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Old 26th July 2020, 18:48   #1
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Default The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

This is about our great experience in the first week of January, our usual gang of four, wanting to try out something new, which none of us did earlier. We started to pen down such thing and damn, it's a big list! (We're in early 20s). Let's try something which can be done within a brief span, not too expensive and doesn't involve us getting exhausted (A relaxed getaway). Soon there were a lot of crosses in front of those bullets expect for.. yes, you guessed it right, Houseboat! Everything seemd to be working out, travel bookings, houseboat bookings, accomodation and without much hassle it was all booked and done with.
We got to Alleppey, a very beautiful, scenic and peaceful town in Kerela. Every bit being worth of it being called as 'God's own Country'. Within no time, we were at backwaters and took a nice stroll along, breathing in the abundant fresh air, hearing birds chirp, watching the clear skies and a green landscape, what else can you ask for! Now waiting to get ourselves on houseboat and waiting to get lost in the midst of this heaven.
A picture is worth a thousand words and when it comes to this, I literally am short of words to pen the experience down. I'll let the pictures do the talking (they are not great though, I'm a learner)

The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters-screenshot-9.png

There are a variety of boats down here, Small boats (not the houseboats) to go around backwaters during the day to really big ones with as much as 8 rooms on them!

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Some houseboats do have everything on the first level, then there are some with just an added upper deck and then there are really huge ones which have rooms and upper deck above.

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A cute little fuel station for the boats
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All the boats heading towards the horizon
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So many of them


Now this was the best one according to us, it has an open deck to breathe in the landscape, then there's closed deck where you can sit and still have a good view of your surrounding, it's really useful during the night when there are fireflies around and you can go out because mosquitoes would then suck every drop of blood.

The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters-screenshot-11.png

The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters-screenshot-12.png
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Old 26th July 2020, 18:59   #2
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

Get a bit far and you start to feel like being sat in the laps of nature. There were some houses (not connected by roads, commute by boat only), then there were some shops, feel like buying something, ask your captain and there you are. The more 'desi' alcohol buying is some fun (though we didn't), spot for 'matkas' tied to trees and head there.

Beautiful as far as the sight goes!
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Some birds spotting
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An attempt to catch fish?
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Paddy fields
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Early bird catches the prey
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Commuting?
The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters-screenshot-28.png
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Old 26th July 2020, 19:10   #3
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

Inside our boat.

Ours was a one bedroom boat, get in and there's a massive seating area with some chairs, alongside is the dining table and then it also had TV, DVD player and a sweet music system. Just before the aisle were the stairs to climb onto upper deck. Down the aisle was a bedroom, it had a working AC, attached bath and then after, it was kitchen.
The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters-img_20160114_124043.jpg

Our welcome kits
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My friend lying n the massive seating on the left
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The bedroom
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The aisle leading to front deck and stairs to upper deck
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Parked at a shop, we went to buy some chips and biscuits
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Time for lunch! Two types of rice there and if you could fish, they would happily cook some for you.
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The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters-p_20160114_140055.jpg

Enjoy your evening with some pakoras and tea.
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Dinner time!
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Loads of Idlis for breakfast
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The entire experience was great with a very courteous staff, attentive round the clock. There were some hurdles with our booking we discovered when we reached but those were taken care of immediately, leading us to have this private houseboat experience for 4.
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Old 26th July 2020, 21:59   #4
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

thanks for a very nice write up. Enjoyed readying it, brought back many memories. My wife and I did this twice. Really enjoyed it. Lovely way to spend a couple of day away from home, very different and very relaxing.

We both grew up around water, boats, sailing and yachting and we missed it a bit in India. But this is an excellent, very relaxing way to enjoy the backwaters.

Highly recommended.

Jeroen
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Old 26th July 2020, 22:48   #5
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
thanks for a very nice write up. Enjoyed readying it, brought back many memories. My wife and I did this twice. Really enjoyed it. Lovely way to spend a couple of day away from home, very different and very relaxing.

We both grew up around water, boats, sailing and yachting and we missed it a bit in India. But this is an excellent, very relaxing way to enjoy the backwaters.
Thank you for the kind words. Didn't write much as I actually fell short of words, those who have already visited, know this very well and for those who haven't, picture might give them some idea (though they aren't very good).
Yachting (in Goa) was also in our list but then it got expensive and I don't think it's a proper yachting experience either, have planned it for a little later with a bigger group. Would love to hear from you on a yachting experience in India (or even abroad, if that could be accomodated by my pocket), will help us plan it better.

Cheers.
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Old 28th July 2020, 11:06   #6
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

That was a quick one Petrol Head, some cool pictures too. I think these travelogues give some relief during these testing times. I think when the situation gets better, everyone has vacation plans. I had one question, I heard the houseboats need to be parked by 6 PM because of security issues. Is that true? I think spending a night out in the open is more fun.
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Old 28th July 2020, 11:17   #7
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

Nice travelogue. Your travelogue refreshed my memories of Alleppey. I visited it exactly a decade ago. Alleppey's backwaters are truly scenic and a stay on a houseboat must me experienced at least once in your lifetime.

Love how people use the waterways for transport like we use our road network. Apart from the filling stations, there are some small restaurants on the banks as well. I remember I was served some really delicious fish preparations at one.
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Old 28th July 2020, 14:10   #8
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

Thanks for the write-up, it reminded me of the trip we did in February this year. Sharing a few pictures from my trip:

The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters-dsc_0100.jpg

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A picture of sailing through Kuttanad Backwaters in a bus during 2018 Kerala Floods (which happened to be my first visit to Kuttanad).
The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters-img_20180828_103822261_hdr.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raghu M View Post
I had one question, I heard the houseboats need to be parked by 6 PM because of security issues. Is that true?
Yes.
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Old 28th July 2020, 18:53   #9
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

Great travelogue and wonderful pics there! Brought back many fond memories from our Kerala trip back in 2017. Of all the places that we visited in Kerala, Allepey and its houseboats stood out as one of our best experiences.. My family and I have been longing for another trip to Kerala just to experience the luxury and hospitality aboard these houseboats all over again.

