Visited by far less crowd, untouristy Quilon (or Kollam) is an authentic experience if you are craving for the real taste of the local lifestyle. During my Kerala visit I guess one of the most relaxing days of my entire stay goes for this old coastal place. If you already have some time scheduled in trendy Varkala at a 35 km distance just pop over to Kollam for a quiet day. Sure you won’t leave disappointed. Here’s how you can make the most out of your journey:
From rain to sun to shore to sea – Quilon beach
09:00 – 10:00
Take a relaxing morning walk in Quilon beach. However due to constant currents not adequate for a dip, it’s an ideal place for people watching and if nothing else just chilling. Check out the 10.6 m tall mermaid statue in Mahatma Gandhi park just a few steps away the golden sands.
Checking out beachgoers – Mermaid over Quilon beach
10:00 – 12:00
Head to Thangassery, a charming seaside village 5 km from Kollam city. Walk around the colorful fishing harbor, take a look at the historically significant ruins of Portugues and Dutch fort then walk your way up to candy-color Thangassery lighthouse peaking 44 meters up to the skies warning fishermen of treacherous reefs since 1902.
Take me to the candy-shop – Thangassery light house
12:00 – 12:30
Get back to Kollam’s main bus stand for a ‘front-row’ ticket to a heavenly world along the mysterious Kerala backwaters. Make a stopover at Crown Bakery in Lekshminada for oh-so-tasty curry pops.
When local vehicle breaks down – Quilon backwaters
12:30 – till the sun goes down
Buy your ticket near the bus stand at the narrow shack-like ticket office for a backwater canoe trip, which includes auto-rickshaw transportation to the boating start point. Your simple canoe will be guided by a man paddling you through the enigmatic waterways using a single bamboo pole. Now switch off your mobile phone and get your camera ready to be able to capture nothing else but the beauty of the diverse channels, the enchanting flora and fauna and the traditional village lifestyle along the old water-roads back in the days used for spice and rice transportation. You will get a glimpse into the simple everydays of families living at the water’s edge, kids playing in tranquil nature rather than computer games, women washing clothes along the bank, animals curiously gazing at you as passed by, small wooden bridges and all in front of the scenic backdrop of endless coconut palms.
Nature made – palm bridge over the Quilon backwaters
The Quilon experience will surely get you into a different mindset and make you see and appreciate the simple things that surround taking you far away from your Western ready-made culture, at least for a day.
Kerala off the beaten track:
- Take an authentic Ayurveda consultation in Trivandrum
- Visit Varkala’s secret beach Where mysterious backwaters join the open sea
- Get your Spice kick and high tea in Thekkady
- See how Munnar reflects fifty shades of green
- Admire Athirapally waterfalls, the Niagara of India
- Relax in Kovalam – an almost forgotten place by the sea
- Spend the night on Kerala’s waterways
- Try the tastiest fish in banana leaf in always bustling Cochin
- See Cochin on the move
- Or if time is up, race against it in Kerala