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Kerala, God’s own country, has been an ideal destination for romantic getaways as well as group tours for over 600 years. As you travel to this silver state in India’s south, get ready to be swayed away by the rich scenic heritage which enchants, enthralls and exhilarates. But no trip to Kerala is complete without visiting the shiny and sparkly backwaters, with turquoise water of the Arabian Sea flowing alongside the plush green palms and the diverse lineage of exotic coconut plantations. What more can you ask for?

Let’s take a tour of the unknown yet highly acclaimed backwaters of Kerala that will get you under the skin of this incredible Indian state.

1. Valiyaparamba backwaters, Kasaragod

Located in Kasaragod, the northernmost district of Kerala, the Valiyaparamba backwater is the most enchanting and vivacious backwaters in Kerala. Formed by four rivers, and dotted by a little island, Valiyaparamba is set just 30 kms away from Bakel. You can enjoy ferry rides and a trip to the Bekal fort when here. The Pallikere and the Kappil beach make for a great weekend escape for perfect rejuvenation. Those seeking adventure can join the Mangrove Trail of Malabar that includes hiking, bird watching and boating.

Mangrove Trail of Malabar near Valiyaparamba backwaters, Kerala

How to Reach:

  • Nearest railway station is the Payyanur railway station
  • Nearest airport is the Calicut International Airport

Things to Do:

  • Visit the Bekal Fort
  • Join the Mangrove Trail of Malabar
  • Go boating, bird watching, hiking

Suggested Read: The Ultimate Guide to Top Tourist Places in Kerala

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2. Kavvayi Backwater at Payyanur

Kavvayi Backwaters at Payyanur is the largest backwaters found in northern part of Kerala. You’ll find exquisite houseboats around, giving you an opportunity to hop on with your loved ones and explore the vast diversity of scenery around. If in the mood for some cultural exploration, you can attend the theyyams and temple festivals, a regular in Payyanur. You can also visit the Edayilakadu Island where you can find a forest dedicated to worship holy snakes – something which happens only in Kerala!

Kavvayi Backwater, famous for theyyams and temple festivals

How to Reach:

  • Nearest railway station is the Payyanur railway station
  • Nearest airport is the Calicut International Airport

Things to Do:

  • Attend the theyyams and temple festivals
  • Visit the holy snakes forest in Edayilakadu Island

3. Marine Drive, Kochi

Watching the sunset and laze around the Marine walk away

The Marine Drive in Kochi is the perfect example illustrating the exquisite nightlights of the city against the backdrop of the cool breeze arising from the backwaters. You can spend some quality time here while watching the sunset or laze around the Marine walkaway, enjoying the evenings at Marrybrown, DiMark and Coffee Bar or can shop at the GCDA Shopping Complex. Other attractions include the rainbow bridge and the China Net Bridge that is a must visit for all the tourists.

Enjoy cool breeze arising from the backwaters at Marine Drive Kochi

How to Reach:

  • Nearest railway station is Ernakulam railway station
  • Nearest airport is Cochin International Airport

Things to Do:

  • Shop till you drop at GCDA Shopping Complex
  • See the Rainbow bridge & China Net Bridge
  • Eat your heart out at Marrybrown, DiMark

4. Padanna Backwaters, Kasaragod

Located in the northernmost district of Kerala, Padanna Backwaters is the most serene backwaters offering a visit to the Padanna village. This first of its kind theme village in Kerala is the center of oyster harvesting, which also happens to be a predominant occupation here. Besides relishing the backwaters on houseboats, tourists can also engage in mussel farming, which is a highlight of this place, and taste the cuisine prepared utilizing the locally harvested mussels. You should also visit the Kareem’s forest, a manmade forest spread across 32 acres, housing variety of plantations including coconut, arecanut, spices and cashew. The moonlit houseboat cruises are also highly recommended if you are visiting the Padanna Backwaters.

