9 Beautiful Destinations to experience Kerala Backwaters

Kerala is a unique south Indian state with a labyrinthine web of canals, lagoons, lake and estuaries. Whenever we hear Kerala, our imagination places us in a houseboat in the famous backwaters, drinking coconut water and eating in a plantain leaf. In the backdrop are the tall coconut trees and lush green nature. Going on a houseboat cruise in the backwaters of Kerala is a dream which requires little effort to make it a reality. Kerala Backwaters being the largest freshwater source for Kerala are a rich bed of marine flora and fauna that also embodies a variety of boating options.  

Let's ease your task and list a few unpronounceable best backwaters destinations in Kerala that are too beautiful to be missed:

1. Alleppey Backwaters - Largest Network of Kerala Backwaters

The most famous canal networks in Kerala, Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha is a green paradise and our number one choice when it comes to backwaters. The stretch of Alleppey Backwater lies 62 km south of Kochi, nestled in captivating greenery, paddy fields, coconut plantations and beautiful islands. Alleppey Backwaters form the ideal romantic honeymoon destination for people across the nation as it provides an enchanting environment for couples. 
Boating Options : Houseboats are available equipped with all modern amenities at all budgets. Spacious bedrooms, living/dining room, sitting areas to watch the scintillating beauty (do not miss the sunrise and sunset), air conditioners among other facilities.

Services:
Daily backwater cruises offer 4 hours rides, sunset rides and overnight rides which include Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner according to the time. Canoe Boats and Public Ferries by SWTD are also available.

Cost:
Luxury Package: INR 6,000 to 10,000 (1D/2N); Shikara Rides: INR 500 per person (4 hours).

Major Boat Races:
Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Punnamada Lake, Alappuzha

Best time to Visit:
 September to March 

2. Kumarakom Backwaters (Kottayam) - Set in the backdrop of Kerala's Largest Lake

Kerala Backwaters
Kumarakom Backwaters, Kottayam
Source
For those who seek solace, the cluster of islands in the backwaters of Kerala provides just that and Kumarakom Backwaters happen to be one such place. Snuggled on the biggest freshwater lake in Kerala, Vembanad Lake is a heavenly abode. The stunning backwaters make it a delight watching birds like kingfishers, darters, and turns. It is a great place to have a peaceful village walk while the sun sets in the background to end with a Romantic candlelight dinner.
Boating Options:One can delight themselves with a stay in the traditional houseboats called Kettuvallam or at the village cottages on the islands. Services: Motor Rides, Canoe Rides and traditional houseboats called Kettavullam are available in the area.

Cost:
Luxury Package: INR 8,000 to 14,000 (1D/2N); Shikara Rides: INR 600 per person (4 hours).

Major Boat Races:
Kumarakom Arpookara Vanitha Jalamela, Kumarakom

Best time to Visit: 
September to March

3. Kuttanad

Backwaters of Kerala, kuttanad
Kuttanad
Source
Kuttanad is known as the rice bowl of Kerala. The unique feature of this backwater is that it lies between land and sea. The view of the lush paddy field is ineffable. It has also adopted an indigenous agricultural engineering technique for agriculture. Indulge in tasty authentic seafood and fascinating local culture. Located in the heart of the Allepey district, this place is famous for boat races that are conducted during September concerning the state festival, Onam.
Boating Options: The most popular of them being the houseboating and Shikhara Rides. The regular passenger ferry by the Government offers five services per day which are 2 hours trips costing less than INR 100.

Cost:
Luxury Packages: INR 14000 per person (Approx);  Homestays: INR 2000 onwards

Best time to Visit: 
September to March 
 

4. Kollam Backwaters, Ashtamudi - Gateway to Backwaters of Kerala

Kerala Backwaters, Ashtamundi
Kollam Backwaters, Ashtamudi Lake
Source
Presently known as Quilon, the Kollam backwater is the gateway to few other backwaters in Kerala was a prominent trade canter for Portuguese, Arabia, Greece, Rome and China in exporting sandalwood, spices, coir and ivory. Estimated to be the longest backwater in Kerala, this is a must-explore stretch for its natural beauty and boat riding. It has derived its name from the eight channels which form the Ashtamudi Backwaters. Ashtamudi Lake is the largest lake in Kerala (16 km) and is also known to be a gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. It also happens to be the largest wetland ecosystem in Kerala.
Boating Options: The most popular cruise is the trip from Kollam to Alappuzha. It is a ride of 8 hours and will provide all facilities and food depending on the time. Houseboats comprise one to four bedrooms, open sitting area, and dining area. Cruise in between the small villages and see the life thriving by the water.

