These 1½-hour KTDC boat trips around the lake are the main way to tour the reserve without taking a guided walk. You might see deer, boar, otters and birdlife but it's generally more cruise than wildlife-spotting experience. If you haven't prebooked (www.periyarfoundation.online), buy tickets from the office above the boat jetty or the boating counter at Kumily's shuttle-bus car park.
In high season (November to March), arrive to buy tickets 1½ hours before each trip. The first and last departures offer the best prospects for wildlife sightings.