Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha is a town in Kerala in southern India. Know for its scenic backwaters, Alleppey is also considered to be one of the oldest planned town in the region. Every tourist who has been to Kerala has been to Alleppey for its backwaters, more specifically all tourists have stayed in a boathouse which tours through the Alleppey backwaters. It is called the Venice of the East but that comparison does not make a lot of sense to me, as it is not its architecture but it natural beauty which attracts the tourists.
The town has been built between the beach and the backwaters, tooting green-yellow auto-rickshaws, jewellery shops, Keralan sweets and snacks stores, and a some canals running parallel to the streets sums up the town. Most of the guesthouses and restaurants are also in the town, but one should move away from it and head to the backwaters to breathe in the real Alleppey.
Staying in one of the boathouses in Alleppey is amazing, it is something everyone does here, but there are also other things one can enjoy in Alleppey as a traveler. What I mention in this post is what I have personally experienced during my stay in Alleppey.
Stay on one of the islands
Connected by the many canals are the backwater islands of Alleppey. Green, peaceful and only accessible by water. Living in the heart of the Keralan backwaters with the locals is an unique experience only to be experienced here.
Staying at one of the backwater islands is easier if you can shell out some extra money. There are a few resorts in the backwaters which offer a luxurious stay for tourists. But if, like me, you travel on a budget, then the other option is to find a few other travellers and rent a house for a week.
All the islands and the town can be reached by a jetty which frequents every 30 minutes, so getting in and out or around is not a problem.
Rent a canoe
When you are staying at one of the islands you can get around by the jetty as I mentioned above.
However a lot more fun way to do that is to rent a small canoe. One can then travel through the backwaters as they wish. I recommend doing this with fellow travellers or friends as canoeing is no easy task. Take turns riding the canoe through the many canals.
This can also be arranged through many sources, talk with the locals and/or some travel agency which organises backwater tours for both – an affordable house and a canoe to rent.
Fish is abundant in Kerala and the staple food of the locals from the backwaters is sweet water fish, rice and sambar. Also, the house you rent would likely have a functional kitchen, cook your own catch.
There are a few small lakes in the backwaters but the biggest one of them stretches all the way up to Kochi, it is called the Aryad (I’m not certain about the name). Go for a swim in the Aryad as you watch people fish and houseboats pass by further away.
One can also go swimming to the other smaller lakes in the interiors if you desire peace and quite.
Rent a bicycle, ride to the beach
Well, Alleppey is not so much know for its beaches as it is known for its backwaters, however its worth riding there as one would get to see most of the town on the way to the beach.
It is huge but pale in comparison to the other beaches of Kerala. There is a India Coffee House by the beach and so you can relax there if, like me, one is not impressed by the beach.
Test your courage
Suspicious looking drunk people are all standing in a queue to get their fix from the government authorised alcohol retailer, while others waiting around them look like they want to pick a fight with you. Also, the whole place smelled of piss.
My two friends (both girls) got so scared that the refused to enter the lane. So grow some balls, and go grab a beer in Alleppey.
Try the local toddy
To buy the beers one has to head to the town, but in the backwaters there is plenty of toddy available with ease. It tastes different in the morning and evening, but I only tried it in the evening so I don’t know about the difference.
Live in the town for a couple of days
Well, I should have probably mentioned this as the first thing, but live in the town for the first couple of days before you head into the backwaters. Doing this will help you organise your further stay on one of the islands.
Visit some of the temples, walk by the canals you can spot some interesting birds and grab a bite at some of the famous restaurants.
Well, that concludes most of what I did in Alleppey, I hope you fellow backpackers enjoyed reading it. If you are travelling to Alleppey you can use this post as an reference, do some of the things listed here. If you have already been to Alleppey you might have had a different experience than mine, drop a comment and let me know what I can try the next time.