A Special Kerala Homestay in Alleppey’s Backwaters

Last updated on

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.

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

  1. 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.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.