Posted by Guest, Sue Hampshire (London)
There are several reasons why Alleppey in Kerala is for me the best holiday around.
Consider Ayurveda. If you like a bit of pampering then this is the place for you. And massages are so much cheaper than in other holiday destinations. Also Ayurveda recommends a massage daily for at least a week. It’s sheer indulgence and you go home feeling on top of the world. All relaxed, energetic and glowing.
Then I love the backwaters. Sometimes I’ve gone on the overnight cruise on a house boat. This again is sheer indulgence. Slowly cruising among the palm trees, watching Indian ladies washing clothes along the river bank and eating lots of homely Kerala food on board.
There’s a cheaper option though which is to go on a type of canoe which you can hire for a couple of hours. Not as luxurious, no food provided but the scenery is still the same. It all depends on your pocket.
I always go to the beach at Alleppey. There’s an unspoiled feeling about it that certainly doesn’t exist at Kovalam. Kovalam is too full of touts and sellers of all things that just get on your nerves. There you would love to wander around the shops but the owners are always asking you to come in and ‘have a look’. Annoying.
Alleppey Beach now has small portable-style stalls that mostly sell street food in the evenings and big string of chillies. I don’t touch them. It’s nice here to see the local families sauntering along the beach which reinforces that you are indeed in India and that real people live in this community – not just tourists.
And nothing like a sundowner in the Harbour Restaurant opposite the beach. Tourists and locals mingle here which again makes it all a more truly Indian experience for me.
And I stay in Raheem Residency at Alleppey Beach. I love the fact that’s it’s not a ten-storey block, that’s it’s got a sense of history all around in the architecture. The food is great in the restaurant – full of flavours and not too spicy if you don’t want it to be. And the staff are just like other Kerala people I’ve met. They’re so friendly and warm. They always have time for you.
I just love the Kerala experience and it’s at its best at Alleppey Beach.