Travel Journal

Kerala backwaters

(Friday 24 December 2010) by Timo and Jon
From Kochin (Ernakulam) we took another train further south to Alleppey (local name Allapuzha). We weren't able to book seats as the journey was not 'long-distance' enough so we bought 'standard class' tickets that the locals use. The cost of the tickets were 24 rupees each (about 30p each) and the 90 minute journey went very quickly. We didn't get seats so we had to stand the whole way at the end of the carriage with a lot of other people. No health and safety here...the carriage doors were wide open as we sped through the countryside....and without air-con we were so grateful for the wind whistling through our hair...(well not Timo's):-)

We stayed 1 night in Alleppey at a very nice guest house and they kindly agreed to look after our 2 large bags for 2 days as we wanted to head off to more remote parts. We then hopped on the local water-taxi service, which is a two and a half hour cruise through the famous Keralan backwaters up to another town called Kottayam. The boat was slightly old but so are most vehicles in India. The fare for this journey was 5 rupees each (about 8p). We really cannot believe the cost of travel here....but then we are using the local system so guess it has to be priced for their needs.

The cruise/journey itself was amazing...Timo was hanging off the boat most of the time, snapping away...and got some fantastic photos....the scenery is beautiful, and local life flowing up and down the waters was incredible to see. B-)

In Kerala, the renting of a houseboat is BIG business. Whilst we weighed up the pros and cons we both agreed the local return water-taxi gave us 5 hours of experiencing what others pay thousands of pounds to do. We really can't blow our budget here, though it was tempting....

The houseboats are hand-made from old rice barges, using traditional materials (bamboo and thatch) and converted into fairly luxurious cruising boats. At one point we thought they may need to install some traffic lights due to the amount of them......there is a 900 kilometre network of waterways, and before roads were built, paddle-power was the main form of transport.

Once at Kottayam, our next journey was by local bus to Kumily and the nearby Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary....


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