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How To Take The Kerala Backwaters Ferry From Alleppey To Kottayam


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Angelique Graf



The Kerala Backwaters, located on the southwestern coast of India, is a breathtakingly beautiful network of canals, lakes, and lagoons, famously known for its serene and picturesque scenery. One of the best ways to explore this enchanting region is by taking a ferry ride from Alleppey (also known as Alappuzha) to Kottayam. This scenic ferry journey allows travelers to witness the mesmerizing beauty of the backwaters up close, with lush greenery, swaying coconut trees, and traditional houseboats dotting the landscape.


The Kerala Backwaters Ferry from Alleppey to Kottayam is not only a mode of transportation but also an experience that immerses you in the local culture and natural wonders of the region. The journey takes you through narrow canals, past small villages, and allows you to witness the daily life of the people living along the backwaters. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or someone seeking tranquility, this ferry ride promises to be a memorable adventure.


In this article, we will guide you through the process of planning your trip, choosing the right ferry, understanding the schedule and timings, buying tickets, boarding the ferry, and making the most of your backwater journey. So, sit back, relax, and let us take you on a virtual tour of this captivating backwater experience.


Planning Your Trip

Before embarking on your Kerala Backwaters Ferry journey from Alleppey to Kottayam, it’s crucial to plan your trip adequately. Here are some essential points to consider:

  • Best Time to Visit: The backwaters of Kerala are enjoyable throughout the year, but the ideal time to visit is during the winter months from November to February when the weather is pleasant and cool.
  • Duration: The ferry ride from Alleppey to Kottayam takes approximately two hours, so plan your schedule accordingly.
  • Packing Essentials: Carry essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, comfortable clothing, and insect repellent to protect yourself from the sun and insects. If you plan to explore Kottayam after the ferry ride, consider carrying a backpack with necessary items.
  • Accommodation: If you’re planning to spend more time in the backwaters, Alleppey offers a range of accommodation options, from luxurious resorts to budget-friendly homestays. Alternatively, you can choose to stay in Kottayam and explore the backwaters as a day trip.
  • Transportation: Reach Alleppey by train or bus from major cities in Kerala or hire a taxi. After the ferry ride, you can either take a taxi or public transportation to your next destination.

Keep in mind that planning ahead and considering these factors will ensure a smooth and comfortable journey through the Kerala Backwaters.


Choosing the Right Ferry

When it comes to choosing the right ferry for your journey from Alleppey to Kottayam, there are a few options to consider. Here are the main types of ferries available:

  1. Government-run Ferries: The Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD) operates regular ferry services along the backwaters. These government-run ferries are affordable and provide a genuine local experience. They offer comfortable seating and have basic amenities on board.
  2. Private Houseboat Ferries: For a more luxurious and personalized experience, you can opt for a private houseboat ferry. These houseboats come equipped with bedrooms, attached bathrooms, a kitchen, and sometimes even a living area. Hiring a private houseboat can be more expensive than the government-run ferries, but it offers a unique and intimate way to explore the backwaters.
  3. Shikara Boats: Shikara boats are small, traditional wooden boats used for transportation in the backwaters. They are perfect for shorter journeys or for exploring narrow canals and smaller waterways. Shikara boats are typically operated by local fishermen and offer a more intimate and authentic experience.

Consider your budget, preferences, and travel style when deciding on the type of ferry. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option and want to experience the local way of life, the government-run ferries are the way to go. If you prefer a more luxurious and private experience, you can opt for a private houseboat ferry. Alternatively, Shikara boats are a great choice for shorter journeys or exploring off-the-beaten-path areas.


It’s important to note that ferry availability may vary depending on the season and demand, so it’s advisable to check in advance and make your reservations accordingly.


