Alleppey has captured the hearts of millions of tourists from all over the world. This picturesque town in South India, Kerala has a soothing effect on visitors. If you’re leading a life at jet-setting pace and wish to wind down, this is the place to be. Despite a languid pace, there are many things to do in Alleppey. The greenery you notice around here is unparalleled. Alleppey is renowned for its backwaters. As you take that famous trip in the waters, all you need to do is listen to ripples as the oars gently sway in the waters while the boat rock forward. If you were wondering what to do in Alleppey, the gentle rocking of the boat is enough to set all your worries and tensions to rest.
It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to recall it as a lullaby while relaxing in the lap of nature. If you haven’t been there, a trip to Alleppey is the only way to find out! The beauty and tranquillity you are privy to will remain in memory long after you return to the bustling life of the city. If you live outside India, you will cherish this trip even better. One can do the usual tourist circuit, but if you’re interested in going slightly offbeat, you might discover more interesting things local to Alleppey. Ask a few people around what to do in Alleppey.
1. Kayaking Along the Backwaters
2. Alleppey’s Star - Triveni Floating Market
3. Visit Wellness Centres
4. Visit a National Geographic Gem - Kakkathuruthu Island
5. Visit the International Coir Museum
6. Boating at a Unique Lake - Kayamkulam Lake
7. Go Birdwatching - Pathiramanal Island
8. Visit a Church – St.Mary’s Forane Church
9. Celebrate Women Power!
10. Swarovski Delights!
11. Enjoy Authentic Seafood
12. Experience the Village Life
13. Explore the Beaches
14. Soak in Spirituality
Kayaking Along the Backwaters
If you’ve already taken a reservation on a houseboat for your entire stay, you might have enjoyed being steered around through a certain distance. Some houseboats remain parked at one spot throughout the year. But only sitting might not be so much fun; there are many more things to do in Alleppey.
To inch closer to the rustic life along the banks and the verdant villages around, a fun activity such as kayaking is a great way to explore deeper. A houseboat is large and bulky to push through narrow canals and lagoons where you can find some of the best views up close in these tiny village settlements. Local people go about their daily chores and are quite accustomed to the everyday gaze of curious tourists. You can find people waiting for boats as they wait for buses on land, to ferry them across to the other bank. Houses are a few feet away from the waters. Every house on the banks is surrounded by a neatly tended little garden, a compound and a gate leading into the backwaters. Kayaking gives you the freedom to discover the narrower sub-canals closest to the villages beside the main canals. The houseboats cannot enter the sub-canals. You’ll also be pleased to note the absence of the noise of constant chugging of the diesel engine installed on houseboats. The sound is jarring in contrast to the peaceful life along the waters.
For your kayaking experience, a guide accompanies each boat. They are very knowledgeable, and it’s a pleasure to learn about the history, flora and fauna, birds, fruit, tiny schools, post offices, those little unique features associated with these hamlets along the banks. These guides are excellent sources of information. Don’t stop asking them what to do in Alleppey and things to do in Alleppey.
There are many stops along the way to savour delectable local food. It begins with a sumptuous breakfast followed by lip-smacking snacks along the way. If you wish to get a feel of village life in Kerala as against viewing them from a distance through houseboats, take a kayaking trip. This is one of the best things to do in Alleppey. It is a rare glimpse of harmony between nature and human existence and how indigenously people have adapted to allow both to flourish equally.
Whatever the season, including the monsoons, kayaking is a fun alternative to houseboats. There are many companies offering kayak rides. The price of a ticket is nearly half of that of a houseboat. Enjoy the tour during sunrise. This tour lasts for 4 hours. You can also avail the 7-hour tours. After this trip, there’s much you can share with your friends back home about what to do in Alleppey.
Alleppey’s Star - Triveni Floating Market
Alleppey, famously known as the Venice of the East is full of waterholes, canals and lagoons. Life along the waters is as happening on the waters as on land. Triveni is a colourful boat painted in resplendent red and white. It is a mall on the waters! Found in the backwaters of low-lying Kuttanadu area in Alleppey, this government-run boat has grown into a major tourist attraction. If you’re wondering what to do in Alleppey, check this one out for a one-of-a-kind experience. With local produce including grains, vegetables, fruit, consumer products like shampoos, soaps, cosmetics on the shelves; the range is wide, covering white goods such as electronic items including television and refrigerators. For the interior villages far from the mainland, this boat is the only means to connect them to the latest products in the market. Every village is given prior notification of Triveni’s time of arrival. People wait impatiently to go shopping in the floating mall. Triveni is an alternative to malls in cities, another creative way to co-exist with nature. For safety’s sake, they allow only 20 people on board. At least a hundred Triveni supermarkets are operating. While there are floating markets in many parts of the world like Thailand for instance, this one is different; it's far more organised and modern. Find out the timings and head there and experience novelty in your shopping. Take a few pictures and enjoy this unique floating market of Alleppey! This is the best among things to do in Alleppey.
