If heaven exists on Earth, it is this, it is this, it is this.
The beauty of Kashmir can enamor just anyone with its misty mountains, bewitching valleys,mesmerizing lakes and its all the more beautiful people. At such a place, living in hotels would make you miss out too much on the beauty for which you can have 24/7 access. Houseboats are the best way to relax and enjoy the exquisite Kashmir.
There is a list of things you should take care before selecting an appropriate Houseboat for a wonderful stay experience.
1. Location Right!
Some call it happening, some call it crowded. Based on what you call it, you should select the location of your houseboat. While Dal Lake indeed possesses sight to behold, it is quite an action-packed place with rush of tourists round the year. A series of houseboats forms a queue together in the lake because of its popularity.
If you are more of a serene-surrounding-kinds, you would probably like to take a houseboat in Nigeen Lake.
2. Mobility Factor
Depending on the duration of your stay and your mobility habits, you should choose an appropriate houseboat. Some houseboats are near the lakeside with easy access to road whereas some can only be accessed through row boats.
If you have a shorter stay and you would like to spend time in houseboat with ease and relaxation, choose the latter or else former is your way to go!
3. The Tummy Section
The foremost part of any travel is food. You are a food lover and would love to enjoy the local cuisines or you would like to stick to your favorites, you are a vegetarian or non-vegetarian, mostly you’ll have to select a houseboat on your eating preferences too.
4. The Dream House: Big or Small
Depending on the size of your travel group or family, you should select the houseboat. 3-4 bedroom houseboats are easily available too. But then if you are a couple thinking of saving money by sharing a houseboat with another group or family, you would be disappointed with the poor sound-proof quality of houseboat walls! A small houseboat would give you all the peace and privacy.
5. The Common Spaces
If you are in a group or with large families, you would love to have common spaces like dinning, lounge, balconies, gardens etc than just bedrooms which not only gives more space but also let you sit and enjoy with your fellow travelers.
6. The View Selection
Unlike the Kerala houseboats, the Kashmir houseboats don’t move but are docked at one place. If you select a place like Dal with a number of houseboats docked together, your bedroom view might be a neighboring boat’s bedroom though balcony would face the lake. So either you influence the owner to change the position of houseboat or you select a houseboat based on its views, is to your discretion.
7. Features and Facilities
Power is a problem on any houseboat but there are some with the provision of generators. Wi-Fi, Television, 24/7 Geyser facilities are some options that you would like to choose from. One thing you would surely not miss will be Shikara rides. But they may/may not be included in the complete package. So check all that before you book a houseboat.
8. The Owner Ordeal
Some houseboats are family owned while some are company owned. Based on the level of personal touch you would like to have, you can select the houseboat. Generally family owned houseboat will let you have a good conversation with the localites giving you good knowledge about the place. Apart from that, home-cooked food will be an advantage too. While the company owned provides more privacy and facilities.
9. Bargain smart
Yes, there is scope to bargain. In winter season the rates drop down to almost 50%. So bargain as hard as you can. Also pre-booking will be a necessity if you are planning on to stay in scarcely available Nigeen Lake Houseboats.
Kashmir and houseboats are two heavenly things to drool about and it becomes like a fantasy isle when they come together! Apart from houseboat, there are several other places to visit in Kashmir for holidays.