The picture on every postcard, the first image that pops up on a search engine for Gods Own Country, Alleppey is the hotbed for a huge network of backwater canals and those amazing houseboats. The ultimate tourist destination, Alleppey does tend to get rather crowded in season time with houseboat traffic causing lengthy queues along the waterways.
With its fair share of some of Kerala’s finest beaches, ‘beach hopping’ is one of the best ways to enjoy the shores here. Daily fresh catch and mouth-watering local dishes washed down with some perfectly brewed toddy make a perfect meal here in Alleppey. The renowned annual snake boat race, the ‘vallamkalli’, in this district every second Saturday in August, is a memorable watch with numerous practice runs by teams across the backwater canals in the days leading up to the event as well. Paddy fields, shrimp farms, ancient churches and heritage homes line the outskirts of town. Of course, the best way to explore the area is to kayak down canals watching life go by on banks beyond.
4 Hours Around Alleppey
Cruisedown the Pamba,Champakulam
Cruise at Pamba
Cruise along the serene waters of the Pamba as it dissects this quaint backwater island. Watch the hypnotising synchronicity of the boat racers as they maneuver their snake boatswith exemplary expertise in practice sessions (in season), secondary only to the sound of their raised voices egging each other on in the competition.
Traditional lunch at Chathurthyakary
Kerala’s traditional lunch
One of Kerala’s finest best-preserved heritage homes, Chathurthyakary is a 13km drive from Allepey. Step back in time, over centuries, for a traditional Kerala lunch surrounded by green paddy fields that turn golden in harvest.
Beach-hopping takes on a whole new meaning as you move from Kerala’s famed Alleppey beach to the more secluded Thumpoli beach on to the scenic Marari.
Dinner on a Houseboat
Houseboat at Alleppey
Cruise along placid backwaters, Allepey’s trademark, as the sun slowly goes down beyond. Dinner is served on-board the houseboat as you coast through channels flanked by coconut palms and villages on either side.
When to un[travel] Alleppey
For clearer skies, opt for a slot between early September to the end of March. The beaches look their best early November through to March as well, so look out for some spectacular sunsets. Mid-October and November do see a fair amount of rain with the North-West monsoons. Sultry summers set in by April to the end of May with fairly high outdoor temperatures. Monsoons arrive by the first week of June right through to the end of August. Cool temperatures with overcast skies and green all around make this a visit like none other.
un[pack] That Bag
• Light clothing and sandals • An umbrella if you’re here in the monsoons • Mosquito repellent and sunscreen • Chargers and prescription medication.
un[travel]’s Top 5 Places to Stay
• Purity at Vembanad • Xandari River Escapes, Alleppey • Marari Beach Resort, Allepey • Punnamada Backwater Resort • Kayaloram Heritage Lake Resort