DESTINATIONS CULTURE AGENDA CONNOISSEUR'S GUIDE ALTERNATE ROUTES INSIDER'S VIEW NEWS PHOTO GALLERIES

CHOOSE DESTINATION

Kerala

EssenceWhere to sleep· Crème de la Crème· A Real Find· Good Choice· Best spaWhere to eatWhere to shopWorth knowingThings to doConnoisseur's GuideInsider's view

CHOOSE OBJECT

Privacy at Sanctuary BayParadisa Plantation Retreat, KumilyDiscovery HouseboatRaheem Residency, AlleppeySerenity at Kanam EstateTrinity, Fort KochiMalabar House, Fort Kochi« BACK « TO BEGINNING

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER

Add your e-mail address to receive our monthly news.

WE RECOMMEND:

Jewellery by Artists: From Picasso to Koons, an exhibition organised by the culture and art portal Arterritory.com

Destinations · Asia · india · Kerala · Where to sleep · Crème de la Crème

Discovery Houseboat

Author: Anothertravelguide.com2 COMMENTS

One of the unique Keralan features is the picturesque backwater system that connects inland Kerala with the Arabian Sea. Originally it was created to transport rice and spices from one village to another and finally to the port from which the precious cargo was shipped to the Arab countries and Europe. It was transported in specially built wood and bamboo boats (kettuvallom) that later, as the road network developed, became redundant - until someone had the brilliant idea to convert these cargo boats into floating hotels or houseboats. It is currently one of the most important and interesting Keralan tourist attractions as well as the best way to get acquainted with life in this southern part of India: most of the villages are located on the banks of the numerous canals; as the boat slowly glides past them, the everyday activities of the villagers are literally spread out before you - not to mention the incredibly scenic landscape, from the vividly green rice paddies and coconut plantations to water-lilies, violet water hyacinths, exotic birds, fishermen and endless open space. A fantastic place for meditation. However, certain things have to be taken care of. Houseboats are generally quite an expensive affair, but this is the one thing you really shouldn't save money on: you can pick anything from a luxury boat to a floating hostel, exactly the way it is with terrestrial hotels. Having picked a houseboat of the latter variety you may very well end up with something much worse than just shabby design - a dubious route through mosquito-infested not-particularly-clean canals and spend the night battling bloodsucking insects.
A cruise on an authentically designed houseboat is, of course, visually tempting, a romantic adventure in its own right, and yet - there is an alternative (possibly also the best) option of boarding Discovery, a boat owned by Malabar Escapes - the only one equipped with an electrical engine (and therefore soundless), also the only one to offer a deck with a gentle breeze even on the hottest day. And what a view! Besides, Discovery stands out with its manoeuvrability and will take you to places that are off limits for your average rice barge. Discovery is the brainchild of Joerg Drehsel, the owner of Malabar Escapes; the hull is designed in keeping with the authentic traditions but the comfort level is more suitable to modern day demands.

Cruise for one from EUR 875

www.malabarhouse.com

SHARE:
Facebook Twitter

 

Your comments

Javier Carvajal

Visited: September 2010

Our stay in the Discovery House Boat was part of a long trip through Kerala. We stayed over three weeks in the following places: Wayanad (Tranquil Plantation), Fort Cochin (Old Harbour Hotel), Munnar (The Windermere State), Periyar (The Lake Palace), the Backwaters (the Green Lagoon) a cruise through the Backwaters (Discovery HouseBoat) and finally in Kovallam (the Taj Green Cove).

We planned our trip with a number of guides and feedback obtained in the Internet (lots of it in anothertravelguide) and then contacted a couple of local travel agencies to help us setting up the trip. We finally decided to go with Indian Moments, that was a wise decision, since they proved to be extremely helpful and professional. For specific feedback on the remaining Hotels/resorts, I would refer you to their page in trip advisor.

Our trip was Amazing and we have a great time. We could not speak enough good things about the Tranquil Plantation, the Green Lagoon or the Periyar Lake Palace, for example, w here we really had a great time and were treatly incredibly well. We enjoy very much travelling and know how to get the best from everyplace. We are thankful with those who received us and with those that did as much as they could to make our stay special.

However and unfortunately our experience in the Discovery House Boat could not been worse.

We made a clear mistake by choosing this boat. The problem is that when you want to pick a boat from abroad to travel through the backwaters there are so many that is difficult to choose one.

