Visakhapatnam (also known popularly as Vizag) is the largest city in Andhra Pradesh. It is primarily an industrial city, but also attracts tourists due to its unspoilt sandy beaches, well built and maintained parks and nearby scenic areas, such as the Araku Valley. Currently the city has a population of about 2 million.
Vizag is sometimes referred to as the "Goa of the East Coast." Just like its west coast counterpart, it has beautiful virgin beaches, laterite hillocks, and stunning landscape. Health-tourism is a fast developing industry. Visakhapatnam is variously referred to as Jewel on the Coromandel Coast, Steel City, and the City of Destiny.
The local language is Telugu. There is considerable concentration of Marwaris, Oriya, Bengalis, Punjabis, Maharashtrians, Tamil and Malayalees. In addition, there is a large population of migrant workers from other parts of India who have been drawn to the area mainly by the abundance of work opportunities available at local-based companies, such as the Vizag Steel Plant, Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Shipyard, Indian Navy, Dockyard, NTPC-Simhadri Thermal power Plant and many other small & medium scale industries. Visakhapatnam also consists of one of India's largest naval base called INS Kalinga, which is about 25 kms. away from the city center.
Vizag is well-connected by air to Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Tirupati, Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Indore and Vijayawada. Currently there are international flights to Colombo, Dubai, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.
Visakhapatnam(VSKP) is on the Kolkata-Chennai main line and is connected to both the cities by train. This being a major station, all trains including the super fast expresses have a stop at the station. Visakhapatnam station is in the East Coast Railways and has 8 platforms; the first in East Coast Railways to have these many platforms.
All platforms can accommodate trains with 28 coaches. Please verify the timings with [ Indian Railways], since they change from time to time. You can book tickets online through https://www.irctc.co.in/ by registering on the website. The railway station is WiFi enabled.
The Andhra Pradesh State Road Travel Corporation (APSRTC) runs buses from almost every city and town to Vizag, along with some private operators, who run buses from a few of the major cities. Please check with APSRTC for timings. The reservations can be made through http://www.apsrtconline.in/ online. There is also a new Garuda fleet of bus service (Volvo) to Vizag from Chennai, Bangalore, Vijayawada and Hyderabad which is very comfortable and happy going. This is the best way to do it if you want to travel by bus. APSRTC has several other bus services which have varied luxury levels and transit speeds. You might want to check the APSRTC at least 3 days in advance to be sure you have a reservation.
Several private cab services operate in the city and offer 1-3 days packages.
Buses, autorickshaws and cabs or can rent a bike in vizag from Ride On Rent or any other bike rentals for transportation within the city
State-operated city buses are available from RTC Complex (sometimes simply referred to as Complex, and rarely, but more formally known as Dwaraka Bus Complex) to almost all places in and around the city. Just politely ask a local which bus to catch for your destination and you will be easily guided. Tickets can be purchased from the bus conductor on board. Bus rides are very good to experience the city in a non-touristy way and also they save you from the money-fleecing autorickshaws (which do not have pre-defined or fixed tariffs), but during peak hours(7:50 am to 11 am and 5 pm to 6:30 pm) on certain routes, a bus ride could end up taking a lot more of your time. The Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) also provides buses to go to Araku / Borra caves, etc. Check out the AP Tourism web-site at http://www.aptdc.gov.in/vizag.html for tour packages.
Railway station is just 10 minutes drive from complex. Trains are available for travel to nearby tourist places like Araku.
There are many car rental companies available. Note cabs have to be pre-booked on an hourly or day basis; unreserved cabs, unlike the autorickshaws, do not ply on roads and hence cannot be directly hired from the roads. However UBER / Ola cabs are available and can be booked from your mobile. They are usually more comfortable and less expensive than the autorickshaws / cabs.
Buses - Mini & Big Coaches on Rental, Hire - A/c and Non A/c - through Fleet Owners. . Private cabs like Uber, Ola have started rides within the city.
More than anything else, Vizag is known for its beaches. It boasts a number of beaches that are both scenic and uncrowded. A few virgin beaches span along the eastern side of the city and stretch for miles. Due to strong sea currents, it is very strongly advised not go swimming in those beaches. A spectacular beach only the locals are aware of is called the "Yarada" beach. Unfortunately, except for the occasional RTC bus, there is no public transport available. Still, the adventurous mind would find it rewarding if it can make an effort to get there. It's a private beach and therefore you need to pay a fee of Rs. 30/- to gain entry, but it's worth the effort.
