http://greatbackwaters.com/ The new Site by Kerala Tourism.
Kerala is better known as gods own country.
The search for a house boat is tough, add to it the several 100's of google search results the equation just got tougher, add to it the several different branding that each company promotes their offering with the equation seems to be getting out of hand, add to it the facilities provided by different companies, add to it the various reviews on the net and you would had gifted yourself a big problem that most of the super computers would find hard to crack.
Coming to the search of house boats, I am going to add my experiences booking a house boat and am yet to experience the final outcome. Infact my study has ticked off a few travel agencies in kerala and my cubicle mate even went to the extent of saying that I could take this up as a PHd Study.
Pick up 12 in the morning and drop 9 on the next day
I was looking at the Alleppy, Kumarakom routes.
What I learnt
People say Kumarakom - Kumarakom route has wide lakes( breadth) so you would be in the middle of the lake just seeing vast shorelines lined with coconut trees.
Kumarakom - Alleppey - You would see the vast shorelines in the day time and the narrow shores and canals by the night or by the morning.
Hence I decided to do the Alleppey - Kumarakom - see the narrow canals and pass through villages by the morning and then land up in Kumarakom next day morning. Am sure the sunrise would be cool in the vast shorelines.
Rating of boats by the Government
1) Platinum or green
Rating of boats by Boat companies
1) Premium / Super Deluxe / AC 24 hrs
2) Deluxe / AC Night time
3) Normal / Non AC
If you are going with a family category 2 from each group would be good, if you are friends and don't mind slightly lower luxury go for 3).
1) 2-3 Men (cook, pilot and one maybe for security)
2) Attached toilets
3) Lunch - Non veg
4) Evening tiffin and Tea
5) Dinner - Non veg
Types and capacity of boats
1) 1 Bed room smallest
2) 1-5 bedroom range
Usual modus operandi
They pick you up at say Alleppey at 12 then lunch shortly and then they set sail, you can ask them to stop at places of interest and then around 5 - 5: 30 they set anchor and start to park their boat close to the shore (the government of Kerala doesn't allow tourist activity in the waters after 6 so that the tourist activity doesn't affect the fishermen). You can go around and then get back. Dinner is served...time to sleep....wake up for a beautiful sunrise...breakfast....travel and get off at Kumarakom.
Best Rates to Expect - (for a 1 bedroom house boat)
1) Premium / Super Deluxe / AC 24 hrs - 8000 - 15000 INR
2) Deluxe / AC Night time - 5500 - 8000 INR
3) Normal / Non AC - 4000 - 5000 INR
Few companies (disclaimer am not promoting any of these companies, please choose at your own risk)
8500/- per night for Alleppey- Alleppey. ( A/c will be switch on 7pm to 6am only)
For Kumarrakom - alleppey charging extra Rs.500/- on the above rate.
one bedroom Dlx Ac houseboat for Kumarakom - Alleppey overnight cruise during February will be Rs.8,000.00
AC Gold Star Houseboat (01 Bed Room) : Rs.7000 /Couple (they use http://www.cheravallyhouseboats.com)
Rate : A/C Deluxe – Alleppey - Alleppey: Rs. 8000 + 2.58 % service tax = 8206/- nett
A/C Premium: Rs. 9500 + 2.58 % service tax = 9745/- nett
Non A/C Deluxe: Rs. 6500 + 2.58 % service tax = 6668/- nett
The per day rate will be Rs. 21650/- per night
Rs.7, 000/- Net. It is a golden category House Boat conforming to the specifications of Tourism Department. It is a Deluxe AC, Golden Category one.
Type of booking; 01Bed A/C House Boat House Boat Cost ; 6000/
http://www.lakelandscruise.com - 1
Super luxury(Equivalent to GOLD) Rs.12500/-
Deluxe Rs.8500/- (two months early booking got me this for a rate of 6.5)
One is a/c deluxe Houseboat The rate will be Rs.9000 + 15 % tax we can offer a special rate Rs.6500/-
Another one is Premium Category Houseboat The rate will be Rs 13,000 + 15 % tax We can offer a special rate Rs.10,000/-
A/c silver category houseboat: 9500 ( A/c works only during the night )
A/C gold category houseboat : 11500 ( A/C works full time )
5800 ac deluxe boat
Net rate : Rs. 9000.00
Our best Reta one bed room A/c house boat Rs 6000/-with all meals deluxe boat.
My recommendations (based on my interactions by email and their official correspondences and websites and reviews from the net) (again disclaimer - pls check for yourself, am not responsible for anything)
Kerala is a lovely place to visit, here are some Wayanad Pictures.
PS: All this research for my visit to Kottayam during Naveen's Wedding, happy wedding mate and cheers for a great married life ahead.