There are a few images that last forever in our minds. Journey in Kerala luxury houseboats gives such an experience.
As the Kettuvallam glides across the Kaayals, stopping at regular intervals, the traveller gets an armchair view of life as it is lived in these spectacular surrounds.
Here the term 'god's own country' is not just an expression but a fact.
There are hundreds of houseboats operating from different backwater destinations in Kerala. Some 500 work out of Alleppey alone.
Many of them are luxury houseboats. They have air-conditioned rooms with glass windows, silk cushions on their teak sun decks, giant plasma-screen TV and satellite dishes, imported wine in their fridges and Jacuzzis that bubble away through the night.
What you end up paying for your cruise in Kerala luxury houseboats will depend on a number of variables.
It is mainly the size and quality of the boat and its fittings; the number and standard of the bedrooms and of course, the time of year.
Classification of Houseboats by Kerala Tourism, Govt. of Kerala
Kerala Tourism has classified houseboats in two categories and an additional certification.
The classification is based on the essential conditions (Standard) and optional conditions (Luxury).
Houseboats meet the essential conditions are given Silver Star and those who meet the optional conditions are given Gold Star.
Houseboats satisfying the eco-friendly measures prescribe by the Department of Tourism will get additional Green Palm Certificate.
Houseboat Booking Tips
Fix the precise route with your operator in advance.
Make sure that the route avoids the long stretches of Vembanad Lake which can be boring.
Include the narrow waterways, wider channels and rivers.
Ask the operator to specify the exact running time; it should be at least from noon until sunset.
Locate the site of your halt. Try somewhere quiet rather than in a busy village or on the out skirts of Alleppey.
Ensure there's an English speaking crew member on board.
Check the number of hours a/c will be switched on (generally 9pm-7am); if you're cruising in mid-Feb onwards you'll probably need it to get a good night's sleep.
Make sure the food the operator intends to provide is to your taste, and there'll be beer on board if you want it.
Always give the boat you're going on a through look beforehand, making sure the bedroom, toilet and kitchen are clean and in good order.
Withhold a final payment until the end of the cruise in case of arguments.
Don't forget to tip the crew if you're happy with their service.
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