My 5: The Kerala Backwaters, India.

Kerala backwaters cruise India

1. April 2004. Once upon a time… when Leighton was a mere pup… he took a trip to India. The final location of that month-long adventure was a six-night stay in Fort Kochi, Kerala. I’d come to Kerala specifically to tick two things off my bucket list. One was a visit to an elephant sanctuary, the other a boat tour through the world famous Kerala backwaters. This 900-kilometer network of interconnected rivers, lakes and lagoons that line India’s southern coast and can be toured with a traditional wooden thatched houseboat, known locally as Kettuvallam.

Kerala backwaters cruise India

2. April 2004. Anyone familiar with my library of 5s will know this is a purely self-indulgent piece. My photos from this period are shit and in all honesty my memories of the day are hazy at best. I couldn’t tell you which company we went with or provide you the usual details regarding times and costs. I do remember our boat captain being an immensely friendly man who, despite his wiry frame, showed great strength in ferrying us about using only paddle-power.

Coconut tree Kerala backwaters cruise India

3. April 2004. I recall us stopping in a few villages along the way to see the local folk making products from coconuts. And I’ll never forget our guide propelling himself up a tree like a fleet-footed monkey to grab us some coconuts. I was so excited at the prospect of drinking the juice directly from the coconut, although sadly this was followed by the crushing horror of how disgusting it was!

Swimming in the Kerala Backwaters India

4. April 2004. As is common with such tours Mr. Captain moored the boat for a bit so that we could go for a swim. I remember a few of our party outright refusing to jump in, claiming the waters were filthy. Call it the folly of youth perhaps but it didn’t bother me one bit. What can I say, I’m still alive!

Traditional lunch Kerala Backwaters cruise India

5. April 2004. A traditional lunch was provided: some kind of meat, rice and vegetable concoction served on a large banana leaf. It was a great day and, as with pretty much all my Indian travels, I feel that I have to go back sometime to revisit the adventures of my youth, make fresh discoveries and do the country some proper bloggy justice. If you’re interested in taking a tour of the Kerala backwaters there are dozens of options on offer so suit all styles. Take a look at Kerala Kayaking, Salmon Tours and Alleppey Backwaters.

Like this? Why not check out more 5s from my long ago trip to India.

For a more detailed and personalized account of my time in India, have a look at my short story collection Incidents in India.

For a similar experience have a read of my adventures exploring Vietnam’s fascinating Mekong Delta region.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001, so why not check out my huge library of My 5s from over 30 countries.

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Freelance travel writer, voice over and English teacher from London. Former music and film journalist, interviewer of the stars. Passionate about travel, film, music, football, Indian food.

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