- Ramakrishna Beach. Ramakrishna Beach or, as is more popularly known as, R.K. Beach is the most popular beach in the city in the sense that, you can find the locals hanging out during the hot summers, and relatively less hot winters. On weekends and holidays, one can experience the entire beach come alive, but not in the Western sense where people take a plunge in the water, or surf. You can see people dressed in their best clothes, just sitting on the benches, or strolling along.
CAUTION! A lot of people have lost their lives while swimming in this beach. So it is strongly advised to refrain from swimming in this beach.
- Rushikonda. 11 km away from the city, this has become a popular tourist spot that even the locals frequent. A lot safer to wade into than the R.K. Beach, cradled among hills, this used to be an excellent beach away from the madding crowds. AP Tourism Development Corporation is having its Beach Resort (Punnami) on the hillside overlooking the beach and water sports activities are also conducted here.
CAUTION! A lot of people have lost their lives while swimming in this beach. So it is strongly advised to refrain from swimming in this beach.
- Gangavaram. 10 to 12 km away from city, this is one of the most beautiful beaches here, the most interesting thing here is a rock-like structure that's like a small island which attracts a lot of people.
- Yarada beach. It is wrongly thought to be a private beach. Tourists can visit the beach directly or through the Yarada village. Agrigold collects a fee of Rupees 30 to enter their property and access the shops and a restaurant there. If you bring your own food and refreshments then you can visit the beach without entering the Agrigold Property. Yarada is the village behind the Dolphin's Nose. To get to this beach, one could use the bus facility available or alternatively one could also hire a cab to get here. The view of the beach and Vizag city from the top of the Dolphin's Nose is memorable. Also, the Gangavaram beach is nearer from Yarada beach. The drive from Scindia to the top of Dolphin's Nose, Dolphin's Nose to Yarada and from there to Gangavaram is really enjoyable.
- Bhimili. About 25 kms. from the city, Bhimili used to be a small village which was also called Bheemunipatnam. Apart from the beach, the village has the remanants of a Portuguese church, Dutch and East India Company settlements and Buddhist sites.
The beaches are lovely, though you wouldn't find many beach cafes/restaurants/huts like the ones you have in Goa. Recently a water sports centre was started in Rishikonda. Vizag's beaches are idyllic and unspoilt without the frills and fancies of an international beach resort like Goa for instance. There has been some change in the recent times and will continue to be, with the influx of employees of HSBC, HPCL, etc., and Naval Officers, who frequently go out with their families to enjoy the golden sand and pollution-free waters of Vizag's beaches.
A gorgeous nature preserve that many people in Vizag itself seem to be unaware of. The solitude and the peace that one can experience at Kambalakonda located within 20-25 minutes drive from the city center is priceless. A nominal entrance fee of 10 Rupees is charged per adult. The greenery, the hiking trail and the fantastic view of the ocean from the rather flimsy viewing tower give a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
A local favourite, a short ride on to this hill gives you a spectacular view of the sea, RK.Beach and Rushikonda Beach on right and left hand side. There is a huge sculpture of Shiva and Parvathi. With a children's play area, a people-mover akin to a ski lift called a ropeway. Beautiful scenic view can be obtained from the ropeway, specially in the evening, when the city comes alive with all the lights. The up and down fare for the ropeway is Rs. 65. (As of Oct.2012). An under construction doll museum and a couple of eating areas, this hilltop gives a nice birds eye view of the city also. Has several "viewpoints" affording wonderful views of the city on one side and winding beaches adjoining green hills on the other side. Visitors often fall in love with the "beach" city especially after visiting Kailasagiri. Based on this beautiful and rare combination of hill and beach.Tenneti park is a spectacular Eco marvel at the foot of the Rope way.
- War Memorial
- Matsyadarshini Aquarium
This aquarium is situated on the left side of Kali temple of R.K. Beach. It has a good collection of marine as well as freshwater fishes. Entry fee is Rs. 20 per person. (As of Dec. 2006). The exit gate of the aquarium resembles the open mouth of a huge white tipped shark. 'Kala Shrusti' a handicrafts sales shop is on the top of the aquarium.
- Araku Valley.
A little further away from the city (6 hrs by train/public bus), but worth visiting for the scenic valley. A slow, passenger train leaves the Vizag station early in the morning (at 6:50 AM), and the train ride is actually very enjoyable. Make sure to reach at least an hour before its departure to get a seat. The runs through lot of small mountains and tunnels. Araku valley is definitely not a day trip, but the recently constructed APTDC facilities can serve as a decent over night stay.Make sure to book your APTDC rooms early. Padmavathi botanical gardens is worth taking a look at. November to February are the best months to visit this place and making an early reservation in the lodges is advisable as Araku Valley has very limited number of lodges and hotels. Travel in and araku valley is limited by limited public bus service. At APTDC lodge, cabs can be hired for a day trip thru the valley to Bora caves and the ride is amazing.
