• What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

FINALLY I’ve gotten on the Kerala backwaters! It only took me three years of traveling India to finally check it off my “India travel bucket list“. It was pretty much what I expected except for a couple things.

  1. The boats have way more amenities than I thought: hot water, generators, comfortable beds, multiple bedrooms (3 on this one), a fully stocked kitchen, and all rooms had A/C. Granted, not all houseboats are like this. You get what you pay for.
  2. The backwaters are way more crowded than I imagined. Yes, people passing by took photos of us (a group of 6 foreign girls) but, in their defense I took some photos of other people’s boats too!

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

So, for all our amenities, it was 1800 Rs. for each person. This was part of our  and they negotiated the price for us. I know you can get cheaper overnight houseboat rides, but maybe not with such legit food and A/C, etc. The more people you have the more you save.

Gomowgli is no longer in operation as of 2018, but you can if you want something ahead of time. That link will give you all the tour options for Alleppey and you can compare the reviews.

The reason I never did a houseboat ride when I was traveling is because I backpacked India alone and didn’t have anyone to go with me! It’s lame, I know, but it’s a problem solo travelers face as they don’t want to pay so much to take the whole boat, and in my case I didn’t want to be overnight on the river with male staff I didn’t know – secluded from everyone else.

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in AlleppeyAs for the food, it’ll be traditional Kerala style and the fish you get on these boats is apparently not like fish you can get anywhere else. A few questions I had before going were Can I swim? The answer is no. Can I wear a bikini? The answer is if you want to. Is it totally appropriate? No, but we wanted to tan and I don’t think it’s the first time someone has worn a bikini on these boats.

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in AlleppeyThe boat does dock at night and I was surprised to see that they kind of all dock up near each other. We were lucky a family was right next to us because many of the other boats were dudes on their bachelor parties being loud and wasted.

They offered a couple bonuses because we were with goMowgli. One was at sunset a small boat took us for a little cruise once we were docked. It was beautiful. The other was a village tour in the AM for sunrise. If you’ve read this blog a while, no surprise I skipped that. I am not a morning person! You can buy toddy (kind of like a homemade wine) from the locals in the village.

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in AlleppeyIf you want beer, you need to buy at a government shop and bring it on the boat.

Lastly, do not hang your laundry out to dry on the boat! The wind took my favorite tank top, never to be seen again. Whoops.

If you’re on a budget, I love of doing a canoe tour to save dough.

What to expect on a Kerala houseboat in Alleppey

If you’re headed toward Kerala, check out this articles on how to Backpack Kerala, the best thing to do in Kochi, tips for the tea fields in Munnar, and adventure in Varkala.

 

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2018-06-22T17:12:38+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing to live on the beaches of Goa, India almost four years ago where she is now a travel writer. Her website gives advice on the 35+ countries she's been to but has become the go-to site for India travel, focusing on offbeat places & “glamorous travel”. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE magazine, Tripadvisor, and Thomas Cook. Her blog is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world based on traffic. She also enjoys writing for BravoTV.

14 Comments

  1. veena October 22, 2015 at 11:34 am - Reply

    those food pictures are amazing! and now i am starving…
    looks like you had a great time — looking forward to reading more!
    xx

  2. venus john October 23, 2015 at 12:33 am - Reply

    lovely pictures..

  3. Sarah October 23, 2015 at 3:47 am - Reply

    I am sooo hungry now! Serious curry craving. The boat looks amazing – I had no idea that this existed (!). Great photos.

    • Rachel Jones October 23, 2015 at 4:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sarah – yes this is one of those “must do” things in Kerala, hope you get to come sometime!

  4. Tim UrbanDuniya October 27, 2015 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Great tips – I’d love to do this one day! And those pictures, especially with the sunset, are amazing!

    • Rachel Jones October 28, 2015 at 11:17 am - Reply

      I realized that when they got more likes than any of my IG pics do! haha people love a good sunset ;)

  5. Alex November 3, 2015 at 9:06 am - Reply

    As a solo female traveler, which GoMowgli tour would you best recommend?
    I’m debating between Karnataka and Kerala!

    • Rachel Jones November 6, 2015 at 6:57 pm - Reply

      Probably karnataka because it’s harder to meet people there and find travel buddies!

  6. Katy Bradbury November 3, 2015 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel, thanks for the post. My husband and I will be headed to Kerala shortly as part of our three month honeymoon touring India and I’m a little overwhelmed as to the best way of booking houseboats, lots of people seem to say wait until you get there but then others report getting quoted extortionate prices on arrival so I’d quite like the peace of mind of booking in advance….would you recommend booking through goMowgli? Thanks in advance! Katy x

    • Rachel Jones November 6, 2015 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      Hi Katy,

      For a house boat I would only book in person there and negotiate. Not do it online because some boats aren’t good! Yes I 100% recommend gomowgli as long as you don’t get sick on buses! On that case u should go by train.

  7. George & kate February 4, 2016 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Hey. I’m in Kerala now and wanted to do a backwater trip. Where is best to stay in alleppey and is it easy to book once you are there…? We in kochi now and they want $160 per night.

    We been using your blog to help us through India. It’s great.

    Thanks

    George & kate

    • Rachel Jones February 7, 2016 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      Hello to you both- I did this through goMowlgi so I didn’t book separately; it was part of the tour. I friend just came back and did it overnight for 60 bucks by negotiating in person, so I would try that!

  8. […] Alleppey is the place where people take houseboats on the backwaters. It’s one of the must do tourist attractions in India for Indian nationals and foreigners alike. Typically, a backpacker doesn’t miss doing this while in India. I wrote about what to expect on a houseboat in Alleppey. […]

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