The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters-img_20181224_151224_405.jpg
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Old 28th July 2020, 19:20   #10
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

Fascinating.
I always wanted to visit a Houseboat thanks to a 90s TV serial called Gul Gulshan Gulfam.
I can understand mosquitoes would be a real pain due to the vegetation and temperature / humidity in Kerala.

How is the sewage disposal taken care?
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Old 28th July 2020, 19:22   #11
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raghu M View Post
I think when the situation gets better, everyone has vacation plans. I had one question, I heard the houseboats need to be parked by 6 PM because of security issues. Is that true? I think spending a night out in the open is more fun.
I do agree, just wanting for things to get back to normal, we'll also head somewhere. I don't know about the reasons behind it but yes they do park it in evening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Love how people use the waterways for transport like we use our road network. Apart from the filling stations, there are some small restaurants on the banks as well. I remember I was served some really delicious fish preparations at one.
Yes, apart from filling stations, there are restaurants, shops and what not. It's actually fun to be there. Would plan to be there again in couple of years.

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Originally Posted by Justin View Post
A picture of sailing through Kuttanad Backwaters in a bus during 2018 Kerala Floods (which happened to be my first visit to Kuttanad).
Well that's a first unlike any others experience there. Hope it doesn't happen to anyone here onwards.

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Originally Posted by sharatravan View Post
My family and I have been longing for another trip to Kerala just to experience the luxury and hospitality aboard these houseboats all over again.
I was there with my friends last time, as my dad's retired now, will surely plan to go with them in couple of years. I don't one can get over the experience

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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
I can understand mosquitoes would be a real pain due to the vegetation and temperature / humidity in Kerala.

How is the sewage disposal taken care?
Mosquitoes are real pain post sunset, better be in room post that.
Haven't really thought of sewage disposal Hope someone sheds light on this.

Last edited by petrolHead_1609 : 28th July 2020 at 19:26.
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Old 28th July 2020, 23:07   #12
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Originally Posted by Raghu M View Post
I heard the houseboats need to be parked by 6 PM because of security issues. Is that true.
Primary reason is that the fishermen cast their nets in the night. The larger boats can damage the nets. Depending on where you are moored you would be able to see smaller boats casting long fishing nets along the water way. They pick it up early morning. The second reason, but that was for house boats at Kumarakam was that it would be dangerous to be away from shore at night in case there are strong gusts of wind.
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Old 29th July 2020, 00:21   #13
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

Fascinating travelogue Petrolhead_1609, brings back memories of wonderful kind. The backwaters are a delight and should feature in every traveller‘s itinerary. The morning start after the night is the most fascinating part of the ride when you get to see the sunrise from a moving boat. Thanks for sharing, adding two pictures from my trip few years back, hope you won’t mind.


The evening view of the houseboats just before docking.
The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters-cdfc69ed415b4d7e9dfedb5c7a028028.jpeg

Fresh catch of fish bought from one of the shacks that we stopped by, the men on the houseboat made some delightful dishes out of these.
The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters-7031593f824d4d7f8a98e3c9736600de.jpeg




Quote:
Originally Posted by Raghu M View Post
I heard the houseboats need to be parked by 6 PM because of security issues. Is that true? I think spending a night out in the open is more fun.
Yes, the houseboats need to be parked by the evening and there are two primary reasons for this. First one is about the fishing nets which are laid in the evenings till early morning and navigating through them in the dark can be a real pain as well dangerous. The second one is that the houseboats need continuous supply of electricity to power the air conditioners and rest of the electrical equipments and hence they dock up in the evenings. There is no security issue per say as far as I know.

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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
Fascinating.
I always wanted to visit a Houseboat thanks to a 90s TV serial called Gul Gulshan Gulfam.
I can understand mosquitoes would be a real pain due to the vegetation and temperature / humidity in Kerala.

How is the sewage disposal taken care?
What a serial to remember, Gul Gulshan Gulfaam was such a delightful watch that was set in Kashmir. Mosquitos are serious pain when the houseboat is docked. Since many houseboats dock together, the noise becomes little clumsy in the evenings although not much.

The sewage disposal is what even I thought off but later realised that our houseboat has this removable container type thing which they used to clear out at the jetty at a designated place through some kind of piped extraction. Not sure though if every houseboat does the same or not. Polluting the backwaters is strictly prohibited although have seen people dumping garbage once in while.

Last edited by ABHI_1512 : 29th July 2020 at 00:25.
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Old 29th July 2020, 01:10   #14
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

An interesting travelogue/experience. This is one thing I have not done, an extended boat/ship ride. A question though, even while the boat is moored, there would be swaying - Does that cause problems while sleeping?

I'm sure there is a crew on board, but how many?
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Old 29th July 2020, 03:40   #15
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Default Re: The Houseboat Experience : Alleppey Backwaters

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Originally Posted by mmxylorider View Post
An interesting travelogue/experience. This is one thing I have not done, an extended boat/ship ride. A question though, even while the boat is moored, there would be swaying - Does that cause problems while sleeping?

I'm sure there is a crew on board, but how many?
It doesnt sway much as the water usually isnt choppy. But when a large motorized boat passes by there could be some movement, But it's really not much.

The crew is usually 3 or 4 depending on the size of the boat and the number of guests. We once took a 2BR boat, there were 3 on board one managing the kitchen, one the navigation and the other handling the cleaning. That said when they dock there was only one guy in the boat the other 2 went to their homes nearby.
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