Travel to Alappuzha
Alappuhza Travel and Activities
The Venice comparisons might work if Venice shrank, acquired a few breeze-block buildings, and imported some tooting rickshaws.
But step out of the hectic centre, and Alappuzha is graceful and greenery-fringed, set around its grid of canals. Explore the vast watery highways or the region and you'll experience one of Kerala's most mesmerizingly beautiful and relaxing experiences.
It is the gateway to the fabled backwaters, a sprawling network of canals - float along and gaze over rice fields of rich green, curvaceous rice barges, and village life along the banks. Most people in town would like to organise you some houseboat or canoe action. It is also home to the famous Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race.
Getting There and Away
Ferries run to Kottayam from the boat jetty on VCSB (Boat Jetty) Rd.
From the KSRTC bus stand, frequent buses head to Trivandrum (every 20 minutes), Kollam and Ernakulam (Kochi). Buses to Kottayam are much faster than the ferry. One bus daily leaves for Kumily at 6.40am. The Varkala bus leaves at 10.40am daily.
There are several trains to Ernakulam and Trivandrum via Kollam. Four trains a day stop at Varkala. The train station is 4km west of town.
You can go by an autorickshaw from the train station to the boat jetty and KSRTC bus stand. Several guesthouses around town hire out scooters for daily rent.
DTPC Tourist Reception Centre
Tel: 0477 2253308
Remarkably rudimentary tourist info.
Boat Jetty Rd
Tel: 0477 2339994
National Cyber Park
Tel: 0477 2238688
Tel: 0477 22251161, 24hr
Next door to the DTPC
Cullan and Mullackal Rds
Tel: 0477 2264407
9.30am-6pm to 4pm Mon-Sat, to 1pm Sun
For changing cash and travellers cheques.
Sree Krishna Ayurveda Panchkarma Centre
Tel: 0477 3290728
For ayurvedic treatments: one-hour rejuvenation massages. It is near the Nehru race finishing point.
Any of the dozens of travel agencies in town, guesthouses, hotels, or the KTDC can arrange canoe-boat tours of the backwaters.
Royale Park Hotel
There is an extensive menu at this swish hotel restaurant, and the food is excellent, including scrumptious veg thalis. You can order from the same menu in the upstairs bar and wash down our meal with a cold Kingfisher.
Tel: 0477 22230767
1-3pm and 7-9.30pm
The restaurant at Raheem Residency is A1leppe's finest, with seating on a bijou open rooftop with views over to the beach. The menu creatively combines traditional Kerala and European cuisine. Local Indian wine is available.
Tel: 0477 22230767
This beachside, casual little brick hut is run by the swish Raheem Residency It is more casual and budget-conscious than the hotel's restaurant, but promises equally well prepared cuisine, and is good to drop by for a cold beer.
This relaxed airy place is popular with Indian and foreign families and offers a tasty menu. There is another, pint-sized branch on Cullan Rd.
An absurdly popular joint that has scrumptious Indian bites, with some Arabic flavours mixed in, to boot. It does succulent roast spit-chicken, scrumptious shawarma and brain-freezing ice-cream shakes. There is another location on Punnamada Rd.
Alleppey Prince Hotel
Reliable dining pool-side: occasional live music, located 3km northwest of town.
Indian Coffee House
Branches on Mullackal Rd, YMCA Rd, and Beach Rd - the latter is a pavilion in a great, breezy beachside location.
Kerala's backwaters snake in all directions from Alleppey and, while touring on a houseboat is a great experience, taking time to slowdown and stay in a village can be just as rewarding.
Just 10km from Alleppey, Green Palms Homes (Tel: 0477 2724497) Chennamkary is a series of homestays that seem a universe away, set in a picturesque backwater village, where you will sleep in basic rooms in villagers' homes among rice paddies.
It is splendidly quiet, there are no roads in sight and you can take a guided walk, hire bicycles and canoes or take cooking classes with your hosts.
To get here, call ahead and catch one of the hourly ferries from Alleppey to Chennamkary. Please remember this is a traditional village: dress appropriately.