So you think that travel to Alleppey is JUST about the backwaters?!
Okay, that might be a big part.
But, should it be in and out of Alleppey in one day?!
Because what else is there to do in Alleppey besides the backwaters, right?!
Okay, so it CAN be just one day in Alleppey…
And it can also be longer!
It depends on what you’re looking for!
It’s true, much of it does revolve around the backwaters.
But, you are in Alleppey, the major travel destination of the Kerala backwaters, so you need to soak in all the backwaters that you can get, right?!
But there are a few more things to do in Alleppey beyond the backwaters so you can take in the Kerala atmosphere, if you’re looking for more!
That means that if you’ve been backpacking around India for a month or longer, and you’re looking for a place to kind of rest up for a few days, Alleppey can also be a perfect place to do so.
And in the case you really only want to spend ONE day in Alleppey, here are ideas on how to make the most of it!
What to do when in Alleppey and the Kerala backwaters?!
It’s all about…
1. Kerala backwaters…
2. Coastal Kerala…
3. Coconuts! (Kerala literally means land of coconuts.)
First, the quick list of the best things to do in Alleppey.
Then, how you can make ALL of these things a part of your one day itinerary!
And then, even more things to do if you have more days in Alleppey!
11 best things to do in Alleppey in one day
1. Wake up to ocean views with a rooftop stay steps from the beach
…and wake up to have tea with ocean views too.
2. Take an Alleppey ferry on the Kerala backwaters
4. Drink coconut water in the backwaters (and eat the coconut too)
5. Visit a toddy shop to drink Kerala alcohol made from palm trees
6. Walk the backwaters
7. Have lunch in a backwaters village home
8. Rest up in a hammock at a beachside guesthouse or beachside hostel
9. Go beachcombing on Alleppey Beach at sunset to find seashells or to spot sand crabs
10. Cook up a seafood dinner with a fresh catch
11. Drink Kerala rum mixed with coconut water
If you have more time in Alleppey than just one day, also see more things to do in Alleppey, with the list continued below!
How to fit this into a one day Alleppey itinerary?!
So to get the most out of one day in Alleppey, it will be best to stay in Alleppey for 2 nights.
See some tips on how to get to Alleppey by public transportation.
You can take it easy in the evening, and then the next day, be ready for a full day of activities!
Then, the day after that, off you go to your next destination in Kerala!
The first part of this itinerary can be EASY because…
Alleppey backwaters village tour!
The easiest way to fit a bunch of the best things to do in the Kerala backwaters is by going for a village canoe tour.
The going rate for these kinds of Alleppey canoe tours is around 1,000 rupees (US$15).
And if the above activities sound good to you, this can be worth it so you can get a bunch of different experiences in the Alleppey backwaters in a limited amount of time.
And then for the second part of the itinerary…
After your backwaters day tour
First you’ll want to make sure you stay at a guesthouse with a kitchen where you can prepare your own food!
Then after you get back from your canoe tour, you can buy the stuff you need for the rest of your evening (food and drinks) when you’re in town.
The Alleppey ferry station is in town, so instead of heading straight back to your guesthouse, you can make a few stops along the way.
So a canoe backwaters tour typically starts around 8am, and it’ll take you through around 3-4pm.
Once you get back to the Alleppey ferry station, there are a couple of grocery stores in town that you can do your shopping at, and you can also find some places along the street that sell seafood (and other food).
It could be good to ask your guesthouse staff the best place to buy seafood before you leave for your backwaters tour in the morning, or the evening before.
And then for your Kerala rum (or beer if you prefer), you can also buy in town at the government beverage shop.
Going to buy the rum can be an experience on its own if you end up there at a time with long lines. Consider it to be a very local experience. 😉
For near guarantees of shorter waiting time, you can head to Harbour Bar near Alleppey Beach. The prices here will be higher though. (You can carry the alcohol out with you, but make sure to bring a backpack or bag to carry it out in.)
For the coconut so that you can complete your rum and coconut water drink, this could also be a good thing to ask your guesthouse so you can buy it from near where you’re staying.
If you don’t want to have to break open the coconut on your own when you’re back at your guesthouse (it’s quite a task and you’ll need to make sure the tools are available), then you’ll want to ask the coconut shop staff to crack it and open up a hole for you. But you’ll have to carry the coconut back carefully!
Alternatively, you could always buy packaged coconut water from the grocery store… but of course fresh coconut water is better. 😉
If you want to be DONE after the backwaters tour?!
Places to eat in Alleppey
If preparing your own food and drinks sounds like too much work when you’re traveling 😉 you can head to some of the best restaurants in Alleppey.
Leaving Alleppey in the evening for the rest of your Kerala backpacking trip
Or if you want to leave Alleppey right away because you’re short on time with only a few days in Kerala, it could make sense to leave to go to Cochin or Varkala.
Alleppey to Cochin
There are plenty of buses that run from Alleppey to Cochin, so you’ll have no problem just showing up at the Alleppey bus station and getting on the next bus to Cochin.
