Budget Cruise in Pristine Kerala Backwaters

Around six hours of boat journey in the pristine backwaters of north Kerala, for less than a Dollar.

Would you take it?

All you need is, a day to spare.

Backwater_18I planned this journey many a times, but couldn’t make it, till yesterday.

I was free for the day and needed a story so badly. I called up the boat house for the schedule and came to know that, there is one starting at 10 am from “Kotti Jetty”, which is near Payyanur Railway station.

As usual, it was a race against time for me and a photo finish 🙂

Being a weekday, there was hardly anyone around and the boat crew (Five people) out numbered the passengers.

Backwater_1Backwater_2As the boat entered the backwater and traveled due south, the Ezhimala hills provided a perfect backdrop.


Once it reached Thayyil Jetty, it reversed it’s direction and started the long journey northward following a  zig zag pattern across the width of the backwater.

Landscape looked monotonous on both the banks for the untrained eyes. But there was a unique ecosystem so alive and thriving.

Most of the passengers used the boat to cross the backwater as there was only one bridge connecting the mainland to Valiyaparamba (narrow strip of land sandwiched between the sea and backwater).

Backwater_3Backwater_15It was really interesting to just sit and watch people in action with a cool breeze on your face and thousand shades of green cooling your eyes and mind.

Backwater_7Backwater_14Backwater_17We reached “Ayitti” jetty, by 11.30 am and there was a break for lunch. 12.30 pm, we resumed our journey and reached the northern most point of the trip(Padanna) by 1.15 pm.

After a small break we started the return trip and I tried to capture something I missed in the morning.

Backwater_6Backwater_12Backwater_13Backwater_16For the final leg of the journey, I planned a little twist, and jumped off the boat on the other bank, near the beach. This is my favorite beach in the whole world, solely for the reason, that, you could find not even a single soul for kilometers in either direction.


Backwater_20As the sun started to descend, I collected shells for my daughter and waited for the country boat to come.

It was a long wait, but in the lap of nature,  never a tiring one.

Suggestions on boat trip:

It’s always better to take the first three rows. Engine, being in the middle of the boat, causes quite some noise and vibration and it’s felt more in the rear seats.

Where to Have Food:

There is hardly any shop near the starting point (Kotti) and no option to buy anything on the way. There is a small hotel near the Ayitti boat office, which is 90 minutes away from the start. So, better take food and water along.

Where to Stay: You have some really good hotels to stay in Payyanur, the nearest town.

If you would like to finish the day, exploring the virgin beaches of valiyaparamba, and spend the night at one of the home stays, you have got some interesting options as well.

Best Time to Explore: For the boat journey it hardly matters, but, if you would like to have a great time at the beaches, it’s better to avoid the monsoon months (June to September). For mild temperatures and clear skies, you can plan for the winter months of December and January.

Boat Timing: Boat is scheduled to start from “Kotti” boat jetty at 6.30 AM, 10 AM and 4.15 AM.

If you are planning for a to and fro journey in a single boat, you can opt for the 10 AM one, which returns to the starting point by 4 PM.

67 thoughts on “Budget Cruise in Pristine Kerala Backwaters”

    1. Thank you so much, Dina 🙂

      There are so many house boats and mechanized boats on offer to explore the rivers and backwaters here, but they charge some really hefty amount.

      But, this boat service is run by a government department and is used mainly by the common folk, so the charges are minimal and those who can bear a little bit of engine vibration and sound, it’s a super deal 🙂


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂

      It took almost two days for coming up with this post, with all the photo selection and retouch and all. But now I feel so rewarded with comments like yours 🙂

      I really wish you get to experience the beauty of Kerala once and I am sure, it would be an unforgettable experience 🙂

      Have a beautiful day ahead….


    1. Yes Debbie, it is 🙂

      Frankly, I was really confused, what to shoot and what not… the views through the windows were simply awesome, but the bright sun and being in a backwater didn’t really help in photography.

      I can guarantee that, the real picture is hundred times more beautiful than my images 🙂

      Thank you so much for taking your time and sharing your views 🙂


  1. You have a wonderful pair on eyes on you, Sreejith. Some photos really caught my eye here – the one seen from a window with a silhouetted human figure and two photos with palm trees where the light was captured beautifully.


    1. Thank you so much, Paula 🙂

      It was really hard to take photos with the bright sun right on top and being in the middle water, and I am really relieved to see that the final result was decent 🙂

      The place was so serene and beautiful that, no photograph could do justice. We could feel the limitation of all gadgets in such conditions and admire the wonderful gift of god, our eyes 🙂


  2. Sreejith I would love to go! So thankful for your wonderful photos as i feel as though i was on the boat with you for some of the time. They are such wonderful images but I especially love the last one of the beach, the one with the red bridge looking like it goes into the water and looking through the door and the screen of the boats. Magnificent.


    1. The fallen bridge is the perfect example of corruption and mismanagement in this beautiful country. Within two months of it’s completion, the bridge collapsed. Thank god, no one lost their life, as the islanders are good swimmers 🙂

      As I was too busy clicking photos during the first leg of the journey, I decided to take the return trip in the same boat to just relax and really enjoy the beauty of nature 🙂

      I used to go to this beach crossing the backwater in country boats, and this is my favorite place to spend some time alone and just be with nature …

      Thank you so much for your time, Sue.

      Have a beautiful day ahead 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another great adventure for you ~ and another great series of photos and a story for us 🙂 I like this trade off very much! Incredible photos ~ you really live in God’s country. Of all the photos, the last one makes me feel most peaceful and happy. On the water, with the boats, truly captured beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really nice to see your comment, Dalo 🙂

      Yea, this small state is so rich in natural beauty that many feels it’s “God’s own Country”. Though it’s a tourism promotion tag, I like this one and just used it.

