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The beaches near Kovalam are southern Kerala's main attraction—in fact, they're what brought Western tourists to the state in the first place, as the hippie scene from Goa moved down the coast. Parts of Kovalam are overdeveloped and full of touts selling cheap tie-dye clothes. There are, however, still some pleasant spots to relax within a few miles of the main beach. Just a half hour
from Kovalam is Kerala's capital city of Trivandrum (Thiruvanandapuram), former home of the rajas of Travancore and now home to Kerala's primary international airport.