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Why is this a low budget romantic destination?

By 22:39:00 ,


If you are looking for mermaids, I would place my bet on Alleppey. Though, there aren't any real mermaids, there is an enchanted stone sculpture at Vada canal.
Alappuzha also known as Alleppey is located in southern India along the coastal region of Kerala(India). It is a lovely, romantic and picturesque place. Popular for its backwaters, beach and snake boat races, this place is described as "Venice of the East".

Why is this a low budget destination?

That is because, total cost of our trip(for two) was around 6500/-

Two nights stay =900(for 24hrs )+400(for the next day till evening)
Shikara boat ride(2hrs) =  500
Two Train tickets 3 AC(to and fro) = 3000
Rent a BiCycle(2 numbers) = 100
Rickshaw to and fro railway station = ~200
Ferry ride along the back waters(both ways) =  40
Food = ~1500

Our objective was to have a low budget trip, without compromising on fun. We both like to travel on our own terms, rather than going in groups and following a particular itinerary. Thus, a lot of planning and research went into making this trip happen.  After a lot of brainstorming, we zeroed on Alleppey. Was this a good decision? Yes! we kept our trip under budget and had an amazing weekend getaway.

We took the Kochuvelli express from Bengaluru and reached Alleppey at 6:10 am. Took a rickshaw to "Zilla Court Ward" near SDV central school. We had booked a room in Ashtamudi homestay. We did not get our room immediately, looks like the previous guest did not vacate the room on time!. After a good hour long wait, we got our room. Hosts made this wait manageable by giving us an alternate temporary room to freshen-up.

Room size was medium(not big), just enough for a couple. Walls were made of coconut palm leaves(Weaved) reinforced with bamboo and some kind of carpet made of Jute(I guess). Room and the attached bath-toilet was clean and hygienic.

Day 1:

Once we had sufficient rest, we set out on our adventure to explore the romantic heaven. We tried the public water transport at a local jetty and picked up two tickets to Kottayam. It is a government ferry used for daily commuting by the localities from Alleppey to Kottayam(Check the timings at the jetty if you are planning to make this trip).

Ferry was open on all sides with just a roof. Since, we started at the first stop we got place to sit. Journey to Kottayam was a scenic one. It takes about two and a half hours to reach Kottayam, since the ferry is slow.
In this journey, we had a glimpse of how different daily life  can be in backwaters. Felt like I need to leave Bengaluru and settle down here. Or at least have a home in Alleppey and use ferries to commute to my IT office ;). I can be sure, I wont be stuck in traffic jams surrounded by pollution.

By the way, we didn't go all the way to Kottayam, we got out at some village mid way. Took a small stroll exploring this backwater village. Village looked deserted.. however, there were lot of people in the ferry stop. Wondered where these people came from?(Since the village was deserted).

We took a ferry back from the same stop. This time we had to wait for some time before we got a place to sit. Every stop had a lot of school children getting-in. All of them oblivious to the luxury of a ferry ride. No sudden brakes, No horns, No pollution...

We reached our base camp just before lunch. Based on some pointers from our host, we visited a local restaurant and had a delicious lunch. Spent rest of the afternoon window shopping.

Evening we rented two bicycles from the home stay and went on a ride to the beach. Spent the evening resting the sand and lazing around in the wet sand, watching sunset. There is also a light house and a beautiful garden at the beach. Pushing our bicycles, we walked the distance back to our base camp. We ordered dinner from homestay and had a long night playing UNO and dozed off.

Day 2:

We got up late, ordered break fast from homestay. Through our host we booked a two hour Shikara boat ride. Boat came very close to the channel next to our homestay. This was convenient. The boat driver was also doing the job of a guide and described the path he took. He also took us to a water side restaurant, filled with tourist.
However, the food was good. Rates were reasonable. At this restaurant there was a pet eagle, it was sad to see such a majestic creature being petted by tourist. After lunch he dropped us back to our base camp.
We packed some food from a nearby restaurant for dinner, packed our stuff from room and started back to Bengaluru. We took an auto back to the railway station and said adieus to our romantic vacation and it was time to get back into hustle and bustle of our big city, Bengaluru.

Ah! How I wish the trip last for a few more days.

Note:
  • The houseboat could be a little expensive, especially for those who are planning for a shoe string budget. The houseboat packages range between Rs.7000/- to Rs.20000/-(2 pax and 3 meals) for a day and night trip.
  • Though the houseboats have their own classy experience, the government ferry or a Shikara trip works out to be much cheaper than houseboats(to explore backwaters).
  • If budget isn't your constraint, you can book your accommodation in resorts or at the houseboat.
  • Try exploring the local restaurants for food, I bet most of you will love the variety of food served in Kerala.
  • You could shop for tea powder, spices, bronze ware and a few local traditional stuff or handicrafts from Alleppey.
  • You can hire a bike to explore more around the Alleppey town. Cost is around Rs.300/day.

Some more clicks of backwaters and houseboats:

The mermaid sculpture












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