Kerala's backwaters

Kerala is renowned for its natural beauty and relaxed way of life, and nowhere is this more evident than when stepping into a traditional houseboat and exploring its lazy, shimmering backwaters.

Traditional communities have lived on the waterways for countless generations. Villagers move around in tiny canoes, colourful sari-sheathed women wash clothes on stone steps and exuberant school children, in their pristine white uniforms, smile and wave energetically.

Traditional houseboats float along its web of turquoise canals, while historical buildings peep through the green palm leaves that line its lazy backwaters.These waterways are a unique network of lagoons, lakes, canals and rivers, many of which find their source in the vast Vembanad Lake – India’s longest and the largest in the state of Kerala.

Exploring this endless string of interconnected waterways, peaceful paddy fields and coconut groves running parallel to the Malabar Coast is an absolute delight. This ancient ecosystem supports a diverse range of flora and fauna, from a quarter of India’s plant species to elephants and tigers and from river otters to a unique fishlife.. A stunning variety of local and migratory birds, from cuckoos and parrots to lone golden-backed woodpeckers and Siberian crane, can be seen at its renowned bird sanctuary.

There are two main destinations within the backwaters: Alleppey and Kumarakom.  Alleppey, now known as Alappuzha, is iconic for its houseboat cruises with which you can explore the history, culture and stunning landscapes surrounding the town  people refer to as ‘the Venice of the East’. It is from Alleppey that most will board a houseboat and sail towards Kumarakom. 

Kumarakom, with its emerald waters, luscious green plants and trees, beautiful buildings and luxurious serenity is the place to spend a little time to relax. Kumarakom luxury travel is a truly unique experience for Yonderers seeking seeking something a little different. Kumarakom is an authentic paradise, and a truly unique paradise with a mesmerising mixture of natural beauty and luxury entwined with Keralan heritage bursting with character.

It’s also a great place from which to explore Vembanad Lake, Kerala’s largest lake, spanning 60 miles along the Malabar Coast. Simply take in its beauty or, if you’re visiting at the right time, enjoy the spectacular snake boat races that take place nearby.

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If you only do three things in Kerala's backwaters…

Take a couple of days to travel by houseboat along Kerala’s unique backwaters

Go armed with a pair of binoculars and a book on tropical birds. It’s an ornithologists dream

Soak up your special surroundings and the sounds of nature.Life in the back backwaters is so relaxed time seems to stand still

So much to explore in Kerala's backwaters

Where to go in Kerala's backwaters

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Thoughts on a postcard

Vimal, our ever-smiling houseboat captain, was quick to point out wildlife as we made our way through the long palm lined canals. We saw river otters, elephants and a fantastic array of birds

Thoughts on a postcard

Vimal, our ever-smiling houseboat captain, was quick to point out wildlife as we made our way through the long palm lined canals. We saw river otters, elephants and a fantastic array of birds