Shannon Wolf | May 17, 2016 11:00 PM ET
Allepey: A Rocky Introduction
PHOTO: Wandering down the streets of Allepey felt like you were transported to another time. (photos by Shannon Wolf)
I was told that India tests you. That if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. I was told that you will love it and you will hate it equally but it will keep dragging you back in because there’s something so special about it that you can’t put a finger on. And so, I booked my ticket and bought my visa for four months.
Holy Buddha, I’m going to India!
I arrived at midnight in the city of Cochin and took an overpriced cab to Fort Kochi in which I had to give directions to the driver (thank God for offline maps).
I checked into my (expensive) guesthouse recommended by word of mouth and was shown to my “air-conditioned” dorm that didn’t actually have AC, shared with a shady looking man who kept eyeing me up as I unpacked my things. I went to check the mattress just in case and right away, I spotted something moving.
I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep after a long day of traveling so I moved beds and just as I was about to move the sheet, I now saw three and screamed “Oh. My. God. There’s bedbugs!”
Immediately, I went downstairs asking to change rooms and I was taken to a room that actually was air-conditioned, looked ten times nicer then the previous one and was bedbug free (or so it seemed). I spent the remainder of the night disgusted and having a difficult time sleeping, vowing that first thing in the morning, I was leaving for Allepey, also known as “Little Venice.”
Originally I had planned to stay on a houseboat cruising along the canal for two days but after being quoted 7,000 rupees (nearly $140 CDN) for one night, I opted for the government ferry, costing a laughable 15 rupees (30 cents CDN). It was a two-hour trip, along the same canal, seeing the exact same sights!
Three words: best money spent.
After being in Venice, I can say it is worth going to Allepey. It may be a little dirtier, but it sure is cheaper. Stay for two nights, do the cruise and head onward to Munnar!
Best Accommodation: Wind N’ Waves Guesthouse (200 rupees a dorm)
• Clean/comfortable beds
• Rooftop balcony overlooking the sea
• A walk to the beach in seconds
• Hammocks and plenty of seating
Best Places to Eat:
Whatever “Lonely Planet” tells you about where to eat, don’t listen. I had initially been brought to a place called “India Coffee House” and “Dreamers Restaurant and Cafe” which were equally disappointing and tasted terribly bland. If you are looking for an authentic and mouthwatering meal, head to the restaurants below.
PHOTO: After a not so great start with bad meals, the curries at Hot Pot made up for it.
What to order:
Everything we tried on their menu was delicious but our favorite was stuffed porotta (a sort of thick, flakey tortilla with fried onion), Gobi Masala (a sweet but spicy cauliflower curry) and Malai Kofta (a soft cheese and onion in a sweet/spicy curry sauce).
Anandha Bhavanam Hotel and Tea Shop
To the right of where you catch the government ferry, you will find this hidden gem of a place serving a delicious egg curry in a thick, dark sauce with sauteed vegetables along with Chappattis.
READ MORE: Cruising Along India's 'Little Venice'
• Cruise “Little Venice” by houseboat, private boat or the Government Ferry. It is the main reason to go here!
• Relax after a long journey to India and spend the day swimming at the beach.
• Wander around the city and take in the local culture.
• Eat your heart out! There are many great local restaurants in town to try.
PHOTO: You can’t beat the views from the front of the Government ferry cruising along Little Venice on the way to Kottyam.
If you are planning to head onwards to Munnar like most travellers, you have two options: Take the private bus or government ferry to Kottyam and a local bus to Munnar, which is much cheaper.
More by Shannon Wolf
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