Kerala: Places to Explore

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Kovalam

Kovalam's sandy beaches are lined with palm-fringed lagoons and rocky coves. Fishermen in lungis (colorful cloth wraps) drag in nets filled with the day's catch, then push their slender wooden boats out again with a Malayalam "Heave ho." Here you can spend the day loafing on warm sand or rocky outcroppings, watch the sun set, then sit back as the dim lights of distant fishing boats come on. In peak season, outdoor eateries spring up right on the beach—just point to the fish of your choice and specify how you'd like it prepared. Be sure to find out how much it's going to cost—a little discreet bargaining might be in order.

Overdevelopment had nearly ruined Kovalam, but it's experiencing something of a revival, with luxury hotel groups like the Leela coming to the area. The main beach, Lighthouse, has been cleaned up; the concrete promenade is lined with shops, restaurants, and budget hotels. It's well lighted at night, allowing for a pleasant evening stroll as well as some semblance of nightlife. For peace and solitude, however, stick to the secluded beaches in villages to the north and south of Kovalam town.

Elsewhere in Southern Kerala

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