If we had to pick our most treasured memory from our time in India, then our houseboat trip on the backwaters would definitely be a main contender.
After making our way down the southern coast from Mumbai, we were craving something a little more peaceful and authentic. The state of Kerala was our exotic saviour with its gloriously green surroundings, spicy seafood suppers and endlessly winding backwaters. After a few days searching for a decent priced boat, we set off from the bustling town of Allepey for our 24 hours on the water...
Our humble little houseboat was small but charming, and we couldn’t help but feel like Kings as we sat on the top deck, looking out at glittery waters. For us, it was truly the most peaceful day we experienced in such a long time, bringing to life all those childhood fantasies of The Jungle Book as we floated through tiny canals and endless rice paddies.
There are signs of life everywhere in India, which can at times feel slightly suffocating, but the backwaters offer a glimpse into a secret, serene India. So if you find yourself exhausted by a big city and struggling to cope, the backwaters are the perfect place to get away from it all!
Apart from the peacefulness and palm-tree laden waters, one of the best parts of our trip was the incredible food we were treated to. Our driver stopped off at a riverside fish market in the morning where we picked up fresh river fish and the juiciest prawns (the size of our heads!) for lunch & dinner.
And because boats & boozing seemed to go hand in hand for our driver/chef, we popped into a local (and pretty dingy) 'toddy' shop to try out what the locals were sipping on. Made from the sap of a palm tree, this alcoholic drink tastes a lot like a tangy, warm cider. While we can't say it's our new replacement for Rum, it's definitely good to try these things!
Feeling spoilt and satisfied, our boat docked by a small village that evening - just in time for a quick explore and the sweetest sunset over the waters.
While we did have a great day on the water, we have to be honest in saying that our little boat definitely lost its charm come nightfall. With no mosquito net, a broken fan and a mouse under our floor boards, it proved a pretty comically bad night that we can luckily laugh about now. Although next time we'd probably pay more money for a better quality boat, we still have no regrets about the trip in general!
If you're planning on heading to Kerala for a bit of escapism, then we'd definitely recommend doing either a houseboat or canal trip during your stay. There are thousands of boats in Kerala with the prices and quality ranging massively. Being on a tight budget, we hunted around Allepey for the cheapest price and ended up paying 5500RS (£55) in total. Despite being a big dent in our budget, we're glad we went for it and decided to treat ourselves a little. After all, they say it's better to spend your money on experiences rather than things, right?
More from our trip soon!