8 Best Houseboat and Backwater Destinations in Kerala to Witness Time Meander Like Waterways

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There is no other joy in life whose charisma is matched with the gliding through the languid backwaters in Kerala. Imagine yourself sitting at the window seat and gazing at palm trees swaying in full throttle. On average, there are around 57 such houseboat and backwater destinations in Kerala, where a houseboat cruise is conducted from morning to sunrise. Kerala’s houseboat and backwater destinations are a network of lagoons, lakes, and rivers that runs parallel to the Arabian Sea belt from districts like Trivandrum, Kollam, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Kasargod, Kannur, Kottayam.

What’s Special about houseboat destinations in Kerala?

Some luxury houseboats in Kerala come with a private balcony, terrace, spa, private butler, and food facilities. These traditional houseboats in Kerala – Kettuvallam glide on the backwaters of Kerala as a crown of Kerala tourism. You will get transformational travel experiences when you cover many of the brilliant backwater canals, villages, and inland waterways on traditional Kettuvallam. This experience in the tourism sector is confined to houseboat cruises on the backwaters.

When is the best time to hire houseboats and go for backwaters in Kerala?

You can hire houseboats and enjoy backwaters rides in Kerala all year-round. But still, the southwest monsoon during July to September will decide if houseboat cruising is possible during that time or not. But the peak tourism season for houseboats in Kerala runs between December to February. You should book your houseboat in advance to skip the last-minute hassle. In a nutshell, summer-winter is the best time to visit Kerala backwaters. The maximum high in summer is houseboat destinations in Kerala, up to 37°C.

8 Best and Backwater Destinations in Kerala for Houseboat Cruise

The backwater tours in Kerala are famous in all the Malabar Coastline destinations. For instance, Alleppey, Trivandrum, Kochi, Kozhikode, Alappuzha, and more. If you want to cruise through the idyllic and undisturbed waterways, choose an offbeat backwater destination in Kerala over the mainstream ones. Let’s dive right into the detailed go-through of the 8 best places to enjoy backwaters in Kerala. Let’s dive right in!

1. Alleppey or Alappuzha Backwaters

Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport

Nearest railway station: Alleppey

This city on the Laccadive Sea is one of the best houseboat and backwater destinations in Kerala. The majority of the tourists flock to Alleppey in the quest for backwater rides. Alleppey waterways are called the heart of Kerala’s backwaters, and from here, you can take backwater cruises to Kochi, Kollam, Kumarakom, Kottayam in a traditional Kerala houseboat. In the bygone era, Alleppey was the trade center, and now those water canals are used for tourists and locals to commute and navigate the lush greenery from a distinct perspective.

2. Kumarakom Backwaters

Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport

Nearest railway station: Cochin

This is Kerala’s other famous tourist backwater hub and is less touristy than Alleppey. Kumarakom is basically a village made from a cluster of islands on Vembanad Lake. The houseboat runs in backwaters and takes tourists to the mangrove forests and rice paddy fields. On a well-guided excursion to Kumarakom backwaters, you will come to know why Kumarakom backwaters hold distinct appeal in comparison to Alleppey. What is soothing about Kumarakom is that the Vembanad Lake is the breeding ground of the migratory birds, so take your binoculars with you on a sunset houseboat cruise.

3. Kochi (Cochin) Backwaters

Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport

Nearest railway station: Cochin

Unquestionably, the Queen of Arabian Sea – Cochin or Kochi is one of the finest harbors in the world. But do you know Cochin is one of the best backwater destinations in Kerala? Here, cruising through the waterways and man-made or natural canals feels like basking in the serenity to the fullest. From the mainland, take the backwater cruise to the man-made Wellington Island, where backwater activities are conducted with full throttle. Even a half-day houseboat excursion in Kochi backwaters will recharge your monotonous soul if you are short on time.

4. Kollam Backwaters

Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport

Nearest railway station: Trivandrum

This district of Kerala is also called Quilon and is amongst the top Kerala houseboat destinations. The backwaters in Kollam are a result of Ashtamudi Lake. The waterway system of Kollam is graced by the coconut trees on both sides. From budget houseboats to luxury houseboats, one can embark on the houseboat cruise to Alleppey from Kollam in quest of the long houseboat cruise experience in Kerala.

