If you go to India, you must do a house boat trip in Kerala. Period. It was simply one of the most relaxing, serene, and beautiful experiences I’ve ever had. One of those rare moments in life where you gape at your surroundings, daring the scenery to flicker from desktop background to the spreadsheet you need to finish by 2PM.
While Alleppey is the more popular option, it is also the more crowded one. I opted instead for a house boat trip in Kollam where there were fewer boats. I was not disappointed. I did an overnight excursion that included a trip through the vacuous backwaters of Kollam, a village tour on a canoe, and three of some of the best meals I’ve ever had the good fortune to devour. I used a tour company called Southern Backwaters, and I highly recommend them.
The house boat came complete with bedroom, bathroom, and seating area. Surrounding the cushioned benches, tables and chairs that furnished the seating area was nothing but the rich green of the intermittent islands, and the slow-moving waters that make up the Kollam backwaters.
On the village tour, I passed through waterway rural neighborhoods, stopped for tea, ducked under low-slung concrete bridges, and drank coconut milk straight from shell. When I returned to the house boat for the night, I took the liberty of jumping into the tepid, still waters, marveling at my tropical surroundings. The night’s dinner was dahl, steamed rice, veggies, and fresh fish caught from the river earlier that day. The ship’s engineer even made a run into an island village to buy some Kingfisher beer, and my night was complete with a cold mug and an unexpected warm rain.
The village tour costs an extra 1200 rupees (roughly $20) but it’s highly worth it!