Mentioned in Greek literature from the first century, Kollam has been a thriving trading port for centuries. The surrounding region produces pepper (after which the city is named), cashews, coir and other agricultural products. Local communities include Christian, Muslim and Hindu peoples. A historical Chinese population is known to exist, and the town's market is still named after them. Fishing occurs right along the coast as in other parts of Kerala. West and slightly north of the town some 5 kilometres lies a beach, on the north end of which are various European colonial-era relics, including the ruins of a fort and a few churches. There are also some old colonial buildings scattered about the town proper.
From the north there are options by water from Alappuzha (Alleppey), however most people will use the numerous north/south trains or come by road. There are numerous local buses on all major roads as you would expect... there's very little need to plan.
Alumkadavu, (26 km from Kollam). Scenic place, with blue green stretches back water, coconut palms, back water cruise, house boats, Ayurvedic treatment centers.
Amritapuri Asramam, . A Hindu pilgrim center for worshipers of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.
Aryankavu, (73 km east of Kollam). Pilgrim center, old trade route for merchants from either sides of western Ghats, famous for shrine of Lord Sastha, fine sculptures and mural paintings.
Chavara, (14 km north of Kollam on NH47). Famous for the mineral sand and place of Catholic saint Sister Alphonsa.
Karunagappally, (27 km north of Kollam in NH47). Famous mosque and dome of martyrs, a unique pilgrimage center. Old military station of Kayamkulam Rajas.
Kottarakkara, (27 km northeast of Kollam). Erstwhile capital of Elayadathu Swarupam, a ruling family. Famous for Kath Kali (a dance drama).
Kundara. A prominent place in Kollam famous for industries.
Mayyanad, (10 km south of Kollam). Famous for its shrines and temples.
Mannadi, (24 km east of Kollam). Famous as the place where Veluthampi Dalawa laid down his life.
Neendakara (Long Shore), (8 km north of Kollam). Famous for its fisheries industries.
Oachira, (32 km north of Kollam in NH47), ☎ 0476. Famous temple & mosque, a unique pilgrim center and handicraft center. Oachira padanilam was the battle field of Kayamkulam Rajas.
Paravur, (13 km south of Kollam). Famous for coir production center and fishing.
Sasthamcotta, (19 km from Kollam). Biggest freshwater lake in Kerala.
Thangassery, (5 km away from Kollam). Place of historical importance, with old 18th century churches, light house and remnants of Portuguese and Dutch forts.
Thenmala, 66 km east of Kollam (on the way to Shencottah, it is also reachable from [[Trivandrum]]). Dam site with dense forest is famous for eco tourism.
Kalayapuram, (34 km from Kollam, on the way to Kottayam from Kottarakara). It is believed that old Kalayan royal family were ruled from this place, hence the name Kalayapuram.
Thangassery Fort, (North end of the harbour). Some limited standing ruins of an old colonial fort. You can see two different sides of the building, the first from the harbour side (where it is visible at some distance), and the second from the opposite side. The site is slightly overgrown so beware of snakes if you venture close. An auto-rickshaw from the Main Road bus stop cost 50 rupees.Free.
Thangassery Lighthouse. 3-5PM. A modern lighthouse in a historic Christian quarter of town that is possible to climb in the afternoons. Best to combine with the Thangassery Fort, as the two sites are in easy and shaded walking distance.Small fee.
Thangassery Church Ruins, (200m north of the Thangassery Fort intersection, on the right-hand side of the road, behind a house). The ruins of a church belltower and some adjacent graves and headstones are still standing here behind some local houses. You can probably spot them from the road if you're careful, but ask around and you will likely be shown inside. The locals are Christians and speak English.
It's basically eating/shopping/sightseeing. Don't swim in the water as there's a large amount of unprocessed sewerage that goes in to it from locals who crap on the beach.
There are a few good vegetarian places set away from the road in the area just north of the Main Road bus stop, before the big traffic roundabout. Meat seekers can eat down the road west of that area.
Government Guesthouse, (Northeast of town). Whilst the old building is of some interest, in mid 2011 the guesthouse appeared closed "for renovations" without a particular date of re-opening ("real soon now", they said). There is no sign on the building, but auto-rickshaw drivers can take you there for 20 rupees from the main road bus stop. A long way from anywhere, if you do try it and it's open then you are probably guaranteed peace and quiet.
Nani Hotel, (Next to Main Road bus stop, east of the market area). Excellent location. For slightly more money than the government-run Tamarind Hotel (miles from anywhere, and nothing special) this place gets you a much nicer environ and location. Reception staff speak excellent English, others apparently cannot. At checkin I was told that no fan rooms were available, and was forced to pay for AC. However, upon complaining about the tax it was quickly considered included in the room rate instead of added on as usual: worth trying. Wifi is available but is charged at 50 rupees/hr, or 300 rupees/24hr: you wonder why the bothered installing it!~1200-1600(maybe+tax) rupees for fan/AC rooms.
Tamarind Hotel, (Near the Government Guesthouse). An inconvenient location and poor value for the price make this a terrible selection, save for the view out over the water. The rooms are spacious, just about three times what you'd expect them to cost. A classic study in a government-run business... all the makings of success, but none of the right decisions, and an evidently rapidly progressing trend toward total apathy.~1200 incl. tax for an AC room (No fan rooms available).
Quilon Beach Hotel, . A 5 Star beach hotel, centrally located. Beautiful Sea view, with wonderful staff. INR. 5999.
Raviz, asramon,kollam (near to DTPC,kollam). A new luxury hotel on the banks of the L. Ashtamudi.Costlier rates compared to others but the stay will be worth it
A single daily boat leaves for Alappuzha (Alleppey) at 10:30AM from the ferry terminal by the bus station, just northeast of the main traffic roundabout.