5. Kuttanad Backwaters

This is another kaleidoscopic backwater destination in Kerala covering the three districts = Alappuzha, Kottayam, and Pathanamthitta. You can call this region the rice bowl of India because paddy cultivation is the major activity here. Take a backwater cruise ride in Kuttanad and witness sunrise or sunset over the placid backwaters. If you find a crowd in Sleepy backwaters, switch to Kuttanad to enjoy brunch with the local villages positioned on the banks of the backwaters.

Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport

Nearest railway station: Alleppey

6. Kozhikode (Calicut) Backwaters

Nearest airport: Calicut International Airport.

Nearest railway station: Kozhikode railway station

If you want to enjoy the unspoiled and clean backwaters in Kerala, head to Kozhikode, where backwaters result from the water coming from the Kallai river and several canals. The Kozhikode Beach parallel to the backwaters network was where the Portuguese explored Vasco De Gama landed first during the 15th century. To witness the meandering waterways, enjoy a sunset houseboat cruise in the Kozhikode backwaters.

7. Poovar Island Backwaters

Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport

Nearest railway station: Trivandrum

Located in the Trivandrum district, Poovar Island is where you will see the confluence of backwaters, rivers, and sea. People from Kovalam and Trivandrum come to Poovar Island to enjoy calm backwaters compared to other famous houseboat destinations in Kerala. Even the traditional houseboats in Poovar Island are considered the most luxurious ones. There are excellent spa resorts in Poovar Island where the USP rejuvenates with authentic Ayurvedic treatments.

8. Cherai Island Backwaters

Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport

Nearest railway station: Cochin

The backwaters of Cherai Island are an important source of local livelihood. If you look from the tourism lens, you will find Cherai Island backwaters peaceful. A trip down amidst the breeze of paddy fields swaying on both sides of the backwaters is a sight to behold in Cherai Island. You can reach here by traveling a little outside from Kochi, 30 kilometers (approx.). The network of canals in Cherai Island is small, and hence, Cherai Island backwaters are one of the best places to visit near Kochi in one day.

Wrapping Up

On a family trip, honeymoon trip, leisure trip to Kerala, houseboat, and backwater rides are some of the best transformation experiences in God’s Own Country. If you want to uncover the best of Houseboat and Backwater Destinations in Kerala, Honeymoon Bug Kerala tour packages will take you on a cruise through the waterways of Kerala. Save big on the Kerala trip with Honeymoon Bug and book your space now!

FAQs about Houseboat and Backwater Destinations in Kerala

What are the types of houseboats in Kerala you can choose?

Shikara boats, traditional houseboats, luxury houseboats, motorboats, small canoe boats are the types of houseboats in Kerala you can choose from. But the most popular one for backwater cruising is houseboats.

What’s the average distance Kerala houseboat covers in a day?

Any houseboat, traditional or luxurious, covers around 40-50 kilometers each day with multiple halts.

What’s the cost of hiring a houseboat in Kerala?

You can hire 1-to-10-bedroom houseboats in Kerala overnight, starting from INR 2,000 – INR 20,000 for two, including onboard cook and food facility.

What is the estimated duration of houseboats in Kerala?

You should hire a houseboat in Kerala for a minimum of 48 hours to navigate the many canals and man-made waterways in Kerala. You can make the round trip from any backwater destination in Kerala and embark on one-way trips.

Can we swim in the backwaters in Kerala?

No! Swimming in Kerala’s backwater is not suggested because it is not clean and can be deep. However, there are designated areas of the luxury backwater resorts in Kumarakom where you can swim in the controlled and recycled backwaters for swimming purposes for the guests.

How are backwaters in Kerala formed?

Backwaters in Kerala run parallel to the Arabian Sea River in Kerala. It clearly shows that backwaters are the results of the big water bodies. The water accumulated at the sea end results in the backwater formation in Kerala. Nowadays, there are man-made canals inland for navigation, but earlier, the backwaters route was used for trading purposes.

Which districts in Kerala have the largest backwater places?

Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum, Alappuzha (Alleppey), Kochi (Cochin), Kollam, Kasargod, Kottayam, Thrissur, Kozhikode are some of the famous districts in Kerala that have the largest network of backwaters and houseboat places in Kerala.

Is monsoon a good time to enjoy houseboat rides in Kerala?

 It depends on the rain intensity. Kerala has two monsoons – southwest and northeast. The former one commences from July to September, and houseboat activities are subject to cancellation.

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