Kerala Backwaters – Houseboat Cruise: Our Experience and Tips

Of cruising through the backwaters of Alleppy

Imagine cruising on the backwaters of Kerala – weaving a memorable journey staying afloat on the fresh water lake, tucked in a traditional houseboat, imbibing the laid back vibes of the surrounding villages and sleeping & waking up to nothing but the tranquil songs of nature.

That is exactly what our trip was like!

Just got back from a cruise on a houseboat or kettuvallam, as it is locally called… and this is the fastest we’ve written a blog. We have penned down our experience and tips to help you plan better.

Choose a package:

Pick what you like. There are all sorts of packages and boats to choose from – traditional to relatively modern boats, quiet versus those with boom boxes and television, day cruises to overnight cruises, activity-packed with village tour and more to regular ones that just cruise along the lake, etc.

You can choose the busy end of the lake towards Alleppy or the relatively quiet side of Vembanad.

Our houseboat cruise

We booked a 2D/1N package with Spice Coast Cruises by CGH Earth and cruised along Vembanad Lake.

The houseboat cruise package was inclusive of three meals and overnight halt at the lake. We did not choose any other activity as one night wasn’t enough for it. Moreover, we wanted a laid back, go with the flow kind of experience. So, it worked perfectly fine for us. All we did was sit by the bow and soak in the natural essence of God’s own country.   

Laying along, lazying along, cruising along 😉

How to get there?

  • Land at Cochin International Airport
  • Take a cab (yes, Uber and Ola are available too)
  • Approx. charge: INR 2,000-2,500
  • Reach their jetty point at Puthenangadi, Muhamma

Upon reaching their jetty point, their staff greets you, makes you fill forms if you hadn’t already, and redirects you to the assigned houseboat.

Our itinerary

Lap 1:

We went towards Alleppy and the surrounding fishing village on Day-1.

We witnessed the raw life of the locals and watched fishermen lay their fishing nets along the way.  

Point to note: fishermen spread nets around 6.30 PM, thus, boats have to be docked by then.

Lap 2:

Day-2 was all about touring the quiet side of Kumarakom.

We drifted towards the left hand side of our docking station with a 1-1.5 hour lazy cruise before docking back.

Heading towards Kumarakom

Things to do:

  • Imbibe the essence of local life
  • Interaction with villagers
  • Admire the sunset
  • Wake up to the sounds of nature


And the main part – FoOoOoOd!

The chef took special interest in incorporating our requirement and taste to tailor-cook meals for us. Needless to say, their food was exceptional.

Must try: Fresh water fish – in any form

Things you should know:

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, vanity kit, comb – not provided
  • Our houseboat did not have a television or a boom box – thankfully!
  • Dining area and bedroom – air-conditioned (1900 – 0700 hours only)
  • Pick up and drop – provided upon prior booking

Swipe for houseboat tour

Exteriors of the houseboat and docking station

Carry along:

  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunglasses

Travel and booking tips:

  • Fulfill all requirement w.r.t vaccination and RT-PCR test
  • Visit permit: complete the registration online
  • Check for hotel forms and other necessary permits
  • Ensure you follow all Covid protocols

We have to make a special mention of the impeccable service and hospitality. The houseboat was well-maintained and the bedroom & bathroom were clean. The staff was courteous and prompt.

Beautiful views, even though rainy day = no dramatic sunset/sunrise

This was a special vacation as we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. The staff set up a candlelight dinner for us, followed by cake cutting. *how thoughtful*

Candlelight dinner

Beautiful place, wonderful vacation


We thought we would dock right in the middle of the lake. However, we were taken back to the docking station by eve. That was not something we were prepared for and were told so only upon arrival

Quick tips

To go or Not to go?

  • Beautiful experience for those who want to sit back & relax and do nothing, absorb the local village way en route, and enjoy a day & night of nothing but the backwaters of Kerala
  • Not for those expecting a life-changing experience or something overtly dramatic, except the sunset, of course (at the right season)

For travel consultationget in touch with us.

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**Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Lyf&Spice talks purely out of experience. What may suit us, may not work for you. However, we’ve intended to collate handy tips in a single post to help you get the essence of the town better. Make sure you carry necessary permits, pay relevant taxes, and follow Covid-19 protocols. Plan your trip smart and have fun!

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