Tourists can have an out-of-the-world experience on a houseboat in Kochi backwaters. All one needs to do is just sit back and enjoy the scenic views as the boat drifts slowly through quaint villages and lush green environs. The backwaters of Kerala run from Kochi to Kollam, with Alappuzha being the entry point. Fringed by lush palm groves and dotted with quaint hamlets, these picturesque backwaters are best explored on a river cruise that happens in modern houseboats that are kettuvallams or large vessels that were earlier used for trading. While the scenic beauty around the waterways is mesmerising, these spacious and well-decorated houseboats add to the charm of the experience.

Traditionally, a kettuvallam would be around 60 ft long and about 15 ft wide at the beam. Some of the new houseboats have a length of more than 80 ft! Constructed from locally sourced natural materials such as jackfruit tree wood, palm wood, coconut fibre, bamboo poles, ropes, bamboo mats etc, these boats offer guilt-free tripping. They are constructed by tying together (rather than nailing) wooden planks with coconut coir. The planks are coated with resin extracted from cashew nut shells. Bamboo poles and palm leaves are used for constructing the roof. Some of these boats also have solar panels for generating electricity. If carefully maintained, these boats can last for decades.