Alappuzha - Alleppey
"Gateway to the Backwaters"
I only spent a day and a night in this pleasant town. The town is easy to negotiate. There are two main canals (north and south), which makes it easy to orientate yourself.
Alleppey (as most people still call the place) seems to be the centre and main area to organise backwater trips. There are plenty of houseboats and tour operators to choose from.