Travel Ideas: The Backwaters of Kerala

Lazily drifting through the backwaters of Kerala in India.

The backwaters of Kerala rank among Southern India’s top attractions for tourists. Rent a houseboat in Alleppey and cruise the canals, lakes, rivers and lagoons down to Kollam. Boats can be hired for 1 night or multiple nights and come with your own personal cook. Best months to visit: November, December, January, and February.

People fish and work and play along the entire length of the backwaters.

A dock in the backwaters of India where the tour houseboats stop.

Fishing and tourism are both very big in Kerala.

Houseboat that tourists can rent in Alleppey, Kerala.

Man in canoe paddling past a tourist houseboat.

[Photos by: Thursday Next, chopr, chopr, Tom Maisey, Christian Haugen, Emaje]

8 questions and comments

  1. Kelly

    Hi these are great pics, we’re planning a trip with two small children in feb 2012, we’re debating on booking a package or just a flight, what do you think? and what about trips before or after arrival?

    1. David

      I always recommend doing just the flight and then making plans along the way. India, however, can be very challenging, so if your time is short and you need things to fall just right to see everything you’re hoping, then booking a package might be the best call. There are always independent tours you can book along the way so don’t feel that it’s all or nothing. – that you’re either with a full-package tour or going it completely on your own. If I were visiting India with 2 kids I’d probably start in Mumbai and take the train down the coast through Goa and then Kerala. Then probably through Mysore or Madurai and over to the Tamil coast. Then fly to Calcutta and hit Varanasi on the train ride to Delhi. From Delhi a day trip to Agra and week or so traveling through Rajastan (or just an overnight trip to Jaipur). There’s so much to see in India making it all work in less than 2 or 3 months is a real challenge. Good luck.

  2. Henrietta From Sydney!!

    I can’t wait till october 2013 when I, myself, will be in those house boats.So thank you for showing me these pictures so that I know more about where I’m going!!!!!!

  3. Indian Bazaars

    Nice pictures! Especially liked the last one…The picture of the little boy on the sands in the header of your blog is a great one! Would love to know where it was taken.

    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Thanks. That picture was taken in the Mui Ne sand dunes near the southeast coast of Vietnam.

  4. Nicky

    Wow, the photos are amazing! I am backpacking India in 3 months and can’t wait. From the looks of it a house boat in Kerala is a MUST do!! Happy Travels.

    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Kerala is great. I love the feeling when your up in the plains – coming from Bangalore or Mysore or Madurai – and you descend into the lush warm green of the coast. It only takes 30 minutes or an hour and you feel like you’re in a different world.


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