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Kerala Houseboat

Kerala & South India

Rating: Mid-range    

Kerala Houseboat overview

The best way to see the backwaters of Kerala is to take an overnight cruise aboard a traditional Kerala kettu vallam or houseboat. Originally used to transport goods from the isolated interior villages to the cities on the coast, the houseboats are still built using traditional materials but now feature modern convinces such as bathrooms and air conditioning. Each houseboat has from one to three bedrooms, and has a three man crew, a driver, chef and cabin assistant. A modern kitchen at the rear of the boat allows the crew to prepare traditional Kerala meals, including local fish and prawns straight out of the backwater.

There are several start and end points for a houseboat cruises with many different routes through the backwaters. A popular choice is to start or end your cruise at one of the resorts on the shores of Lake Vembanad.


Open: Kerala houseboat cruises operate all year. The peak season lasts from December to the end of January.

Location: The houseboats are located in the backwaters of the southern state of Kerala

Rooms: The houseboats are based on the design of the kettuvalloms which were used to transport goods around Kerala before the advent of road transport. They vary in size and have between one and three bedrooms. They have bathrooms and are air conditioned.

Activities: Relaxing while cruising through the lagoons, canals and rivers of Kerala, passing villages, Chinese fishing nets, paddy fields, temples and coconut groves.

Facilities: The houseboats have a crew of three comprising a captain, chef and cabin assistant. The food is traditional Keralan and includes fresh seafood. There is an indoor lounge and an outdoor seating area on the deck.

Dining: Meals are taken communally.

Children: Please check with us.

Health: We recommend malaria prophylactics for travel to India.

Communication: There is no internet access.

Map for Kerala Houseboat

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Guy Marks
Paul Cook
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customer rating

96% from
16 reviews











client reviews

Katharine (27/12/2017)

"We had a great experience on the houseboat, ours was very comfortable and could be enclosed at night which meant that we avoided getting bitten. The food was freshly cooked and was good but very repetitive if you are doing more than one night (we did two nights), drinks are also very limited, water and tea only."

Mrs. Pauline Leys (01/04/2017)
"This was fantastic. The food was great. We were very comfortable on board. Two nights was definitely worth it."
Ms. Judith Viney
"Most enjoyable but surprised at the number of houseboats. We had to ask for the double bed to be re made into twin beds."
Ms. Catherine Scott
"The boat was fine but we weren't forwarned that it was like the Norfolk Broads on a busy bank holiday 10times over.We weren't too impressed with the actual area we were in, surely there could have been somewhere less busy."
Annie Mitchell
"Loved this experience as reported above. I would certainly recommend two nights if you have the time as the river is getting more crowded with houseboats and having the extra time allows you to go beyond the crowds. We were able to watch all the boats heading back as we sat enjoying our breakfast. The pace allows you to stop and relax and just enjoy the sights around you - not for everyone but certainly fascinating. I do not know how the cook managed to make such delicious food in such a small space and our bed was soooo comfortable."

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