Services:
Houseboat and Canal Cruise packages of varied luxuries are available. Motor Rides and canoe rides are available for small trips.

Cost:
Cruise Packages: up to INR 42,000;  Luxury Packages: INR 12,000 to 16,000 (1D/2N); Motor Rides: INR 200 to 500 per person (Small Trips).

Major Boat Races:
President's Trophy Boat Race in Ashtamudi lake, Kollam Kallada Boat Race in Kallada River, Kollam

Best time to Visit:
 October to February 

5. Thiruvallam Backwaters, Trivandrum - Backwaters close to the Arabian Sea

Backwaters of Kerala, Thiruvallam
Thiruvallam Backwaters, Trivandrum (Source)
With the Arabian Sea in the West and the pristine Western Ghats in the east, these backwaters are quite close to the beautiful Thiruvallam, Velli and Kovalam. There are many places in the streets of Poovar where you could negotiate and book houseboats. Don't forget to stop by the serene Lighthouse beach, Neyar river estuary and Pieta church. Thiruvallam backwaters lay around 6 km from Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. Sree Parasurama Temple in Thiruvallam is a highly revered place of religious importance. The park near Akkulam Lake in Thiruvallam is considered to be the largest in Kerala and a dear one to all the tourists.
Boating Options: These backwaters are famous, especially for kayaking, canoe rides and Kettavullams. The Akkulam and Veli Tourist Villages provide some of the boating experiences.

Services:
Tourist villages attend to the Paddle Boating services, Houseboat cruises, Swimming pools and some of the most picturesque picnic spots.

Cost:
Motorboats and Cruises: INR 1800-3000 per person (1.5 hrs to 2 hrs)

Best time to Visit: 
October to March 

6. Kozhikode, Calicut - a Spice trade route where the Portuguese first landed

Kozhikode Backwaters
Kozhikode, Calicut
Source
The backwaters of Calicut played a significant role in conducting important British trading outpost. Located in North Kerala, this district holds a lot of historical significance. The hegemonic rule of Zamorins who conducted trade with Arabia established their power first in Calicut. This great province of Malabar was also an interesting point, where the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed for the first time in India. The sail along River Kallai and River Canoli imparts an exhilarating experience. Do explore the locality especially by cycling and include Kappad beach, Payyoli beach and Dolphin point on the bucket list.
Boating Options: Both row and pedal boats are available at Kalipoika from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM every day. Don't miss out riding to Korapuzhu, the venue of the famous water festival or Jalotsavam and Elathur.

Services:
Purakkattiri is the main starting point that provides all kinds of houseboat service.

Cost: 
Luxury Packages: INR 3500 onwards per person;  Boat tour Experiences: INR 1500 per person

Best time to Visit: 
October to March

7. Kavvayi Backwaters, Payyanur - A pocket-friendly Houseboat Tour

Kerala Backwaters, Kavvayi Backwaters Stretch
Kavvayi Backwaters, Payyanur
Source
Kavvayi backwaters are formed by the cluster of islands on River Kavvayi in the north of Kerala. No Cruises are available on this side of the state, but you can easily visit these backwaters on a shikhara or a canoe or opt for a motorboat ride. This site has no less to offer and gives you a happy feeling with the lush green backdrop, an excellent variety of flora and fauna, a myriad of small and big islands and so much more which keeps your interest flowing.
Boating Options: The houseboat and cruising culture isn't a common sight on this side of the state. Although, canoe rides are very frequent.

Services: Houseboats and resorts are available but require pre-booking during peak times.

Cost: Rooms & Resorts: INR 2000 Onwards;  Houseboat Packages: INR 18000 per room of two

Best time to Visit: October to March

8. Padanna Backwaters, Kasargod - a Backwater Haven not ruined by Tourism

Padanna Backwaters, Kasaragod
Padanna Backwater, Kasargod
Source
Padanna Backwater of Kasargod is one of the distinguished backwaters located in the northernmost part of Kerala. Renowned for its well-established rice cultivation and coir industry, this backwater is one of the most preferred backwaters in Kerala. Indulge in the romantic and amiable aura of the enchanting backwater.
Boating Options: This exotic backwater comes with the privilege to cherish the fantastic views on the Houseboats and the country boats.