Visit Wellness Centres
At Alleppey too, you will find the most fantastic wellness centres that will help your body and nerves attain relaxation like never before. For example, try the Visrutha Ayurvedic Chikitsalayam at Alleppey. Their massages and specific treatments can address every kind of problem. There is a doctor you can consult before treatment. Do remember that this is more of an ayurvedic hospital with specific massages for cures and treatments. It is not a 5-star spa. However, this is listed as one of the best things to do in Alleppey. Even people from abroad queue up to experience this ancient, holistic method of treatment and have shared rave reviews about the methods and techniques employed. Happy tourists go even once a day till the end of their trip to experience total rejuvenation. With this sort of healing therapy available, there’s never a need to wonder what to do in Alleppey.
Expert masseurs who have a thorough knowledge of the human physiology and anatomy, with the combined expertise of the ancient science of Ayurveda are adept at taking their patients through deep relaxation of the body and muscles, thereby curing several ailments including chronic ones. Go for an Abhyangam massage which is a full body massage or a Shirodhara massage which involves the trickling of oil at a certain pace on one’s forehead to imbue a deep sense of relaxation at an entirely different level. You can spend a couple of hours at this place and relax in your hotel later. It would cost an individual around 1500-2000 Indian rupees. Of course, you could additionally always avail spa treatment at your hotel, which is very effective as well. Santhisukham is another wellness hospital based on Siddha medicine. All these are almost hospitals with cures for ailments such as knee pain or injury, back pains, lower-back pain etc. Among things to do in Alleppey, give wellness and therapy a shot.
Visit a National Geographic Gem - Kakkathuruthu Island
A feather in Alleppey’s cap, the Kakkathuruthu Island is a must visit for all nature lovers. Here is a little trivia that is sure to pique your interest. This remote island nestled in the backwaters of Alleppey is listed as one of the must-visit destinations in the world by none other than National Geographic! Kakkathuruthu translates to ‘crows’, and the island is renowned for nesting of numerous bird species. Bird watchers would be thoroughly excited to see many different species of birds. A trip to this island is one of the most exotic things to do in Alleppey. The island is peaceful and away from disturbance of any sort. There are a few hundred native inhabitants, who are also peaceful folk, allowing visitors to soak in the beauty of the island. You can reach here only by boat. They take you on a canoe boat across to the island. The journey is about 1.5 hours, and you pay about 1500 per head. The boat ride is filled with natural beauty. It is one of the most picturesque things to do in Alleppey. If you’re planning to avail food on the island, inform the boatmen at the time of accosting the boat, so that food is ready by the time you reach the island. The boat ride is filled with natural beauty and one of the most striking things to do in Alleppey. There are various packages to choose from. You can opt to go boating with or without food served, which is usually dinner. One of the packages is around 4.30 pm, a 2-hour boating ride where you catch the sunset famously mentioned by the National Geographic Magazine. Overall the tranquillity at this island, the lush beauty of the green paddy fields, the waters and birds are an enriching experience. Mention this star destination if anyone asked you what to do in Alleppey.
