It is difficult, but not impossible, to retreat from the frantic pace of life in India. At times it may seem difficult to escape the hustle and bustle, but rest assured it is possible.
We found one such place whilst in the South, where the trees were green and the waterways blue. We are of course, talking about Kerala, a place we spent some time relaxing and reflecting on our time in India.
As it turns out, Kerala is quite simply, beautiful.
A lush green paradise sliced apart with rich blue veins of water. It is an age away from the desert forts of the North, and for us was a haven on our travels.
One of the very best ways to experience this part of India is by exploring the backwater waterways of Kerala by boat. Imagine hiring a boat all to yourself, with a couple of crew members to look after you for your cruise, and you start to get an idea of why we enjoyed this part of the world so much.
The Backwaters of Kerala
As for the experience, well there isn’t too much to write home about. Not that it was boring or a poor experience, but rather the pleasure is in gently gliding through green waterways, a book in hand, and admiring the scenery. Every now and then we’d float passed a small village where people were busy going about their daily activities, and often a small canoe would float by transporting some crops or people. Occasionally we’d come across a fisherman, but other than that it was a time for reflection and relaxation.
We spent most of our time on the top deck, reflecting on all that we had seen and done in India, and all that was to come. It was a perfect place to take stock of our adventure in India. The very best thing about the houseboat? Hands down the incredible food that was delivered to our plates every meal from the tiniest of kitchens in the back of the boat.
We were vegetarians for our time in India, not through any moral or philosophical viewpoint, but mostly because we felt avoiding meat would significantly reduce our chances of getting ill. And you know what? It worked for us! In our 7 weeks in India, neither of us were sick once. We’re very proud of that record!
As for choosing a houseboat, prices and quality vary dramatically. How many rooms you want and whether you need air con or not are the two main differentiators.
We plumped for a cheaper option (no surprises there) and booked through our guesthouse in advance. You can just wander down and try and book one at the harbour, but we liked what we saw online with our boat and preferred to book through a recommendation.
Our boat was one of the most basic we saw, but we did have an upstairs deck to relax on which in retrospect turned out to be a massive advantage and something to look for when making your decision.
By having an upstairs, we had an area all to ourselves away from the crew (and the noise of the engine). We also were afforded much better views of the Keralan backwaters compared to being water level. Just our experience but well worth considering.