The district of Kollam, formerly known as Quilon, is one of the most remarkable districts in Kerala with its natural attributes like a long coastline, Kallada river and other water bodies, the backwaters and many more. It is one of the oldest ports in the Arabian sea and has had commercial relationships with the Romans, Arabs, Portuguese, Chinese, British and the Dutch since a very long time.
Kollam is the cashew capital of the state, exporting maximum of the best quality cashew produce in the region. Along with the cashews, the spices here too are one of the major commodities that even today, the tourists and travelers prefer to purchase.
The most popular tourist destination in Kollam is the Palaruvi Waterfall. Lying at an altitude of 300 feet and located on the Shenkottai-Kollam road, this waterfall is a favorite for those, who love to dive into the waterfall springs. The months from June to January are the best time to visit this fall in its fresh form and fullness.
Ashtamudi lake is one of the largest and the deepest wetland ecosystems in Kerala, where the backwaters and the lake fed by the Kallada river forms a unique ecosystem that is exclusive to the region. The name of the lake implies in the local language that there are eight (Ashta) cones (Mudi) of the lake, giving a topographic impression of the lake. It is a gateway to the backwaters from where you can avail the houseboats.
The oldest suspension bridge in Kerala which was made by the British to prevent wild animals from coming into the city, the Punalur Suspension Bridge is a popular tourist destination. It is made on the Kallad river and is a perfect place for taking photographs of the city, of nature and beauty.
If you have heard about Amma, then you must know about Amritapuri. This is the place, where Amma meets all her monastic disciples. The Amrita Puri headquarter welcomes thousands of people every year. Amma meets every seeker, listens to their problems and helps them find a new path to their lives.
Constructed under the rule of Gouri Parvathi Bai and home of Maharaja of Travancore during his reign, the Thevally Palace is of immense historical importance. If you want to learn about the history of the city, then this place is a must visit. You can also check amazing historical places in Kerala.
The train ride from Kollam to Punalur is a beautiful one that takes you through 5 big and long mountain tunnels. The arched bridges are beautiful and these rides are often used for shooting many films. When you pass through the hanging 13 ring railway bridge with a view of the stunning western ghats and the gorgeous greens as your companion, you will be mesmerized.
When you are in Punalur, one of the things that you must do in Kollam is to take an ecotourism trip at the Thenmala Ecotourism Park. On the lap of Sahyadri range and forest, this is one of the oldest and one of its kind ecotourism parks in Kerala. You can do rock climbing, mountain biking and also take a boat ride to the wildlife sanctuary from the Shenduruny river.
Kollam is a place for some of the best quality cashews in the country and it is also a major exporter of this nut. Shop for some cashews and some spices. You can find these in no other place but Kerala. Along with spices and cashews, Kollam is also famous for its sea-shell products as well as antique items. Travelers often purchase these from Kollam.
Taking a boat ride along the backwater and the lakes of Kollam should be on your list of things to do in Kollam. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the local life, the beauty of nature and the ecosystem there and be lost in the serene beauty of the coconut palms that fringe the coast of the backwaters.
There are a number of beaches in and out of Kollam, such as the Mahatma Gandhi beach, Thirumullavaram beach etc. Spend some relaxed time with your loved ones at the beach. Enjoy the sunrise and sunset for some soothing time.
Kollam is quite a popular tourist destination and therefore, you will find many hotel accommodations in the city. From luxury hotels to budget hotels to guest houses, the options are many. You can book many of them online. If you visit in the peak tourist seasons, booking in advance is a good idea.