Alleppey Houseboat Cruise: is it worth your time & money?

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Cruising in the tranquil backwaters of Alleppey in a houseboat will most likely be on your bucket-list if you are planning a trip to Kerala, India. You would have seen hundreds of beautiful photos of the Alleppey Houseboat cruise. And heard plenty of stories. But have you ever thought if it’s actually worth your time and money?

So, here we are, to give you a holistic picture by sharing our own houseboat cruise experience. In the end, you will be able to decide yourself if it’s worth it or not.

Alleppey Houseboat Cruise

For most people, a trip to Kerala isn’t complete without a cruise along the backwaters of Allepey. A backwater cruise on a traditional Alleppey houseboat is one of the biggest attractions for this region of India. So of course, we weren’t going to go all the way there and miss out on all the fun. Especially, on our honeymoon.

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? Top “must-not-miss” Places & Activities during your Honeymoon in Kerala

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A quick note about Backwaters of Kerala

Backwaters of Kerala are a spectacular network of brackish lakes, lagoons, rivers, and canals lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast. Although it’s not ‘fresh-water’, but not as much saline as seawater. It might have been a result of mixing seawater with fresh-water together in estuaries and lagoons. This network of interconnected water bodies is spread across half the length of the state.

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Kerala backwaters are really unique and you can really enjoy a peaceful time. The quintessential way to experience the backwaters has always been by means of a houseboat. But houseboats are not the only option. There are shikaras and canoes as well. You can cruise whichever way you feel like 🙂

We were really fortunate enough to spot a few beautiful birds during our cruise

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About Alleppey, Kerala

Thekkady to Alleppey

Our honeymoon in Kerala was an 11-day road trip across this slender southern state. We had started in Cochin, then went to the beautiful tea-estates of Munnar and next was Thekkady. After blissfully enjoying the hills of Munnar, Periyar, and Thekkady, it was time for some backwater experience. And what would have been better than Alleppey!

But, just to let you know, Alleppey is not only famous for backwater cruises. Its also believed to be the birthplace of Ayurvedic massages.

Alleppey

Alleppey, officially – Alappuzha – is the hub of Kerala’s backwaters. Bordering the Laccadive Sea, it is home to the vast network of interlinking, palm-fringed canals called – backwaters, and rejuvenating Ayurvedic resorts.

Kerala backwaters
Typical Alleppey landscape! [1]

This interconnected network of backwater has earned Alleppey the tag – Venice of the East. Contrary to what you might be thinking (like many travelers), the backwaters are not merely a tourist destination. They are used by locals for regular commuting. You will even find young kids going to school on a small boat across the backwaters. I think now you will appreciate why Alleppey is known as Venice of the East.

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Places to visit and things to do in Alleppey

Apart from the backwater cruise, Alleppey has many other beautiful experiences to offer:

  • Alleppey Beach
  • Nehru Trophy Boat Race
  • Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
  • Vembanad Lake

Our Alleppey Houseboat Cruise Experience

As like most of our travel planning, we had done a lot of research on this. After a tonne of searching through Alleppey Houseboat Cruise packages, we decided that we will go for a full day package. Although many of our friends/relatives had suggested a half-day package, we thought since we were on our “honeymoon”, we might as well spend the full day languidly amidst the backwaters.

A serene view to welcome us onboard our Alleppey houseboat cruise

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A beautiful start

Being super excited to spend a day in the backwaters, we reached the dock ahead of time. (yes, my 4-year Japan-stay has had quite a few positive impacts on me…)

One of the things that we noticed while waiting to board was the importance of pre-booking your houseboat cruise. Since ours was during the absolute peak-season (year-end holidays), it could have been a pretty expensive affair had we not booked in advance. Travelers flock to Kerala from everywhere during this season and the prices of many tourist-attractions shoot up insanely. (approx rates are mentioned below)

We boarded the houseboat around 10 am, and received a warm welcome from the captain and the crew – a cook and a helper. They offered us welcome drinks and some fruits. The captain then showed us the safety and emergency procedures of the boat, and then we were good to go.

kerala hoathouse
Sonakshi admiring the beautiful backwaters from our boathouse

Like most houseboats, ours too was a double-decker and the views from the top deck were splendid…!!

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Mildly boring afternoon

The first couple of hours just vanished as we were completely in awe of the experience. And just before lunch, there was another interesting event. Our captain had temporarily ‘parked’ the boat and called us downstairs. We quickly rushed downstairs, and guess what – our cook was fishing!! It was a funny and rare experience – catch your own fish, fry it and have it for lunch!! 😀

Kerala houseboat cruise

The post-lunch session was slightly not-so-exciting because by then we had explored the interiors of the houseboat and the outside scenery was more-or-less constant. We decided to spend this time peacefully listening to light music and reading 🙂 And taking photos, obviously! 😉

Star-Lit night

As the sun began to set, the view started getting more and more spectacular. The sunset that we saw in the backwaters, it was the best, until we went to Rajasthan! Trust me, sunsets in Rajasthan are out of this world!!

alleppey boathouse
Sunset at the backwaters from a boathouse

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After sunset, the sky wanted to put up another wonderful show. This time it was not just the star from our solar system (the sun), but plenty of other stars came into action. It was a magical experience. Just image this – a beautiful star-lit canopy above you and firefly-lit marchlands around you! Isn’t that magical?

We then had our candle-light star-and-firefly-lit dinner and slept off in the cozy bedroom!

Alleppey at night
This photo I had taken on the next day night, in our resort. But the scenery was equally beautiful from the houseboat, if not more.

Alleppey Houseboat Cruise tariff/rates

Below, we have mentioned typical cost estimates of a houseboat cruise in Alleppey. This is based on the information that we had gathered while chatting with the crew.

Alleppey Houseboat Cruise tariff/rates
Tentative estimates for a couple. (Peak season = October to March)

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In the end, here’s what we feel…

Alleppey Houseboat cruise is one of the most remarkable experiences that we have gained among all our travels. But, it’s also one of the most expensive. (had we not prebooked it we would have ended up paying double!)

We would strongly recommend taking a houseboat cruise if it’s your first time in Kerala. And, depending on your available time and budget, you can easily choose something that suits your need.

What is your opinion? If you have experienced a cruise like this, we would love to know what you feel. Comment below your thoughts on whether you feel it was worth the time and money or not.

Alleppey Houseboat Cruise – PIN IT for reading later!

Alleppey Houseboat cruise
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