Premium houseboats are under the basic category houseboats with primary amenities. For a one-bedroom houseboat, the price ranges start from Rs. 9,500 onwards. AC will be only available from 9 pm – 6 am. There will be meals served onboard with Two non-vegetarian item each for lunch and dinner.
These houseboats will have a well-equipped kitchen, bedrooms with attached bathroom, a dining area, and a front living area. The beds will be kept at a height with the windows so that you will not miss the view of backwaters.
Overnight houseboat cruise package:
Houseboat operators have to keep their houseboats ready for check-ins so that the guests can board at sharp 12 to start their houseboat journey. The journey begins with a welcome drink. On moving through the beautiful backwaters, the guide will be the one who will provide you all the details regarding the places you come across. By around 2 pm, the boat will come to a halt in the middle of the backwaters for lunch to be served. After lunch, the journey starts over again. On covering the important landmarks and attractions along the backwaters, the ride comes to an end by 5:30 pm. The next day the journey begins by 8 am and ends at a check-out point by 9 am. As per the rules, the speed of houseboats remains limited to 9 – 11 km per hour and also, night cruises through the backwaters are not allowed.
This package includes:
Check-in time: 12:00 noon
Check-out time: 9:00 am (the next day)
Total hours on the boat: 21 hours
It includes meals that start with a welcome drink, lunch, evening snacks, dinner, and breakfast.
The Kerala houseboat is a modified kettuvallam, the large boat of yesteryears. In Malayalam, ‘kettu’ means to tie and ‘vallom’ means boat. These boats were held together with rope and hence the name. Kettuvallams were used for the transportation of goods like rice and spices from Kumarakom and areas of Kuttanad to neighbouring towns. With the emergence and development of modern road and rail transportation, these graceful behemoths were shelved. Their reemergence occurred with the growth of tourism. It is now a tourist attraction and a popular mode to explore the magnificence of the Kumarakom backwaters.
Traditionally, a houseboat was about 60 to 70 feet long and about 13 to 15 feet wide at the beam. Some of the new luxurious houseboats have a length of more than 80 ft. Eco-friendly and easily available materials such as jackfruit tree wood, palm wood, coconut fibre, bamboo poles, ropes, bamboo mats etc are used for constructing these boats. The boat is made by tying together (rather than nailing) planks of wood, generally anjili (wood of the jackfruit tree) with coconut fibre. As a protective coat, black resin extracted from cashew nut shells is applied on the planks. The motors mainly run on kerosene or petrol. Bamboo poles and palm leaves are used for constructing the roof.
Facilities in a Houseboat
The houseboats of today are mini resorts in water. All the houseboats have a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, lounge, sun deck and eco-friendly cane and bamboo furniture. The rooms are single, double or triple with small private balconies. Some of the houseboats have air conditioning.
Many houseboats provide electric fans, a television, hot and cold water in the bathrooms, and mosquito curtains. There are windows on the sides of the deck. In some boats, the insides are covered with smooth Kerala mats called metha payas. Some of the high-end ones are two-storied and provide newspapers, fishing rods, CDs and a facility for conducting small conferences.
The houseboats in Kumarakom are manned by well-trained crews. The crew usually includes a captain, two oarsmen, a guide and a cook. The crew will ensure that the travelers are comfortable during the hours-long ride through the backwaters. There will be eco-friendly facilities for the disposal of wastes and sewage. Some boats use traditional lanterns to create a romantic ambience.
View from Houseboats
The lush paddy fields, the narrow canals flowing through the greenery and the coconut trees standing in a row on the banks are few of the splendid natural sights that a houseboat ride offers. The traveller gets a feel of the rustic life with a panoramic view of the emerald villages along the sides of the lake, where villagers engage in traditional occupations such as fishing and agriculture.
The boat ride also provides a view of the bird sanctuary. Sometimes, flocks of birds, both local and migratory, are seen. They include cormorants, kingfishers, egrets, herons, water ducks, Siberian storks and so on.