Alleppey is a part of this one week Kerala itinerary.
Travel to Alleppey is ALL ABOUT THE WATER!
So take it all in!
What are the best things to do in Alleppey?!
1. Kerala backwaters
Inland, take in the backwaters that Kerala is famous for!
Alleppey is THE hub for the Kerala backwaters.
2. Alleppey Beach
On the coast, take in the ocean.
Or the “sea” if we’re being precise… Alleppey Beach on the Arabian Sea.
3. Eat at a restaurant with ocean views
With Alleppey being a coastal town, it has places to eat with ocean views.
4. Stay at a place with ocean views
And it also has places to stay that will give you views of the beach when you wake up in the morning.
This makes Alleppey the perfect combination and perfect spot to base your Kerala backwaters experience!
5. Go for a sunset walk to see local life
Go for an evening walk on the beach and you can find kids living an active lifestyle.
There are also parts of Alleppey that you can stay that can having you feeling like you’re staying in a local area.
This all means that of course, Alleppey is a must-visit destination when you’re backpacking Kerala! 😉
See more of the best things to do in Alleppey.
What else is there to know about Alleppey?!
ALLEPPEY TRAVEL GUIDE
Everyone is friendly on the Alleppey backwaters – locals and tourists alike! You will find everyone waving at each other… stick with the tradition! 😉
- Best backwaters activities in Alleppey
- Canoe village tour
- Public ferry
- Best public ferry routes around Alleppey
- Alleppey to Kottayam
- Alleppey to Kuttanad
- Alleppey to Kollam
- Alleppey to Amma’s Ashram
- Alleppey to Varkala
- Cochin to Alleppey ferry?!
- Alleppey Beach
- Best sections of the beach
- Map of Alleppey Beach
- How to spend 2 days in Alleppey
- Day trips from Alleppey (i.e. How to spend 3+ days in Alleppey!)
- Alleppey to Kumarakom
- Alleppey to Marari Beach
- Alleppey to Kainakary
- Where to stay in Alleppey
- Near the beach
- Near town
- Map of the best places to stay
- Houseboat on the backwaters
- Best restaurants in Alleppey
- Near the beach
- Near town
- Map of the best places to eat
- Grocery stores in Alleppey
- Alcohol in Alleppey
- Where to buy alcohol
- Toddy aka Kerala palm wine
- Rum in Kerala
- Planning your Kerala backpacking itinerary
- Public transportation
- Bus to Alleppey
- Train to Alleppey
- Ferry to Alleppey
- Airports near Alleppey
- Public transportation
- Best travel guidebooks for Kerala
- Alleppey or Alappuzha?!
Best things to do in Alleppey backwaters
So, how to experience the famous Kerala backwaters in Alleppey?
You have options!
Here are some of the best activities on the Alleppey backwaters:
1. Backwaters canoe village tour
Touring the backwaters by canoe can be the perfect way to experience the Kerala backwaters!
A backwaters village canoe tour can actually be more than just a canoe ride. It can encompass a few different aspects that will make you feel like it is totally worth it.
My Alleppey canoe tour came with:
- Ride to and from the ferry station by scooter (on the way there) and rickshaw (on the way back)
- Public ferry rides to and from Alleppey town to a village in the backwaters
- Visit to a village home
- Canoe ride through the canals
- Stop for a coconut
- Stop for Kerala palm wine (aka toddy at a toddy shop)
And perhaps most importantly… 😉
It came with food too. Two meals: breakfast and lunch.
Cost of this backwaters canoe village tour: 1,000 rupees (US$15) – I arranged it through this guesthouse.
2. Backwaters kayaking tour
If you’re looking to do more than sit and have someone else do the rowing through the backwaters for you, kayaking the backwaters just might be the perfect activity for you!
A backwaters kayaking tour is typically a half-day activity. You can usually choose the early morning tour or sunset kayak tour.
My Alleppey kayaking tour came with:
- Ride to and from the starting point of my kayak by scooter (on the way there) and rickshaw (on the way back)
- Kayak guide to lead the route through the wide open lake and smaller canals
- Life jacket!
- Stop for chai twice
- Stop for coconut
3. Backwaters cycling tour
If you want to see some of the Kerala backwaters in a way that not many tourists do, then consider a cycling tour along the backwaters!
