Ashtamudi is the most visited backwaters in Kerala. You can rent a house boat and go on a trip on the backwaters. You will pass through rural towns and villages on your trip and might even come across some people fishing, processing coconut husk to make coir etc. Chinese fishing nets used by the fishermen are a common site in this area.
Situated at about 5 kilometres from Kollam is Thankassery of Dutch Quilon as it was called in the Old World. The village was a flourishing trade centre which used gold as currency and the name Thakassery translates to “Gold Village” in Malayalam. The lighthouse there, which stands at about 144 feet high, is open to tourist. One can also visit the ruins of an old Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18th century while visiting this area.
Thenmala is a planned eco-tourism destination situated in Kollam district about 72 kilometres from Thiruvananthapuram. It gets its resources from Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary and is enriched with large varieties of flora and fauna. The destination allows for cultural enrichment, leisure and adventure activities. One may go on trekking, mountain biking, river crossing and rock climbing trips; camp at the sites provided; buy handicrafts as souvenirs; and try the local dishes of Kerala etc. The sway bridge at Thenamala is also appreciated by the tourists.
The old Kollam
Shencottah railway line which was the first one to be made at the erstwhile Travancore State is a sight to marvel at in the scenic route to Thenmala. The bridge is more than a century old and stands testimony to the trade centre Kollam was in the past.
Kettuvallam (barges used for trade in the past) are the foundations for houseboats. Alumkadavu is the main centre of manufacture of these boats which are later made into aesthetically pleasing houseboats. The first houseboats in India were made at Alumkadavu and today they are one of the biggest tourist attractions in Kerala.
Sasthamkotta lake is sometimes called the ‘Queen of Lakes’ and it is for good reason too. This vast lake with lush green hills on three sides is breathtaking and tourists take boats to cruise through the lake and bond with nature.
Punalur is famous for the 400 feet long suspension bridge built in 1877 which is of great archaeological interest. The bridge was erected across Kallada River and is one of its kinds in South India. But due to its age, the bridge is not open to tourists anymore and one can only use the concrete bridge built adjacent to it. Punalur is also a major industrial centre in Kerala.
One of the main historically significant attractions in Kollam is the image of Lord Buddha discovered from a tank in Pallikkulam in Thazhava. Thazhava is also a centre of screw pine mat industries and those who are interested in crafts made of screw pine mats like footwears or bags must pay a visit to Thazhava.
Neendakara is a fishing hub and the headquarters of Indo- Norwegian Community Fisheries Project. A boat building yard at Sakthikulangara, Fisherman's Training Institute, an ice factory and a Refrigeration Plant have been constituted under this project.
Aryankavu was an important trade centre in the past and today it is a pilgrimage centre with a shrine dedicated to Lord Sastha. The temple has a collection of Mural paintings and stone structures.
About five kilometres from Aryankavu and 66 kilometres from Kollam is Palaruvi waterfalls which translates to “river of milk” in the native language. This high waterfall is one of the main attractions in south India falling from a height of almost 300 feet.
Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary
This wildlife sanctuary situated in Kollam district of Kerala is well-known for its inhabitants who include tigers, leopards, lion-tailed monkeys, deer, elephants etc. A rock shelter from Mesolithic period with rock engravings on them was also discovered here.