- Borra Caves.
Reputedly fantastic caverns that had their native charm earlier, these caves have been modernized recently by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC). There is a entry fee of Rs. 30. Separate charges are there to enter with still or video camera. It is a must visit place for all tourists visiting Vizag. Don't forget a big bottle of drinking water.
A must see on a trip to Visakhapatnam, for its architectural splendour although some of the sculptures were defaced during the Islamic invasions. The temple inscriptions date the earliest donors to the 10-11th centuries. The exact date of construction is unknown. It is located 15 km from the city and is dedicated to the half man half lion avatar of Lord Vishnu. The temple bears reference to the Chola and Chalukya styles of architecture. The environment in the temple is very different and very pleasant. It also has a local railway station.
- Ross Hill
A unique site to see is the area around Ross hill which has three hills dedicated to three different faiths in proximity to the port. Ross Hill, named after a certain Monsieur Ross who built a house on it in 1864, it has now been converted into a chapel Mother Mary's Church. The pathway to the shrine strewn with Catholic icon. Darga Pahad has the tomb of the Muslim saint, Sayed Ali Medina alias Ishak Medina, visited by Hindu and Muslim devotees alike. Attached to this is a mosque. Sri Venkateswara Konda, the third hillock, has a temple dedicated to the Lord. It is believed to have been built by an Englishman, Captain Blackmoor, in the 19th century. From this hillock you can see the port channel, which was the entrance of the inner harbor for ships and liners.
- Submarine Museum
- Naval Museum is one more museum about maritime history of India. Again its a lovely museum displaying pictures, models and content of Indian maritime history.
- Buddhist excavations Bojjana Konda, Thotla Konda, Bhavi Konda and Salihundam around Visakhapatnam were centres of Buddhism during the second century A.D. Several Buddhist monuments such as stupas and chaityas were erected at these places. It is said that some of the corporal relics of the Buddha were preserved at these places. Hence all these places became sacred places.
- Bojjana Konda It is near Sankaram village in the hamlet of Anakapalli, 40 km from Visakhapatnam, is one such place, where one can find architectural remnants of the Buddhist period, one of the earliest of its class in South India. It constitutes one of the most remarkable groups of Buddhist monuments dated from 200 BC to 700 AD, found during excavations in 1906. On the eastern hill, there are a series of rock-cut caves, numerous groups of monolithic dagobas, standing on rock platform in tiers above each others and, crowning all, a rock-cut stupa with extensive structural remains. On the western side of the eastern hill is a stairway, partly rock-cut and partly structural, which leads up to a large double-storied cave. The cave is entered by a doorway and is flanked on each side by huge dwarapalas. The cave chamber is rectangular in shape and is divided into 20 compartments by four cross rocks of 16 massive pillars. In the centre is the rock-cut stupa standing on a square platform.
Take an evening stroll at RK Beach, it shall be a thrilling experience, it offers good pedestrian tracks, beautiful parks, museums, beaches and some wonderful open air restaurants.
Must want is the sunrise or a moonrise on a full moon day at Tennati Park(near foot of Rope way) on the Vizag-Bhimili Beach Road it's truely a feast to the nature lovers. The sea looks orange in colour and is a wonderful sight.
A must visit is Kailasagiri 6 km away from the city centre. There is a park on the hill top, from here one can see a beautiful view of the city, the sea and Eastern Ghats merging into the sea. One can take a ropeway directly facing sea and city. On the hill top there is a beautiful toy train that give a glimpse of the beauty of nature that one can think of. There are several view points that give a pleasant look of the nature. This place unlike other hill stations is not yet commercial. One can have a very leisure time without being disturbed by tourist guides. Once you come down from Kailashgiri one should visit Tenneti Beach Park. Its picture perfect scenic beauty along with luxuriant carpet grass intertwined with concrete pathways makes it the most revered place for romantic couples. There are several points from which the beautiful rocky beach down beneath can be seen. This is one of the world class spectacular views on to watch the Sun rise and sun set. Many movies were shot here. Its view points are so poistioned that gives a view of the pristine waters. Hillocks in the park which is about 50 ft in elevation that gives a beautiful view of the sea, beach road and the beach park. The ambience at this Tenneti Beach park is simply mind blowing. Also, if you have a couple of days in your pocket, don't miss the train journey from Visakhapatnam to Araku which is the most enjoyable train route in the state. There is only one train to Araku from Vizag which starts at 6:50am at Vizag railway station. That is a 4 hour journey in the eastern ghats which covers many tunnels and valleys on the way. Don't forget to remember take a snap at "Shimiliguda" railway station in the route, which is the highest railway station in India on broad gauge track.
Vizag is a city that is advancing fast, and with these new advancements, the local people of the city are smoothly adapting to the changes.
Vizag offers a reasonably large selection of stores selling clothing, jewellery, books, etc., While definitely not considered a shopper's paradise, Vizag offers some unique handicrafts and can be located by the Andhra Pradesh State owned handicraft store, Lepakshi. It has an impressive collection of sandalwood sculptures, etc.
Some popular stores are:
- R.K Family Stores
- Chandana Brothers
- Vaibhav Jewellers
- Bommana Brothers
- Kanaka Mahalakshmi
- Karachiwala Departmental Stores (grocery and daily needs)
- Jyoti Book Depot
- Rehin Sons
- Big Bazaar
- CMR Shopping Mall
- Kankatala silk palace
- Sai jewellery house
- Vizag Central Mall
- Chitralaya Shopping Mall
- M & M Mall
- CMR Central Shopping Mall
- Varun Inox
- Kankatala and Vaibhav have joined together to form the latest shopping mall in Vizag called V Square at Dwarakanagar .
There are many more just visit the city you will notice them.
- CMR Central, Maddilapalem. You can find Subway, KFC, and Pizza Hut here. Also a lot of shopping is possible, if you have money here, at Reliance Trends and Reliance Digital.Also one could see a movie if one has time at INOX. You can also make your children play games at Jungle Adventure and Party Zone. At party zone with Play Station 2, 3 and Nintendo Wii which is full party for kids during birthdays,parties,etc. Domino s pizza in the same floor is craze to youngsters,families,etc. It also has a food lounge with the food from china, South india , north India, go l gap-pa, veg Manchuria: tasty buy card of $40 and enjoy full shop's meal you like. edit
- Chitralaya Shopping Mall, Jagadamba Junction. You can find KFC,Coffee Day and Flavours Food Court here. Also a lot of shopping is possible, if you have money here, at MAX and many other famous brands.Also one could see a movie if one has time at INOX. You can also make your children play games at Fun Zone. It also has a food lounge with the food from outlets like Chyna Tang , Manjeera and Deccan Pizza catering chinese, South india , north Indian. The chinese food is a must try in this mall edit
- Visakhapatnam Central, (beside CP office). Most happening place is Visakhapatnam Central, where you ill get all branded apparels, fashion jewelleries, life style merchandise like watches, shades and color cosmetics. As the tag line of Central Shop, eat and celebrate, you can really enjoy shopping here.On the other side,its just a common mall which you can find anywhere in the metro cities.Very expensive too. edit
If spicy fare from Southern India appeals to your gastronomic senses, then Vizag has some excellent restaurants. Many of the eating joints meant or frequented by tourists are in the Siripuram area. A walk around there can give you access to a variety of cuisines.
- Hotel Daspalla, +91 891 2564825 (fax +91 891 2562043).
- Daspalla Executive Court, +91 891 2717300 (fax +91 891 2717444).
- Hotel Green Park, +91 0891 6615151 (fax +091 891 2563763).
- Subway - Subs & Salads in Siripuram's Dutt Island, +91 891 278491.
- Horizon (live music during dinner) at Dolphin Hotel, +91 891 2567000.
- Hotel Jabilly Beach inn, on R K Beach, ☎ 033 -0933I685497. 12noon. all rooms are seafacing , Pure Bengali Food is available 650 to 1200. edit
- Eleven (ele 11 ven), 10-1-4 & 5, 4th floor, siripuram, Vishakapatnam -530003 (Infront of Ice Age). This is one of the best new restaurants opened for Fine Dining. Food is value for money and tasty. The drinks are not that great, hope this will improve over time. Cheap. edit
- Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), 10-50-12/F2, (Opp waltair club), ☎ 0891-2766652. 11AM-11PM. The 'Flying Spaghetti Monster' a.k.a FSM is Vizag's first authentic Italian restaurant. Great place with amazing italian fare. Be sure not to miss out the Chocolate bomb. Cheap. edit
- Venkatadri Vantillu, # 9-14-5, Praveen Plaza, VIP Road, Cbm Compound,. 7am-10pm. This is THE joint for the cost effective, authentic, delicious Andhra Veg snacks to whet the pangs of hunger and to savor the delicacies. Cheap. edit
- Chyna Tang, 3rd Floor, Chitralaya Shopping Mall (Jagadamba Junction), ☎ 8297161119, . Best Chinese food in Vizag with affordable prices. Try their value combos and speciality food. edit
Some interesting bars in the city are in the Five Star hotels mentioned above and typically are expensive even by Western standards. The Park Hotel has a decent bar - try the Screwdriver. Daspalla has another bar and restaurant called Dimple that serves various drinks and can be noisy at times.
- Punnami, near Rishikonda has pub very close to the beach and serves alcohol.
- Chrome, 10 Downing Street and D2 are new pubs that are located in Siripuram.
- Senora, a beach resort located on the outskirts, also boasts of a dance floor.
- food-ex, Siripuram Jn. (beside hsbc). Best hang-out place for pastries, pizzas and Burgers. edit
- Vihar, Near Rishikonda, Opp. GITAM University (Need to travel 8 Km from the city). Best hangout place with friends, only concern is it was tooo far from the city.Even though, worth visitng "Offshores" at Vihar .There's an Awesome beach view from the middle of the hill. edit
Vizag has both high end hotels affordable lodges. The Daspalla, The Grand Central Hotel and Green Park are well-known.
If you are looking for a really cheap accomodation, from the train station take a auto-rickshaw (Rs 10) on the main road going to "city-center" (ask the driver). You can also go by foot but it's a 30 minutes hot and boring walk, following the main road eastward. So you will be dropped off at a big road crossing and you'll have to take the street on your left. Then here all around the area you'll find hotels, and especially huge and cheap dormitories : 80-100 Rps a night (occupied by Indians only but foreigners are welcome too), lockers provided for each bed.
1. Hotel Ramachandra:- Mob.- 08916668610, 08916668611. near Vishakhapatnam Rail Station, Chavalamadam Junction. Bengalis can have Bengali food at Nimantran hotel.
- Hotel athidiinn, D.No.9-1-47, New Resapuvanapalem, ☎ Mob:9396548333, Tel:0891-2727567, Fax:0891-2727678, Email:[email protected], . checkin: 24 hrs. around US $20-30 per 24 hours. edit
- Hotel Daspalla, . around US $50-70 per night. edit
- 99 Residency (Value for Money Hotel), # 10-50-39/2,Opp. Axis Bank, Ramnagar (Next to Waltair Club), ☎ +91-891-302 44 45 ([email protected], fax: +91 891-2505545), . checkin: 12 Noon; checkout: 12 Noon. starting from US$ 20 per night. edit
- Hotel Saraswathi Orchid, #30-15-193,Opp: Dolphin Hotel Garden Gate, Main Road, Dabagardens (Opp: Dolphin Hotel), ☎ +91-891-2712881 ([email protected], fax: +91-891-6635657), . edit
- SAI RESIDENCY, SURYA BAGH (JAGDAMBHA CIRCLE), ☎ +91 983 6381 994. checkin: 10 HRS; checkout: 10HRS. 900-1800. edit
- 'Hotel Akshaya , tel. +91 2598111 / 2598144 (Cell +91 9177892359) Station Rd, Opp to D.R.M.Office.
- Dolphin, Tel. +91 891 2567000 (fax +91 891 2567555)
- Green Park, +91 891 2564444 (fax +91 891 2563763)
- Hotel Talasila Continental (Tel. +91-891-2598598) Station Road, Dondaparthi
- Meghalaya, +91 891 2755141 (fax +91 891 2755824)
- Athidhi The Guest House, 9000415656, 9949662424
- Royal Fort
- The Grand Central Hotel (at Jagadamba Junction)
- Hotel Supreme (At R.K.Beach)
- Dwaraka Inn (At Dwaraka Nagar)
- Grand Bay,, Beach Road, Telephone +91 891 2560101 (fax +91 891 2550691).
- Haritha Beach Resort & Saipriya Beach resort all rooms are sea facing, Rs 1,600-3,000. For Booking you may goto APTDC counter at Vizag Railway Station, there is a provision of online booking for APTDC rushikonda Beach resorts through the APTDC website's online booking section.
- Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach,, Beach Road, Telephone +91 891 2822222 (fax +91 891 2822244).
- Four Points by Sheraton Visakhapatnam,, Waltair Uplands Road, Telephone +91 891 3051111 (fax +91 891 3051000).