Kovalam Things to Do Tips by suvanki Top 5 Page for this destination
Kovalam Things to Do: 36 reviews and 67 photos
The Backwaters at sunset is a magical time!
A small group of us set off mid afternoon, in a punt.
The local guide told us stories about the area where he grew up, as we floated along.
We cruised along the waterways, spotting wildlife, and locals going about their daily lives.
Stopping off to look around a temple, we were then given refreshing coconut drinks.
As sunset approached, we were near to a beach, and viewed the sight through the coconut groves.
It was quite atmospheric, very quiet and still, as the punt floated along darkening waterways.
Address: Near Kovalam
Cruising The Backwaters, something all visitors to Kovalam should experience. There are many ways to experience their delights. Either independently or through an organised tour, whether as a day /evening or night trip or spending a few days/nights on a rented rice boat.
This network of canals, rivers, lakes and islands offers not just a relaxing time drifting through stunning scenery, but also a chance to see village life as the local inhabitants go about their daily lives on and around the waterways.
Also see my Kerala page for more views of The Backwaters...tho still in progress
Sign advertising ayurveda treatments Kovalam
Ayu (life) Veda (knowledge). The Science of Life! Ayurveda has been practised in India for centuries, and is considered to be a rich complex body of knowledge in which disease can be understood, diagnosed and treated.
Although becoming increasingly popular in Western countries, Ayurveda was forced to "go underground" during British Colonisation, with it's education and practice being banned! Nowadays, this practice has regained its importance as a preventative and treatment model.
To gain true benefit, a course of prescribed treatments would be recommended, with care taken to chose a suitably qualified practitioner.
However, as a 'one off' relaxing experience, and the chance to try something different, I 'd recommend it!
There are many establishments to chose from in Kovalam.
I went to the Hotel Neptune. There is a "menu" of treatments I chose a rejuevenation massage (oil massage) which lasted about an hour , followed by Dhara, (about 45 mins) Herb infused oil is trickled onto your forehead from an overhead pot, in a gentle rhythm.
Both treatments were extremally relaxing. Though it took me quite a while to shampoo the oil out of my hair, and the massage probably had the bonus of exfoliating my skin, as even though I'd showered carefully, there were still some grains of sand stuck to my skin!
Care must also be taken in the sun afterwards, as you fry with the oil thats left on your body...I was only in the sun for about 5 mins, and I burnt.
Would try these treatments again, and some others.
Address: Hotel Neptune Lighthouse Beach
Directions: Follow signs from the Beach...Centre of Lighthouse Beach, along the path by the policebox.
Phone: 0471 2480222
Kathakali Performer Kovalam
Something I'd wanted to experience since I first heard of this art form. Although due to see this in Cochin I couldn't wait.
Kathakali (Story Play) originated centuries ago, with the present form dating from 17th century, and are based on the Hindu epics of The Ramayana and The Mahabharata.
Performers undergo many years of training, requiring fitness and discipline.
The drama is narrated by the dancers, by intricate, precise movement/gestures and facial expression. Musicians and/or singers vocalise the story.
Preparation for each performance is lengthy, with costume and make up taking upwards of 2 hours. You are allowed to watch this process, I found it fascinating..each character having their own individual look.
The performance lasts about an hour, sheets explaining the gestures are handed out, and they were also demonstrated prior to the drama. The performance I saw was accompanied by taped music, and despite a few powercuts which halted the performance, it was an enjoyable experience.
Although performances are now shorter, and are performed in halls,/hotels instead of the temple grounds, tourism is helping to prevent the decline of this fascinating traditional art.
Mon. & Thurs 1700 make up 1900 performance. Think I paid about 250 rupees but not sure.
