Alappuzha

Ambalappuzha Museum
Boat carrying coconuts

The city of Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, is in Kerala. This district headquarters is located 70 kilometres south of Cochin. It is often called the Venice of the East due to the canals that connect it to Kerala's famous snaking backwaters.

Sardines are beautifully cooked in Alappuzha

Understand

Alappuzha has a wonderful past that owes its modern existence to the efforts of Diwan Raja Kesavadas in the second half of the 18th century. Diwan Raja Kasavadas was instrumental in making Alappuzha a major port city in his time and for developing the system of inland canals, used for transportation and navigation, that is seen today.

The name Alappuzha means "the land between the sea and network of rivers flowing into it". It is a fitting name: there are a significant number of canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons in and around the city.

Alappuzha, and Kerala in general, has excellent weather due to its proximity to the ocean. The temperature rarely goes above 35 degrees Celsius and never below 20 degrees. The best time to visit is from September to March. The monsoon, from June to August, always brings heavy wind and rains. This is an excellent time to visit if you want to partake in a bit of monsoon tourism.

Get in

By plane

Cochin International Airport General tel: +91 484 305-3000, Flight status and Airline desk transfer: ☎ 91 484 2610115, +91 484 2611322, +91 484 2610033. This is the nearest airport. Expect to pay about ₹450 for a taxi to get from Cochin airport to Cochin, and then more for a bus or train to Alappuzha. Alternatively, there are airports inThiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kozhikode (Calicut), Chennai, and Bangalore and you can catch a train to Alappuzha.

By train

Trains service Alappuzha from Kochi (Cochin), Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Chennai, Bengalooru (Bangalore), Coimbatore, Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, Mangalore, and Kolkata. If you are coming from Hyderabad, you can take the Sabari Express.

By bus

There are bus services operating from Cochin (1:45 hours, ₹45 for KSRTC), Thiruvananthapuram (3.30 hours, ₹110 for KSRTC ), Kozhikode, Chennai, Bangalore (overnight luxury ₹800), Mysore, Coimbatore (overnight ₹250) to Alappuzha.

By car

The entire Alappuzha district is well-connected by NH 66 (previously NH 47), which is part of the North-South East-West corridor. It goes via the Alappuzha, Ambalapuzha and Cherthala cities. Alappuzha is well connected to other cities Kochi, Kottayam, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore by road.

Tourist taxis are the most convenient way to travel from attraction to attraction, especially while travelling in a group. Most airports and railway stations have tourist taxi services that can take you anywhere you would like to go.

Get around

By bus

Like elsewhere in Kerala, Alappuzha has a cheap and efficient local bus system.

By autorickshaw

This is a cheap means of transportation between attractions.

By taxi

Local taxis are also available for what many western wallets would consider cheap. There are car rental companies that offer cars with drivers or self-drive options. Rates often start at around ₹7 per km and increase depending on the extra features you select (i.e. whether you opt for a driver or a car with air-conditioning). If you are unfamiliar with the area, or with driving on Indian streets, it is recommended to go with the driver option. Most, but not all, times the driver will also be able to recommend places to eat and visit.

By boat

A visit to Alappuzha would not be complete without making a journey by boat. In some cases, such as visiting Kuttanad, boats are the preferred method of transport as some locations are inaccessible by road.

There are ferry services between places, widely used by the locals, which are a scenic way of getting around.

By foot

Many of Alappuzha's attractions are easily accessible by foot.

See

Pathway in Alappuzha
Public transport boat in Alappuzha
Village boat in Alappuzha
Alappuzha Light House

Do

Houseboat Touring

Alappuzha is inlaid with channels that support thriving backwater tourism. A houseboat cruise along the backwaters can be a great way to see and do all that is available in Alappuzha. Houseboats can be rented for 12 Hrs to few days. There is a new hop-on, hop-off service through remote backwaters in a shared-houseboat. These boats come equipped with a furnished bedroom, sit-outs, kitchen, modern bath and toilet facilities. Some of the house boats even sport an air-conditioner. The houseboats are manned by drivers and a cook. From the boat, you can observe the everyday village life of people, stop for a toddy (traditional mildly alcoholic drink made from coconut sap) with grilled prawns, watch birds, and relax in the middle of the lake.

It's advisable to book a houseboat through houseboat operators rather than depending on touts. Touts take commissions between ₹500 to ₹2000. Book on the internet if the option is available; it is far better to not wait until the last minute during the high season. Booking on the internet can sometimes earn you a lower price and most, reputable operators have good online service and support. Average pricing is variable, depending on season and demand, but you can expect a base price in the range of ₹8,000 overnight (21 hours) for standard non-a/c, ₹10,000 for standard a/c and ₹12,000 for Premium. If you are lucky, you can sometimes get last minute bargains from houseboat operators whose boat does not have business on that particular day and can get a 2 a/c bedroom houseboat for one night even for ₹7,000.

Some contacts for houseboat booking are:

  • Beebe Events: Provides houseboat services, transportation with professional guides, custom tour packages. mail to:Info@BeebeEvents.com, Tel.: +91 94000 73030, +91 47722 43030.
  •   Eco Trails Kerala Houseboat Cruise. This houseboat operator has a good reputation among European tourists. They operate houseboats from Kumarakom, in addition to here in Alappuzha. ₹9,000 to ₹22,000, more in peak seasons.
  • Lake King Cruise. As of April 2009, these folks could be reached at +91-986938488 or +91-477-2234344. They charged ₹4000 for a 12 hour day trip for two people on an air-conditioned houseboat with an upper deck. Although the staff were lovely, the manager Sebin Philip is a businessman and may disconnect some lights as you look at the boat and then charge you premium price rather than standard. He is also absent in the morning when you arrive back and cannot be reached.
  • Punnamada Royal HouseBoats (Punnamada Houseboats), Punnamada Resorts Pvt Ltd Punnamada,Alappuzha 688006, Kerala (Alappuzha, Punnamada),  +91 4772233691, toll-free: 18004253693. 21. Offers houseboat rentals to tour the backwaters. Crews consist of boat drivers and a chef. Punnamada Royal houseboats contain two air-conditioned rooms (AC rooms) each, and breakfast, lunch and dinner is included. Breakfast, lunch & dinner are served as fixed menus. Additional dishes or modifications to the menu are an extra charge. The boats are equipped with satellite T.V., carom board, playing cards, and a music system. Cruises generally involve departure from the resort at noon, a cruise through the Vembanadu waterways, an overnight stay docked at a village, and arrival back at the resort around 9:30 the next day. They offer online booking. ₹16000.
  •   Tour India,  +914712328070, e-mail: . This company introduced the first Kettuvallam houseboat into the backwaters of Kerala in 1991 and have a fleet of houseboats available for rent. Alternate phone numbers are 2331507, 2330437 and 00919895605243
  • Venice of East Tours Provides cruises deep inside the backwaters. Run by some local guys from western Kuttanad; directly contacting them will reduce the cost. They have a wide variety of vessels including house boats and canoes. Email: veniceofeast@gmail.com. Tel.: +91 9447596476. They normally arrange food from local restaurants (mainly toddy shops), the only place where you can get naturally grown fresh water fish and other items. The food is delicious and a bit spicy.

Buy

Eat

Backwater food is mainly fish and eggs.

Drink

Sleep

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 20, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.