Visit the International Coir Museum
Here’s what is so startling – people do not expect to see something like this; it’s one of its kind in the world. What can be more enchanting than the backwaters at Alleppey? Expectations are low because it’s a coir museum and possibly not even mentioned among the exciting things to do in Alleppey. All these questions are put to rest as you take a little tour inside the International Coir museum at Alleppey. However, connoisseurs of art, adults and children will find this place very fascinating. Coir is made from the rough fibre covering of coconuts, is usually only used for mats, carpets and ropes. Step into this museum to discover more. The wide range of items on display from a material which is visually unaesthetic underlines the fact that creativity can transform anything for the better. A precious gem of Alleppey, the International Coir Museum is an artist’s answer to what to do in Alleppey. On display are miniatures of famous monuments and iconic personalities all made from coir. This is one of the most fun things to do in Alleppey with kids. Standing pretty are the Eiffel Tower, the Lotus Temple and the Taj Mahal, a portrait of Mother Teresa, a huge coir umbrella, some of the hot favourites among visitors. People who visit the museum step out in wonder. Truly of international quality, ample space is dedicated to the huge looms that produce coir, throwing light on the entire process of producing the coir. The guides explain and show how coir is produced from the husk of the coconut. It is very interesting to witness the transformation of the raw material to the finished product, as it goes through various loom-like machines. The serene earthy decor compliments the beautiful artefacts on display. Visitors who step in with idle curiosity end up posing for pictures beside all the works of art. Children are especially thrilled to stand next to them for a picture. The kids would probably list this among the first few when asked what to do in Alleppey. It’s a happy place that celebrates fantastic local art and artisans. There is a small entry fee of 20 rupees per person. The place is tidy and well-maintained. Tea, coffee and ice creams can be purchased at the venue. There is a little garden with swings for children to spend time. Do stop by at the souvenir shop to pick up a few favourite items to gift your friends and family back home. Besides the backwaters, this is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Alleppey with family.
Boating at a Unique Lake - Kayamkulam Lake
Among the breathtakingly serene backwaters is a large lake at Alleppey. The lake is a lagoon lying between Karthikapilly and Panmana, the waters of which gradually flow into the sea. Years ago, this confluence into the sea was not as seamless as it is today. Dunes were separating the two. The dunes were eliminated with the construction of the Kayamkulam fishing harbour. The lake is dotted with birds of rare species, their colours and hues blending into the skies and waters, adding a dash of colour to the tiny nooks and corners. Dotting the scenery are also the local people carrying on with their everyday chores, seemingly oblivious to the tourist who cast curious glances at them, hoping to catch a glimpse of the rustic life, where people appear very content without the conveniences that a big city offers. Observing their lives and imbibing their peace are definite things to do in Alleppey and the answer to urban, mobile-addicted kids asking what to do in Alleppey.
Choose a 2-hour ride or spend a night on a houseboat. The former gives you a few good views to take memories back home, and the latter is full of picturesque views enough to last you a lifetime. If the budget is really not a constraint and if you thirst for more, a day on the lake could be one of the best things to do in Alleppey. Food and snacks are served on the 2-hour tour as well. Children can grab a bite on the ride. A little boat can accommodate about 7 – 10 people. They also stop at tea stalls along the way. It’s an exhilarating feeling to sip a strong tea as you relish the soul-enriching views of the tranquil waters. If you’re lucky, you could spot dolphins at the point where the lake meets with the sea. Watching dolphins was perhaps not listed as one of the things to do in Alleppey, but there are a few surprises everywhere.
The paddy fields around are an agricultural miracle created by the farming community of the area. They have made irrigation and cultivation possible around 10 feet below sea level by reclaiming land from the waters. This ingenious work has paid off with the local community engaging in crop cultivation for sustenance and livelihood. One of the most scenic spots in Kerala with an abundance of flora and fauna and the beautiful birds, a visit to this lake is exceptional and is one of the top things to do in Kerala.
Go Birdwatching - Pathiramanal Island
This remote island, Pathiramanal, which translates to ‘Sands of Night’ is the perfect paradise for avian lovers. Located 13 kilometres from Alleppey, this beautiful bird sanctuary is accessible only by boat on the Vembanad Lake, the backwaters of Alleppey. Avail a speed boat ride. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach the island. According to Kerala Tourism, there are 91 local species of birds and 50 migratory ones that visit from various parts of the world. Species spotted include Common Teal, Pintail Ducks, Night Heron, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Cormorant, Darter, Purple Heron, Indian Shag, Cattle Egret, Little Cormorant, Indian Pond Heron, Bronze-winged Jacanas, Whistling Duck, Little Egret, Whiskered Tern and Cotton Pygmy-Goose. You may also catch a glimpse of rare species like the Monarch Flycatcher, according to the Kerala Tourism website which keeps a regular update of the various types of birds that visit the island. For the avid birdwatcher, this paradise would stand right on top among things to do in Alleppey.
