxury houseboats cost more but ideal for honeymooners.
This is a once in a lifetime experience. If you know your dates then booking and paying ahead means:
- you’re not including this cost in your daily budget
- you’re assured of a booking
How Can I Book My Kerala Houseboat Rental?
You can book online at booking.com here:
Iris Holidays are based in Kerala and you can book online with them here>>
When’s the Best Time to Visit?
September to March has the best weather – warm but not too sweaty hot.
But try to avoid the busy season from December to February. This is when the weather is good but:
- houseboat prices are at their highest
- waterways are at their busiest
- this is when you really feel like a tourist
April and May are very hot and humid so try and avoid this time.
Don’t be put off by the monsoon season. In fact, Kerala has 2 monsoons. One starts in June to August and the other from October till November.
But like other parts of Asia it doesn’t rain all day. It will pour for 1 or 2 hours, the sun comes back out and everything sparkles. And of course, it’s warm rain!
The wet season is the best time of the year to experience an Ayurvedic spa treatment.
How can I get the Most from my Houseboat Cruise?
Relax as you float through the lush scenery…
- Book a houseboat with a top deck – you get the best view and can take wonderful photos from this angle.
- Animals, insects, birds to watch out for: butterflies, otters, kingfishers, turtles, flying squirrels, monkeys, crabs, Indian cormorant. Kerala has 453 species of birds!
- If you are vegetarian make sure the crew know this all beforehand.
- If you want a sip on a beer as you float through the canals or have a wine with your meal book this before or bring your own – usually there is no alcohol on board.
- Go to bed late and get up early so you make the most of your cruise. The houseboats moor at night and usually set off after breakfast.
- Dinner is served early to avoid insects which are attracted to the boat lights.
- Water is available on-board but take your own soft drinks.
Can you Recommend some Activities?
As you drift through the rice paddies, villages and palm trees your Number 1 activity is to…relax and de-stress!
Ask your captain before you leave what activities are on offer:
- Fishing from your houseboat
- Ask the captain to visit a floating market or local vege market and choose your ingredients for dinner
- Visit a Toddy Shop and try the locally brewed Kerala Palm alcohol
- Visit a local village and meet the locals
- Because the houseboats only travel down the wider canals you can hire a canoe and boatman when you dock in the afternoon. Glide down the narrower waterways to catch close glimpses of backwater life – rice paddies, villages, and wildlife.
Where does the Houseboat Stop?
You can ask the captain to stop wherever you like so long as there is a dock or deep water. Houseboats must stop at 5.30 in the evening so that local fishermen can fish at night.
What are the Popular Routes for a Kerala Houseboat Rental?
Houseboats are in no rush and travel around 40-50 kms per day.
Alleppey Roundtrip through Kuttanad:
- Alleppey is known as the ‘Venice of the East’
- Beautiful paddy fields and villages
- Coconut palms and forest
- 11th century Buddha Statue
- Farming is done below sea level!
Alleppey Roundtrip through Kumarakom:
- Kumarakom is a lovely lake village ideal for eco pursuits
- Bird Sanctuary
- Vembanad Lake Life
- Resorts dot the banks
Alleppey One Way to Alumkadavu (near the old Arabian Sea Port of Kollam):
- Takes 8 hours to get there on the first day
- Coir Village
- Paddy Fields below sea level
- Kumarakodi – the resting place of poet, Asan (1873-1924)
Alleppey to Thottappalley:
- traditional houses on the banks
- 11th Century Buddha Temple and other temples
- Punnamada Lake
So what are you waiting for? Booking a Kerala Houseboat Rental is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity cruising through the vibrant, lush backwaters on India’s Arabian Coast.
[Image by Photo by Kyran Low on Unsplash]