Every tourist to Kerala do the backwaters tour. Not doing it is like going to New York City without seeing Statue of Liberty (which my mom did) or visiting Cairo without seeing the Pyramids.
What’s backwater? According to the all-knowing Wikipedia:-
The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in southern India. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both man-made and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state. The backwaters were formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range.
Apparently a houseboat ride through the Kerala backwaters was named one of the activities-to-do-before-you-die years ago by some travel magazine. While staying overnight on a houseboat seemed appealing, I knew that I don’t have the patience for a 2d/1n trip and the half-day tour (450 INR) was more ideal in my opinion.
We were picked up by a van at around 1.30pm and soon we found ourselves heading south towards where the tour was going to start.
How did I know that we were heading south? Because Arabian Sea was always to our right.
The traffic got lighter as we got out of town but there were some road works which made parts of them especially bumpy.
The bus trip took around one hour and we got bored.
En-route we had to stop by for more fuel. The driver didn’t even bother to switch off the engine.
We were dropped off at a rather rural area and our guide met us at a roadside stall.
He led us down a muddy path to where our canoe was.
The boatman looked like he’s in his 60s and he skilfully steered us away from the shore after we boarded.
Soon we exited the main waterway and entered one of the numerous canals. That was where the tour got more interesting.
The first of our two stops saw us visiting a team of mother and daughter-in-law who were making hemp ropes.
Although the two ladies must have met with many tourists before us, they remained friendly and smiley. We were there for around twenty minutes before carrying on to our next stop.
The boat ride went pass the locals’ houses and we had a peek into their lives.
We were warmly welcomed at our next port of call.
We were led through someone’s backyard where the guide pointed out to us the various spices and plants that were being grown there.
The guide led us to a local’s house which had some spice for sale. Faridz bought some cinnamon sticks.
It was interesting learning about the different spices and plants although I forgot most of them now. The guide said goodbye to us there as his house was nearby and the boatman would steer us further down the canal before turning back.
The scenery did get a little boring towards the end of the boat ride and we were glad to be back on terra firma.
Our van was waiting for us by the roadside and we were soon on our way back to Kochi. Ying spent most of the journey terrified of the oncoming traffic.
Dinner was on our agenda when we got back to Kochi and the previous night’s fiasco didn’t stop us from visiting Casa Linda restaurant.
The food was delightful and once again Qinyao was on hand to document them in pictures:-
The rest of the evening was spent roaming around Princess Street (before the lockdown next day) before turning in for an rather early night.