Sponsored by Kalarangam Cultural Centre
Please also visit my Kochi and Kerala pages for more info/pics
Address: Jeevan Ayurvedic Beach Resort (Cafe De Lamer )
Directions: Mid way along Lighthouse Beach, Nearer to Hawa end than Lighthouse. Walk thro restaurant, and ask directions
up 2 flights of stairs, the one leading to the roof terrace where dance takes place is open on one side - Be Very Careful!
Other Contact: mob 0474 3406660
Phone: 0474 2517186
Fishermen, Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam
One of my favourite sights in Kovalam was watching the fishermen hauling in the nets.
On Lighthouse Beach, at around 11am, lines of men form, to pull the nets out of the sea. While they do this they chant and sing.
It's quite a colourful sight, with the blue sky, blue sea, yellow sand and the multi colours of the fishermens lunghis (sarong style clothing) and headwear.
The nets are taken out to sea in boats, then cast across the water, between the vessels. As the nets are pulled in they scoop up the fish. This can take quite a while due to the strong currents. As the nets are dragged up the beach, crowds gather to see the catch.
You may even be invited to join in, helping to pull in the catch!
Soon, a group of women arrive, with bowls and trays balanced on their heads, ready to buy the fish, then sell to the nearby restaurants. By their expressions, they looked to be hard bargainers!
At night, lines of fishing boats can be seen in the distance, by their twinkling lights.
My first night in Kovalam, I was quite disorientated by this sight, thinking it was another town!
Apparently the waiters enjoy telling tourists that its the bridge to Sri Lanka!
Address: Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam, Kerala
Directions: Near the rocks that separate Lighthouse and Hawa Beaches.
Mid - Late morning. (sometimes late afternoon too)
You'll probably hear this man before you see him, with his distinctive 'sing - song' call "Sunglasses!" He walks up and down the beach with his selection of sunglasses festooned around his body!
He also does a side line in coconut oil.
It's not certain as to whether he's actually sold a pair of sunglasses yet, but whenever I saw him he was smiling! He is legendary for his friendly nature, always ready for a chat, but he's not a pushy salesman!
This man is a legend in Kovalam, he's featured in holiday brochures ( for many years), and travel articles/ sunday supplements etc. plus, the group - Geezers of Nazareths' single "Sunglasses" is about this man!
Afraid my photo of Sammy didn't come out :-(
Address: Kovalam, Kerala
Directions: Usually seen/ heard along Lighthouse Beach.
Most of Kovalam life revolves around its beaches (Lighthouse, Hawa, Samudra, and Rock) Lighthouse Beach probably being the busiest
Early morning Sunrise - Expect to see a few souls performing yoga etc, people walking, enjoying the cooler air.
As the day begins, fishermen/restaurant workers/shopkeepers go about their daily business. Fruit sellers/vendors start plying for business.
Smells of food ..breakfast cooking, blends in with the sunlotion being applied by serious sun worshippers. Bars and shops start cranking up the music! (usually traditional Indian music, with some Western sounds)
The beach gets livelier with games of volleyball/swimming etc. Holidaymakers and students/locals walking along the beach. Chatting, or stopping to shop or eat/ drink at the many beachside shacks.
The fishermen can be seen and heard, singing and chatting as they haul in the catch, which is then sold to the nearby restaurants
As the sun starts to set, people wander to the rooftop bars to enjoy a sundowner, or gather on the rocks near Hawa Beach to cheer and clap at the sunset. The smell of charcoal/ wood burning as grills are prepared to cook the variety of food on offer
20.00 ish onwards
Night activity continues, with another change in atmosphere. Eating/drinking/people watching/parading and shopping all go on with a backdrop of light from colourful lanterns (or candles/oil lamps if the powers off) Music live or recorded can be heard from the bars and restaurants, mingled with a variety of languages being spoken.
Around midnight, restaurants usually close or are closing, shops are locked up for the night, as people wander back to their hotels, ready to start again tomorrow.