My cycling tour came with:
- Ride from bus stop outside of main Alleppey bus station
- Helmet (although I had my own)
- Guide to lead the cycling route crossing across some main roads of Alleppey district, rural Alleppey alongside paddy fields, and then of course, the backwaters!
- Ride to a ferry stop to catch the public ferry back to Alleppey town
I had to catch a bus from the Alleppey bus station to the designated meeting point but this was pretty hassle-free.
Cost of this backwaters cycling tour: 500 rupees (US$8)
Or, if you stay at a guesthouse that provides bicycles for free – I found bicycle rentals in Alleppey to be hard to come by otherwise – then there are a few places that can be worth cycling around Alleppey on your own that make the perfect one day trips from Alleppey!
4. Backwaters public ferry
Taking one of the best public ferry routes around Alleppey is by far the cheapest way to experience the Kerala backwaters.
If you are on a serious budget when traveling in India, then this would be the way to go. It’s a public boat ride cruising the backwaters.
With people living right along the backwaters, locals take the public ferry to get around the waters. And you can hop on a ferry right along with them!
Since ferries stick to the main waterways, you wouldn’t get to experience the smaller canals with a ferry ride, but you can get an introduction to the Kerala backwaters.
5. Backwaters houseboat
Houseboats are basically the quintessential Kerala backwaters thing.
For tourists familiar with Kerala, what often comes to mind when the Kerala backwaters are mentioned is a houseboat cruise on the backwaters.
It can be a perfect way to experience the backwaters for couples and groups. (Not so much for solo travelers.)
You can think of this like an all-inclusive hotel on water. You have your room (several if you want a houseboat with more than one room) and you get authentic Kerala meals too.
Similar to the ferry, since houseboats are larger, they won’t be going down any of the smaller canals. But the longer the duration of your houseboat, the further out you can go. (You can opt for just a day on the backwaters, an overnight houseboat, or several days.)
This means that the more time you have, the more chance you have of going to a quieter part of the backwaters.
Cost of houseboat: Lots of different factors contribute to pricing. An overnight houseboat may start at 7,000 rupees. The more people you have, the cheaper it can end up being per person.
Which is the BEST Alleppey backwaters tour?!
Out of the main backwaters activities I did in Kerala (canoe, kayaking, cycling, public ferry, scooter… and walking), if you had to choose just ONE backwaters activity, I would go with the canoe tour.
With the village tour, I think it’s a good way to have the chance to experience a variety of different aspects of the Kerala backwaters!
Best public ferry routes around Alleppey backwaters
Public ferries around Alleppey are a cheap way to get on the Kerala backwaters.
There are a few different ferry routes that make it easy for tourists to choose this option:
- Alleppey to Kottayam
- “See Kuttanad ferry” – Alleppey to Kuttanad
- Alleppey to Kollam
- Cochin to Alleppey ferry?!
Alleppey to Kottayam ferry
To go from Alleppey to Kottayam by ferry, it takes 2.5 to 3 hours.
Parts of the route will feel like you’re taking a boat ride through the more rural parts of the backwaters.
While you won’t be going down any smaller canals, you’re getting a little further out so you’ll be going through parts that have less boats on the water.
Once you reach Kottayam, you can choose to take the ferry back, or you can also get back to Alleppey by bus.
Kottayam is around 50 km by road from Alleppey, and by bus it can take around 1.5 hours to get back to Alleppey.
The Kottayam bus station is located around a 15 minute walk from the ferry station. You’ll likely easily be able to find a rickshaw to take you there too.
It’ll take longer, but instead of taking the bus to Munnar or bus to Thekkady, you can go in part by ferry from the Kerala backwaters to the Kerala hills – to Munnar by ferry and to Thekkady by ferry.
Then, once you reach Kottayam, you can take a bus to Munnar or Thekkady/Kumily the rest of the way
See Kuttanad ferry: Alleppey to Kuttanad
This is also known as the “See Kuttanad” ferry.
This is another good introduction to the Kerala backwaters, and this ferry stays closer to the main part of Alleppey.
Once at the final ferry stop, there was then a 30 minute break at Kuttanad before the same ferry heads back to Alleppey where you came from. There really isn’t anything noteworthy at this ferry stop.
If you decide that you’d rather head straight back to Alleppey the quick way instead of taking the ferry, there are rickshaws nearby that you can take.
