If you’re planning a trip to Kerala and are looking for some information on how to get from the backwaters area of Alleppey to the lush hills of Thekkady, then you’ve come to the right place. Please note that Alleppey can also be called Alappuzha. Alleppey is an amazing place to visit for its traditional houseboat experiences. Thekkady is famous for its stunning Periyar National Park. Both Alleppey and Thekkady are top tourist places in Kerala.
Travel from Alleppey to Thekkady in Kerala India is easy. There are plenty of options. You can travel from Alleppey to Thekkady by:
- Hire Car
Whether you want to ride the bus, take a more leisurely route via the backwaters by boat or even do an Easy Rider type adventure and jump on two wheels, I’ve got you covered for your Kerala tour.
How to travel from Alleppey to Thekkady
One of the things you might notice in this article is that there’s no mentions of trains (I know – so sad!). Train travel is generally an awesome way to get around India, getting from Alleppey to Thekkady by train is no convenient line for this route.
Motorbikes, cars, buses and boats are the possible ways to reach the hills of the Idukki region of Kerala.
Which one will you take? Read on to make the best choice for you.
Must do in Alleppey: Experience a houseboat trip
Must do in Thekkady: Visit Periyar National Park
Quickest way to Thekkady: hire a car or taxi
Budget option to Thekkady: take a bus
Relaxing journey to Thekkady: ferry and bus
Adventurous route to Thekkady: take a motorbike!
Have you considered a houseboat?
Any adventurous traveller who is looking to experience the beautiful and tranquil nature of Kerala must experience a houseboat before leaving Alleppey! It is the number one bucket list item to do here.
This is your golden opportunity to cruise along the lush Kerala backwaters in a traditional wooden houseboat. Alleppey was called The Venice of the East for a very good reason!
You’ll be able to marvel at swaying coconut palms, gentle paddy fields and chilled farming villages as you drift along the waters. While the Kerala Tourism board promotes these heavily, you will still find them to be the less traveled way in Kerala.
A traditional and very yummy Kerala lunch is served to you onboard too (always delicious – always). You feel like you have been invited into an Alleppey home this way.
Is it worth staying in a houseboat for a night in Alleppey Kerala?
100%. This is THE activity to do in Alleppey Kerala. Me and my friends, as part of the Kerala Blog Express, spent a night on various houseboats in Alleppey to see which one was best. The service and experiences on all of them was truly impeccable. Whichever Alleppey boathouse you choose; we believe you are going to be very happy!
Places to stay in Alleppey Kerala before you leave
Naturally, the best place to stay is in a houseboat! Here are the top 3 options for budget, midrange and luxury travellers. These are a great alternatives to an Alleppey hotel.
Thara’s Eco Houseboat
Xandari Rivescapes Houseboats
The quickest way: Hire a car or take a taxi
By far the quickest way to get from Alleppey to Thekkady is to hire a car, ride a motorbike or jump in a taxi.
What are the roads like in Kerala?
Roads in India generally have a bad reputation and understandably for good reasons.
They’re poorly maintained, have dangerous mountain passes and abiding by road rules seems to be a very subjective matter!
I’ve had my fair share of near misses and hair raising, white knuckle ride experiences. Is Kerala the same?
I have to say that Kerala roads are in surprisingly good nick, and even after last year’s floods, things seem to be back to normal and in a decent state of repair!
Kerala road safety tips
If you decide to self drive, bear in mind that there are no medians, so it could be tricky driving at night with the glare from oncoming vehicles. It’s much more sensible to drive while it’s still light. That way you won’t miss the stunning views either. Expect rolling hills dotted with spice gardens, tea plantations and tropical lushness!
If you want to properly relax and take it all in, let someone else who is familiar with the roads do the driving.
Remember your travel sickness remedies
Roads are often narrow and bendy due to the hilly terrain, barriers along the edge of the hills aren’t constant, so caution is paramount. And if you suffer from travel motion sickness, a little pill might be your best friend in keeping the sickness at bay. Constant curves can certainly test the sturdiest of stomachs. I took medicine and used travel arm bands to help myself manage it all! You don’t want to spend your Kerala trip suffering from travel sickness.
What is the best route from Alleppey to Thekkady by car?
The distance from Alleppey to Thekkady is around 140 km (87 miles) if you stick to the most straightforward route to Thekkady.
The straightforward route looks like this:
Alappuzha > Changanassery > Mundakkayam > Kuttikkanam > Peermade > Vandiperiyar > Thekkady
How long does it take to go from Alleppey to Thekkady by car?
Due to the terrain you won’t be travelling faster than 40kph, so the journey will take around 4 hours whether you choose to take a taxi or self drive.
What is the cost of a taxi or car hire?
The Alleppey to Thekkady taxi fare will cost around $60, which is a bargain really unless you’re on a tight budget, getting you from door to door with minimum hassle. If you’re travelling solo, find some other backpackers to split the fare with; this will lower your cost substantially and who knows, you might come away with some new friends too. You may also be able to book a car hire as part of a Kerala tour package.
Car rental can be around $30 a day for a smaller car. Check with individual hire car companies to see what that includes.
If you need a rest stop for some refreshments or to use the toilet, there are a few roadside cafes dotted along the way. Taking a car won’t necessarily save you money, but it will save you time.
Don’t forget your visa for India!
Don’t turn up to the airport without a visa for India. There’s a good chance that you do need one!
iVisa will help you get your Indian visa in just 5 minutes.
The budget way: Take a public bus
Ah the Indian public bus. Love it or hate it, it’s the cheapest way to get you from A to B in this vast land of contrasts. It can be an adventure all by itself.