What did we do? We decided to go what we thought the safe way. We have read many good things abouth the Malabar House in Fort Cochin and we had read that this boat was run by the same company that run the Malabar House so we thought we were on the safe side. Is is stupidly more expensive that the remaining boats? Yes but we were sure there was a good reason for it. Is it really a non-flavour-at-all boat as opposed to the old rice boats? Yes, but sure it is worthy because it is supposed to be much more modern and confortable, so we decided to go for it.

It was the only mistake we did in our long trip. I hope nobody else makes the same mistake. That is the reason I want to give you so many details.

1. We booked and payed in advance for a 3 nights/4 days trip as advertised in their webside, that is, we would be sleeping everynight in a different place so that we would be having the chance to see different things in those 4 days.

As soon as we left our base on day one the captain came to inform us about our itinerary: we would be sleeping everyday in the same place. This may seem irrelevante, but what it did imply is that everyday we made the same trip every evening and every morning, so being as huge as they are the backwaters, we got to see 6 times the same channels and not much. When we complained about it, we were told that a bridge had been built and therefore it was the only possible itinerary. (¿) I guess in the time the bridge had got built nobody had the time to change the information in their web or the description of the itinerary that it was written in the brochures (and I could show to the captain who didnt care much)

2. The boat had great Windows and you can probably see the Pictures (from the outsider) in their website showing the Windows. Problem: the Windows have two glasses and the steam gets in between the glasses so it is absolutely impossible to see anything from inside. So if you get rain, as we did, as opposed to every single other boat we passed, there is no place to sit outside without getting wet (nothing covered) so you must stay inside but cannot see anything. Really a waste of time

3. Food was terrible. We were told we could speak with the cheff everyday to discuss and pick the food. First day we got pasta with “Kerala sauce” and when we complaint and told them what we were supposed to have (at least some options) they told us that the kitchen was small (¿?). for anybody who has travelled one or two days in its wholle life in Kerala knows that there is nothing like “Kerala sauce” Do you imagine going to Italy and sitting in a restaurant and getting “italian sauce”? Maybe in a World of total ignorante that could be accepted. I doubt it.

4. We felt like schoolboys. The captain would stop the boat once in a while and would show us the way out. “Follow me, now we go to a temple. And that is it.” We really felt like his umbrella or his back pack.

5. Finally we were so fed up that we decided to leave the boat one day earlier, so we ask them to take us to the place w here our driver would pick us up. We would have wanted to leave it in Allepey since we were heading south, but incredibly enough they had kept our passports in land (which we realized when we were already sailing) so we had to return to “Serenity” the hotel were we had emarked which implied wasting another day going north and then 3 hours going south by car.

6. The First night the lights went off, so they started an engine which had to be next our Window because we couldnot sleep.

7. No hot watter! When we complain after two days (there were so many things to complain that the watter was not, by far, the worst of our problems) the captain said that if we wanted hot watter we had to inform him (¿) which in the middle of heavy rain and rather cool days is not what you expect to hear in a place is supposed to be high standard. Of course, despite our request, we didnot see any hot watter in the remaining day.

8. When we got off, nobody apologized, nobody offer any refund, nobody offer any excuse. Please note that we were leaving one day before and we had paid already for that night sleep plus that night’s dinner and next day breakfast. Instead they insisted that we had to pay a few hundred ruppees for a couple of sodas (first hotel in the trip –all except this one of the best quality- that made us pay for the sodas). A last final touch of the lowest class that we had seen in our trip

So if you are a tourist who does not care paying more than in any other of the alternatives and get clearly much worst quality. If you are a tourist who doesnt care for the food and “Kerala sauce” makes it. If you are a tourist who loves being guided as sheeps by somebody who doesnt give any explanation or ask anything. If you are a tourist who loves been fooled and doesnt care paying for a wonderful and different trip for four days and spends all the nights sleeping (and seeing) the same place. Then, the Discovery HouseBoat is your right place. Otherwise, if you can, just simply avoid it.

javier

Visited: september 2010

Our stay in the Discovery House Boat was part of a long trip through Kerala. We stayed over three weeks in the following places: Wayanad (Tranquil Plantation), Fort Cochin (Old Harbour Hotel), Munnar (The Windermere State), Periyar (The Lake Palace), the Backwaters (the Green Lagoon) a cruise through the Backwaters (Discovery HouseBoat) and finally in Kovallam (the Taj Green Cove).