The end point of this ferry is no more than 15 km by road from Alleppey, so you stay relatively close which means the ride back is no more than 30 minutes.
The cost of the rickshaw from this Kuttanad ferry stop to Alleppey was 250 rupees (US$4).
Cost of the See Kuttanad ferry:
- Lower deck: 15 rupees (25 cents)
- Upper deck: 40 rupees (60 cents)
Alleppey to Kollam ferry
The Alleppey to Kollam tourist ferry is a public ferry that’s operated by the Kerala state government, but the price tag is not as cheap compared to a regular public ferry.
This boat ride is catered towards tourists. It’s an alternative to taking the bus or train when traveling south from Alleppey. It’s faster to take a train or bus, but this ferry about the experience!
This ferry doesn’t really make stops for locals, but it does make a couple of stops for food. There’s a lunch break and there’s also a snack break.
The food does cost extra. It’s around 100 – 150 rupees (US$2-3) depending on whether or not you get fish.
This is a traditional Kerala meal, and unless you bring along your own food, it’s really your only chance to eat real food during the 8 hour journey. You can keep requesting more food at no extra cost as long as they haven’t run out.
You take this ferry when you want to leave Alleppey for good. Taking this ferry will take you south towards Munroe Island, Varkala, Kovalam, and the Trivandrum airport.
There is NO Alleppey to Kollam ferry during parts of the off-season. I believe it doesn’t run in May, June, and July. But confirm this with the guesthouse you are staying at in Alleppey. They should be able to tell you for sure!
See the worst things about this ferry to Kollam to decide if it’s worth it for you to take this ferry.
Cost of the Alleppey to Kollam tourist ferry: 400 rupees (US$6)
Alleppey to Amma’s Ashram ferry
The other stop that the Alleppey to Kollam ferry can make is at Amma’s ashram in Amritapuri.
This is an internationally known ashram with a sprawling complex. Amma is the spiritual leader of this ashram, and she is known as the “hugging mother.”
She has followers all around the world who come and visit this ashram. There are also many people who live here long term.
Alleppey to Varkala ferry
Varkala is a beach town in Kerala that’s famous for cliff-side restaurants and guesthouses.
It’s also a tourist hotspot for ayurveda, and you can find several ayurveda yoga retreats in Varkala.
If you’re looking to get to Varkala from Alleppey, you can go by bus or train… or in part by ferry!
The ferry is the longer way to get to Varkala, but you can leave Alleppey in true Alleppey style. 😉
You’ll take the ferry to Kollam. Then once you get to the Kollam ferry station, you can choose to go by bus or train from Kollam to Varkala.
The Kollam bus station is right across the street from the ferry station, so on the surface, the bus seems to be the most convenient, but it may take an extra bus transfer to get to Varkala.
The most convenient way to take the bus to get from Kollam to Varkala without much planning ahead is to show up at the bus station in Kollam across from the ferry station and head to the “station master” office. Then you can ask the best way to get to Varkala. You may have to take 2 buses to get there.
Ferry to anywhere!
If you’re feeling up for an adventure, you can head to the Alleppey ferry station in town, and get on the first ferry that comes your way.
Then, as you’re on the ferry, you can have a look around to see what ferry stop looks promising to explore by walking! And get off the ferry at a random stop!
If you decide to explore the Alleppey backwaters this way, there are 2 main ways you can get back:
1. Take the ferry back to Alleppey
Once you get off at the ferry station, ask around to find out the timings of the ferry back to Alleppey. Then go off and explore the backwaters by walking around by foot, and be back in time for the ferry!
2. Catch a bus back to Alleppey
Look at Google maps or ask around about where a main road is located. You may choose to explore the backwaters by foot based on the direction of the main road.
Is there a ferry from Cochin to Alleppey?!
There is currently NO public ferry to get from Cochin to Alleppey. Your main options are bus and train. The bus timings from Cochin to Alleppey are very frequent, so the bus may be the more convenient option compared to the train.
The beach in Alleppey isn’t generally known as being among the best beach towns in Kerala. (Those honors go to Varkala and Kovalam.)
But the beach in Alleppey can still be a positive part of your overall stay in Alleppey.
There are plenty of things to do along Alleppey Beach that can leave you with good memories!
