Kerala Houseboat Advice
Here is some Kerala Houseboat advice on how to get the best deal and the best boat for the perfect holiday. Not a lot can go wrong but at the end of the day, this is India, so it's worth being prepared!
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There is not a great deal of difference in price whether you book online or when you get there; however, it can save you time and hassle to book online before you go.
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Booking when you get there
Booking when you get there can be quite a lot of hassle and you will have to pick your way through all of the rip of merchants but when you do, it is possible to get a very good deal this way.
What is likely to happen
If you are arriving by train, then you are most likely to step on to the platform and be completely mobbed by Indian men all offering the best deals on houseboats, hotels and rickshaws. The instinctive thing to do is get straight in a rickshaw and escape the madness. It may seem a good option at the time but this is, in fact, a very opportunity to get a good deal on a houseboat. There is so much competition between the touts that they start giving really good deals without any work on your part.
This is how we arranged our houseboat tour. We chose one of the men who was the most trustworthy and took him to another tour operator where we compared the deals. We then went to see each of the retrospective parties boats and chose the one that was best. We went with the guy from the train station because he simply had the best deal and we liked him the most. He put us up in a great hotel and we left the following morning to begin our adventure. The whole process took about 3 hours, although it did not seem like that.
Kerala Houseboat Advice; How much does it cost?
Hmm... its a good question and a hard one to answer. When I went on my trip with 6 other people it cost 12000 rupees for three days boating, including all food and one night's accommodation. We all considered this a very good deal considering the standard of service and the beautiful boat that we recieved.
This translates as about 250 Dollars but divided by 7 people, it is only 35 dollars each, or 9 dollars day. When you look at it like that, it is really not that expensive (of course, that is not accouting for all the beer we carried aboard!)
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Some useful tips on what to do and what not to do
-Apart from a small deposit, never pay for anything until you are actually on the boat you selected and about to leave. This is the time to hand over the cash.
-When you have agreed a price and shaken hands on a deal, write down a small contract on a piece of tissue or something. Get both parties to sign. It's not unlike your man to come back the next day and add another ten percent to the agreed price.
-If you are booking online beforehand, make sure you know exactly what your are getting and paying for. You can get a good deal this way and although it maybe a bit more expensive, it saves time and you avoid the hassle of arranging it yourself.
-When arranging a price on a houseboat, bargain hard. I mean really hard, you can get most of these guys down to about 50% of their original offer.
-Another good bit of Kerala houseboat advice is, if you enjoyed your trip and the food and service onboard then tip heavily. The crew do not see much of the money that you pay and they're the ones that help make the journey so special, so dig deep!