Ferry Schedule and Timings

Having knowledge of the ferry schedule and timings is crucial for planning your trip from Alleppey to Kottayam. Here are some important points to keep in mind:

  • Schedule: The Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD) operates regular ferry services between Alleppey and Kottayam. The ferries run at fixed intervals throughout the day, allowing passengers to choose a convenient departure time.
  • Timings: The first ferry from Alleppey to Kottayam usually departs around 6:30 AM, and the last ferry leaves around 5:30 PM. The exact timings may vary, so it’s advisable to check the current schedule beforehand.
  • Frequency: During peak tourist season, the ferries typically run more frequently, with departures every 1-2 hours. During the offseason or on weekdays, the frequency may be slightly reduced.
  • Travel Time: The ferry journey from Alleppey to Kottayam takes approximately two hours. However, keep in mind that the actual travel time can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions and traffic on the backwaters.

It’s recommended to arrive at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time to ensure a hassle-free boarding process. This will give you enough time to purchase tickets, find a comfortable seat, and prepare for the journey.


Keep in mind that the ferry schedule and timings are subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to double-check the latest information before planning your trip. You can inquire at the local tourist information centers or contact the Kerala State Water Transport Department for the most up-to-date schedule.


Buying Tickets

Buying tickets for the Alleppey to Kottayam ferry ride is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to purchase your tickets:

  1. Arrive at the Ferry Terminal: Head to the ferry terminal in Alleppey, also known as the Alappuzha Boat Jetty, where the ferry services operate from. You can reach the terminal by taxi, auto-rickshaw, or by walking if you’re staying nearby.
  2. Locate the Ticket Counter: Once you arrive at the ferry terminal, look for the ticket counter. It is usually located near the main entrance or the boarding area. You can ask the staff or fellow travelers for directions if needed.
  3. Choose your Class: At the ticket counter, you’ll have the option to choose your class of travel. The classes available may vary depending on the type of ferry. Common classes include general seating, reserved seating, and upper-deck seating.
  4. Purchase your Ticket: Inform the ticket counter staff of your preferred class and the number of tickets you need. Pay the fare for your chosen class. It is advisable to carry cash as some ticket counters may not accept cards. Obtain your ticket and keep it safely for boarding.
  5. Check the Departure Time: Take note of the departure time mentioned on your ticket. Ensure that you arrive at the boarding area well in advance to avoid any last-minute rush.

Alternatively, you can also purchase tickets online through the Kerala State Water Transport Department’s website or other trusted travel platforms. Online booking allows you to secure your tickets in advance and can be particularly helpful during peak tourist seasons.


It’s important to note that ticket availability is subject to demand, so it’s advisable to plan your trip and purchase your tickets as early as possible, especially during busy travel periods.


Boarding the Ferry

Boarding the ferry for your Alleppey to Kottayam journey is a straightforward process. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Arrive Early: It’s advisable to arrive at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time. This will give you enough time to find your ferry and ensure a smooth boarding process.
  • Keep Your Ticket Handy: Make sure to keep your ticket accessible as you approach the ferry. The ticket will be checked by the ferry staff before you board. Always carry a physical or digital copy of your ticket.
  • Follow the Boarding Instructions: Pay attention to the announcements or instructions provided by the ferry staff. They will guide you on which ferry to board based on your ticket class and destination.
  • Respect the Queue: If there is a queue formed for boarding, join the line and wait for your turn. Maintain a respectful distance from other passengers and provide space for those disembarking from the previous journey.
  • Find a Seat: Once on board, find a comfortable seat. If you have reserved seating, look for the assigned seat mentioned on your ticket. If seating is not assigned, choose a seat of your preference. The upper deck usually offers better views.
  • Listen to Safety Instructions: Pay attention to any safety instructions or guidelines provided by the ferry staff. They may provide information on emergency exits, life jackets, and general safety precautions to follow during the journey.

As the ferry departs, sit back, relax, and enjoy the mesmerizing views of the backwaters. Capture photos, breathe in the fresh air, and immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of Kerala’s scenic beauty.


Remember to follow any additional instructions provided by the ferry staff throughout the journey. Disembarkation will occur at the Kottayam ferry terminal, where you can continue your exploration of this vibrant town or move on to your next destination.


