Kicking off my sandals I lie back on the cushions, take a sip of a cool Kingfisher beer and watch the palm trees drifting by. It’s the second to last night of a fabulous week in India and we’re spending it on a Kerala style rice boat on a mini cruise in Goa on the Chapora River.

An overnight cruise in Goa

We leave from the Siolim Jetty, just before sunset. Cruising along on a Goa houseboat has to be the perfect way to relax after a very hectic but wonderful week. We’ve visited so many lovely hotels from the quirky and unique to the upmost in absolute luxury but spending the night on a Goa houseboat was the one thing we were all most looking forward to.

As the sun sets behind the palms there’s just enough room for a spot of yoga but the scene is too picturesque not to pick up my camera and take a few shots.

Sunset on the Chapora River, Goa, India

The aromas from the kitchen drift our way as our chef prepares our dinner. One of the best meals we’ve had all week follows, which is saying something as we’ve eaten very well indeed. Back up top I enjoy another beer and watch a firework display across the waters on the far shore – a birthday party or wedding perhaps.

My cosy and inviting bedroom on a tradtional rice Goa houseboat, India

Each of the three bedrooms on our Goa houseboat is simply but comfortably furnished with ensuite facilities and a ceiling fan. My room is cosy and inviting as I slip between the crisp white sheets. I can feel a gentle rocking and hear the water lapping against the side of the boat. Far in the distance music is playing but it soothes me rather than disturbs. I sleep soundly, wake early, dress quickly and grab my camera to catch the sunrise.

Goa houseboat, INdia

After breakfast we head back up top and spend a lazy morning, watching the passing villages and the occasional fishing boat.

Early morningon the Chapora River, Goa

When to go on an overnight cruise in Goa?

The best time for a trip on a Goa houseboat is in the winter between November and March when the weather is hot with a cooling sea breeze providing natural air conditioning. At this time of year, there’s very little to no rain.

Why go on an overnight cruise in Goa?

  • A cruise on a Goa houseboat is the perfect way to relax and unwind
  • Enjoy great food with a backdrop of ever-changing scenery
  • As you drift along, you’ll pass the 16th-century Chapora Fort and see local fishermen
  • Swim by the deserted Morjim Beach
  • If you’re lucky, you might see some dolphins
  • An overnight cruise in Goa is a more responsible alternative to cruising the backwaters of Kerala

Many years ago I spent a couple of days floating along the backwaters of Kerala where these rice boats originated. During that time I barely saw another houseboat and it was, without doubt, one of the highlights of my earlier Indian adventures. The scene was idyllic. Sadly though, or so I’ve read, the waterways of Kerala are now teaming with these houseboats causing pollution and intruding on the privacy of locals.

Not so in the Goan waterways. They remind me of the Kerala backwaters of old. Let’s hope they stay that way – a dreamy world where your worries drift away with the tide.


Disclosure: I travelled to Goa while working for The Goa Experience, part of the Serenity Holidays group. 



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