The island was discovered and established by the Kerala royals and is also known as Anantha Padmanabha Thoppu. It is uninhabited by humans. Occupation and habitation by humans would definitely result in the dwindling of numbers and species. Kerala has reserved this island for nature conservation. In the late 70s of the 20th century, about 14 families resided on this island but were later rehabilitated. Visitors must respect the space and keep the island free of litter and plastic when they visit these places. The vegetation is dense with many trees and shrubs, providing plenty of shade and protection from sunlight. People with interests in plants and trees would also enjoy their visit to this island. There are a 500-metre walkway and a temple as well. After strolling from one end to the other, doing some birdwatching, hop on to the boat to take you back. The island shuts at 6.30 pm. Keep your binoculars ready to spot the birds.
Visit a Church – St.Mary’s Forane Church
Kerala has a large Christian community and beautiful places of worship. Also known as the Chumbakulam Church, the architecture is spectacular and comparable to the ornate churches abroad. You can spot this Basilica on your way on the backwaters. Step off and visit it; it’s totally worth it. The interiors are filled with stunning paintings and carvings. The altars and domes are decorated with intricate work and stained-glass patterns glinting in many colours. It is an ancient church that kept getting renovated from time to time. Built around 420 AD, the authorities have done a magnificent job of restoration and preservation both on the exterior and interiors. There is a carving of The Last Supper at the entrance which is intricately made and attracts attention from all the visitors. The interior of the church is quiet, cool, very spacious and a perfect space for reflection and quiet contemplation.
On the one hand, it is quiet, but one also experiences immense joy and peace. One feels positive and uplifted here. A little school runs next door filled with chirpy and happy children. The church runs the school, thereby contributing to society. This Basilica is known to be the oldest and, in a sense, the mother of all Syrian Christian churches around Alleppey. This is a must see and foremost among things to do at Alleppey.
There are two annual feasts at this church, so catch them, if you’re lucky enough to be there at that time. One feast falls on the 3rd Sunday in October each year. St. George’s feast is during March. Visiting this St. Mary’s Basilica, one of the original churches established by St.Thomas, provides a sneak peek into the ancient cultures and traditions of Kerala. Devotees come here in large numbers, so it’s a great place to watch the people of Alleppey and Kerala. Do not miss this unassumingly beautiful church! If one asked what to do in Alleppey besides the famous backwaters, this ancient and exquisite Basilica must be mentioned.
Celebrate Women Power!
The state of Kerala is dotted with numerous sacred temples for centuries attracting devotees from all over the state. The Chakkulathukavu Temple is located on the Mavelikara-Haripad road. Rivers Pampa and Marimala flow on either side of this temple. The presiding deity is a form of Goddess Durga known as Chakkulatuvavu amma, symbolic of Mother Nature incarnate. Devotees believe that their prayers get answered by paying a visit to this temple, with the Goddess Durga responding to the call of her devotees. The beautiful temple also has a tall idol of Lord Hanuman. Surrounded by rich foliage and paddy fields, with rivers on either side, the temple’s scenic beauty has besotted several people, no matter what their faith is. The fact that the temple is situated between two beautiful rivers draws even the agnostic to watch this natural phenomenon and is again, one of the most interesting things to do in Alleppey.
This temple is the most famous after Sabarimala and Guruvayur. Built in typical Kerala style of architecture, the temple courtyard is a vast open space filled with positive vibes.
Here’s the most interesting part. This temple is known to be a woman’s answer to Sabarimala. While Sabarimala upholds the male gender, the Chakkulathukavu temple worships the female gender. The localities even call it ‘Ladies Sabarimala’. The temple has an All-Women’s day when men are not allowed in the temple premises. Chakkulatuvavu Pongala is a famous festival held here. It falls during the month of Vrischikam, according to Kerala calendar, which is around November – December. The sweet dish called Pongala Neivedyam is offered to all devotees, who are essentially all women. On this day, men are forbidden from entering the temple. Women gather in large numbers to participate in this festival. Besides this, they celebrate ‘Naree Pooja’, another festival celebrating the female gender. Navratri is also celebrated in great aplomb. Even if you are not religious, you’d love the place for its exquisite beauty and serenity, for the rivers flowing by and the surrounding paddy fields. Isn’t it great that there is a place of worship that celebrates women power? Families with children must definitely have this on their things to do in Alleppey list, to reinforce the correct social status of women and gender equality.
