Canoe Boat Tours around the Backwater Canals

Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 23, 2011

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Where I stayed
Venice Castle (in Alleppey)
What I did
Monroe Island

Flag of India  , Kerala,
Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hello all,

After the beachside destinations of Varkala and Kovalam we made our way to Kollam, the beginning to Kerala’s backwater canals.

Kollam was once one of the oldest ports in the Arabian Sea and a major commercial hub that saw Roman, Arab, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British traders all eager to get their hands on spices and the region’s cashew crops. Kollam in our opinion is not really worth the visit but the surrounding Ashtamudi Lake is still filled with cashew plantations, traditional villages and palms.

We started our tour of the backwater canals by visiting Monroe Island. A canoe boat tour through the canals was well worth the visit to Kollam, observing daily village life, rice barges, shrimp and fish farming and visiting the spice gardens. The island was a world away from the India we have been to so far. A peace of heaven away from the dusty, loud, grubby cities. The island was gorgeous, serene and completely opposite to India’s concept of modernisation and progression.

After Kollam we travelled to Alleppey, a city set around a grid of canals; the gateway to the backwaters. We were just in time for the famous Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race so Alleppey was packed with domestic tourists. Long before roads, the waters were the highways so the network of waterways covering 900km but today the main attraction of Kerala is a trip on a houseboat. Unfortunately, the houseboats were a little out of our price range, anything from Rs4500 (65) to Rs7000 (100) for 24 hours rent.  Houseboats can cater for couples with one or two bedrooms and groups so standards can vary. We could only afford a rust bucket but these boats can be like floating palaces with onboard chefs that cater all meals and up to seven bedrooms. This may just justify another trip to Kerala one day (although Hollie may need some convincing).

Lots of Love,

Hollie and Thomas x x x x

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