Houseboat cruise at the most serene Padanna Backwaters

How to Reach:

  • Nearest railway station is Kanhangad
  • Nearest airport is the Calicut International Airport

Things to Do:

  • Learn mussel farming
  • Visit Kareem’s Forest
  • Go on moonlit houseboat cruises

5. Thiruvallam Backwaters in Thiruvananthapuram

Take a ride on Kettuvaloms at Thiruvallam Backwaters, Kerala

If you swear by canoeing, kayaking and such water adventures then Thiruvallam backwaters is the place to be. You can enjoy your ride on kettuvaloms through this exotic backwater, starting from Thiruvananthapuram up till Kovalam. Besides water sports, floating bridges and short village cruises are some other must-experience indulgences here. If your itinerary allows, do visit the Parashuram Temple where locals worship the mythological creator of Kerala, Parashuram. You can also spend a day or two at the nearby coir manufacturing industries to learn about the beautiful craft of building houseboats.

Canoeing and Kayaking on backwaters of Kerala

How to Reach:

  • Nearest Railway station is Thiruvananthapuram
  • Nearest airport is Trivandrum International airport

Things to Do:

  • Canoeing & Kayaking
  • Ride on Kettuvaloms
  • Visit village cruises and floating bridges
  • Learn the craft of building houseboats

Must Read: The Ultimate Kerala Honeymoon Bucket List

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6. Ashtamudi Backwaters, Kollam

Enjoy the natural Heritage at Cocobay Resort, Kerala

The Ashtamudi backwaters are composed of 8 channels, forming the second largemust backwaters in Kerala. This 16 km long lake provides an excellent network to all the prominent backwaters in Kerala. The lineage of high-end resorts around this place add to the richness of this backwater. Some great staying options include Palm Lagoon Backwater Resort and Aquaserene Backwater Resort. You may also like to spend a day or two on the floating huts or on the houseboats mesmerizing in the beauty of the coconut trees lining this natural heritage.

Stay at luxury resorts of Ashtamudi Backwaters, Kollam

How to Reach:

  • Nearest railway station is Kollam Junction
  • Nearest airport is Trivandrum International Airport

Things to Do:

  • Stay in Floating Huts
  • Enjoy at Luxury Resorts like Palm Lagoon Band Aquaserene Backwater Resort
  • Enjoy the natural heritage

Must Read: 16 Resorts In Kerala Where You Will Yearn To Be With Your Sweetheart

7. Alumkadavu, Kollam

Alumkadavu is the birthplace for the famous houseboats found all around the Kerala backwaters. The kettuvaloms are modified in order to give rise to the magnificent houseboats that catch fancy of everyone visiting Kerala. These houseboats are created by some of the finest and highly skilled craftsman with ecofriendly materials, which further exemplify the natural essence of Kerala. These backwaters the hub for coir producing industries, which gives you the chance of visiting one of the nearby coir producing industries and learn the magic of coir production. You may also want to try some nearby attractions regularly frequented by tourists. This list of most visited places and must-do activities in Kerala gets you sorted.

Learn how to make houseboats near Alumkadavu, Kollam

How to Reach:

  • Nearest railway station is Karunagappally railway station
  • Nearest airport is Trivandrum International Airport

Things to Do:

  • Learn how to make houseboats
  • Visit Coir Producing Industries

8. Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom

Vembanad Lake is a perfect spot for picnics, fishing, boating and sightseeing. This lake has gained tremendous attention from the tourists for its rich scenic beauty. The Kumarakom Tourist village in the vicinity offers attractive package tours and houseboats – one thing you must try if you are travelling on budget. During the Onam season, you’ll get to witness the historic snake boat races here, with at least a hundred men rowing a single boat and rushing their way through these calm backwaters. For those looking to spend an afternoon appreciating mother nature, Kumarakom bird sanctuary is another major tourist attraction, located very close by.

