We spent first day of our memorable Kerala trip in Fort Kochi and visited Athirapally Falls.
The second day was reserved for the special experience that is unique to Kerala and that was the primary reason behind selecting destination Kerala for our vacation. This special experience was our stay in the Houseboat moving leisurely on the renowned backwaters of Alappuzha.
Anticipating good times ahead, both of us woke early in our hotel in Fort Kochi and got ready within minutes to drive to Alappuzha which is around 60 Kms from Fort Kochi. We had booked one bedroom Houseboat with Xandari Riverscapes for one night trip, after reading good reviews about them on TripAdvisor.
We started around 9:00 A.M from Fort Kochi and reached our houseboat’s boarding point in Alappuzha around 11:30 A.M. For a one night trip, the houseboat starts sailing at 12:00 PM and docks back next day at 10 AM. After having a bad experience at our hotel in Fort Kochi, we were keeping our fingers crossed in hopes of receiving good service on the houseboat.
Fortunately, our prayers got heard and we had a memorable time staying on the houseboat and sailing through the backwaters.
To start with, we were warmly welcomed by the manager when we reached the office. He enlightened us about the history of backwaters and the islands in the area. He also explained us our route and the narrow canals where the houseboat could not reach, but they will still take us there in a small boat.
All excited, we boarded the houseboat at 12:00 PM. Along with us, there were three crew members on board in the houseboat – Chef, sailor and an assistant. The boat was a floating abode, equipped with all the essential amenities. There were living and dining area with good seating arrangements to relax and enjoy the amazing views. The bedroom was a replica of a hotel room, equipped with all the comforts, including an air conditioner. The attached bath also had all the facilities available in the one on land. There was also a fully functional kitchen with stoves, refrigerator and microwave. The chef used it to prepare sumptuous meals for us.
We were served lunch as the first meal on the houseboat. It was authentic vegetarian Kerala meal, consisting of pineapple kadhi, cabbage and sprouts sabji, flat rice, sambhar and few other dishes. We savored every bit of it. After lunch, the houseboat was parked for some time near the shoreline. It was a bright sunny day and the cool breeze was adding glamour to a picture perfect surroundings while we were relaxing in the boat…what a day!
After an hour or so, we again started sailing on the water, absorbing the scenery created by waving palm trees all around. Around 4:00 PM, the boat got parked again on the shore and there were two more similar houseboats parked, with couples in each boat. Six of us were asked to board a small narrow boat for touring the narrow canals and the small village settlements on the islands. Now, this was an awesome experience, sailing through the narrow canals and seeing the village life this close. The one-hour expedition was beyond words; simply amazing!
We returned to our houseboat around 5:00 PM and was served hot tea and onion pakoras, which were more than welcomed by our hungry stomachs. We further sailed on backwater for half an hour before halting for the night near an island with incredible views. We roamed around on the small island till the dawn, enjoying palm and banana trees. Then returned to the houseboat and had a nice dinner while enjoying the sunset.
We went inside our bedroom when it became dark, since there were a lot of mosquitos in the open area of the boat. Reminiscing the cherished day, we went to sleep and got up early to enjoy the sun-rise.
The morning was energetic. We treated ourselves with the views of morning sun, the fishermen, and their boats in search for their early morning catch. By 9:00 AM, we were ready for our breakfast which was traditional puttu, banana and kadala curry. We ate heart-full while voyaging back to our starting point. At 10:00 AM, our amazing houseboat trip came to an end. Basked in the memories of an excellent time, we thanked and tipped our crew members for their excellent service and embarked on our journey further to Kovalam.