Address: Kovalam, Kerala
Directions: Lighthouse/Hawa Beaches
Me riding Elephant
Not in Kovalam, but at a village called Chirakarathazham, near Paravur. I went as part of an organised tour with Manos, but you should be able to book in resort through hotels/tour offices/taxi driver. Probably about an hour away (sorry, I don't wear a watch when I'm away)
There are 18 elephants owned by Mr Shaji, who used to rent them out for Temple rituals etc, but recently saw this venture as a tourism promotion.
You have the chance to feed the elephants bunches of bananas, ride them....bareback, like sitting on a huge leather sofa, and bath them...getting into the water and scrubbing them with soap and coconut shells..the elephants seemed to really enjoy this and the attention they were getting.
They also demonstrated their party tricks of placing a garland of flowers over a volunteers head, using their trunk, and also helping the mahout to embark, by raising their leg to hoist him onto their backs.
I don't usually enjoy performing animals, but this wasn't too bad.
Apparently this is a fairly new venture, but will hopefully bring some money into the area, and continue the well being of the elephants.
The rest of the day was spent on the backwaters (another must do) Aqua Serena Resort (for buffet lunch..swimming pool too)and Varkala Beach (42km north of Trivandrum) Beach at foot of cliff..steep walk down, and even steeper climbing back up!), but worth it for the soft sand and warm sea.
This trip cost GBP30, but can probably be done cheaper if arranged independently
Address: Cherakkarathazam, Nr Paravar, Kollam
More Reviews (18)
- See All Sarongs/Lunghis etc
- See All Parasuraman Temple
- See All Pastries and more!
suvanki's Related Pages
Kovalam Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Kovalam..A New Year , A New Country."
- "Kovalam Beach"
- "Beach Town"
- "Kovalam - Best in Moonsoon"
- "Truly Gods own Country"
- "Kovalam - The Beautiful Beaches"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Kovalam
- Hotels in Kovalam
- Transportation in Kovalam
- Nightlife in Kovalam
- Restaurants in Kovalam
- Shopping in Kovalam
- Warnings and Dangers in Kovalam
- See All...
Explore the World
- Langham Hotels
- Delaware Water Gap
- Gili Sulat Hotels
- Isla Mangles Hotels
- Encinitas Hotels
Badges & Stats in Kovalam
- 26 Reviews
- 38 Photos
- 3 Forum posts
- 22 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (71)
Have you been to Kovalam?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Kovalam
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Venice Intro, 188 reviews, 621 photos, 3 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Bergamo Intro, 102 reviews, 594 photos, 22 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Sheffield Intro, 155 reviews, 517 photos, 11 travelogues
- Manchester Intro, 38 reviews, 371 photos, 27 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Marrakesh Intro, 102 reviews, 245 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Halifax Intro, 30 reviews, 306 photos, 21 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Iran Intro, 60 reviews, 194 photos
- Dublin Intro, 47 reviews, 201 photos, 3 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Torremolinos Intro, 40 reviews, 205 photos, 7 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Granada Intro, 68 reviews, 168 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (155)
Latest Kovalam hotel reviews
- Surya Samudra Private Retreats
- 150 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 24, 2013
- Leela Kovalam Beach Hotel
- 925 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 15, 2013
- Thapovan Heritage Home
- 35 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 24, 2013
- Taj Green Cove Resort And Spa
- 501 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 15, 2013
- Uday Samudra Hotel
- 653 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 17, 2013
- Coconut Lagoon
- 389 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 16, 2013
- Hotel Marine Palace
- 14 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 24, 2013
- Hotel Jasmine Palace
- 80 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 18, 2013
- Pappukutty Beach Resort
- 68 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 16, 2013
- Sagara Beach Resort
- 155 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 11, 2013
- Coconut Bay Beach Resort
- 37 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 14, 2013
- Bethsaida Hermitage
- 97 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 15, 2013
- Thushara Hotel
- 24 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 8, 2013
- Manaltheeram Hotel
- 53 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 19, 2013
- Hotel Jeevan House
- 110 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 6, 2013