A Special Kerala Homestay in Alleppey’s Backwaters

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Kerala backwaters homestay

I’d been sitting with Anneena for an hour discussing everything from Frozen to the dangers of hiking drunk. She also told me she hopes to be a paediatrician when she grows up, but not a politician as they have a tendency to get shot. The whole conversation was in English (including the word paediatrician) and at times it was easy to forget that Anneena is just 10 years old. I could have spoken to her for hours more. Her sister, mother, father, grandmother, aunt and cousins – the whole family are wonderful, and spending time with them at Greenpalm Homes, an Alleppey backwaters homestay, was one of the highlights of our time in Kerala.

A very special place to stay in Kerala

Greenpalms Homestay was started by accident by Anna, Annena’s grandmother. It was back in the day when Kerala’s backwaters weren’t as well-known as they are today and only one hotel existed in the surrounding villages. Some Swedish tourists had gone to stay there, only to find it double-booked. Far from the nearby town, they sought shelter in the surrounding homes and Anna’s door was one they knocked. She was a natural host and stories of her hospitality spread until she found herself with a popular homestay. As the years passed, her son, Thomas and daughter, Maria came on board adding their homes to the mix. All are in the same lush compound and combined they have a range of rooms from basic to air-conditioned. Delicious food is provided by Maria, and Thomas takes the lead in arranging trips around the village. You can go for walks, bike rides, canoe trips and more, or simply enjoy some time relaxing with the family.

We went for two nights after having read about it on Never Ending Voyage, but it’s also featured in the Lonely Planet. Greenpalm Homestay isn’t a secret but it somehow still feels that way. Some people choose the homestay as an alternative to a houseboat and it’s a much more environmentally-friendly choice. From Greenpalm Homes, you can also take a canoe/small boat trip which takes you deeper into the waterways along quiet canalways that the houseboats are too big to explore. Both experiences are special in their own way, but if I had to make a choice, I think I’d choose the homestay.

Experiencing local life at an Alleppey backwaters homestay in Kerala

Greenpalms homestay – a special place to stay in Alleppey

We stayed in Thomas’s house, pictured above. There are two more houses in the compound (Thomas’s mother’s and his sister’s).

A review of Greenpalms homestay in Kerala

The garden is filled with gorgeous flowers and fruits, many of which are used in Anna’s wonderful cooking.

Vegetarian food at Kerala homestay

Meal times are shared with the other guests and sometimes the family too. Daily chai is also served in the afternoon and is a good time to meet with other people.

Thomas, our gracious host at Greenpalms homestay in Alleppey

One morning we went for a walk with Thomas around the local villages. He stopped to tell us about different plants, introduce us to his friends and tell us stories of village life.

Experience village life at Greenpalms homestay near Alleppey

At the end of our walk, we had a traditional breakfast at one of the villager’s homes.

The best homestay in Alleppey

It started with curry, popadoms and puttu, a steam cake made from coconut…

The best homestay in Kerala backwaters

… followed by a delcious sweet treat of pancakes filled with a sticky coconut filling.

Greenpalms homestay is the perfect backwater experience in Kerala

We also met this excellent man who self-declared himself the “Indian Richard Burton”. He asked me to write about him so here he is 🙂

There are lots of great activities at Greenpalms Homestay

We also took a gorgeous boat trip through the canals that the big houseboats can’t fit through.

Greenpalms Homestay boat ride with beautiful views

This is where we saw stunning scenes such as these mirrored palm trees. You don’t see anything like this from the houseboats, making Green Palms worth the trip alone.

Sunset on the backwaters

We stayed on the boat trip until the sun started to fall.

Greenpalms homestay - a special experience in Kerala

Earlier, Thomas had pointed out a local tradition called toddy tapping. The terracotta pot is attached to the tree above to collect sap from the palms. It is one man’s job to bash the palms with a bull’s bone for around 20 minutes every day. This encourages the sap to leak. Once enough has been collected, it’s stored in bottles and brewed into toddy, the local liquor of choice.