      The funny part is I got maximum feedback from my friends and relatives from the same locality and they never heard about this place 🙂

      Exploring our neighborhood is always comfortable, right? we can easily connect with the locals and get all needed information and help.

      I really miss a quality wide angle lens and the image quality was not that great. Tried to compensate with a bit of post processing. Hope the final result was fine 🙂

      Have a beautiful day ahead 🙂


        1. The backwaters in south Kerala are vast and so many house boats operates there. The facilities provided by them also would be much better I think.
          But in north Kerala, which is very less touristy, it’s relatively cheap.
          Here, I used the regular public transport boat, and a far cheaper option 🙂
          I am sure, even though you had to shell out some considerable amount, the experience was good 🙂


  4. Thank you for taking us along on this boat journey with us, Sreejith. You make a very good tour guide 🙂 These are some remarkable photos, I can’t pick a favourite and love them all.

    Wow, not a single soul on that beach. You really must have felt like you had the world to yourself at that moment. It seemed like you were at one with nature. And nature was happy to pose for you.

    We all need to get away once in a while, and a day trip like your boat ride is always good. Timing is always tricky especially if we work full time. I am glad you had a good time. Though I’m afraid of going to places where there isn’t much help around, I will not hesitate to go on this budget cruise for the experience 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mabel, the best part is, this place is hardly 20 minutes (8-9km) drive from my home and I personally know many people around. So traveling alone was not that scarey 🙂

      Here, we have a narrow stretch of land sandwiched between the sea and backwater for over 10 km.
      At places, the width of this land is around 50 meters. So you can see the beach while traveling in the Backwater.

      This unique landscape makes it hard to reach the beach and hardly anyone visits, so once you reach there, it’s all for you 🙂

      Yea, a trip like this really refreshes you 🙂

      Thank you so much for taking your time, Mabel, have a beautiful day ahead 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad to see your comment, Alexandra 🙂

      There are plenty of options to explore the backwaters of Kerala and this boat trip is one of the cheapest but most rewarding 🙂

      Have a beautiful day ahead 🙂


    1. I am so glad to see your comment, Kurt 🙂

      This narrow strip of land sandwiched between a mountain range and sea is just an amazing place to live.

      I just try to share the beauty of my native with all the wonderful people around 🙂

      Thank you so much for your time…


    1. You are absolutely right, Amy, the place is so peaceful and pristine.

      Only drawback is, there is not much tourist activity and infrastructure.

      I am so glad that you enjoyed this post 🙂


    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Divya 🙂

      This trip was planned long back, being so close to my home, I could have done it anytime, I think that happens 🙂

      It was a beautiful trip and I really enjoyed it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked these images from Kerala, Doris 🙂

      There are many an attractions to explore in Kerala, but I like the calm and peaceful ride in country boats the most 🙂
      House boats are an option too, but a bit expensive…


  5. Wow, for that price and beautiful view along the way, this trip is a must to do when visiting Kerala! Is that a broken bridge on one of your pictures? Somehow I found it very unique and great capture!


    1. Yes Indah, this hanging bridge got collapsed within two months of it’s completion 🙂

      Now the remains of this one stand tall as a symbol of corruption and mismanagement… so wide spread in the developing world, right?

      This certainly is a must explore place, if you ever plan a visit to Kerala 🙂

      Thank you so much for your support 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. well I liked the starting

    “I was free for the day and needed a story so badly….”
    that just hooked me right in amigo.

    and I was wondering about the broken bridge too – wow – wonder the story behind that.

    and the palm trees – the shot in the middle of the post – with the stones and back tress – I know some artists that would really want to paint that shot on a canvas.
    and the ending palm tree shot – was like an ending melodic wrap up – perfect placement for that shot –
    oh and as always I personally really appreciate the maps you give – it helps me warp my head around the setting more – 🙂


    1. Yes Yvette, that’ so true, I was really thinking about something different and doable in day.

      As I mentioned before, this place is so close to my home, and I had been to this backwater many a times, I never managed to take this trip.

      Now there are so many of my friends and relatives, who plans to take this trip 🙂

      The name of my state “Kerala” has come from these trees only, coconut trees( “Kera” stands for “coconut”), you could find them everywhere.

      This is a unique landscape and I am just lucky to live close by 🙂

      Thank you so much for the feedback and have a beautiful day ahead 🙂


      1. oooo coconuts everywhere – Kerala sounds like my kind of place – and looks like it too – 🙂 – I will be back later to catch up on your other posts (looking forward to it actually) – have a great rest of your day 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. (EN) I love India but I’m not indian. I appreciate a lot you and your way to show wonders of your country (they are so many) 🙂 Nanni
    (IT) Amo l’India ma non sono indiana. Apprezzo molto te e il tuo modo di mostrare le meraviglie del tuo paese( sono cosí tante) 🙂 Nanni

    Liked by 1 person

      1. (EN) Maybe I’m wrong: I say what I think, I speak when I have time for that,I love what my heart love.Thanks 🙂
        (IT) Forse sbaglio : dico quello che penso,parlo quando ho il tempo di farlo, amo quello che il mio cuore ama. Grazie 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This part of Kerala is off the tourism radar and there by very less crowded and looks so pristine.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your words of appreciation 🙂

      Have a beautiful day ahead….


    1. I have really used my break from IT to explore our native.
      Last one year, I had enough time at hand and I used it to the max.
      We have some of the best beaches in Kerala, hill stations, temples, backwaters, rivers, waterfalls… and the real trump card “Theyyam” 🙂
      I really enjoy sharing the images and stories with a wider audience and this forum really helps 🙂

      Thank you so much for your support and we will surely meet, next time you visit Kannur 🙂

      Have a beautiful day…

      An image from Peralassery temple,

      Liked by 1 person

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