This city was once known as the Venice of India, though most residents have abandoned their canoes for cars. Alleppey (Alappuzha) is an important gateway to the backwaters—tour operators abound, and several resorts 30 minutes out of the town are a good alternative to the pricier properties in Kumarakom.

Alleppey, from the tourist’s point of view, is essentially an access point to the backwaters and does not offer much in the way of sights. It’s a lively, noisy town of bazaars, with a unattractive beach, and the administrative headquarters of the surrounding district, so most visitors hurry through on their way to the lagoons. However, if you are looking to hire a houseboat for a day or more, Alleppey is the best place to do it.

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