In general, I consider there to be 3 main parts of the beach that can collectively be called Alleppey Beach:
- Main part of Alleppey Beach
- Beach in front of Cafe Catamaran
- Beach near Muthala Pozhi (where the river meets the sea)
Main Alleppey Beach
A landmark that can be considered the center of the main part of Alleppey Beach is the sea bridge, which is basically a non-functional pier.
This is the section of beach in Alleppey that can become the most crowded.
Visit this strip at sunset, and you’ll find that it comes comes alive.
There are street vendors around here. There are also a number of restaurants that you can choose from that are located on the road that runs along the beach.
The further you move away from this stretch of beach, the less crowded it gets.
And to the north is where you’ll find the other 2 main sections of the beach.
This is NOT the official name of this section of the beach. (I’ve never heard it called a specific name.) But for ease in locating this area, I’m calling it the Catamaran Beach. 😉
If you look at Google maps, there’s a street called Catamaran Road. But even more helpful, there’s a restaurant called Cafe Catamaran. Around here the sand reaches from water to road which makes this area a good beach access point.
It’s common for foreigners to go for a sunrise swim or sunset swim at this beach. If you choose to go swimming as well, do so at your own risk, as there are no lifeguards here.
Once you start walking north along the beach from the main part of Alleppey Beach, you’ll start to see clusters of local fishermen who hang out on the beach.
This area of beach is one such area that you can sometimes find them hanging out. An early morning walk along the beach might have you seeing the fishermen at work!
There are a couple of places to stay located nearby this Catamaran Beach. If you’re looking to stay near the beach, I think this area is a good choice.
This is one of the areas I stayed for accommodation when I was in Alleppey.
Staying at a guesthouse along the beach might mean that you can wake up to amazing ocean views!
Muthala Pozhi Beach
Again, this is NOT the name of this section of the beach, but I think it’s an easy way to describe it when you’re looking at a map.
Looking at a map, “muthala pozhi” refers to the place where the river meets the sea in the local Kerala language of Malayalam.
And if you stay in this area, you may also feel like you’re in a residential area!
You’ll see locals fishing in this area too.
Nearby to the south is a main area of beach that’s used among fishermen. A morning walk along the beach may mean you get to see them at work too!
Being further away from the main part of Alleppey Beach, and Alleppey town for that matter, you’ll find less people on the beach.
If you’re looking for a place to stay near the beach in Alleppey, once again, I think this is a good area to stay. This guesthouse is where I stayed.
Which part of Alleppey Beach is best?!
Of course, it depends on what you’re looking for.
For convenience in finding restaurants and places to eat, the main Alleppey Beach has the most options.
The further away you go, the less options you’ll find. This just means you’ll have to go further to get food. That said, Alleppey Beach isn’t that long!
I like the areas of both Catamaran and Muthala Pozhi.
The further north you go from the main Alleppey Beach, towards Muthala Pozhi, the further away you get from the main tourist areas of Alleppey.
You may like this because you can get the feeling that you’re in more of a residential area and you’ll see kids playing on the street too… like playing cricket!
Map of Alleppey Beach
For easy reference, have a look at the map of Alleppey Beach below.
These are the basic sections of beach that I referenced to above.
The furthest south is the main part of the beach. And the further north you go, generally there will be less tourists on the beach.
How to spend a PERFECT 2 days in Alleppey
If you have limited time for your Kerala itinerary, 2 days can be the perfect amount of time to stay in Alleppey.
Alleppey can make the perfect place to relax after some hectic back-to-back travel if you haven’t given yourself any rest days.
- Day 1: Alleppey Beach
- Day 2: Kerala backwaters
Day 1: Alleppey Beach
Arrive in Alleppey morning, afternoon, or evening. Find a place to stay near the beach so that after a day of travel, you can just chill out and take in the ocean views!
Or so you can find some of the best things to do along Alleppey Beach!
If you arrive earlier in the day, go out into town and buy fresh fish, prawns, and a few spices. And since you’ve chosen well and you’re staying at a guesthouse with a kitchen, you can fry your own seafood for dinner!
Kerala is known for its seafood so this makes for the perfect meal when in Alleppey.
Day 2: Kerala backwaters
Dedicate the next day to what Kerala is known for!
Take your pick with how you want to spend that time on the backwaters!
