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. The renowned Ashtamudi Lake, making it the gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala, covers Thirty per cent of this historic town. The eight-hour boat trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest and most enchanting experience of the backwaters of Kerala. The district also has some interesting historic remnants and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architectural style.
Nearest Airport is Thiruvananthapuram (71 km)
Kollam is an important railhead of the Southern Railway.
An excellent road network links Kollam to all major towns and cities in Kerala.
Thangasseri: This seaside village of historic importance has the ruins of an Old Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18th century. The Thangasseri lighthouse, which is 144 feet high, is open to visitors from 1530 - 1730 hrs. There are buses at 15-minute intervals from kollam town.
Thirumullavaram beach: This secluded beach is a beautiful picnic centre and has frequent bus connections to the town.
Mayyanad: Mayyand is noted for its shrines and temples. The most important of the nine temples here is the Subramanya Temple at Umayanallor. The shrine is said to have been consecrated by the great Hindu philospher Sree Sankaracharya. There are frequent buses from Kollam to Mayyanad.
Situated about 80 kms from Punalur, Achencoil is an important pilgrim centre. The Sastha temple here is situated amidst dense forests. The idol of Sastha is supposed to have been installed several centuries before the Christian Era. The two important festivals of this temple are Mandala Pooja (December-January) and the festival held at 'Ravathi' (January-February). The two notable features of the festival are the Therotam (Chariot festival) and Pushpabhishekam (offering of flowers). In no other temple of South India are flowers offered to the deity so lavishly as at Achencoil.
Situated 13 kms. South of Punalur, Anchal is known for its cattle market twice a month. The Mudi festival of the Bhagavathy temple here, conducted once every 12 years, attract huge gatherings.
Situated about 73 kms. East of Kollam, Aryankayu is one of the important pilgrim centres of the district. From every early day, it was an important trade route for merchants from either side of the Western Ghats. The chief attraction of Aryankavu is the Shrine dedicated to Lord Sastha. The temple has some fine sculptures and mural paintings. Thousands of pilgrims flock to this temple during the mandala pooja and Thrikalyanam festivals in December. All trains towards Shencottah have a stop at Aryankavu. Buses plying between Kollam & Shencottah also pass through this place. About 5 kms. Away from Aryankavu there is a big waterfall known as palaruvi meaning river of milk. It is one of the well-known waterfalls in south India, falling from a height of 300 feet. It is sittuated 66 kms. from Kollam on Kollam-Shancottah road. The scenic beauty, with the hills, valleys and cascades, covered with dense tropical forests, is breath taking. Season to visit the place is June-January.
Chavara is situated 14 kms. North of Kollam Om the Kollam-Alappuzha road. Thousands of tonnes of mineral sand are exported from Chavara to various countries. The Koilthottam port is situated within the limits of Chavara panchayat. Four major industrial establishments - Indian Rare Earths, The Kerala Premopipe factory, Kerala Minerals and Metals and the Titanium complex - are at Chavara. The Thalappoli Mahotsavom- offerings of lighted lamps in decorated small pans - in the Kottamkulangara temple here is very famous. It falls in March - April. The interesting features of the festival are that men dress themselves as women and carry lamps. This is a time-honoured custom.
Karunagappally is situated 27 kms. north of Kollam. It is linked with Kollam by rail and road. There is a mini civil station at Karunagappally. Padayanarkulangara, which forms part of the town, was once the military station of the Kayamkulam Rajas. An idol of Buddha, recovered from a local tank here, is now preserved in the Krishnapuram Palace, situated north of Oachira. The town has a temple dedicated to Lord Siva, two old mosques and a Mar Thoma Church.
In Kollam you can purchase, typical south Indian textiles, jewelry and several handloom and handicraft items.