Alappuzha or Kumarakom - which is best option for houseboat cruises


Kumarakom and Alappuzha are famous for house boat cruises. Both places have its own advantages. Let's compare and see whether Alappuzha or Kumarakom is better for houseboat cruising.

I have been to both Alappuzha and Kumarakom for house boat cruises and enjoyed both places. Let me try to share my experience and throw some light on the advantages and disadvantages of both the places.



Houseboats in Alappuzha and Kumarakom


Alappuzha, known as Alleppey in the past, is the hub of houseboats in Kerala. There are several hundred houseboats and many backwater canals here. Many parts of Alappuzha district is surrounded by water bodies and they are connected to each other through the canals. Houseboats start the cruise from the canals, enter the lake, cruise through the open lake, enter some canals again, cruise through the canals passing through the villages and then finally returns to its starting point.

A great family tour with the houseboat in Alappuzha
We went on a day cruise in Alappuzha with our relatives which include 5 families. It was indeed a lot of fun.

Types of boats: There are several types of boats and house boats in Alappuzha. You have a lot of options to choose from, starting from small rowing boats to large houseboats which can accommodate several families at a time. I am sure you will be confused seeing your options at Alappuzha and you may find it difficult to choose one. On the other hand, Kumarakom is a relatively new destination for tourists to Kerala and have a limited number of houseboats at present. Almost all houseboats look pretty much the same. You can choose a one bed room boat, 2 bed room boat or 3 bed room boat - that's pretty much it in Kumarakom.

Read more about our recent houseboat cruise in Kumarakom.

Price: Since houseboats is a big business in Alappuzha and there is a lot of competition, if you are good in negotiating, you may be able to grab a great deal. If a boat doesn't have a booking and if you walk-in asking for the price, you may get a good deal in Alappuzha. On the other hand, Kumarakom has limited number of boats and the prices are pretty much fixed. There is not much room for negotiation.

Long houseboat in Alappuzha
One of the longest houseboats I have ever seen in Alappuzha

Canals and scenic beauty: Alappuzha has a lot more canals connecting to the backwaters. Houseboat cruises through the canals are really a great experience. Even though the houseboats will take you to the wide open lake, it is much more fun when you cruise through the canals and passing through the villages. On that aspect, Alappuzha has a lot more to offer. Due to the large number of canals connecting the villages, you will really enjoy the cruise there passing through the villages. On the other hand, in Kumarakom, there are only a few canals and they are more of calm and relaxing type than the busy canals in Alappuzha. In Kumarakam, the primary views from the houseboats are the Kuttanadu paddy fields, coconut lagoons and some Chinese fishing nets here and there.



Crowd vs Calm: When you cruise in the houseboats in Alappuzha, what you see most are the houseboats. Look through the window of your boat and you will see hundreds of boats in the lake. When you pass through the canals, every few minutes you will see a few boats with few people waving hands at you and keep you busy. Kumarakom is a better place to relax and enjoy the nature, away from the crowd and without much disturbances from other tourists.

Houseboats in Alappuzha
Alappuzha is crowded with houseboats. You will see hundreds of boats parked in the canals waiting for the customers.

Booking: In Alappuzha, the District Tourism Promotion Counsil (DTPC) has a prepaid houseboat booking counter. You can visit the booking counter and choose from a good number of options. There are AC and non-AC houseboats. Also, there are day cruises which starts at about 11am, serves lunch and drops you back by about 4pm to 5pm.

Houseboat rates in Alappuzha
This is a pretty old rate chart for the houseboats at Alappuzha, but the rates haven't changed a lot in the recent year.

Contact details of Alappuzha house boat pre-paid counter:
Mobile: 09400051796, 09447483308, +91-477-2251796, +91-477-2253308.

In Kumarakom, there are no such prepaid booking counters. However, you won't find much travel guides trying to pull you in to some deals. You can approach any of the travel guides or agents in Kumarakom and they all pretty much charge you the same for same type of houseboats.



Accommodation: Alappuzha is the district headquarters and is a bigger town. There are several hotels, resorts and lodges. You can find accommodation at any range - starting from economic lodges to 5-star hotels and resorts. Kumarakom is a relatively peaceful village and there are not many hotels. But you will find several homestays and luxury resorts. During my recent visit, I stayed in "Kerala Backwater Retreat". Read my review of Kerala Backwater Retreat, which is a budget resort facing one of the canals in Kumarakom.

Houseboat cruises starting from Alappuzha and dropping off at Kumarakom


Alappuzha and Kumarakom are connected through the Vembanattu kayal (lake) and houseboats starting from both the places go pretty close to the other place. Some tourists who want to cover both Alappuzha and Kumarakom sometimes ask for a pickup at Alappuzha and drop off at Kumarakom or vice versa. Most houseboats will allow this kind of an arrangement but with an extra cost. If you like to be dropped off in another location, check with your travel agent at the time of booking. If you get dropped off in another location, your driver will have to drive the car and wait for you on the other place.


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Comments

Guest Author: Shivram Rohtagi03 Jun 2016

I believe both the places are beautiful. The approach road in Kumarakom jetty is so narrow and we have to find space to park the vehicles before taking a boat trip across Kumarkom lake.
However, reaching Allappujha is easier as it is near to Cochin.

Anyone know how is Quilon backwaters? Is there houseboats also?

Guest Author: Jitendra Khatri08 Jun 2016

Kumarkom is slightly less chaotic and peaceful although getting booking done now and there, is difficult. I liked Kumarkom better.
but, is Allapuzha has a longer lake course these houseboats takes?



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