Before we arrived in Alleppey we already knew that a houseboat wasn’t an option for us, at rp10000+ (£100+) a night it was way out of our budget. But we also didn’t want to do the budget options we had read about and spend the day on the government boat. So we decided to wait until we arrived and then make it our mission to discover an alternative way.
We were staying in a great guesthouse called Mantra Heritage Home. It is right next to the beach and they have big fresh, comfy and clean rooms for only rp550 a night. And to our luck they offered a canoeing trip through the backwaters for only rp1000 per person, including breakfast and a delicious home cooked lunch. We had an amazing day and we think this is definitely the best way to explore the backwaters.
We went with a small group and each canoe had only 4 people. They have comfy reclining seats for ultimate relaxation and a guide leisuring takes you through the backwaters and lovely villages. The best part is unlike the large houseboats the canoes can take you through the small canals, which takes you away from the beeping and pollution pumping out from the houseboats. The smaller canals are also incredibly beautiful, picture tranquil water filled with floating lilies and banks lined with palm trees and brightly coloured houses. Time slows down here and you feel really relaxed taking in the beautiful surroundings.
For lunch you stop in a small village and take a self guided walk through the rice fields , they were the most beautiful fields we have seen and music from the temple floats over them with a gentle breeze. You then go for a delicious home cooked Thali, served on a banana leaf. The fresh barbecued fish marinated perfectly in Indian spices was amazing and came with spicy mango pickle and my favourite Keralan dish, papaya and beetroot thoran (veg stir fried with coconut). No Thali would be complete without a tumeric rich curry and we were treated to a flavoursome vegetable and spicy banana curry, served with poppadoms and organic rice. It was some of the best home cooked food we’ve had on our trip and everything was fresh from the houses surroundings. In their garden they have mango and coconut trees and the fish is caught just before you arrive from the river along the front.
The trip lasts all day and by the time we finished we felt truly relaxed and like we had stumbled across a local secret. To top it all off the canoes are environmentally friendly something we felt we needed to be conscious of in such a beautiful place, especially with the amount of houseboats we saw with fumes and smog pumping out of the back of them. We would recommend it to anyone visiting Alleppey!
Foodie top tip!
When you’re in Alleppey you must try Mushroom restaurant. They specialise in Indian and Chinese food and are famous for their tasty tandoori and grill menu. The tandoori chicken and prawns where the best we’ve had in India and lived up to the promise of offering a spicy and flavoursome punch. Perfect with the gently spiced yogurt and crunchy slaw served on the side.