Alleppey to Varkala
To Varkala, you might find a few evening trains that you can catch.
If you don’t mind traveling in a general class train, you can simply show up at the train station, buy your ticket, and then board the next train to Varkala.
But if Varkala is your next destination, you should totally consider waiting until the next day so you can take the Kollam tourist ferry part of the way to get there!
Because the journey is so much better when it includes the Kerala backwaters. 😉
Alleppey to Munnar and to Thekkady
You can go by bus to the Kerala hills starting in the afternoon too.
And because of the late start, along with the necessary bus transfers, you’ll likely be arriving to your next destination late.
If you decide to wait until the next day to head to the Kerala hills, be sure to check out the option of getting there in part by the Kottayam ferry!
It’ll take longer to get there, but you’ll be leaving Alleppey in style AND you’ll be taking in more of those Kerala backwaters! 😉
For even MORE things to do if you have 2 days or more in Alleppey…
Continuing the list from above!
12. Break open your own coconut
14. Go river rafting Kerala-style on a Kerala fisherman boat
Kerala fisherman boat that’s taken out to sea to catch ocean fish.
Kerala fisherman boat so you can go rafting Kerala-style on the river! Stay at this guesthouse to do this. You can also just go for a day visit even if you’re not staying there. At last check, doing this rafting here is free!
15. Walk on a quiet beach road
16. Go cycling along the coast
17. Go cycling along the backwaters
18. Walk to Marari Beach for a day trip
20. Watch local fishermen bring in the seafood that Kerala is famous for
21. Eat tropical fruit in a tropical environment
22. Take a canoe to cross the backwaters in Kainakary
23. Take a ferry to Kuttanad for a day trip
24. Take another Alleppey ferry for a day trip to Kottayam or to Kumarakom
25. Eat with ocean views
Have a coconut-based breakfast and a coconut-based dinner.
26. Soak up the monsoon atmosphere
27. Climb to the top of the Alleppey lighthouse for ocean views
28. Do as the locals do, and just stop to take in those ocean views!
29. Just stop to take in that sunset
30. Houseboat in the Kerala backwaters
Well, I guess it’s not a complete list of things to do in Alleppey if there’s no mention of a houseboat, so… consider going for an Alleppey houseboat too. 😉
HAPPY ALLEPPEY VISIT!
The need-to-know India travel tips!If it's your first trip to India, be sure to see these tips for getting around India on a budget, and more! You might wait until India to buy this mosquito repellent that works for many foreigners! Also be sure to see how to spend one month in South India and 2 weeks in North India, as well as tips for the Golden Triangle. And, overnight sleeper bus travel isn't so bad, and neither is traveling in general class on the train! Also see the easy way to get an e-visa. And this is the easy way to book train tickets online as a foreigner. I've used it, and it's simple! You can just show the e-ticket on your phone.
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Hostels in KeralaFor a hostel with international standards in Kerala, try Zostel!
More Zostels in Kerala:
Zostel is a top backpacker chain across India, and I've stayed at many Zostels in India! And outside of Kerala, if you'll be passing through Gokarna as you go from Goa to Kerala (here are options of how to get from Goa to Kerala!), then Zostel Gokarna is in an amazing location too! Here are pictures from the on-site cafe that overlooks the ocean.
Where to stay on the tourist trail in KeralaThese places basically go down the coast from north to south!
- Cochin: Try a homestay in the cute heritage area of Fort Kochi.
- Marari Beach: This is an "off-beat" location as Marari is mostly unknown to backpackers, but it can be a convenient stop to make between Cochin and Alleppey with chill laid back vibes. For an idea of what type of beach can be nearby, see my beach walk from Alleppey to Marari.
- Alleppey Beach:
- Funky Art Beach House again for chill vibes with a location among locals in a residential neighborhood
- And there's Zostel Alleppey too for another beach location to stay several days
- OR if Alleppey is a quick visit, try Dream Nest to be closer to town
- And see how to spend one day in Alleppey (short version: go for the backwaters village canoe tour instead of a houseboat!)
- Alleppey backwaters:
- Munroe Island: This is another generally kind of more off-beat location, and you can see a different part of the Kerala backwaters on a quiet island
- Varkala cliff:
Retreats in KeralaFor relaxation and rejuvenation for health and wellness, also see:
- Yoga retreats in Kerala
- Ayurveda retreats in Kerala - ayurveda is basically healthy living through natural herbs and remedies, and Kerala is the birthplace of ayurveda!
How to book India train tickets online as a foreignerIf you don't want to go through the complicated process of setting up an IRCTC Indian railways account as a foreigner...
Then the most convenient way to buy train tickets online is through this booking website. I've used it, and it's super simple! You buy the ticket, and then show the electronic version on your phone once you're on the train. Compared to buying directly through an Indian ticket booking website (IRCTC account required) or directly at the train station in India, there is a small convenience fee, as well as a less flexible cancellation policy, though!