Kayak, Canoe or a Houseboat?

I have now been on a houseboat, canoe and kayak in the Kerala’s backwaters. While all are fun ways to explore the backwaters, each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this post I am going to compare all the three modes of exploring the backwaters in the God’s Own Country. Even though the experiences happened over two trips, I was exploring the Vembanad Lake on all the three excursions. So, the experiences are of the same region and comparable. So Kayak, Canoe or a Houseboat, that is the question!


A Luxury Houseboat in Kerala

What you will like most of course depends on your own preferences. If you wish for luxury, houseboat is what will suit your needs. After all you can get a houseboat which has air-conditioned bedrooms and dining areas. As there is a kitchen too, getting tea on the holiday is easy. However due to the size houseboats can go only in wide water channels.


Explore the Kerala Backwaters on a Canoe

A canoe is somewhere mid way between a houseboat and kayak. It gives you some comfort and it takes you into narrower water lanes. Some may say it is neither here nor there! But if you want to be more adventurous without going all the way, canoe is a good option. It certainly takes you closer to the villages in the backwaters.


Kayaking in the Kerala Backwaters

If you want to go on an adventure kayaking is what you will enjoy. You are just this high from the water and you can touch it anytime you want. You can see our kayak was going close behind a local boat. Such intimate experiences are not possible in the bigger vessels. You also get plenty of exercise while kayaking.

 So here is the table mapping my experiences of it all kayak, canoe and houseboat. Take your pick, or in fact do indulge in all.

[table id=1 /]

24 thoughts on “Kayak, Canoe or a Houseboat?”

  1. I did kayaking 4 years back in Rishikesh. It was DIFFICULT to stay balanced! But after patiently getting a hang of it, it was kind of fun. (I don’t know swimming, so didn’t try remaining afloat on the kayak for long. Hahaha…)
    I would like to try the houseboats and canoes. 🙂

    • Kayaking in backwaters is an entirely different experience as the water is calm. Kayaking in Ganges is another game altogether 😀 I had the same hesitation when I went kayaking in Kerala, that I will topple easily. Not so in the backwaters!

    • Arun that is one thing I have not done till date, taking a dip in the water. But the people living by surely take a dip. So the water is useable.

    • We take the places where we live, completely for granted Deepa 😀

  2. Country boats can take us to shallow waters and that helps in getting closer to birds. I won’t trust a kayak as my long lens has twice tumbled into water.

    House boats are good for creature comforts. I prefer boats without the noisy motors when I am moving through the narrow creeks. This january in Sundarbans I could see how the dolphins got stressed by the motor noise. It also becomes difficult to hear the sounds of nature over the continuous motor noise.

    • Thank you for adding your valuable perspective. So I have a new thing to look forward to, the local boat!

  3. WOW! what a wonderful post Mridula ! I loved the tabulated data (once a teacher … ) 😀 And I was unawares that backwaters offer kayaking too 1 I was under the impression that its reserved only for rough waters.. great shots too 🙂 🙂

    • Thank you Kokila. I loved kayaking and it is not as scary as it is in rapid waters!

  4. Nice information.Same question is here from my side . Is the water clean? Can we get into water? and afterall what is the cost ?

    • Water is clean, at least local people use it, bathe in it. Houseboat costs a lot. Depends on the type of houseboat too. 😀

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