Houseboat Lakes and Lagoons
Backwaters, Kerala and Karnataka, India
At a Glance
Completely private with just you and your very own crew on board
The houseboat drops anchor away from the other boats making it very peaceful and relaxing
You can go on a houseboat for just an afternoon, the one night or even two
The mosquitoes can be a bit of a pest so do remember to take plenty of insect repellent
Watch the Keralan life slide by; children bathing, women washing their clothes, and the men hard at work in the fields
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Isolated from much of India by the Western Ghats, the climate of Kerala & Karnataka is tropical and as a result of the mountain ranges the area isn’t as dry as much of India. The best time to visit is from January through to April. While there can be the occasional light showers these are just a prelude of the wet weather to come. The weather is generally hot and humid during this early summer. The monsoon season arrives in early June and thus can wash out July and August. September is much more humid as a result of the rainy season, and the fall can be dry but with the humidity this makes it feel quite warm. There can be a little rain in the night in October and November. The temperatures cool down and the humidity lets up as winter comes in around December, with this season lasting until February when the dry spring returns. Winter can be a pleasant time to visit, especially if you’re looking to head off the beach and explore the rest of this Indian land of mystery.
Call us on to start planning your holiday to Houseboat Lakes and Lagoons or take a look at our itineraries to Kerala and Karnataka
Spending a night on a private houseboat is a tranquil way to explore the magical backwaters of Kerala and is a must on any Keralan adventure with your very own crew to cook traditional Keralan meals and to ensure you have the most enjoyable stay on board.
The backwaters of Kerala are a fascinating and integral part of this tropical state and the best way to discover this expansive area is on a converted rice barge. Life in the backwaters is very relaxed and slow paced, like a vast rural Venice. The boat is the main form of transport on the backwaters and they vary from beautiful old rice barges, slowly punted along the waterways to small one man canoes, that nip around the islands, like the scooters of Bombay. The backwaters are fantastically picturesque and enjoyable to visit.
Private houseboats accommodate two people plus a crew of three, including a captain and cook. The bedroom is private and the bathroom modern, with showers, flush toilets and hot water. You will spend the day gently exploring the backwaters and this is best seen from the deck of your houseboat as you watch the world go by. Children playing in the water, fishermen hard at work, women washing clothes by hand, traditional snakeboats floating by, local wildlife and scenery, there is plenty to captivate the senses.
In the evening, you will moor up and a traditional Keralan feast will be served on your deck. Two and three-bedroom houseboats are also available as are two-night cruises that allow you to venture even deeper into the intricate maze of canals and lagoons.
Within the fleet there are one, two or three-bedroom private houseboats. The bedrooms are cosy and provide a small en-suite shower room. The rooms have decent sized windows with views out of one side of the boat. Each bedroom has air-conditioning and a fan.
Children are welcome on board but there are no specific facilities available for them. The chef can certainly tailor make his menus to suit the younger guests on board.
The houseboats are comfortably furnished with an open lounge and dining area and a kitchenette serving traditional local cuisine, with the freshest of fish and local spices all cooked over a coal fire. In the evening relax in an armchair with your favourite drink in hand whilst watching the Keralan life go by before the sun sets and the starry night is uncovered.
Aside from the stunning beaches and waterways why not visit one of twelve wildlife sanctuaries and two National Parks, nestled in the lush forests of the Western Ghats, where you can catch glimpses of elephants, gaur, sambar, deer and wild dogs. The Kerala Hill Stations are also well worth a visit as they are home to beautiful cascading waterfalls, tea and cardamom plantations, and breathtaking scenery ideal for walking and trekking.
Charlotte Winter (Staff)
A stay on a houseboat is a real must whilst in Kerala; I'd recommend one or two nights. Learn about village life as you glide along the backwaters and enjoy some delicious, freshly prepared meals. If you're a fan of seafood, definitely opt for the catch of the day! I stayed on a one bedroom boat and the room itself was very spacious with a private sunroof and dining area.
Jessica Cator (Staff)
A must do experience. Whether you just take the houseboat for the afternoon or stay the night on it, it is well worth it for the wonderful experience of gliding through the backwaters watching the locals go about their daily lives. The accommodation is very basic but it is all part of the experience.
Sophie Jones (Staff)
Being on a Houseboat for 18 hours during your stay in Kerala is an experience that exceeds most others. The friendliness of our boatmen made us feel right at home. We boarded the boat before lunch and sailed down the waterways of the Backwaters with a couple of stops, a break for lunch and a stop to wander round one of the local villages. From the boat we could see the local ladies doing their washing on the riverbanks and young children from School learning how to swim. This afternoon and evening, albeit quite basic, was very enjoyable.
Backwaters - Experience Kumarakom
Kumarakom is a village based on the edge of Lake Vembanadu. The village is beautifully laid out over a number of different picturesque islands and is a wonderful example of how people live in the backwaters.
Periyar - Boating at Lake Periyar
Boating in the splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar river adds to the charm of the park. Spot some fascinating wildlife from the boat including animals coming to drink on the lake.
Classic Golden Triangle and Kerala
Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Cochin, Backwaters & Lake Vembenad
from €5100 pp 12 nights
- A fantastic itinerary combining the buzz of northern India with the peaceful plains of the southern state of Kerala
- Take in Delhi, the Taj Mahal and Jaipur before flying south to Cochin and the backwaters of Kerala
- Perfect for those who want a holiday including both sightseeing and relaxation
Cochin, Munnar, Thekkady, Backwaters & Marari Beach
from €2600 pp 11 nights
- Explore fascinating Fort Cochin and see fishermen bringing in the catch at the Chinese fishing nets at dusk
- Drive through the lush tea plantations of the western ghats to Munnar
- Visit the spice plantations of Thekkady and learn about the ingredients at the heart of one of the world's best loved cuisines
Highlights of Kerala and The Maldives
Cochin, Thekkady, Backwaters, Lake Vembenad & The Maldives
from €3600 pp 12 nights
- Excellent choice for honeymoons, a holiday for two or a family adventure wanting to combine culture and beach
- Enjoy a trip on the backwaters in Kerala watching the world go by, spending the night on a house boat
- From Cochin to the Maldives it is just a short 1-hour flight, making it a great combination
Kerala for Teenagers
Cochin, Munnar, Thekkady, Backwaters, Marari Beach
from €2400 pp 10 nights
- Wonderful family adventure which both adults and children will find totally engaging
- Brilliant itinerary providing a great mix of culture, wildlife and time on the beach, sure to keep the whole family happy
- Full of some fantastic experiences including a night on your own private houseboat in the Keralan Backwaters.
Kerala in Depth
Mysore, Wayanad, Cochin, Munnar, Backwaters & Marari
from €3900 pp 13 nights
- A complete tour of Kerala from north to south with private drivers and guides throughout, to get the most out of this in depth and interesting adventure
- See the amazing tea fields of Munnar, the quiet backwaters and the markets of Cochin
- See a little of Mysore, a former princely state with many colourful tales to uncover about its eventful past
Location & directions
Backwaters, Kerala and Karnataka, India
Journey round Kerala's beautiful backwaters which consist of a complex network of brackish lagoons, lovely lakes and canals.