Cost: Resorts: INR 7500 per room (Approx)

Best time to Visit: October to February

9. Kochi Backwaters

Source
The backwaters in Kochi offer a unique proposition of enjoying the beautiful skyline and waters amidst the concrete jungle. You can choose to take up a boat ride for a few hours while making quick stops to see the local attractions. It also serves as a gateway to all other major backwaters in the state. The spectacular Chinese fishing nets, Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church and Fort Kochi should definitely make it to your boating tour itinerary.
Boating Options: A local tour takes up to 3 hours and covers nearby tourist attractions; there are also houseboats which take you to Alleppey and Kollam

Cost: A private day tour costs in the vicinity of INR 2000 to INR 4000; houseboat options for overnight stay are priced in the range of INR 8000 to INR 12000

Best Time to Visit: October to March

Types of Boats in Kerala Backwaters 

1. Kerala Houseboats
Source
The Best part about Kerala Backwaters is that they make you feel the comfort of home yet taking you around the calm backwaters. Houseboats are available at Kasaragod, Kollam, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Thrissur, and Ernakulam. An average houseboat can host around 4-5 people, and the cost depends on the packages and the seasons. The cost can range anywhere between INR 6000 to INR 45000.

2. Canoe boats (Kettavulam)
Source
You can also opt for Canoe Boats or Kettuvalam (a boat that looks like a rice barge) and go for Village Tours. This is one of the best ways to experience local life at a slow pace. It usually has a capacity of 5-6 people and takes around 3 to 6 hours and costs around 400 - 1000 per person. The tours start from Alleppey, Kochi and Kollam.

3. Public Ferries by SWTD
Source
State Water Transport Department runs ferries at regular intervals from boat jetty and VCSB (Boat Jetty). The cost of the ferry is as low as INR 5. You can check the schedule on their official website. The ferry will take you through this network of brackish lagoons at a very low cost.

The exquisite beauty of Kerala Backwaters has magic enthralled in it. With the Arabian Sea in the West and over 40 rivers flowing on its land, Kerala has a boon of unique geography. Other than refreshing waterfalls, advanced literacy rate, rich history, and culture, Kerala enjoys the unparalleled beauty of backwaters, definitely an icing on the cake! Backwaters of Alleppey are popularly known as the 'Venice of the East.' It's high time that you check this off your vacation list.

This post was published by Vishwas Jain

Share this post on social media
Google +

Kerala Packages

Compare quotes from upto 3 travel agents for free

Related Articles

Sightseeing

Places To Visit In Kerala In September

Wildlife & Nature

National Parks in Kerala

Romantic & Honeymoon

Honeymoon Places in Kerala For A Romantic Getaway

Top Places

Best Places to Visit in Kerala in August for an Enchanting Vacay

Art & Culture

Onam 2019 - An Essential Guide to the Festival of Kerala

Food & Drink

Kerala Food: 22 Kerala Famous Food and Dishes

Art & Culture

Traditional Dresses Of Kerala

Art & Culture

Culture of Kerala - Rich Culture & Traditions!

Fairs & Festivals

Festivals of Kerala - Most Popular Festivals Celebrated in Kerala

Experiences

Toddy in Kerala - All You Need to Know About Kerala's Famous Palm Wine

Art & Culture

Historical Places in Kerala

Experience Elephants in Kerala - God's Own Country

Experiences

Bike Rental in Kerala - You Guide To Rent A Bike in Kerala

Religious

Must-visit Famous Churches in Kerala

Sightseeing

Places To Visit In Kerala For 3 Days

Sightseeing

Places To Visit In Kerala In November

Top Places

Kerala is the first Indian state to implement the Barrier-Free Tourism Project

Adventure

Water Sports in Kerala

Family Holidays

Kerala Makes It to the Top Global Trending Destinations for 2020 - Find out More

Surreal Offbeat Places in Kerala

Scuba Diving in Kerala

Sightseeing

Reasons Why Monsoons in Kerala Would Be the Best Time to Visit the Place

Experiences

12 Best Ayurvedic Resorts in Kerala: A Healthy Retreat

Experiences

Kerala Ayurveda - All You Need To Know About Treatment, Techniques & Therapies

Sightseeing

Things to do in Kerala for a Hillside Coastal Vacay

Beaches & Islands

Beaches in Kerala

Sightseeing

Houseboating In Kerala - Glide Through The Backwaters In Kerala

Sightseeing

Top Places near rivers & lakes in Kerala

Beaches & Islands

Best Beaches in Kerala That Every Traveller Must Visit

Hill Stations

Hill Stations in Kerala

Experiences

Explore The Hidden gems of North kerala

Comments on this post