Houseboat experience at Kodi Bengre, Udupi, Karnataka - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Houseboat experience at Kodi Bengre, Udupi, Karnataka

While houseboats are very popular experience drawing visitors to Kerala (Alleppy), other states are also trying to get a pie of this tourist attraction. Andhra Pradesh had introduced one in river Godavari at Dindi. Karnataka also has houseboats on offer at a place known as Kodi Bengre, 12 kms from Udupi city.

While I was aware of availability of houseboats in Udupi since past 2-3 years, a stay or an experience hadn't materialized. Last year July when I enquired they were closed due to monsoon and covid. Eventually managed to get an experience this week and this post shares all the details with you.

01. Where are houseboats in Karnataka?

Houseboats are operational in a place called Kodi Bengre. This spot is about 10-12 kms from Udupi city. You can follow directions on the map. There are bus service to this place from Udupi/Santekatte but frequency is less. Own transport/cab is best if you are time constrained.

02. How many houseboats are there in Kodi Bengre?

House boats in Karnataka are not as many as those in Alleppy. Here they are just a few in number, probably less than 10 total, operated by 4-5 different companies.

03. What are the advantages of houseboats in Karnataka vs Kerala?

  • Main advantage is you don't have to go all the way to Kerala to experience house boats.
  • Another advantage is you don't necessarily have to spend a whole night. House boat operators in Udupi have cheaper, short term options (details at the bottom of this post)
04. How houseboat experience in Karnataka different from that in Kerala?
Alleppey (Alappuzha) has a longer river track suitable for multiple houseboats. Backwaters in Udupi are relatively narrower, shallower. So the cruise experience in better in Kerala. Reasons to opt for houseboats in Karnataka are they are closer, may be a bit cheaper and will give a reasonable houseboat experience without needing a Kerala travel plan

My experience with Panchajanya houseboat breakfast ride in Kodi Bengre
I booked a short 2 hour ride with Panchajanya Cruise. It cost me INR 5000 (Min 5 pax) + 1000 Rs per additional passenger. Breakfast is included and a 2 hour ride around.

We reached the spot ahead of time- at about 7.40 and spent some time exploring two of their house boats. Panchajanya have two house boats- one bigger one, Pranav is said to be for ocean cruise while the other one is for backwater. Panchajanya have good car parking in their premises
Driver came at 8 AM and the cruise began. I would say it was a crawl, not a cruise, because water levels were very low and driver was worried about boat propeller touching the ground. We were given two options- to go towards islands or towards beach. The boat we were in was not equipped to enter ocean, so it can only cruise in backwaters. We opted for islands but 30-45mins into the journey driver said water is too shallow to proceed and took us in opposite direction.
The Panchajanya houseboat we toured was a single bedroom one. Thirumala cruise seem to have a much bigger multi bed room one.
Our house boat had an upper deck with only viewing area.
We were served Poori Baaji and tea on the move. We were told no welcome drink or extra tea/coffee in 2 hour package. It was peak summer in April so view wise there wasn't anything exceptional. We could see Thonse health centre, Paradise island resort, Durga Parameshwari temple, couple of islands, Hangarakatta etc from the moving boat.

My intention of this booking was to experience houseboats in Udupi first hand so that I can write about it and also give my family members an experience of houseboats. Both objectives were met. Couldn't have experienced much in 2 hours on a peak summer morning anyway. You can plan a different package on a different season for better experiences.

Cost/Pricing of houseboat experience at Kodi Bengre, Udupi
There are many combinations of packages you can chose from. Have given a summary below, refer official websites for latest packages and offers.

#

Package

Operator

Price

Inclusion

1

Breakfast Ride

Panchajanya

INR 5000 (min, upto 5 pax) + 1000 per extra person

Breakfast, tea, 2 hour ride

2

Overnight Stay 8 PM to 8 AM

Thirumala Cruise

2500 per room

Only stay, no cruise, no food

3

Overnight Cruise 5PM to 8.30 AM

Thirumala Cruise

13500 per room (3 pax max)

Dinner, stay, cruise, breakfast

4

Lunch Cruise 11 AM to 4 PM

Panchajanya

/ Thirumala (Day cruise)

11500-12000 (max 6 pax, 2000 per extra person

Lunch, cruise

5

Dinner Cruise 5 PM to 9.30 PM

Panchajanya

/ Thirumala (Day cruise)

11500-12000 (max 5 pax, 1000 per extra person

Snacks, dinner, cruise

6

Party hall, 10 AM to 8.30 AM

Thirumala

25000+

/thirumalacruise.com/

7

Houseboat rooms

Paradise Lagoon Resort & Spa

8000 Rs + per night

paradiselagoon.in/ rooms.html

8

 

Sai Houseboats

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

Below is map reference of Kodi Bengre backwater trail, you can coordinate with driver which direction you would like to visit. High and low tide and other factors may decide the routes as well.
Where to book Udupi houseboats?
Better to talk directly to houseboat operator, check availability and book.
I enjoyed driving the boat for a short while. Have a few videos taken, will edit and upload asap. These boats are built locally by experts from Kerala.

What else to keep in mind while planning Udupi house boat cruise?
1. High tide and low tide: During low tide hours boats can't cruise faster and distance/direction could be limited.
2. Season: Houseboat operation will be closed during peak rainy season. August to Feb might be best time. March onwards summer kicks in, you water level also will be lot lower
3. Packages: There are dozens of combinations of packages- review and chose the one that best suits your needs and budget.
4. Size of the houseboat- ensure it is appropriate to your group size and intended purpose. Few house boats are small- one or two BR while there are bigger ones. For a small group bigger ones are waste of money. If operator is mixing multiple groups (say you are paying for one room while other rooms are taken by others) then you should be comfortable.
5. Always speak to the operator before booking. Some of their website info may not be latest or ground realities could be different. Speak to them, verify and then book/pay.
Above: Sai Cruise

3 comments:

  1. Love that you've pretty much answered all the questions I could have had already :)
    The rates seem okay for what they offer. A few years ago, I remember booking a larger version of this for an all day cruise in Kannur for around 25 people... it was a wonderful experience.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks great, Thanks for sharing your experience.

    ReplyDelete

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