The cheapest way to reach Alleppy from Kochi is the best way
The simplest way to reach Alleppy from Kochi is to take a KSRTC bus from Vyttilla Mobility Hub. For just 40 rupees, one can comfortably reach Alleppy in one and half hours.
In this brief journey, I cam across two interesting things. The first one was a couple of lorries transporting elephants. The second was a board advertising “Shaolin Jackie Chan Matial Arts Academy”, with the trainer’s face Photoshopped on the billboard. The trainer looked more like a South Indian politician than a sensei. Sadly, the bus moved too fast for me to capture these gems.
Trip around the backwaters
It might have been a good decision to book a motorboat for the trip and reserve a homestay for the halt. We had a motorboat at our disposal for over two hours during the pleasant evening. We would have loved to go around a bit more but there is a restriction of 6 O’Clock from the police.
Our boat driver explained a lot of things to me:
- The hulls of these boats are made elsewhere. In Alleppy, the cabins are built.
- The driver as well as the cooks (crew) need license.
- Every boat has to be registered and insured. The numbers are of the format KIV/ALP/<TYPE>/<4 digit reg. no.>/<YEAR>. For <TYPE>, it can be either HB for houseboat or MB for motorboat.
- Two years ago, the owners had to go to Kochi to get all the paperwork done. Nowadays, a sub-office in Alleppy takes care of the local needs.
- The small islands have inhabitants and they usually use personal kayaks and canoes to transport themselves and goods.
- There is a safety line marked by buoys that cannot be crossed. Police regularly patrol the areas looking for non-conformists.
- There is also a speed limit of about 15 km/h. I couldn’t find the actual values but on our boat, that corresponded to first gear with 25% of throttle.
- The small islands grow paddy. These paddy fields are at a mean level that is lower than the water level of the canals!
- There are a few man made islands, too. Most of the newer ones are being built by big shot companies. These will become the foundation to luxurious resorts. The locals aren’t much happy about it.
A night at the beach
Alleppy beach is beautiful at night. The municipality and police have taken good care of it. The rusted remains of a sea bridge looked like a haunted relic against a pitch black sea. There are quite a few restaurants lining the beach. If the lights of these places are dimmed, the beach would have truly looked haunted.