Enjoying the Backwater Journey

The backwater journey from Alleppey to Kottayam offers a unique and enchanting experience. Here are some tips to make the most of your time on the ferry:

  • Find the Perfect Spot: Look for a seat with a good view of the backwaters. The upper deck or near the windows are often the best spots to enjoy uninterrupted panoramic views of the serene surroundings.
  • Embrace the Tranquility: Take this opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the backwaters, and appreciate the calmness and serenity that nature provides.
  • Observe the Local Life: Keep an eye out for unique glimpses of local life along the backwaters. You might witness fishermen going about their daily routines, locals commuting by small boats, and children playing on the banks of the canals. Pay attention to the vibrant culture that emerges from these simple but meaningful interactions.
  • Savor the Scenery: The Kerala Backwaters are renowned for their scenic beauty. Admire the lush green paddy fields, swaying coconut trees, and picturesque villages that line the waterways. Capture photographs to preserve the memories of this captivating journey.
  • Indulge in Local Delights: Some ferries may have onboard vendors selling local snacks and beverages. Treat yourself to a cup of hot tea or try traditional snacks like banana chips or spicy fritters. It’s a great way to enjoy the flavors of the region while enjoying the ride.
  • Engage with Fellow Travelers: Strike up conversations with fellow passengers and learn about their experiences and insights. Engaging with locals or other travelers can provide a deeper understanding of the region’s culture and help make new connections.

Remember to be respectful of the environment and local communities during your journey. Avoid littering and maintain a peaceful ambiance for everyone to enjoy. Nature’s tranquility combined with the unique cultural experiences along the backwaters make this journey truly special.


Arriving in Kottayam

As your backwater journey from Alleppey comes to an end, you will arrive at the vibrant town of Kottayam. Here’s what you need to know upon reaching your destination:

  • Disembarking the Ferry: Once the ferry arrives at the Kottayam ferry terminal, gather your belongings and prepare to disembark. Follow the instructions of the ferry staff and maintain a calm and orderly process.
  • Getting around: Kottayam has a well-developed transportation system, including buses, auto-rickshaws, and taxis. You can easily hire a mode of transport to reach your desired destination within the town.
  • Exploring Kottayam: Kottayam is known for its historic churches, cultural centers, and the highly regarded Mahatma Gandhi University. Take the opportunity to explore the town and visit attractions such as the Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple, St. Mary’s Church, and the Kerala Folklore Museum.
  • Indulging in Local Cuisine: Kottayam is a haven for food lovers, offering a range of delectable Kerala delicacies. Don’t miss out on trying traditional dishes like appam with stew, karimeen pollichathu (pearl spot fish), and authentic Kerala-style biryani.
  • Visiting Nearby Attractions: If time permits, consider exploring nearby tourist attractions such as Kumarakom, known for its backwater cruises and bird sanctuaries, or the picturesque Vembanad Lake. These destinations offer additional opportunities to experience the beauty of Kerala’s backwaters.
  • Accommodation Options: Kottayam offers a wide range of accommodation options, ranging from luxury hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses. You can choose accommodation based on your preferences and budget.

Whether you plan to spend a few hours or a few days in Kottayam, the town welcomes you with its rich cultural heritage and warm hospitality. Don’t miss the chance to explore the local attractions and immerse yourself in the charm of this picturesque destination.



The Kerala Backwaters Ferry from Alleppey to Kottayam offers a remarkable journey through the scenic and tranquil backwaters of Kerala. This experience allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty, observe the local way of life, and create lasting memories.


By planning your trip ahead of time, choosing the right ferry, understanding the schedule and timings, buying tickets, and boarding the ferry smoothly, you can ensure a seamless and enjoyable journey. Take the opportunity to cherish the breathtaking views, savor the local flavors, and engage with fellow travelers along the way.


As you arrive in Kottayam, the adventure continues with the exploration of this vibrant town. Discover the cultural heritage, indulge in the local cuisine, and visit nearby attractions that exemplify the charm of Kerala.


The Kerala Backwaters Ferry from Alleppey to Kottayam is not just a mode of transportation; it is an experience that allows you to connect with the natural wonders and cultural richness of the region. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or someone seeking tranquility, this backwater journey promises to be an unforgettable adventure.


So, pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready to embark on a memorable journey through the mesmerizing Kerala Backwaters. Allow yourself to be enchanted by the beauty of the backwaters and create memories that will last a lifetime.