For a day trip on the Alleppey backwaters, choose from these activities:
- Village canoe tour
- Kayak tour
- Cycling tour
- Public ferry
Whichever option you choose, make sure you have a coconut on the Kerala backwaters! 😀
Day trips from Alleppey: How to spend 3+ days in Alleppey
If you’re looking to stay more than 2 days in Alleppey, there are more activities for you to do that could make for some nice one day trips from Alleppey.
Alleppey to Kumarakom
Kumarakom is another place in Kerala that’s known for the backwaters, but it’s also known to be more expensive than Alleppey.
Aside from the backwaters, Kumarakom is also home to a bird sanctuary. This can make for a nice day trip from Alleppey.
You can get to the Kumarakom bird sanctuary by taking a bus and ferry.
First you’ll take a bus from Alleppey to Muhamma.
Once you reach the Muhamma bus station, it’s a 5-10 minute walk to reach the Muhamma ferry station. From there, you’ll catch a ferry from Muhamma to Kumarakom. You’ll cross the big Vembanad Lake to reach Kumarakom.
Once you get to the Kumarakom ferry station, you can take a rickshaw to reach the bird sanctuary.
Alleppey to Marari Beach
Around 10-15 km north of Alleppey is Marari Beach. This has become known as one of the best beaches around Alleppey.
To reach Marari Beach from Alleppey, you can go by bus, rent a scooter, take a rickshaw, or by cycling from Alleppey!
Or, if you’re feeling like you want to get a bit of physical activity in, you can also walk right along the beach to get from Alleppey to Marari Beach.
You’ll be able to walk oceanside pretty much the entire way.
If there’s no beach, you can make a slight detour through village roads or to the main road. During monsoon season the water may also essentially wash away the beach. But again, it will be possible to make a detour along the road.
By sticking to the beach, you’ll comes across a few stretches of beach that locals use for fishing so you’ll see a lot of boats.
No matter how you go, it can make a good day trip from Alleppey.
Alleppey to Kainakary
This is another day trip from Alleppey that can be good with a scooter rental.
You can get here by rickshaw too. But unless you make arrangements with your rickshaw driver about pick-up, it may be harder to find a rickshaw back to Alleppey once you get dropped off at the waterway here.
It can be possible to find a bus back. (Which also means you can get a bus TO Kainakary!)
And once again, if you’re able to find a place to rent a bicycle in Alleppey, or you’re staying at a guesthouse that offers free bicycle rentals, then this isn’t such a bad bike ride either!
A trip to Kainakary will take you through some quieter roads of Alleppey district, riding past paddy fields.
Then depending on the route you take, you may end up at dead end where the road ends but continues on the other side of the water.
But that’s where the fun begins! 😉 You can then pay a canoe man 10 rupees (15 cents) to cross the water.
If you’re getting to Kainakary by scooter, you can leave your scooter here.
If you’re getting to Kainakary by bicycle from Alleppey, there’s a good chance you can take the bike with you in the canoe.
Once you make the water crossing, walk about a mile to reach some smaller backwaters canals!
Where to stay in Alleppey
When it comes to accommodation in Alleppey, there are a few things you can base your decision on. Much of this has to do with what you want out of your trip to Alleppey!
BEACH: Best guesthouses in Alleppey near the beach
If you want some chill time during your time in Alleppey, consider finding accommodation near the beach.
This way, from the moment you arrive, you can have some true relaxation on the water without having to wait for your backwaters tour!
Then, if you go for a backwaters day tour, once you return you can continue to be at ease near the beach!
I stayed at Funky Art Beach House for more than a few days. I think this is a very good place to stay in Alleppey if you are looking for that rest and relaxation time outside of the backwaters!
TOWN: Best guesthouses in Alleppey near town
If you aren’t particularly drawn to the beach, then staying in town can be a convenient option.
Finding accommodation in town means that you’ll be quite close to both the bus station and ferry station. It may also be easier to find a wider variety of food options when you stay in town too.
HOSTELS: Best hostels in Alleppey
If you’re traveling around Kerala alone, staying at hostels in Kerala can be a good way to meet people and find people to talk to in real conversational English (and not broken English) so you stay sane. 😉
There are a couple of noteworthy hostels in Alleppey:
- Zostel Alleppey
These hostels have nice common areas. They were also designed first and foremost as hostels so they have most of the amenities that you’d expect in a hostel.
