When most people think of Kerala, the first place that comes to mind is the Alleppey backwaters. Lush green scenery with rivers and waterways filled with floating houseboats. Small villages surrounded by paddy fields and coconut groves. It really is a tropical paradise a world away from city life in India.
To get there from Varkala, we took an early morning auto-rickshaw to Varkala station to catch the 6:30am train. We’d been amazed so far at how clean Kerala was compared to some of the Indian states further north and Varkala train station is no exception. There’s a small cafe selling food and much needed chai for a few rupees.
The journey takes around 3 hours, is perfectly comfortable and arrives into Alleppey in time for breakfast. You need to queue for a ticket for an auto-rickshaw to take you down to the waterfront, where you can take a boat into the backwaters.
We stayed at Ayana’s homestay with Mr Gopal and it was unlike any other homestay we’ve been to. Unlike in Burma, where we slept on a pile of blankets on the floor of a wooden shack with several other people – here we had our own en-suite room in a beautiful house on the riverbank.
Mr Gopal took us on a walk through the local village, we went on a pole boat ride along the river at dusk and returned home to his wife’s amazing home cooked Southern Indian dinner. There is still the option to stay on one of the many houseboats but they are very expensive so we’d definitely recommend a homestay.
We could have easily stayed longer in the backwaters, relaxing with a book and exploring the small villages along the river. The way of life in Kerala is so lovely and slow-paced. Our next stop was the old port city of Kochi.
Have you been to the Alleppey backwaters? Did you stay at a homestay or on a houseboat? Let us know in the comments below.