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 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 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 are available 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
There are many more just visit the city you will notice them.
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.
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.
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.