I have stayed at Zostel (pictured above), which is an up and coming (if not already here ;)) backpacker’s hostel chain in India.
What makes the Zostel in Alleppey even better is that it’s right along the beach.
I also visited Artpackers (pictured below), and it seems to have a nice vibe.
Map of the best places to stay in Alleppey
You can explore the map of the best guesthouses in Alleppey below to decide where to stay based on location!
BACKWATERS: Best houseboats in Alleppey on the backwaters
If you want to take your backwaters experience a little further than just a day trip, then you also can make a houseboat your accommodation!
You may also be able to find a cottage on the backwaters, or another homestay-like experience. Airbnb could be a good place to look for something like this.
Best restaurants in Alleppey
The central area of Alleppey really isn’t that big, so any of these restaurants are a short rickshaw ride away from you if you stay near Alleppey Beach or in town!
BEACH: Best places to eat (and chill) near the beach
- Harbour Restaurant (pictured directly above)
- Cafe Catamaran (pictured above with the best ocean views!)
- Indian Coffee House
- Dreamers Cafe and Restaurant
- Chakara Restaurant at Raheem Residency
TOWN: Best places to eat in town
- Mushroom (pictured above)
- Kream Korner Art Cafe
- Indian Coffee House
- Royale Park Hotel Restaurant
Map of the best restaurants in Alleppey
Explore the map of the best places to eat in Alleppey below!
Grocery stores in Alleppey
By the time you reach Alleppey, maybe you’re getting to the point where you can use a little bit of a Western fix after eating so much Indian food. 😉
Supermarkets in India are stocked full of items for you to make some of your own Western food from back home… or maybe you want to make some Indian food on your own!
Of course, you will also need to make sure you stay at a guesthouse with a kitchen!
These are the 2 grocery stores in Alleppey that I frequented in town:
- Bismi Hypermarket
- More Supermarket
Map of grocery stores in Alleppey
These 2 supermarkets are in town, and you can have a look below at the map of the grocery stores in Alleppey to get a better idea of the location.
Alcohol in Alleppey
Where to buy alcohol in Alleppey
If you’re looking to buy alcohol in Alleppey, the best thing to do may be to ask the place you’re staying where to get some nearby.
Otherwise, these are a couple of the top places in Alleppey to buy beer and rum (and other types of liquor) to-go:
- Harbour Bar near Alleppey Beach
- Government liquor shop in town down an alley near More Supermarket
Map of where to buy alcohol in Alleppey
Have a look at the map of where to buy alcohol in Alleppey to locate where you can buy alcohol to go.
Toddy aka Kerala palm wine
When you’re in Kerala, you may also consider trying the Kerala palm wine, also known as toddy. This is made from the sap of palm trees.
There are toddy shops all over the state, including around Alleppey.
Does toddy taste good?! Well… I don’t really think so. 😀 But… when in Kerala! So give it a try! 😉
Actually the grape toddy tastes pretty good, but most toddy shops will only have plain toddy. You may also try mixing the toddy with juice to give it some extra flavor.
Rum in Kerala
Most of these people are probably buying rum at this government liquor shop in Alleppey. I think it’s safe to say that the people of Kerala like rum. 😉
Sometimes the lines may be long, but if you’re a girl, you can go straight to the front of the line. As a foreigner, even if you’re a guy, you can probably also try going to the front of the line. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a girl or a foreigner (or both) that people were telling me to go to the front.
Rum and coconut
The Kerala state drink is rum. (Okay, it’s not actually the state drink, but it sure seems like it!)
And Kerala literally means “land of coconuts” in the local language of Malayalam. (This is true.)
So it’s only fitting that when in Kerala…
You must have a drink in which you mix rum with fresh coconut water! 🙂
Rum, coconut, and pineapple (aka pina colada!)
Kerala also isn’t a bad place to make a FRESH pina colada drink!
I actually made this with backpackers when I was at a hostel in Varkala, but Alleppey is a perfect place to make it too!
It would help to stay at a guesthouse in Alleppey with a kitchen and smoothie blender!
It would also help to stay somewhere that the staff will help you break open a fresh coconut. 😉
And even better if you can get a coconut straight from a coconut tree. 😀
You can’t get a coconut that’s any more fresh than that, right?! 😀
Best place to stay in Alleppey, obvi. 😉
Planning your Kerala backpacking itinerary (i.e. Where to go to next after Alleppey!)
