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India south Kerala

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

BACKWATERS ALLEPEY

7.3. - 9.3. 2017, travel book part VII.

 

Why to go to Alleppey

Allepey [also Alappuzha, population 175 thousand, state Kerala], is often called 'the Venice of the East'. It is a popular tourist destination of south India, because the whole area is interwoven with water canals, surrounded by palm trees, and is used for huge tourist houseboats or tiny local boats. It is also located by the sea, so it is possible to go swimming on the nearby beaches after a boat trip on the canals.

 

How to get to Alleppey

I was going to Allepey by morning bus from Kumily. Same as in Madurai, I let the bus at 5:50 leave right in front of my nose and just stood there on the station in awe, because I couldn’t understand how this could happen to me twice in a row. I asked the locals for a bit of help and headed to Allepey [165 km] on the next bus at 6:10 with a change in Changanassery [85 INR]. I got there at 9:45 and at 10 o'clock I continued on my journey [24 INR]. As we were on the road I shortened my time by watching a bunch of local men, who exchanged trousers for skirts. We arrived to Allepey at 11 o'clock and I took a tuk tuk ride [80 INR] to my accommodation.

 

Acommodation tip

I booked a room in Sea Breeze Beach Home Stay [via booking.com, 800 INR]. It's a small villa that is built in a narrow street just few meters from the beach, has a roof terrace and very friendly and polite owners.

 

My experience in Alleppey

When I checked in and hung all my wet clothes from last trip on the line, I went to explore local beaches. The city beach is 2 kilometers long and is connected to a 15-kilometer-long Marari beach. But I didn't come here for the beaches, I came here for water canals, so I postponed any swimming for later.

I got a young tuk tuk driver in front of the homestay and showed him an address of a local travel agency that organizes kayak trips on the water canals [I got it from Lonely Planet]. Unfortunately, he was stubborn and it was evident that he's got other business going on, so he passed the agency with a wave of his hand and said it's closed. He took me to one of many motor shikhars that were parked in the canal near main road. Oh well, typical, but I couldn't be bothered going back and losing precious time and money, as I wasn't one hundred percent sure that the agency would have any trips left that day. So I agreed on three hours of sailing in a small motor boat [1100 INR], made myself comfortable and headed out on the water.

India Alleppey

Houseboats in Alleppey

We were drifting on wide water canals, large lakes and at times on really narrow channels. We passed many large houseboats, there is over a thousand of them, floating in local waters. Some of them had their greatest days behind them and some of them were brand new and luxurious. Night in a houseboat like these costs around 7000 rupees and offers a great romantic trip at first sight. However, I would probably get bored very quickly. The other disadvantage is that these large houseboats can't really get into smaller green canals and can't observe the ordinary life of local villagers who live there.

India Houseboats in Alleppey

Houseboats in Alleppey

At five o'clock I was back on the beach and went for a swim. When I got out, I went to a nearby restaurant Katamaran, sat on a mattress on the terrace and watched yogis on the beach, who were exercising in the sunset. They were later joined by local men who formed little groups and played cards with a help of a flashlight. I was exploring the secrets of drink menu, listened to music and enjoyed the atmosphere, which was really incredible in Katamaran.

Next day I went for another trip around the water canals, this time on a smaller boat. I arranged this trip on a reception in Sea Breeze and at eight o'clock I got a lift from the owner to a meeting point with other travelers. We got on a normal passenger boat before nine and headed deep into the maze of water canals, with a help from older local tour guide. At first, he took us along rice fields to his house, where we got simple breakfast. When we finished eating, he split us in groups of four and we stepped into tiny boats.

Trips to backwaters in Alleppey

We were floating through the small water canals and observed locals, who were doing their laundry in the water, washed the dishes and some of them were washing their hair. We passed villagers who were patiently catching fish on their boats or were building new houses. When we got thirsty, we stopped and bought a coconut from a local man who cut the top off and handed it to us. After few hours of paddling, we went back to our guide's house for lunch. His wife gave us a banana leaf with rice and samba sauce and we began eating without cutlery and we washed it down with homemade alcohol from fermented coconut flowers.

India Alleppey

Canals in Alleppey

At five o'clock I was back in Sea Breeze, went for a swim and then I returned to the best mattress in Katamaran.

 

VISITED COUNTRIES

zeme 100

37

KM ON THE ROADS

km 100

48 560

DAYS ON THE ROADS

dny 100

397