Recently a couple of my friends asked me how it was staying in a house boat in Kerala as I have done it once. So thought why not tell everyone on how it is to spend a day there.
So putting aside the poetic words, let me give a practical picture of how it is, so that it would be helpful for one to plan a trip.
Once you enter kerala, there are many places where one can book a house boat from. Almost most of the transport, tourism couters, counters@airport/bus/rail stations offer various packages on these house boats. You can also get into a house boat from multiple points along the backwaters in kerala. So based on the palces one plans to visit you can choose the nearest boarding point. We got in at Kumarakom in Kottayam. It would cost you from Rs.4000-8000 per day based on the season you are visiting in.
Generally people book the boat for a day with a nightstay over. We got into the boat around 11am. It was a 2 bed room boat. There were a crew of 3, who share the tasks of handling the steering wheel,cooking and cleaning. The boats usually come with ac, tv, a sitting space, a dining area. For the first 1 hour we went around the sea. Not much to do here than sit, take pictures and stare into the vast sea. Then we docked at the shore, where lunch was being prepared for us in the boat. Fresh fish from the sea. We had a nice tasty meal with kerala cuisine.We were docked there till 3.30-4 pm. A bit boring to sit in a docked boat.
After that the boatwala took us around again for a ride along the sea for a couple of hours. You can watch the sunset and the shores. Then once it is dark, the boat would go back to the docking station where one would find all the other house boats (in hundreds) stationed next to each other. They put the shades down on the boat and it feels like you are in a closed room. CandleLight dinner is served and you can either watch tv or can take a walk down the bank. By bank i mean, is not the beach but the docking stations are usually near the fields on the sides on the canals. So you can take a couple of chairs and sit on the shore i.e if you would dare to fight the mosquitoes 🙂 .That ends the first day.
Next morning they would again give you breakfast and then take you for an hours ride and leave you at the end point by 10am. That ends the boat trip.
My personal opinion is I would not suggest this, as it can really get boring once they dock the boat and the actual time you spend in the sea is like 4 hours. Rest of the time one is docked on some canal side. So instead of this I would suggest, take these small boats like the one the fishermen use and go into the backwaters narrow canals, with trees falling over on the top giving it a cave like feeling. Go around in the evening as you can watch the sunset. That would be a better experience than staying in a house boat 🙂 .I have done both and the second option is way better.