Overall our trip was Amazing and we had a great time. We enjoy very much travelling and know how to get the best from everyplace. We are thankful with those who received us and with those that did much or little to make our stay special.

However and unfortunately our experience in the Discovery House Boat could not been worse.

We made a clear mistake by choosing this boat. The problem is that when you want to pick a boat from abroad to travel through the backwaters there are so many that is difficult to choose one.

What did we do? We decided to go what we thought the safe way. We have read many good things abouth the Malabar House in Fort Cochin and we had read that this boat was run by the same company that run the Malabar House so we thought we were on the safe side. Is is stupidly more expensive that the remaining boats? Yes but we were sure there was a good reason for it. Is it really a non-flavour-at-all boat as opposed to the old rice boats? Yes, but sure it is worthy because it is supposed to be much more modern and confortable, so we decided to go for it.

It was the only mistake we did in our long trip. I hope nobody else makes the same mistake. That is the reason I want to give you so many details.

1. We booked and payed in advance for a 3 nights/4 days trip as advertised in their webside, that is, we would be sleeping everynight in a different place so that we would be having the chance to see different things in those 4 days.

As soon as we left our base on day one the captain came to inform us about our itinerary: we would be sleeping everyday in the same place. This may seem irrelevante, but what it did imply is that everyday we made the same trip every evening and every morning, so being as huge as they are the backwaters, we got to see 6 times the same channels and not much. When we complained about it, we were told that a bridge had been built and therefore it was the only possible itinerary. (¿) I guess in the time the bridge had got built nobody had the time to change the information in their web or the description of the itinerary that it was written in the brochures (and I could show to the captain who didnt care much)

2. The boat had great Windows and you can probably see the Pictures (from the outsider) in their website showing the Windows. Problem: the Windows have two glasses and the steam gets in between the glasses so it is absolutely impossible to see anything from inside. So if you get rain, as we did, as opposed to every single other boat we passed, there is no place to sit outside without getting wet (nothing covered) so you must stay inside but cannot see anything. Really a waste of time

3. Food was terrible. We were told we could speak with the cheff everyday to discuss and pick the food. First day we got pasta with “Kerala sauce” and when we complaint and told them what we were supposed to have (at least some options) they told us that the kitchen was small (¿?). for anybody who has travelled one or two days in its wholle life in Kerala knows that there is nothing like “Kerala sauce” Do you imagine going to Italy and sitting in a restaurant and getting “italian sauce”? Maybe in a World of total ignorante that could be accepted. I doubt it.

4. We felt like schoolboys. The captain would stop the boat once in a while and would show us the way out. “Follow me, now we go to a temple. And that is it.” We really felt like his umbrella or his back pack.

5. Finally we were so fed up that we decided to leave the boat one day earlier, so we ask them to take us to the place w here our driver would pick us up. We would have wanted to leave it in Allepey since we were heading south, but incredibly enough they had kept our passports in land (which we realized when we were already sailing) so we had to return to “Serenity” the hotel were we had emarked which implied wasting another day going north and then 3 hours going south by car.

6. The First night the lights went off, so they started an engine which had to be next our Window because we couldnot sleep.

7. No hot watter! When we complain after two days (there were so many things to complain that the watter was not, by far, the worst of our problems) the captain said that if we wanted hot watter we had to inform him (¿) which in the middle of heavy rain and rather cool days is not what you expect to hear in a place is supposed to be high standard. Of course, despite our request, we didnot see any hot watter in the remaining day.

8. When we got off, nobody apologized, nobody offer any refund, nobody offer any excuse. Please note that we were leaving one day before and we had paid already for that night sleep plus that night’s dinner and next day breakfast. Instead they insisted that we had to pay a few hundred ruppees for a couple of sodas (first hotel in the trip –all except this one of the best quality- that made us pay for the sodas). A last final touch of the lowest class that we had seen in our trip

So if you are a tourist who does not care paying more than in any other of the alternatives and get clearly much worst quality. If you are a tourist who doesnt care for the food and “Kerala sauce” makes it. If you are a tourist who loves being guided as sheeps by somebody who doesnt give any explanation or ask anything. If you are a tourist who loves been fooled and doesnt care paying for a wonderful and different trip for four days and spends all the nights sleeping (and seeing) the same place. Then, the Discovery HouseBoat is your right place. Otherwise, if you can, just simply avoid it.

Your name:

Time of visit:

Your comment: