This is the second largest backwaters in Kerala, the biggest being the Vembanad lake located north of Ashtamudi. Interestingly these two lakes are connected through the canals (National Waterway 3) with boat services connecting the two.
Kollam is boasted as the gateway to the backwater tourism in Kerala. Ashtamudi backwaters almost cover 30% of Kollam district. The main entry point for the backwaters is in the Kollam town, right next to the bus station (KSRTC Bus stand). This is about 2km from the railway station (Quilon Jn).
The shores of the Ashtamudi is thickly palm fringed and populated. The houseboat and ferry services are located around the town part of the lakeside (near Kollam boat jetty). You'll also find a good number of hotels,home stays and resorts around the fringes of Ashtamudi backwaters.
Kerala is distinctively unique compared to its larger neighboring states.