Kerala in India has got an appealing and memorable number of taglines such as “God’s Own Country”, “Land of Spices” and “Land of Coconut Trees”.  The literal meaning of Kerala translates to Coconut Tree (“Kera”) and land (“Alam”). But the most popular and well-known phrase is “God’s Own Country”.

According to Hindu mythology, Kerala was created by Lord Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who threw his ax across the sea to create new land for his worshippers to lead a peaceful and harmonious life, hence Kerala is God’s own creation.

Later on, this phrase was invented and asserted by Mr. Walter Mendez who was the creative director of a renowned ad agency. He asserted this phrase on the request of the Kerala Tourism Department, making the state a dream destination for every tourist.

God’s Own Country as a catchphrase is apt for Kerala, as it is situated between the pristine waters of the Arabian Sea on the west and the Western Ghats on the East, which covers a wide range of thick forest, tropical wildlife, and serene ambiance such as backwaters, glistened in shades of jade and emerald which in turn makes it every traveller’s paradise.

Most popular tourist places in Kerala include hill stations, beaches, wild life sanctuaries and backwaters.

In every nook and corner, we can see Kerala that is filled with temples, mosques, and churches. The tourists keep changing their travel plans due to the various experiences you can find and focus on Kerala as an ultimate tourist destination while visiting India.

What are the Houseboats in Kerala?

alleppey-backwaters, Kerala Houseboat cruise indiaThere are so many things that one can do when setting their vacation goals to Kerala.

First and foremost, one should explore the backwaters in a houseboat, which is one of the must things to do while visiting Kerala, to experience Kerala’s beauty through a chain of lakes canals and lagoons.

Houseboats are a long flat-bottomed slow-moving boat that is constructed using wooden planks and tied with coconut fibers, and used for leisure trips especially during the holiday season.

They are a modified replica of “Kettuvallams” in ancient days which was used for business and travel.

During the initial stages, they were used in carrying rice and spices from one place to another and it was considered as one of the easiest modes of transportation to carry non-perishable goods.

Here is a popular Kerala houseboat and backwaters trip guide that can help you to choose a houseboat and best backwaters route.

Houseboats in Kerala are one of the unique tourist attractions in this “God’s own country” that has widely achieved appreciation and acceptance from all over the globe.

What makes Backwaters in Kerala unique?

Houseboat on Kerala backwaters, India

Houseboat on Kerala backwaters, Kerala, India

Kerala backwaters also are known as lakes, canals and rivers which extend to over 900km in waterways.

Backwaters have got a special and unique ecosystem where it is said to be a shelter for different species of aquatic animals such as frogs, fishes, turtles, crabs and many more.

We can also find a large variety of green leafy plants and thick bushes that is situated on the banks of the backwater. In some places, the banks have been made so that the freshwater of the lake doesn’t get blended with saltwater from the sea.

Which is the best houseboat destination in Kerala?

There are multiple backwater destinations in Kerala, but out of all, Alleppey and Kumarakom are considered to be the most important and beautiful ones, as the scenery is quite breathtaking and magnificent. It certainly has to be experienced by everyone.

The starting point of a houseboat cruise in Kerala is either from Alleppey or Kumarakom.

Honeymoon couples may also like to spend their honeymoon with a voyage in a houseboat of Kerala, which is one of the unique experiences to enjoy a honeymoon in Kerala.

Special arrangements can be made, like a candlelight dinner or flower decorations as per the demand and request of guests

  • Alleppey Houseboat Cruise
Houseboats in Alleppey

Traditional wooden houseboats in Alleppey region in India

Alleppey or Alappuzha Backwater route is one of the most popular forms of Alleppey houseboat cruise, where the journey begins from Alleppey and moves to Kuttanad.

The natural scenery and the gentle wind when the cruise sails will give you an exquisite feeling that you’ve never experienced anywhere before in your lifetime.

  • Kumarakom Houseboat Cruise

Kumarakom Backwater is a place that is popularly known for the backwater tourism, beach tourism and many more.

One of the most renowned activities here is the houseboat cruise which offers a charming scenery, leaving a scene that is exceptionally pleasing to the eye.

This place is rich in marine life and a variety of flora and fauna species.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is another well-liked attraction here. Traveling in this cruise also allows us to enjoy the bird watching at the bird sanctuary.

Food Menu on a Kerala Houseboat

When you choose a night stay on a houseboat in Kerala, you are served with a variety of cuisines which includes South Indian, North Indian, Continental and our typical traditional Keralite dishes, where our local fish, “Karimeen” (Pearl spot), is said to be an appetizing delicacy.

Types of Houseboats

House boat in backwaters

Houseboat in backwaters near palms at dramatic sunset sky in Alappuzha, Kerala, India

Houseboats are supplied with all necessary types of equipment with modern comforts like a hotel, with options for single, double, triple and five bedrooms with private balconies. All unites are equipped with chairs, dining tables, washrooms, kitchen which looks exactly like that of the ones in our homes. There are separate restrooms also available.

Trained cooks and helpers will also be accompanying you on your houseboat. Continuous inspections are conducted by the KTDC Officers to ensure your safety.

The price of a houseboat may vary depending on the category that you opt for. It may range from basic, deluxe to luxury houseboats and are usually offered at various rates based on Platinum, Green, Gold, and Silver categories.

Here are the popular categories of houseboats:

  • Standard Houseboat – Houseboats that offer basic amenities but does not have air-conditioning
  • Deluxe/ Premium Houseboat – They are quite comfortable when compared to the standard houseboat and offers air-conditioning for a maximum of 10 hours at night starting from 9 PM.
  • Luxury/ Super Deluxe Houseboat – They are filled with luxurious amenities such as unlimited air-conditioning, a chief manservant as well as a personal chef. Here is a detailed guide to luxury houseboats in Kerala if you are interested in this category.

Have you taken a houseboat trip in Kerala? Let us know your experience through the comments below!

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Isabel Leong

Isabel Leong

An explorer at heart, the world is Isabel's playground. She enjoys seizing every moment exploring every hideout and doing the unimaginable, like bungee jumping in Phuket and couchsurfing in Europe. If she had wings, she’d definitely be soaring right now. Also a fitness trainer, if she’s not at the gym, you can find her doing yoga or rock climbing! Read more about her on