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Ultimate Guide to kerala Houseboat Tours

Kerala Houseboat Tours

houseboat in aleppey
houseboat in aleppey


Exploring the serene backwaters of Kerala is a quintessential experience, and what better way to do it than on a traditional houseboat? Kochi, a gem in Kerala's crown, offers some of the most enchanting backwater tours. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about Kochi houseboat tours, ensuring your journey is as magical as the waters you'll sail on.


The starting point of most backwater tours is Alleppey, often referred to as the 'Venice of the East,' located a short distance from Kochi. However, Kochi itself offers several launching points for houseboat tours, including areas like Kumbalangi and Kumarakom, each offering unique views and experiences of the backwaters.

1. Alleppey (Alappuzha)

  • Overview: Often referred to as the 'Venice of the East', Alleppey is the most popular backwater destination in Kerala.

  • Experience: It's renowned for its snake boat races, lush green paddy fields, and its intricate network of canals.

  • Houseboat Tours: The houseboat journey through Alleppey offers a glimpse into the rural life of Kerala, floating past villages, and witnessing a rich variety of flora and fauna.

  • Unique Feature: Alleppey’s Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a major attraction, drawing visitors from all over the globe.

2. Kumarakom

  • Overview: Situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands and a part of the Kuttanad region.

  • Experience: The region is famous for its bird sanctuary, where numerous species of migratory birds visit.

  • Houseboat Tours: The slow-moving houseboats provide panoramic views of the lake and the lush landscapes, making it a perfect retreat for nature lovers.

  • Unique Feature: The traditional Kettuvallams (houseboats) in Kumarakom offer a blend of luxury and tradition.

3. Kollam

  • Overview: Located in the southern part of Kerala, Kollam is an ancient port city and a gateway to the backwaters.

  • Experience: It is known for its historic buildings and temples.

  • Houseboat Tours: The backwater journey from Kollam to Alappuzha is one of the longest and offers a picturesque voyage through lakes, canals, and water-bound villages.

  • Unique Feature: Kollam’s Ashtamudi Lake is famous for its unique ecosystem and is considered the gateway to the backwaters.

4. Kochi (Cochin)

  • Overview: Kochi, a bustling port city, is a blend of history and modernity.

  • Experience: Known for its colonial past, the city has a cosmopolitan culture with a touch of tradition.

  • Houseboat Tours: Houseboat tours in Kochi mostly revolve around the city’s surrounding islands and offer a view of its marine and backwater life.

  • Unique Feature: Kochi's rich history and its blend of diverse cultures make it a unique spot for starting a backwater tour.

5. Kasaragod

  • Overview: Located in the northern part of Kerala, Kasaragod is known for its coir processing and cashew processing.

  • Experience: The region is less crowded, offering a more tranquil experience.

  • Houseboat Tours: The backwaters here are dotted with numerous islands, offering a more secluded and intimate experience.

  • Unique Feature: The Bekal Fort in Kasaragod offers a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea.

Each of these destinations in Kerala has its own charm and offers a distinct experience of the backwaters. Whether it’s the bustling waterways of Alleppey or the tranquil stretches of Kumarakom, Kerala’s backwaters are a must-visit for those seeking a blend of natural beauty and cultural richness.

About Backwater Houseboats

Kerala's backwaters, a network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes, and inlets, are best explored on houseboats. These boats, known locally as 'Kettuvallams,' are a revamped version of old rice barges and are equipped with all modern amenities for a comfortable stay. The experience of staying on these floating homes is unparalleled, offering a blend of tradition and luxury.

How to Reach

Reaching these houseboat locations from Kochi is convenient. You can drive down, hire a taxi, or use local transportation. Kochi is well-connected through air, road, and rail, making it accessible from various parts of India and abroad.

What to Expect

Aboard a houseboat, you can expect to see the lush green landscapes of Kerala, interact with local villagers, and witness a variety of flora and fauna. The calm waters make for a relaxing experience, perfect for those looking to unwind. You'll glide past paddy fields, coconut groves, and quaint villages.

Safety Precautions

Safety is paramount on these tours. Houseboats are equipped with life jackets, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits. Boat operators are experienced and trained to handle any situation. It's advised to follow their instructions at all times for a safe journey.


The cost of a houseboat tour in Kochi varies depending on the type of boat, duration of the stay, and the season. Generally, prices range from moderate to luxury, catering to different budgets. It's advisable to book in advance, especially during peak season.

Food Options

Kerala cuisine is a highlight on these tours. Most houseboats offer traditional Kerala meals, including seafood, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian dishes, prepared with local spices and flavors. Customized food preferences can often be accommodated.


  1. Best time for a houseboat tour? - The ideal time is from September to March.

  2. Are houseboat tours suitable for families? - Yes, they are family-friendly.

  3. Can we customize our itinerary? - Most operators allow itinerary customization.


A houseboat tour in Kochi is more than just a trip; it’s an immersion into the heart of Kerala’s culture and natural beauty. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a bit of both, these backwater tours offer an unforgettable experience. Remember to book in advance and get ready to embark on a journey that stays with you long after you've disembarked.

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