Kerala Backwaters: Travel Guide To The Beautiful Houseboats of Kerala And Where To Find Them

Have you ever dreamt of waking up in the middle of water, cool breeze flowing, the birds flying away in search for food, insects chirping, the fishermen putting their nets in and you are standing on the balcony of your floating house? Perhaps, this is one of your ultimate dreams if you get the chance to visit in Kerala, India.

Floating house, also known as houseboats can be found in the backwaters of Kerala. Possibly, this is one of the unique experiences that Kerala, India has to offer. The floating houses are equipped with the basic amenities of a house. It has a bedroom, sofas, kitchen, dining and washroom facilities. They are of various types according to your price range.

6 major types of floating houses

So, there around six types of floating houses that you can choose from in the backwaters of Kerala. These also come with different amenities and rates according to your budget.

1.) Standard Houseboats

These are the traditional houseboats made out of bamboo, coconut fiber ropes called Kettuvllam. They are powered by outboard engines with speed of 2-3 knots. These are cheap and cost friendly.

The interior decor is of the traditional Kerala homes with oil lit lanterns. They have bed and dining but no entertainment aboard. If you have a shoe string budget you should opt for this.

2.) Deluxe Houseboats

These are more comfortable than the standard houseboats. They have air conditioners and power back up facility. They are also built in the traditional Kerala style home. They have bedrooms, kitchen and dining with a deck to enjoy the view and de-stress.

They are well furnished and also attractive. Being comfortable and pocket-friendly too, these are most sold houseboats.

3.) Superior Deluxe Houseboats

These boats provide the five star luxury treatments. You have your own butler and staff. The air conditioner is about 24 hours and they are high priced.

The food provided is made by the staff on the boat itself. They make traditional Kerala style food. The fish curry is one to kill for. They have their own sewage system and chemical plant, hence eco-friendly.

4.) Premium Houseboats

These boats are meant for those looking for a peaceful holiday floating in the backwaters of Kerala. The houseboats are large, luxurious with all facilities. They are comfortable and have complete lounge access.

You can just sit in your room and enjoy the view. These boats are also eco-friendly. These are best suited for couple looking to spend some quality time in each others arms.

5.) Luxury Houseboats

These are the lavish cruise running on the backwaters of Kerala. They have beautiful interior decors, wooden floors and ceilings, lanterns for decorations. Comfy linens, quilts and sofas are just the beginning of the luxury they provide.

They are equipped with LCD TV, Wi-Fi and are fully air conditioned. Hot water geysers and western style toilets are a must. Coffee-makers, toasters, etc., you name it, it will be there. The engine is quieter for you to have a comfortable stay. The food options also increases, apart from the traditional Kerala food you have multi-cuisine options for you.

These kind of houseboats are best suited for people looking to pamper themselves with the luxury and comfort.

6.) Ultra-luxury Houseboats

These houseboats are a 5-star hotel in itself, you will get the royal treatment that has been given to the king and queens of Kerala. They are best suited for hosting parties, ceremonies and marriages.

One can plan a honeymoon in these luxury boats too. There are various packages available, where you can enjoy living like a local in Kerala.

Top 4 best Backwater Destinations in Kerala

So, you might probably be asking where you can find the houseboats/floating houses in Kerala? Hence, we will share the top best Backwater Destinations in Kerala that you can enjoy.


Aleppey is the most popular houseboat destination in India. It is the largest backwater of Kerala and also known as the Venice of the East. If you are travelling in September make sure not to miss the traditional snake boat race.

How to go to Aleppey?

Getting to Aleppey is very easy. It is located around 75 kilometers from Kochi Airport. Around the airport, there are Cabs, ola and uber, which are easily available. The nearest railway station is Alappuzha railway station. It is connected from all major cities of Kerala.

Best time to visit

India being a tropical country, its best to avoid the harsh summers so November to March is the best time to live in a houseboat.

Places nearby

  • Aleppey lighthouse
  • Alappuzha Beach
  • Vembanad
  • Pathiramanal
  • Pallippuram
  • Krishnapuram Palace

Also read: Alappuzha beach and Houseboat & Backwaters of Kerala


Presently, Aleppey is getting overcrowded now, people are starting to move to Kumarakom to have a houseboat experience.

How to go to Kumarakom?

Getting to Kumarakom is very easy. It is located around 85 kilometers from Kochi Airport. Around the airport, there are Cabs, Ola and Uber, which are easily available. The nearest railway station is Kottayam railway station. It is connected from all major cities of Kerala and around 16 km from Kumarakom. Do try toddy, it’s the local alcohol. Fishing is also available for the guests.

Best time to visit

The winters are the best time to visit as the weather is cool and bearable. It starts from October to March.

Places nearby

  • Kumarakom Bird sanctuary
  • Vellavalli
  • Bay island driftwood museum
  • Aruvikkuzhi waterfalls
  • Kumarakom Beach


Kollam is one of the offbeat backwaters of Kerala. It is less explored and cheaper than other houseboat destinations.

How to go to Kollam?

The nearest airport is Trivandrum airport. It is around 51 km away from the airport. The nearest railway station is Kollam junction. Local autos and buses ply regularly.

Best time to visit

October to February is the best time to visit during the winters.

Places nearby

  • Kollam beach
  • Tangasseri lighthouse
  • Ashtamudi lake
  • Punalur
  • Palaruvi waterfalls
  • Alumkadavu


Poovar is one of the smallest backwaters of Kerala. Being neat to Trivandrum, it acts as a picnic spot too. One day trips are also available on the Poovar island.

How to go to Poovar Island?

The nearest airport is Trivandrum airport. It is around 38 km away from the airport. The nearest railway station is Parasalla junction. Local autos and buses ply regularly. It is around 11km away. You can also take a boat ride from Trivandrum to reach here.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit is from November to February when the weather is pleasant.

Places nearby

  • Poovar Beach
  • Thirparappu falls
  • Vizhinjam
  • Kovalam Beach


I hope the above information, gives you an overall idea of the floating houses and backwaters of Kerala. I do hope you plan to visit and stay in these amazing houseboats. To know about other houseboat destinations in India follow this link.

This article is contributed by: Shalini Garnaik of Eager2Travel.

– A curious gal bitten by wander bug. She shares her travel stories, hacks and tips while on the road. She has been travelling with a full time job for the last two years. She loves to share her experiences, on how to plan a trip with a tight budget.


  1. Wow this is so cool! I would absolutely love to go to India and as we will be in Indonesia and Malaysia next year I think a stop might be possible. Are these boats something that you could book on Airbnb, or is it more specialized than that?


  2. I’m thinking of visiting Kerala soon! Can’t wait to experience spending a night is houseboat. It sounds like an experience of a lifetime!


  3. Being from Kerala it is indeed a joy to see that you really went around seeing our GOD’s OWN COUNTRY and also beautifully shared the places to visit her for others.
    Informative read.
    Keep travelling ,Keep Writing !


  4. Oh wow! You just sold it to me, which is quite rare. As an engineer (on tour), I love all kinds of unusual vehicles and the houseboat seem to be a perfect place for me to spend some time on. I have never tried it before, would be really interesting to try. More than that, the boats are traditionally unique, I doubt I have seen anything similar in other parts of the world.


  5. Thank you for a detailed guide on the backwater houseboats in Kerela. I am from India and it is such a pity that I haven’t done this yet. I have been to Kerala for work and travelled a little bit around but did not get the opportunity to stay in a houseboat. I would probably want to take a standard houseboat for the authentic experience but it might get hard if it is warm and humid, without air conditioning. Allepey or Kumarakom is likely to be the choice for me in terms of where I’d want to experience it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.