- Public transportation in Kerala
- Alleppey to Munnar
- Alleppey to Varkala
- Alleppey to Cochin
- Airports near Alleppey
Public transportation in Kerala
Kerala is well-connected by public bus and train which can make it convenient to travel around Kerala on a budget. Both buses and trains are a cheap way to travel.
And the good news about a state (and country) that’s so populated is that there are always people trying to get somewhere. And what this means for you as a backpacker traveling around Kerala to populated cities is that the are lots of buses and trains available!
You’ll find several public transportation options when it comes to travel from Alleppey to nearby popular tourist destinations.
Alleppey bus station
What is the bus schedule from the Alleppey bus station?
The aanavandi website is a good resource that can start to give you an idea of buses that are available.
But there are a couple things to note about this bus website:
1. It’s incomplete.
Sometimes I have found that there are more buses available than are listed on the site. I have shown up to a bus station early, only to find a bus that was leaving to my next destination almost immediately.
2. Buses can be delayed.
Well, this is India. 😉
Despite these things, I find it to be useful so you can at least know what options you may have! So use it as a guide, but not an absolute.
The staff at the guesthouse you’re staying in Alleppey may also be a good resource for finding out bus timings for your next destination.
If you’re arriving to Alleppey by bus, and also leaving Alleppey by bus, it could also be a good idea to stop by the office of the “station master” when you arrive so you can ask about bus timings for your next destination.
Alleppey train station
What is the train schedule to and from the Alleppey train station?
Pretty much the only resource I used to figure out train timings in India was the trainman app.
It lists both long distance trains and local passenger trains. It can tell you the train schedules, as well as the train fare.
If you’re going a short distance, you can opt to go by train in general class without booking a ticket in advance. Although, sometimes general class can get quite crowded!
But, general class is cheap. So if you’re traveling Kerala on a budget, it’s a good way to go!
Alleppey ferry station
What is the ferry schedule from the Alleppey ferry station?
There is really only one ferry that you would take to either get to Alleppey or to leave Alleppey for your next destination.
That would be the Alleppey to Kollam ferry.
As long as you don’t mind a slow and scenic route, this ferry is good for getting from Alleppey to places like Munroe Island and Varkala. Getting to these places from Kollam does require an onward journey by bus, train, or rickshaw.
During season, this ferry is scheduled to leave Alleppey and Kollam at 10:30am.
Best places to visit from Alleppey
Alleppey to Munnar
A trip to Munnar is a trip to the hills of Kerala.
It is most well-known for the Munnar tea plantations, and the biggest reason to visit is for the scenery. You can visit the tea plantation museum, taste some fresh Kerala tea, and go for a walk through tea plantations and spice farms.
From Munnar, you can also hike to the second highest peak in Kerala.
The Meesapulimala Trek is organized by the Kerala forest department. It includes overnight camping in a tent followed by a day hike to the peak which is at over 8,500 ft. This hike is located in the Western Ghats, which is a mountain range older than the Himalayas, and it also has UNESCO world heritage status.
Bus or train to Munnar from Alleppey
There is no train station in or near Munnar, so your only public transportation option to get to Munnar is bus!
There are a number of direct buses that run daily from Alleppey to Munnar. You’ll get your first glimpse of tea plantations on the bus ride through the hills and it’s beautiful!
Alleppey to Varkala
Varkala is one of the main beach towns in Kerala.
The cliffside restaurants and cafes are among the things that makes Varkala a tourist hotspot. There are countless places to eat where you can enjoy your meal with ocean views.
Kerala is known as the birthplace of ayurvedic medicine, which is prevention and healing through natural remedies. Varkala has a ton of ayuverda centers and ayurvedic yoga retreats, and there are plenty of places along the Varkala cliff that you can get an ayurvedic massage too.
Bus or train to Varkala from Alleppey
The best way to get from Alleppey to Varkala is to take the ferry to Kollam, and then catch a bus or train to Varkala! The ferry is the most Kerala-style way, anyway. 😉
But if you’ve had your fill of the Kerala backwaters, or you’re not fond of taking longer than necessary to get to your next destination, you can also choose to take either the bus or train. This is more or less a matter of preference, but I would probably choose the train over bus for the journey of Alleppey to Varkala. The bus may require a transfer.
