Kerala Houseboats: Essential Guide

by Jane Sophia

It is a well-known fact that any highly popular tourist place in India can confuse and even deceive tourists and Kerala Houseboats are no exceptions. The more the options are, the more the chances of taken for a ride (literally). Deceptions and false promises would make a tourist regret for choosing that particular holiday spot. I am not pointing out at any single person or a tour organizer but this is the scene and it is the truth.

Kerala Houseboats-Tips and Recommendations

Kerala tourism is famous for stay in houseboats and cruises. For a first time tourist, the options of engaging houseboats can be overwhelming.

In this blog post, I am giving some helpful tips for you if you have a plan to take a holiday and enjoy it on a houseboat stay in Kerala.


  1. First, the houseboat in Kerala or for that matter even in Kashmir can appear to be drab and unattractive from outside. However, the interiors may surprise you pleasantly with roomy space and all modern amenities. The decoration inside, comforts, and facilities will vary with every houseboat.

Kerala Houseboats

So, do not decide to engage houseboats based on what you see from the outside. Take a tour of inside and then decide.

    1. Some houseboats may not come with a full-fledged kitchen. You may be provided with just a coffee/tea maker and all your boarding will still be met from places of docking the houseboat. Accordingly, you may pay more; chose your houseboat based on your preferences.
    2. Choose a houseboat if the rooms are designed in such way so as to allow cross ventilation. Though you will have air-conditioner, natural air circulation will be more soothing than artificial cooling.
    3. Ensure with the houseboat owner/captain whether the boat will make pit stops at all the beautiful spots to gaze at nature or take a video of the surrounding coconut groves, small villages, river islands, local rural scenes of Kerala, and the endless paddy fields.
    4. Based on your needs for gadgets and facilities such as fridge, air-conditioner, television with satellite channels, and wi-fi, your daily rate would be decided. You can end up paying less by opting out of gadgets that you are not likely to use. For example, if you don’t drink, what is the point of having a mini-bar in your houseboat?

Houseboats with Latest Gadgets

  1. Your houseboat will stop cruising at 5.30 pm as per local rules. What will you do after that? Surely, it can be boring if you choose to stay inside the houseboat till bedtime. So, before hiring a houseboat, ask if you are taken to participate in local cultural shows in the evening or any other outdoor activities on the mainland.
  2. The air-conditioner is allowed to be switched on only after 9 pm and it can remain so till 6 am only. If you need the a/c even during the daytime, you will have to shell out more.
  3. There are some houseboats with an upper deck. It offers more privacy and a better view. If you can afford the extra price, try to engage houseboats with an upper deck.
  4. It is better if you personally inspect a houseboat before hiring to ensure everything is working fine. This means the online booking of a houseboat is not recommended.
  5. All the houseboats depart from Alleppey’s houseboat dock called the “Finishing Point”. Usually, the houseboats will return after cruising at 8 am. If you arrive at the Finishing Point at that time, you can meet all the tourists who are disembarking from the houseboat. Asking for their feedback is a good way to choose your houseboat.
  6. Ensure your bedroom is fully protected with a mosquito net.
  7. Of course, drive hard for a bargain. You have nothing to lose.

4 best houseboats you can engage in Kerala based on your chosen place such as either Alleppey or Kumarakom.

Aqua Castle Houseboats, Kerala

They operate houseboat cruises in both Alleppey and Kumarakom backwater stretches. The captain will also act as a guide and a professional chef will accompany you in the boat. Both the bedroom and the living room air-conditioned. The food served in the houseboats of Aqua Castle is excellent. In addition, their houseboats approved by the Kerala Tourism Department. The facilities include a separate dining space and a deck for sunbathing. The food will be both vegetarian and non-vegetarian based on your requests but the food will be cooked in Malabar style.

Aqua Castle Luxury Houseboats


Genesis Houseboats, Kerala

This houseboat in Kerala comes forward to offer customized cruise package which I would say is unique and highly recommended. After doing your own online research about the houseboat cruises in Kerala, you would have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts. Naturally, you would want a tailor-made cruise package than a readymade package. The Genesis Houseboats arranges village walks when the boat is moored for the day.

Call +91 9447552564 in case their website is down for some reason.

Gokul Cruise, Kerala

You can hire a large 4 bedroom houseboat that also comes with a balcony on the first floor for more privacy. All the 4 bedrooms attached with bathrooms individually.

Kerala Houseboats gokul cruise

Built-in, full-fledged kitchen managed by a trained chef. You can choose any two backwater cruise stretch (Alleppey or Kumarakom).

This houseboat has been around since 1992. The boats are eco-friendly too and adhere to the rules laid down by the Government’s tourism department.

Leila Cruise Houseboats, Kerala

Cruise Houseboat

Oh, what a sprawling living room that is comfortable and aesthetically furnished with a panoramic view of the Kerala backwaters!

Since the houseboat has a terrace, it would be a fantastic experience to dine there especially on a full-moon day.

This houseboat comes with three air-conditioned bedrooms and ideal for a whole family to hire this luxury houseboat that cruises the Vembanad Lake, Kerala.

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1 comment

Abhijit September 16, 2018 - 4:13 am

Nice post of Kerala vacation on a house boat.


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