Teeming with towering palm trees and coconuts, Alleppey is a seaside city of waterways with a tropical vibe. Also known as Alappuzha, it has an extensive network of canals. Boat rides on the serene backwaters offer a glimpse of Keralan village life. There's a beach to chill out on plus beer parlours and street food vendors selling local favourites like ela ada, a steamed banana leaf pancake.
Hostels in Alleppey are friendly and relaxed. Think hammock areas, games rooms and a book exchange. You can stay in a heritage building renovated with recycled materials, a peaceful hostel just 50 metres from the beach or a brightly coloured building with a laid-back outdoor terrace. Look out for an Alleppey hostel with free breakfast and free Wi-Fi. Some hostels in Alleppey can arrange boat or canoe tours so you can discover the city's backwaters, and others can organise yoga and cooking lessons.
There are some fascinating areas to explore in Alleppey. In the compact city centre, you'll find bustling bazaars alongside old canals. On the azure backwaters, which include Vembanad Lake, India's longest lake, you'll see houseboats, lush paddy fields and locals at work and play. Alleppey Beach is around 2km from the city centre, and it's a good place to grab a drink and a spicy snack.
Attractions in Alleppey include the Nehru Trophy Boat Race in August, where longboats of around 100 rowers compete accompanied by the sound of traditional rhythms. The region's temples are worth a visit too. Kidangamparambu is a Hindu temple with a spectacular multicoloured tower, and Mullakkal Devi Temple has a 41-day celebration in October and November. While drifting through the backwaters, you can visit a traditional toddy shop to sample curry and toddy, a mild alcoholic drink made from palm sap especially popular in Kerala.
The nearest airport to Alleppey is Cochin International Airport (around 78km). A flight from Mumbai is around 1 hour 45 minutes. To get from the airport to Alleppey you can take a bus and change for the train at Aluva. The whole journey takes 3 hours 15 minutes. Alleppey Railway Station is around 4km from the town centre and to get to town you can catch a bus or taxi. In Alleppey you can use auto-rickshaws or buses to get around, and ferries and buses to travel further afield.