Alleppey to Cochin
Fort Cochin is a cute little area in which the colonial influence is still seen through the architecture of buildings. Another thing it’s known for its fishing nets.
It’s the “big city” near Alleppey, so it often makes a backpacker’s itinerary when planning a trip to Kerala.
Bus or train to Cochin from Alleppey
The bus is likely more convenient as there are tons of buses that run from Alleppey to Cochin.
Ask a local, and they may tell you that there’s a bus every 5 minutes.
This may be a slight exaggeration, but the point is that the bus timings both ways from Cochin and Alleppey and Alleppey to Cochin are frequent! No problem in finding a bus by just showing up at the bus station.
Airports near Alleppey
Alleppey to Cochin Airport (Central Kerala)
The most convenient airport to Alleppey is the Cochin Airport. This airport is actually located outside of the main part of Cochin. It’s around an hour drive from the main tourist area of Fort Cochin to Cochin Airport.
Bus is always a convenient option for traveling around Kerala since there are frequent timings between major cities. There are direct buses from Alleppey to Cochin Airport, but there are limited timings.
If you can’t manage to catch a direct bus, or it doesn’t work out for your flight time, there are more ways to get to the airport from Alleppey by bus.
Another option that’s available is to take the train to or from Cochin Airport.
Trains are more limited compared to buses, but you can also look at taking the train as an option to get to the airport from Alleppey.
The closest train station to the Cochin airport is Aluva. You can find train timings through the trainman app.
Similar to taking the bus, for the rest of the journey between Aluva and Alleppey you can take a bus or rickshaw.
You can also get from Alleppey to the airport by taxi.
Alleppey to Trivandrum Airport (South Kerala)
Trivandrum is also called Thiruvananthapuram.
The Cochin Airport is definitely the most convenient airport near Alleppey.
But if you’ve booked your flight without thinking of where in Kerala you want to go, it’s not too bad to get to Alleppey from Trivandrum Airport, or the other way around.
Best travel guidebooks for Kerala and beyond
India travel guidebooks
Lonely Planet India is considered the ultimate bible for backpacking around India.
While it has pretty much no pictures in it to help you decide where to go based on pretty images, it’s full of practical information in specifics of traveling from one place to another.
It has information like:
- Best transportation options between cities
- Cost of some transportation options, including rickshaws so you know you won’t be ripped off
- Restaurant recommendations so you can minimize your risk of getting sick in India
- Hotel and guesthouse recommendations
You could travel with the Lonely Planet India books without needing to get online for research during your trip.
So you could rely exclusively on this book if you are arriving to India without doing much prior research about itinerary planning.
If you will only be visiting South India, you can opt for the much thinner book of Lonely Planet South India.
Lonely Planet Discover India and DK Eyewitness India are helpful because they both have pretty pictures, as well as wide-ranging information about top destinations in India. So if you want to pick the places you want to visit based on getting a visual for it, these books can make a good choice!
So take a look at these books:
- Lonely Planet India
- Lonely Planet South India + Kerala
- Lonely Planet Discover India
- DK Eyewitness India
India travel guidebook pdf
The most travel-efficient option would be to get the PDF version of these Lonely Planet books.
Or if you want to use the book to plan before your trip to India, and then rely on the pdf version on your phone, that could work too!
ALLEPPEY or ALAPPUZHA?!
You may see Alleppey being referenced as both Alleppey and Alappuzha.
Prior to India gaining its independence in 1947, India spent some time being ruled by the British.
Alleppey is the British name, and Alappuzha is the local Malayalam name. (Malayalam is the native language of people living in Kerala.)
So which should you call it?
If you’re a foreigner, I say it’s best that you stick with the British version of Alleppey.
This is because I nearly guarantee that if you are a native English speaker, you will not be saying Alappuzha correctly. 😉 (The biggest thing is that the Z in Alappuzha is not actually a Z sound as we know it in English. To me, it sounds like more of a rolling R sound that you say in Spanish.)
I have found that the majority of locals in Kerala will refer to Alleppey as Alappuzha. (I’m told that Alappuzha is easier for native Malayalam speakers to say.)
But pretty much any Indian working in the tourism industry will refer to it as Alleppey to a foreigner… likely because it’s recognized that Alleppey is easier for native English speakers to say! 😉
HAPPY ALLEPPEY TRAVEL PLANNING!