Alappuzha, known as the “Venice of the East” is an important tourist destination in South India. This town, blessed with picturesque canals, beaches, and lagoons is famous for its backwaters and houseboat cruises. Alappuzha offers boat cruises to Cochin,Kollam and Kumarakom with never-ending view of the lake, lush green paddy fields, spiking coconut trees, calm village life and long canals.
- Alappuzha Beach – A neat and beautiful beach
- Kuttanad – The Rice Bowl of Kerala, which is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.
- Pathiramanal Island – An island on the backwaters which is home for rare migratory birds from different parts of the world.
Getting there and around
Alappuzha is easily accessible from any part of Kerala. Regular bus services are available from Trivandrum, Cochin, Kollam and Kottayam (you would get it from any part of Kerala). KSRTC operates boat services from Kollam, Cochin and Kumarakom. All trains stop by Alappuzha station and it is an importnat railhead of the Southern Railway. The nearest airports are located in Kochi and Trivandrum.
Trivandrum – 150km | Cochin- 54km | Kollam -83 km | Kumarakom -33 km | Kottayam -50 km | Munnar – 172km |
Things to do
The main activities you can indulge in are boat cruises (Kettuvallam), site seeing in public ferries, bird watching, visits to local villages, etc
Things to carry
- Food /Snacks
We started off the journey from Trivandrum by 6:00am and reached Alappuzha boat jetty by 8:30 am. The drive through the national highway was a breeze and we took the right to the boat jetty as we entered Alappuzha town. Flocks of house boats were seen anchored by the river side waiting for takers. We opted for a 2 bedroom a/c houseboat. The total cost for our twelve member team came to INR13000 inclusive of lunch and evening tea. There is ample scope for negotiation and make sure you double check the usage of a/c (in case you have opted for an a/c room) before you leave for the cruise. We had a bad time arguing with the driver as he said that a/c was not included in the package. We had to call back to their office from the middle of the lake to have it sorted out. That was a mood spoiler.
As the boat started moving away from boat jetty we could see at a distance the lush greenery and the beauty of the place.On either sides of the lake we saw green paddy fields and cocunut trees towering up the sky. What captured my interest next was the calm and quite village life, the people and their dependence on water for their day to day lives. Very often we see people crossing the river on small ferries and boats or transporting good and commodities. It is totally different from the city lives that we know of.
The panoramic view of the lake from the deck of the boat was mind blowing. There are lots of toddy shops by the banks and we dropped by a toddy shop “Nammude Kallu Shap….:)” to get some fried fish, prawns and duck. Even the thought of these delights as I key this down, is mouth watering!!!!. Well do you think I would have left alone the toddy bottles, got 5 of them…..:). We continued our onward journey to Vembanadu Lake and to my disbelief saw the entire fleet of house boats out there on similar cruises. I need to say that it was over crowded.
Next we stopped by a fish stall to get some good fish and handed it over to the cook on board to have it prepared for lunch. As time neared noon it grew hot outside and we moved in and took cover in the a/c rooms. The lunch was ready by 1.00pm and was served on the deck. It was really tasty. We again stopped by the next shop at R BLOCK to get more preparations from the toddy shop. This time we got some cooked squids and crabs. We took at a U turn at R BLOCK and headed back to the starting point. We reached back to the staring point by 4.00pm and then headed back home. We reached Trivandrum by 8:00pm.
Houseboat cruise is definitely an awesome experience and is worth the money spent. But there are cheaper options like ferries and service boats which provide the same experience without eating up your money. I am looking forward to give it a try.It is not just a boat ride, there are lots of de-routes that needs to be explored, beautiful places to be seen, some amazing pictures to be taken and some take ways from the lively village life .