A monsoon houseboat experience in Kumarakom by Kerala Houseboat Retreat

During my recent holidays in Kumarakom, I enjoyed a house boat trip with Kerala Houseboat Retreat. Read this review to learn how we enjoyed the day trip in a houseboat in Kumarakom in the peak of monsoon.

Houseboats are not new to me and my family. My last trip in houseboat was in 2012 at Alleppey. This time, I chose to go for a day trip at Kumarakom during my vacation in June 2015. I personally prefer day trips in the houseboats especially when the kids are with us. Instead of sleeping overnight in a boat, I would rather sleep in a resort or a hotel but enjoy the day cruise through the backwaters.

Also See: Get the best out of Kerala's backwaters

House Boat Cruise in Kumarakom
One of many houseboats we saw at the canals of Kumarakom

Our itinerary at Kumarakom

This was a short trip which included 2 days and 1 night. We started from our home at Ernakulam at about 7:30am and reached Kumarakom by 9:30am. We took short breaks at Thanneermukkom Bund and in another place for breakfast.

We had booked a short, customized day trip in a houseboat through Kerala Houseboat Retreat, which is one of the reputed houseboat service providers in Kumarakom area. They own 2 or 3 hourseboats and also run a heritage-homestay style budget resort in the banks of the Aymanam river at Kumarakom. The one we booked was a 1-bed room boat with standard amenities just like most of the other houseboats.

We chose a short trip of 4 hours in the boat since we had only 2 days to spend there and wanted to visit a few other places. Our trip started at 10 am and the cruise was finished at 2 pm. After the boat cruise, we went to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and then checked in at Kerala Backwater Retreat, which is a heritage style budget resort, owned by the same family who owns the houseboat we booked.

House Boat Cruise in Kumarakom
A cruise through the serene backwaters of Kumarakom

Review of Kerala Houseboat Retreat

They own 2 or 3 houseboats and it is a family owned business. We spoke to the owner Mr. Kurian who was very helpful and flexible on timings and he accommodated our other preferences like customized timings, food choices, route of the cruise etc.

The staff in the boat was very cordial. I have heard complaints from some friends that some staff in other houseboats are always behind the guest offering help with the expectation of some "tips" at the end of the trip. In some other boats, they don't serve enough food and sometimes the quality of the food is not up to the expectations. In one of my houseboat trips a few years ago, they refused to serve food for an extra kids with us who was not included in the booking. I didn't have any such issues with this trip. The staff kept a distance from the guests and never involved in our talks and enjoyment. They were always there to answer any questions and were accommodative about our food preferences.

Here is a video of our houseboat experience in Kumarakom

Are houseboat trips safe in monsoon and heavy rains?

It was monsoon and it started raining very heavily during the trip. Staff had warned us about the rain and wind beforehand and we were told they may have to stop the cruise in case of heavy wind. Luckily, the wind was not really bad and at some point of time, they pulled the boat to a safe canal instead of stopping the cruise due to wind. The canals are usually safe even during heavy wind.

House Boat Cruise in Kumarakom

It is off season during monsoon and there weren't many tourists at Kumarakom. Most houseboats are booked only during week-ends. Due to off season, rates were also relatively low. Most of the tourists seem to be avoiding the monsoon. But we wanted to enjoy the houseboat trip in the rains and we were waiting for the rains. When the lunch was served, they pulled down all the curtains to keep the food warm and safe from the water but otherwise we enjoyed the rain throughout the cruise.

More reading: Compare houseboat cruise in Alappuzha and Kumarakom.

Lunch during the day trip

We hadn't booked lunch since our trip was very short and we were expecting to get out of the boat before lunch time. However, they prepared very nice Kerala style lunch with Pearl Spot Fish fry, Chicken curry and a few vegetable dishes. We really enjoyed the food served, thanks to our chef Mr. Sumesh.

House Boat Cruise in Kumarakom
Lavish Kerala style lunch

Review of Kerala Houseboat Retreat

I have only positive experience to share. No issue or complaints during the cruise. The boat is well maintained and clean. The rain caused some mess, which was expected. Great food. Staff is very friendly, helpful and flexible. Bed room is clean and comfortable even though we didn't use it to sleep. The room is airconditioned. Bathroom is very clean. So is the kitchen too.

House Boat Cruise in Kumarakom

Rates are pretty standard with all houseboat service providers. In Alappuzha, we can negotiate with the boat owners and due to very high competition, sometimes you may get a good deal there. At the same time, you could get cheated as well. If you negotiate a lot and think you made a good deal, probably you are going to get an old houseboat with poor maintenance! Before you book a houseboat in Alapuzha, ask for a recent photo of the boat to avoid last minute surprises.

However, in Kumarakom, there are limited number of boats and I didn't feel any sort of cheating is involved. All the boat owners ask for the same rates and there was not much room for negotiation. According to our boat driver, all boats in Kumarakom are well maintained and customers never had to fight with the staff for the status of the boats, which is not the case in Alappuzha. There are a total of about 350 houseboats in Kumarakom. District Tourism Promotion Councils (DTPC) is promoting "Responsible Tourism" and the houseboat owners are offering their full support to this initiative to protect the tourist destinations.

Visit http://keralahouseboatretreat.com/ for more details and house boat booking.

Houseboat booking phone number: +91 94970 89361

House Boat Cruise in Kumarakom - Photos

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Guest Author: Praveen20 Nov 2015

Nice Blog about Kumarakom. Thank you for sharing the same.

Guest Author: Dayanand Kilikar03 Jun 2016

How much will it cost for a one day house boat booking in Kumarakom?

I had experienced houseboat in Devbagh, Karwar. The experience was relaxing and wonderful. Looking forward to visit Kumarkom and Alleppey visit.

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