6 independent reviews for Kerala houseboat holiday, India

Reviews for Kerala houseboat holiday, India

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review 25 Apr 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

All of it. Every day was a new adventure. From the excellent food to the beautiful scenery and friendly helpful crew.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel light, relŗx and enjoy. Take a good camera and binoculars.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Our crew took us to various places where we could spend money but you get a real feel of local people when you have time to walk and talk to them which they are very keen to do. The crew buy fresh supplies from local sources. The boats themselves however pump out diesel fumes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was a thoroughly relaxing, enjoyable experience watching nature and dining on far too much food. However the bird sanctuary had no birds in it, the snake boats only race in August and the coir industry has moved out of the area. Six days was a little too long but it enabled us to travel further to more beautiful places and travel along some of the smaller canals.

review 27 Jan 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The houseboat, and the precious three days at the Carnoustie Resort. The houseboat, arranged with Lakes and Lagoons, was run so professionally by Suresh and his team. Our room was spotless, the living accommodation at the front of the boat was comfortable and spacious, the food amazing (we were offered and enjoyed all manner of Keralan dishes) and plentiful, the staff genuinely friendly and helpful - taking us twice to a local church along a waterside path in the dark, so that we could attend a Christmas Carol service; getting us fresh coconuts so that we could drink the juice; sharing recipes for the delicious food we'd eaten; pointing out kingfishers and explaining the mechanics of a rice paddy. Nothing seemed too much trouble to them, and we were so glad we had two nights on the boat. The Carnoustie Resort was a dream; our own wonderful villa, more delicious food, the friendliest staff everywhere, excellent yoga teacher, spa treatments, bikes to borrow so that we could visit the local village, a fabulous pool and perfect beach with comfortable loungers and always iced water provided free... They even arranged an abbreviated evening of Kathakali for us, staged dramatically against a backdrop of swaying palm trees, and a morning visit to the beach by an elephant - wonderful for the lucky children who were staying there too. We hated having to leave.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Our contact in Kerala did a marvellous job of keeping in touch with us at every stage, and made sure we could get in touch if we needed to (we didn't). They gave us sensible advice on what we could expect, so that we could make an informed choice, and when our travel pack arrived, it contained the most comprehensive information on everything from getting an Indian visa to tipping. They even arranged to have a couple of bird books delivered to us before our trip with them began, so that our days on the houseboat were made even more memorable by our attempts at identifying the myriad of birds we saw. Next time we would arrange our whole trip with them, instead of booking some of it ourselves.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Both the houseboat staff and the Carnoustie encouraged us to go out into the community , where we spent money on local products. The air conditioning in our bedroom on the houseboat was only on during the night, when we really needed, and Suresh gave us candles in the evening when it was dark, so that we wouldn't attract insects with electric light and need to have the mosquito nets down, and that worked well. The Carnoustie recycles grey water and grows its own fruit and vegetables.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a wonderful holiday, and we would love to go back.

review 24 Apr 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Each place we visited was like a new holiday. Brilliantly put together, great choice of places to stay. And of course Kerala was amazing, and the food to die for.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't rush - spend as long as possible in each place! You won't want to leave...

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. Thank you to the operator for a really great, relaxing and memorable holiday.

review 28 Mar 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It's hard to say, because so much of it was memorable, but if pushed I would say that the most magical moment was waking up in the houseboat on the Kerala backwaters to see, way across a paddy field, an elephant trudging along the road amid the usual chaotic cacophony of cars, lorries, tuk-tuks, bikes, motorbikes and unaccountably still living pedestrians.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't try and do a hill station visit in two days. We spent the best part of one day driving up there, and half of another day driving back down again. The drives were fascinating and never dull, and we stopped for photos of tea pickers, a Hindu temple ceremony, monkeys on the roadside and lots more; but it would have been good to have had two full days up in Periyar itself, to enable us to visit the wildlife park as well as doing all the things we did on the day we had (elephant station visit, ayurvedic massage, spice farm walk).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I think it benefited local people, eg by our buying direct from as many small producers as possible, eating Indian food in Indian outlets, and generally avoiding manifestations of the global commercial behemoth. We learned a lot about spice farming, elephants and the communities of the Backwaters. I'm not sure how it reduced environmental impact, since we did a lot of driving and our houseboat was also motor-powered. I refused plastic bags in every shop, much to the surprise of most shop-keepers!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Marvellous. We will return.

review 15 Aug 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Our holiday was amazing, lots of fantastic places. Staying in treehouse overlooking waterfall, watching world go by from houseboat and trekking through Periyar reserve, just few of memorable moments.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Use really good mosquito spray. DEET didn't seem to deter them in the least.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Amazing.

review 6 Mar 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Eyes and ears wide open from sunrise to sunset, India at a relaxed pace, stunning scenery, friendly and easy-going local people, excellent boat crew and fabulous boat, amazing birdlife, superb freshly prepared food (some of the best we've had on our extensive travels in India), scrubbing and bathing baby elephants in the river (an add-on to the holiday that was well worth doing)...

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Most people take shorter cruises of 1-2 nights. Visiting Kerala for the third time, we wanted to be able to get off the beaten track and explore more in depth (we were led to believe that this would be possible on the 6 day cruise). However, we found the 6-day houseboat cruise itinerary had not been checked in advance and the local staff had no prior knowledge of the itinerary. Some of the narrow canals were no longer navigable. This needs to be checked regularly in order to avoid disappointment. We arranged to pay a little extra for A/C to be available in the bedroom during the day if required. This was well worth doing as the heat was quite intense when the boat was stationary or when we returned from one of our village/market walks. Some travellers complain about the noise of the A/C but we found it was very quiet and unobtrusive. We would also highly recommend our hotel in Cochin (The Old Lighthouse Bristow). Lovely views on the Arabian Sea, clean swimming pool, friendly and incredibly helpful staff, 5 minutes walk from the Chinese fishing nets.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Overall, it was a wonderful holiday which could be further improved with careful checking and planning of the houseboat itinerary in advance.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for taking the time to submit feedback on this tour. We were delighted to see that you enjoyed your holiday but sorry to hear that there were some failings with regard to the 6 day houseboat cruise. We do not know why the local agentís staff appeared to have no prior knowledge of the itinerary when the tour was originally devised by them and we supplied them with your full itinerary in advance. We were sorry to hear that some of the narrow channels were impassable at the time of your holiday. We will look again at the routing of this tour and may make some changes to avoid future disappointments.

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