A hidden gem of Alleppey, a museum like no other, the Revi Karunakaran museum is a visual treat. Where else would you find 800 odd pieces of art, all made of glittering Swarovski crystals? Three generations of a family were involved in collecting rare and exquisite art pieces from all over the world. It is so beautiful that even though the museum is privately owned, it is listed by Kerala tourism as a tourist spot. Many precious artefacts belong to the British era or even earlier times. Even the statues adorning the garden of the stately mansion are priceless. Stunning porcelain artefacts, pottery and intricate sculptures imported from various countries like France, Germany, Spain, Italy, China etc. find a place in this rare private collection. Beautiful paintings, Ming vases, a car collection, ornate furniture, gold and silver items with intricate carvings adorn this museum at Alleppey. The ivory collection is vast and breathtaking, though one cannot but think of the atrocities the pachyderms face, for their tusks. Precious gems besides Swarovski crystals like ruby, emerald, sapphires and jade also add to the dazzle and glitz around. You’ll find objects with precious Belgian glass mirrors, Murano glass, Dresden European porcelain as parts of the collection. Each item is obscenely precious and expensive. While the ground floor takes you through the marvellous paintings, easing you into the ethos of art and beauty, the first floor is a showstopper. The sheer luxury of the exhibits here can hold you in rapture.
Exquisite luxury items on display by Lladro are also drool-worthy. The owner is a lady who established this museum of precious collectables in memory of her late husband, Revi Karunakaran. Revi was a very wealthy and well-travelled coir businessman who left no stone unturned to procure these rare gems of exhibits from all over the world. There are guides to give an account of the various stories and incidents behind every precious item on display. Keep aside a good 4 hours to tour the entire museum, which spans around 20,000 sq. feet. If you’re a connoisseur of art, this is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered by you! It’s great exposure to kids as well. This museum is a pure delight for visitors to Alleppey.
Watch Boat Race Practice Sessions: During the festive period of Onam, you get to witness the cultural vibrancy of Kerala at its best. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is a sight to behold. If you are visiting Alleppey in August, you can watch the Nehru Trophy boat race, which is indeed a delightful experience. Only a handful of people get to enjoy the thrill though. If you visit anytime in June, you can witness the practice sessions and interact with the rowers. Click photographs, sit and enjoy watching the practice, and learn more about the history of this challenging sport.
Enjoy Authentic Seafood
Kerala is famous for its spices, and their cuisine justifies this. Ideal for foodies, the delicious local cuisine is bound to leave you craving more. Seafood lovers should try the shrimp, karimeen, and other traditional delicacies. You can also go fishing by yourself and cook your own catch.
Experience the Village Life
Nearby Kuttanad is all about paddy fields, coconuts, and waterways. It is famous for fishing and spice cultivation, and is also known as the Rice Bowl of Kerala. Here you can see how paddy farming is done 4-10 feet below sea level. Learn about rural life in Kuttanad and experience a unique and fascinating aspect of the country. One can also try interacting with the natives to gain insight into their lives.
Explore the Beaches
A trip to Kerala is incomplete without exploring its coasts. The entire coastline of Alleppey is a landmark in the maritime history of India. There’s a lighthouse that offers you excellent views during the sunset. Book your stay at one of the top beachfront resorts in Alleppey and soak in the beauty of this stunning land. The Club Mahindra resort here is very popular among tourists for its ideal location and exceptional service.
Soak in Spirituality
If you are a history buff, one of the best things to do in Alleppey is to visit the churches and temples. This town is a testimony to the prosperity of Hinduism and Christianity, and their places of worship have maintained the heritage and tradition of the region. There are a number of religious places you can visit, such as Nagaraja Temple, St Mary’s Church, Ambalapuzha Krishna Temple, and Arthunkal Church.
Here is a detailed travel guide on Kerala tourism to know more about places to visit, things to do & best time to visit Alleppey to make the most of your family vacation! If you are wondering where to stay? There are ample options to choose from at Alleppey, including houseboats. But for that perfect holiday experience with family Club Mahindra’s Alleppey property is one of the best choices. Imbued with the local cultures and cuisines, utterly spacious rooms with all modern facilities and entertainment for the entire family, it is a perfect blend of old-world charm and hospitality. The local Kerala cuisines and lip-smacking seafood prepared by world-class chefs are a treat to look forward to at the elegantly designed multi-cuisine restaurant. Relax and spend quality with family while the superbly courteous staff takes care of all your needs. Check the Club Mahindra reviews online for any information you may require. Enjoy your holiday at Alleppey!