Toddy Parlour in Kerala backwaters

We were intrigued and Thomas agreed to take us and some of the other guests to one of the toddy parlous that night.

Making friends at Greenpalms Homestay

I can’t say I liked the potent drink but it was a fun privilege to take part in the tradition.

The best hospitality at Greenpalms Homestay in Kerala

And here is Thomas’s family. We loved every minute of our time with them and I hope you’ll get the chance to visit them too. For us, this was the highlight of our time in magical Kerala.

Find more inspiration and tips for planning a trip to Kerala in our detailed Kerala itinerary post.

This post is sponsored by Kerala Tourism as part of the Human by Nature campaign.

15 thoughts on “A Special Kerala Homestay in Alleppey’s Backwaters”

  1. Hello, how very lovely. I see Kerala everywhere this week (there is this #keralablogexpress thing going on/Instagram and twitter). I love your pic of the mirrored palm trees. Isn’t it amazing, how some places manage to keep that feel of being a secret/special (despite the fact that Lonely Planet has written about it) .

    Reply
    • It IS amazing and sometimes those are the best places of all. It’s no mean feat to retain an air of secrecy when featured in the Lonely Planet!

      Reply
  2. Really cool photos! Love the food photos the most. 😉 Greenpalms will be on my mind whenever I plan my Kerala trip. I’m glad that you enjoyed your India journey. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  3. The places you like to stay at are exactly the kind I also love. Kerala seems to be calling my name at the moment, more and more every day. I would absolutely love to experience staying at one of these. Thanks for the tip! Next time you visit Finland we should share more of our stories :).

    Reply
  4. Truly a gem!! We stayed here after finding the homestay on your blog and we are so glad we did. This is the place to stay to experience Kerala from within. The family that runs the homestay are incredible people and fantastic hosts! We participated in nearly every activity from the morning walk led by Binu, which was more like a secret tour of the most beautiful village on earth, to the sunset boat adventures led by Thomas, to the cooking lesson with Anna. Each and every activity was special and different. When you go try them all, you won’t be disappointed 🙂

    This homestay is located on a special island, with no motorized vehicles, which is quite a treat after traveling around in India for a month! We met and made friend with travelers from all over the world AND had a romantic getaway. This place was everything I could have asked for. Oh and major plus the food is fantastic!

    The only thing I wish I had known before hand is that it is cash only, so make sure to stop at the ATM before arriving and get a little extra for the activities.

    Maria, Thomas, Matthew, and Anna we cannot thank you enough for such a wonderful stay and we look forward to returning!

    Reply
      • It was about $90 USD a night and make sure you bring some extra cash to participate in some of their activities! Totally worth is and not very expensive.

        One of the important things to know about the homestay is it is cash only and I definitely would prebook as it can get busy if they have a group there. Also, make sure you have a local cell sim you can use because it is a little tricky to find. Maria will give you great directions though. Have fun in paradise!!!

        Reply
  5. Hi Victoria, thank you for your blog post- I have just booked a trip to Kerala and will be doing your itinerary basically! Just a question, do you pay for the homestay on arrival and how much was it approx?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  6. We stayed at this lovely gem located in a quiet street in Alleppey for four nights , our first in India.
    Motty , the host welcomed us like an old friend .
    This home stay was spotlessly clean and magnificent with large verandas and antique furniture.
    The tropical lush garden is perfect and sitting on the private veranda you could bird watch for hours!
    We were spoiled with attention that was always friendly and never intrusive.

    Reply
  7. It was our 1st visit to Alleppy…. had very good n memorable time… especially hospitality showed by Afsal a honest and a friendly guide whom you can contact at 9946541714 will be a best friend throughout… the shikara ride the village boat rides the beauty of the lake… we enjoyed a lot… we are going back with lots of memories… thank u..
    -Siva Prakash
    Salem 🙏🏼

    Reply

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