The scenic backwaters of Kerala are one of its most attractive features, offering hundreds of miles of picturesque rivers, canals and creeks. About 40 rivers flow from here into the ocean, and they form an intricate system of internal lakes, lagoons and bays interconnecting with rivers and canals, winding and stretching for many miles along the coast. They are beautiful places to swim. People live along the banks of these canals that have, for centuries, carried spices, tea, fruit and other local produce on narrow barges downstream to the ports and on to distant lands.
This Indian Venice is best explored by houseboat, a traditional barge rebuilt as a very comfortable floating hotel, offering bedrooms with air conditioning and showers, and usually a private chef. Book one for a couple of days to fully enjoy the primeval beauty of these tranquil waterways. On board, you will be offered traditional Keralan dishes, typically served on banana leaves, which include fish, seafood, coconuts, tropical fruit, vegetables, beans and, of course, rice. A huge range of herbs and spices, which include curry, coriander, mint, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, chilli and ginger, give the local cuisine its wonderful, zesty flavours.