Snake boat race at Vembanad Lake - tourist attraction in kerala

How to Reach:

  • Nearest railway station is Kottayam
  • Nearest airport is Cochin International Airport

Things to Do:

  • Witness the snake boat race during Onam
  • Spend an afternoon at Kumarakom bird sanctuary

Must Read: 37 Amazing Things To Do In Kerala For An Incredible Holiday

9. Sasthamkotta Backwaters: The Queen of Lakes, Kollam

Sasthamkotta, known as the Queen of lakes, is the largest lake in the state of Kerala surrounded by hills on three sides. This lake holds great religious importance. The famous Sastha temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh and Lord Ayyapa is a place of worship visited by many tourists in order to offer their adoration to the Gods. Feeding fruits and nuts to the monkeys at the Sastha temple is considered a holy ritual. This place offers great options for boating and fishing if you want to try something not-so-religious.

Feeding fruits and nuts to the monkeys at the Sastha temple

How to Reach:

  • Nearest railway station is Kollam
  • Nearest airport is Trivandrum International Airport

Things to Do:

  • Visit the Sastha Temple to Worship Lord Ganesh
  • Feed fruits and nuts to Monkeys
  • Go boating and fishing

10. Pathiramanal Backwaters

Pathiramanal is a temporary residence to hundreds of birds migrating from different parts of the world. Here you can indulge in hours of bird watching with the backdrop of the vivacious backwaters, further adding charm to the natural beauty. One can observe Pintail Ducks, Common Teal, Night Heron, Cormorant, Darter, Indian Shag, Purple Heron, gulls, terns, and large egrets to name a few species. Pathiramanal extends from the Alappuzha to Kochi and the Kayamkulam Lake, making it accessible only through the waterways. You can also visit the Krishnapuram Palace to enjoy the opulence of the rulers who have ruled Kerala. Besides, you can also enjoy walks on the Alappuzha beach relaxing under the mystifying effect of some cool breeze.

Indulge in bird watching at Pathiramanal Backwaters, Kerala

How to Reach:

  • Nearest airport is Cochin International Airport

Things to Do:

  • Indulge in bird watching
  • Visit the Krishnapuram Palace
  • Enjoy walks on the Alappuzha beach

Astonishing! Have you been to these, or any other, Kerala backwaters? Was your experience as mesmerizing as the place itself? Please let us know of some of your fondest Kerala memories in the comments section below.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Kerala Backwaters

What is Kerala’s famous food?

Kerala’s famous food features a variety of seafood like fish, prawns, lobsters, mussels, and crabs as it is situated long coastline. You can also find a rich indulgence of coconut and spices, again natural produce of the area.

Are backwaters salty?

Yes. Since backwater mixes with several kinds of water sources including the sea, the water is slightly salty.

Which is the best backwaters in Kerala?

Kollam, which is one of the oldest ports of the Malabar Coast is considered to be one of the fines in Kerela.

When should I visit Kerala backwaters?

In order to avoid the hot summers of Kerela, the best time to visit would be between August and January when the temperature is quite comfortable for you to explore the outdoor tourist attractions conveniently.

Are there crocodiles in Kerala backwaters?

You won’t find any crocodiles in Kerela backwaters as they are composed of lagoons, lakes canals, rivulets, lagoons and salty seawater which is not a suitable habitat for crocodiles. However, you can find certain species of fishes and other saltwater creatures.

Which place in Kerala is famous for backwater?

One of the most popular places of Kerela is Kasargod which in north and is one of the most beautiful and popular backwater destinations, known for rice cultivation, coir processing, and lovely landscape. What makes it even more attractive is that it has the sea to the west and the Western Ghats to the north and east.

Can you swim in Kerala backwaters?

The backwaters are not very suitable for a swim as the waters are a bit polluted.

Which tree is found in Kerala backwaters?

Palm trees, pandanus shrubs, various leafy plants, and bushes are the usual vegetation found near the backwaters of Kerela.

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Category: Kerala

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