If you want to experience the tranquility of Kerala Backwaters, then I would suggest Alleppey backwaters! We (six family members) planned a houseboat vacation in Alleppey. There are about 600 houseboats in operation in Alleppey & there are various day packages depending on the stay and size of the boats. Every boat has 3 crewmen who double as captain / steward / chef etc. The boat starts at around noon and halts at a common docking place at around 5 in evening. The cruise is along the narrow canals opening to big wide streams studded with paddy fields along the sides. ‘The more, the merrier’ is a perfect phrase for a house boat cruise. It’s more affordable if there are more people in a house boat. A 3BR houseboat is very spacious and has lot more moving space for six people.

Food, sight-seeing and shopping: All meals (breakfast, Lunch, evening snacks, dinner) are served on the houseboat. Make sure you tell your preference (Veg / Non-Veg) at least 24hrs in advance. The food was served on time and we found the quantity to be adequate. Being a vegan we didn’t had much options to eat as the specialty was always in favor of sea food dishes. If you are travelling around summer, then make sure you buy cool drinks and stock them in the kitchen. There was a sumptuous big fruit platter which served us till the last lap of our cruise. If you are a sea food lover, you would enjoy the fresh catch from the backwaters as they go directly from the waters to the kitchen for frying!

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Activities & things to do: Our house boat did not have any board games. We made sure that they arrange a Carrom on board and we did have a gala time on the carrom board while our houseboat was cruising! Plan and pack a few board games of your choice to make your trip memorable. Ask for a canoe cruise after they dock in the evening. You can cruise through narrow backwater channels. The best part of the cruise is to sit and watch the backwaters during sunrise and sip tea. Pack a few DVDs and music CDs as there is a TV and a DVD which can be used anytime. If you watch a movie after its dark, then it gives good clarity.
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How to Reach: Take a train to Alleppey. Inform your houseboat operator regarding your train number and you will be picked up for a nominal fare depending on the number of people. Nearest airport will be either Cochin or Trivandrum. Don’t try to reach the houseboat on your own transport as you will never know the exact location as all backwaters look the same. Try to avoid peak summer & rainy season as this will spoil the cruise. Make sure your houseboat has mosquito repellent. Ask your captain for a chance to steer the houseboat. Even an ace (car driver would love to cruise and lead a ship through the backwaters).

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