Visakhapatnam

Crescent Beach, Visakhapatnam
Vizag City
Rock-cut Buddha Statue at Bojjanakonda near Anakapalle of Visakhapatnam district

Visakhapatnam (also known locally as Vizag) is the largest city in Andhra Pradesh. It is primarily an industrial city, but also attracts tourists due to its unspoiled sandy beaches, well built and maintained parks, Buddhist Remnant sites and nearby scenic areas, such as the Araku Valley. The city has a population of about 2,035,299.

Understand

VUDA park water pond, Visakhapatnam

Vizag is sometimes referred to as the "The Goa of the East". Just like its west coast counterpart, it has beautiful virgin beaches, laterite hillocks, smooth roads and stunning landscape. Health-tourism is a fast developing industry. Visakhapatnam is variously referred to as Jewel on the Coramandel Coast, Steel city, and the City of Destiny.

The people

The local language is Telugu. There is considerable concentration of Marwaris, Oriya, Bengalis, Punjabis, 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 by the abundance of work at locally based companies, such as Vizag Steel Plant and Hindustan Shipyard.

Get in

By plane

Vizag is connected by air to Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Tirupati, Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore through its customs airport, an airport with restricted access, by major mainline airlines like Air India and Jet Airways and some low-cost carriers like SpiceJet and IndiGo. Singapore Airlines' subsidiary Silkair has recently launched operations to the city becoming the first non-Indian airline to operate at the city. AirAsia and Malindo Air from Malaysia operate scheduled flights from Kuala Lumpur.

By train

Visakhapatnam is on Kolkata-Chennai main line and is connected to several cities of the country by rail. This being a major station and a terminal, all trains including super fast expresses stop at the station. Visakhapatnam station comes under the East Coast Railways zone and is one of the principal Divisional Headquarters (under the British name Waltair). It has 8 serving platforms, the first in East Coast railways to have this many, and all of them can accommodate trains with up to 28 coaches.

Vizag railway station overview
Visakhapatnam Beach Road from Kailashagiri

You may want to verify the timings with Indian Railways, since they change from time to time. Train berths can be reserved online. However, this being a major destination, availability of seats is at times difficult even with a one month's advance planning.

From Hyderabad The average distance between the two cities is about 700 km. However different trains take different routes, and hence have different journey times.

From New Delhi

From Mumbai

From Vijayawada

From Chennai

From Bangalore

From Kolkata


Note: Visakhapatnam has a satellitle train station called Duvvada

By road

Visakhapatnam is connected to Chennai and Calcutta via Bhubaneswar and Vijayawada by National Highway 5 (dual-carriageway, 120 km/h).

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. 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.

Get around

Visakhapatnam has no commuter rail service. However, the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) operates a large number of buses from 6 principal bus complexes in the city. They are:

Maddilapalem depot is the largest bus station and complex in the city.

The junction and Maddilapalem joins the Asilametta-Ramatalkies road to the National Highway 5. Buses from Madilapalem ply to the extreme ends of the city, including Gajuwaka and Thagarapuvalasa.

Fares

The bus fare to get to Madilapalem from the Railway station is only ₹6, which is about 11 United States Cents. Buses operate within a 5 minute frequency in routes with high demand. The minimum frequency in which buses operate is 40 minutes, i.e., every route is covered by an APSRTC bus once in every 40 minutes. The current list of destinations covered by the buses and their route numbers are available at Wikipedia.

Apart from buying tickets on the bus, you may also avail an RTC-Pass, which is a special type of pass that can be renewed once in every three months. With the pass, you can board any APSRTC bus and travel anywhere within the city limits. An ordinary RTC-Pass costs just ₹390 which is 7 dollars and 12 Cents in USD. The RTC complex is a suburb located to the southeast of Asilametta. RTC complex is generally referred to as complex and is connected to every other region in the city. Apart from the bus, taxi/autorikshaw can also be hired. The autorikshaw is a mini taxi which is much more cheaper, but less convenient.

Places to visit

Beaches

WARNING: Swimming in these beaches can be dangerous. In recent years alone dozens of people have died swimming here, due to treacherous tidal jets and rocky terrain.
Visakhapatnam Beach Map

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. Do not go swimming. 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 finds it rewarding if they can make an effort to get there. It's a private beach coming under Agrigold plantations therefor you need to pay a fee of ₹30/- to get onto the beach, but it's worth it.

Boats at Bhimili beach Visakhapatnam District
Beach View from Tenneti Park, Vizag
Rushikonda beach view

The beaches are lovely, but, there are no activities like water sports, or beach cafes/restaurants/huts like you have in Goa. Recently a water sports centre was started in Rushikonda. There are very few beach resorts. Vizagites are traditionally quite conservative and though the beaches and the hills are beautiful, there is much here to interest the average tourist. There has been some change in the recent times with the influx of employees of HSBC, HPCL, etc., and Naval Officers, who are interested in going out with their families and enjoying the golden sand and pollution free waters of Vizag's beaches.

Other places

Beach view at Tenneti Park in Visakhapatnam
Borra caves near Visakhapatnam
Lord narasimha rock cut statue at Simhachalam temple
Ropeway car at Kailasagiri, Visakhapatnam
Kambalakonda Sanctuary, Visakhapatnam
Ship Darshani Prem at Vizag seaport Andhra Pradesh
1971 War Memorial at Vizag Beach

Museums

INS Kursura at RK Beach in Vizag
Bavikonda Stupas, Visakhapatnam
Maha Stupa at Thotlakonda Monastic Complex, Vizag

Do

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 truly 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 positioned 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 ambiance 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.

Buy

Vizag offers a reasonably large selection of stores selling clothing, jewellery, books, etc.

Clothing

There are several locations from which clothing can be purchased. However they tend to be concentrated in few locations. One such is Jagadamba Centre. Few of the many clothing stores are:

Jewellery

Similar to clothing stores, there are several shops from where jewellery can be purchased. The centres are distributed, but the prominent ones are between RTC Complex and Railway station, Jagadamba Centre and near old Town Kotharoad. Some of the prominent stores are:

Memoribilia

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 which is located at Jagadamba center. It has an impressive collection of sandalwood sculptures, stone art etc.

Books

The stretch of road called Dabagardens has many bookstores. Police Barracks has numerous small stores that buy and sell second-hand books, including technical textbooks.

Pubs

Shopping malls

Vizag has seen an explosion of shopping malls over the past few years and now can boast of many such centres.

Eat

Vizag lunch consists of steamed rice with country chicken stew, dry fish curry, topa, seruva, teepe semiya and crab stew.

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.

Drink

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.

Sleep

Vizag has both high end hotels affordable lodges. The Daspalla, The Grand Central Hotel and Green Park are well-known.

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.