Some of my most memorable experiences of travelling in India were on buses. Like the time I got to sit on a sack of freshly picked carrots by some boisterous lady farmers, so fresh that their juices oozed down my trousers, all while travelling down a road with 32 hairpin bends, or the time when I was holding on for dear life on high mountain roads, trying not to pay attention to the bus wrecks lying at the bottom of the ravine. ‘Just focus on the amazing views,’ I kept repeating to myself.
The locals in India are very friendly and will most likely try and engage you in conversation. This is a good opportunity to get some insider tips on the places you plan to visit in the area. Best thing to do when taking public transport in India is to go with the flow, don’t let it ruffle your feathers and you’ll have a much more pleasant experience.
Are there public buses direct from Alleppey to Thekkady?
Almost! Buses travel to the nearest town to Thekkady, called Kumily.
The good news is that Kumily is only about 3 km away, so it’s just a short rickshaw ride to Thekkady. Rickshaws are in plentiful supply once you get off the bus and they are a lot of fun.
A direct bus means that you can get on at Alleppey bus stand and not have to worry about getting off until you reach Kumily, but the bus will make several stops along the way.
How much is the bus from Alleppey to Thekkady?
The good news is that this is by far the most budget friendly way to you to your destination. At the time of writing this in 2019, fares are around $2.
There’s no need to buy your ticket in advance, you can purchase it once you board the bus.
How long is the bus from Alleppey to Thekkady?
This journey from Alleppey to Thekkady by bus will take longer than in a car or taxi. It will probably be close to 6 hours. But hey, at that price, it’s really not that bad. Plus the route between Alleppey to Kumily is well served, so even if you do miss your bus, there will be another one in the not too distant future.
Please don’t take these as gospel but just use them as estimates. This is India and time is flexible. Delays are not uncommon.
Missed the bus to Kumily? You can go to Kottayam instead
If you happen to miss the direct Kumily bus and don’t want to wait around for the next one, you have the option of getting a bus to Kottayam. From there, there is an onward bus to Kumily.
This route also has frequent buses, so you shouldn’t have to wait around too long for a connection.
Don’t forget about travel sickness
If it’s raining, a lot of the buses lower their metal shutters. This means you’ll have no view out of the window. Make sure you check the Alleppey and Thekkaday weather before you leave.
That spells serious disaster for anyone who suffers from travel sickness.
If you really need to get on that bus, make sure to take your anti sickness medication, both for your sake and that of your travel companions.
The leisurely and budget way: Bus and ferry
Taking the Alleppey ferry is definitely my favourite way of getting from Alleppey to Thekkady. After all, part of the charm of Kerala is its laid back waterways. If you aren’t in a rush and the weather is fine, it’s definitely worth spending the extra hours to get to your destination in the Western Ghats.
How to get from Alleppey to Thekkady by bus and ferry
First take the ferry from Alleppey’s main ferry station to Kottayam. Enjoy a relaxing 3 hours watching life on the backwaters go by. Watch the fisherman at work, wave to the school kids, take in the tropical lushness. Do some bird watching, see if you can spot any kingfishers or cormorants, just two of the birds inhabiting this area.
Once you arrive in Kottayam, take a rickshaw or walk (about 15 minutes) to Kottayam bus station. Here, you can catch a bus to Kumily.
Remember: these times are not gospel. When in India; live life by flexi-time.
As I discovered while travelling around India, many buses do not have the destination written in English on them. If this is the case, either find the station master or ask one of the locals if the bus you want to board does indeed go to Kumily.
The journey should take around 4 hours.
Once in Kumily you can take a rickshaw to Thekkady as there is no bus from Kumily to Thekkady.
The great thing about this route is that it’s not only leisurely but also budget friendly – the ferry costs $1 while the bus will set you back about $2.
The adventurous way: hire a motorcycle
This is definitely for the experienced rider.
Avoid travelling at night, mainly for safety reasons. When it comes to road rules: there are no rules. This fact is compounded after dark. But who wants to drive at night anyway? You’ll be missing the spectacular scenery!
This is not a place to be a speed demon either, as many roads don’t have barriers or the signposts that you would expect to find back home. Take it easy.
When choosing a bike, bear in mind the hilly terrain and what kind of motorcycle will best suit this topography. You should also consider the Alleppey and Thekkady weather at the time when going by motorbike.
Also make sure to rent your motorbike from a reliable company. You don’t want to be breaking down in the middle of nowhere due to a mechanical failure. I recommend asking the locals you get good vibes from for some good advice.
Take as little or as much time as you want, whether it’s a few hours or a few days. That is the freedom that comes with a bike.
Whichever way you decide to travel, you will be blown away by the beauty of the place, so sit back and let Kerala work its magic on you.
And once you reach Thekkady, do not forget to visit Periyar National Park! It is one of the most fantastic places to visit in Thekkady.
Places to stay in Thekkady Kerala when you arrive
Here are the top 3 options for budget, midrange and luxury travellers.
The Elephant Court Resort
CGH Spice Village
ESSENTIAL INDIA PACKING LIST
How will you travel from Alleppey to Thekkady?
There are plenty of options to choose from. Choose the one that suits you best depending on how much time you have.
For more travel inspiration, don’t forget to check out my other articles about India!
What are you looking forward to experiencing in Alleppey or Thekkady? Have you tried any of these modes of transport already? How did it go?
Don’t leave home without travel insurance!
Don’t leave for your adventure without travel insurance. However careful you are, things can still go wrong. I’ve ended up in hospital in Russia, had stuff cut out of my arm in Vietnam and even when I thought eating that chicken in Poland was safe…turns out it wasn’t.
Do the right thing. Protect your health and valuables.