Located 71 km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam is the centre of the country's cashew trading and processing industry. One of the oldest ports on the Malabar coast, Kollam was once the port of international spice trade.
Thirty per cent of this historic town is covered by the renowned Ashtamudi Lake, making it the gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala.
The eight hour boat trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest and most enchanting experience on the backwaters of Kerala. The district also has some interesting historic remnants and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architectural style.
The Three Beaches : The Kovalam palm beach line is formed by three seperate beaches. The most popular beach is the southern-most Lighthouse Beach. The middle beach is called Hawah beach. Each morning this beach acts as a base for the local fisherman. The northern most beach, Samudra, is least affected of all by the changing times. It is dotted with few rudimentary wooden fishing vessels.
Water Sports : Kovalam is a natural bay ideal for kayaking, swimming, surfing and skiing. One can swim in the shallow blue water and have a sunbath in the exotic tropical sun. The coast at many places is lined with beautiful patches of coral reefs or you can crest the waves on logs of lashed woods on catamarans.
Leisure : Alongside the palm fringed beaches, markets are made for tourists. These markets offer handicrafts, jewellery and cloths. Shops are spread along the waterfront. One can also go for the delicious sea food, available in the restaraunts on the beaches. In the evening the quiet atmosphere of the Kovalam beachside is enlivened by Kathakali performances, the classical dance-drama of Kerala.
Yoga and Health Care : At present Kovalam is developed not only as a beach resort, but also as a Yoga and health center. One can have Ayurvedic massages and oil baths or learn in detail the methods of doing Yoga and meditation taught by experts.
Air: Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram (71 km)
Rail: Kollam is an important railhead of the Southern Railways. Enquiry Ph: 131.
Road: KSRTC, Central Bus Stn. Ph: 2752008.
Ferry services: The ferry station is adjacent to the central bus station (3 km from the railway station).