14th September 2014 – Vaikkom, India
Thatched roof covers, and myriads of coir mattresses, They trudged leisurely through the backwaters, through the day. The oarsman judged a good swell, and wave, and moved his long stick. Only the people keep transiting, the house boat is here to stay.
From Cochin, I went to Vaikkom today, roughly 35KMs away, to try the famous backwater tour. The Kerala backwaters are a large labyrinth of 900KMs of water, comprising inlets, canals, lakes and rivers. Most tourists headed to Alleppey or Kumarakom to take a tour of the backwaters, but I headed to Vaikkom, for the simple reason of avoiding ‘houseboat traffic’.
At just 850 INR, (roughly 15USD) you bought yourself a 7-hour tour of the backwaters with pickup and lunch included. Well, thats off-season price, but you get an idea. Each Kettuvallam (houseboat) has 2 oarsmen, one at the front and one at the rear. Some houseboats also offer an overnight stay, but the prices are minimum 4000 INR. This is generally a honeymoon package, you know, for the ‘rock the boat’ experience!
After taking the full-day tour, I have only one thing to say. Take the half-day tour!! The backwaters are great, but the boat moves at leisurely pace, and after just 2 or 3 hours, you will feel the lack of blood circulation, and slowly fall asleep.
And the nice lunch, does not help to mitigate the situation either.