On The Backwaters of Aleppey Kerala
Venice of the east
Alappuzha the venice of the East – The Alapuzzha backwaters are dubbed ‘The Venice of the East’ by the tourist books, but then again, so is Udaipur , but arriving in Alappuzha, you can sort of see it, as there is water and boats, although it seems a bit of a stretch.
Going through the town, which like most Indian towns is full of traffic with the noise and almost continuous sounds of car horns, so the promise of a quiet cruise down the backwaters is a welsome sight.
We booked a cruise on one of the converted rice barges called ‘kettuvallam’ for one night, which was to be New Year’s eve, fabulous.
Our driver drove us up to the boat pier, parked up and trundled to wards the mooring point of the boats to find our boat among the dozens of boats tied up to the land.
When we booked our boat we assumed that we would be on an upper deck with a private balcony – simply because that was was written on the booking site. However, the room was nice, but on the lower deck and the balconies were shared.
Now this is a little misleading, but hey-ho, it was nice anyway, apart from when our cabin leaked water from the bait’s plumbing system and the floor was flooded.
Make friends … maybe
The food on the boat is really good, but don’t look too carefully at the kitchens – not very clean and most of the food is kept out of the tiny fridge in tupperware boxes…
You also have a little pot-luck in terms of your companions on the boat as all meals are served to all of the guests at one table, which is fine if you have nice people on the boat with you at the same time. We were lucky as it turned out, but don’t expect too much privacy except in your cabin.
If you want to have a cool beer or a glass of wine as you watch the sun setting, make sure you either bring your own from one of the government-run shops or ask the crew.
They don’t carry any alcohol on the boats, but they will stop along the way and moor up to get your beer or wine, but the choice is pretty limited.
Beer is Kingfisher and wine is either red or white, so if you are a little choosy then bring your own.
Final thoughts & recommendations
The boat trip is very pleasant, but not exactly what I thought it would be – especially in terms of privacy as a couple.
Most of the cruise is set amongst steaming down busy waterways surrounded by other boats like yours, a lot with loud music, so not quite as serene as the brochures would have you believe.
If I were to do this type of thing again, I would probably take a boat from Kumarakom, which is much quieter than Aleppey.
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