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 million.
Vizag is sometimes called 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 called Jewel on the Coramandel Coast, Steel city, and the City of Destiny.
The local language is Telugu. There is considerable concentration of Marwaris, Odia, 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.
- 1 Visakhapatnam Airport (VTZ IATA), Viman Nagar (opposite NH 16), ☏ . Visakhapatnam is connected by air to Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Tirupati, Delhi, Mumbai, Bhubaneswar, Kochi, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore through its customs airport, an airport with restricted access, by Air India, SpiceJet and IndiGo. AirAsia and Batik Air from Malaysia operate scheduled flights from Kuala Lumpur.
2 is on the Kolkata–Chennai main line and is connected to several cities of the country by rail. All trains including 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 eight platforms, the first in East Coast railways to have this many, and all of them can accommodate trains with up to 28 coaches.
You may want to verify the timings with Indian Railways, since they change from time to time. Train berths can be reserved online[dead link]. 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.
- Vande Bharat Express (20833/20834) connects Visakhapatnam to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction. It is the fastest rail service between the two cities.
- Godavari Express (12728/12727) departs daily from Hyderabad Deccan Station at 5:15PM and from Secunderabad at 5:45PM, arrives the following morning in Visakhapatnam at 5:50AM. The train departing from Visakhapatnam starts at 5:25PM and reaches its destination the next day morning at 6:15AM. Godavari express is known to operate on-time and is the most preferred train between the two cities.
- Visakha Express (17015/17016) connects Bhubaneswar, the capital of the state of Odisha, to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction. The train departs daily from Secunderabad Station at 5PM, arriving the following morning at Visakhapatnam at 7:15AM. This train runs via Nadikude, Guntur, Vijayawada and Bhimavaram Town. It passes on to Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and to Bhubaneswar. On the return the train leaves Bhubaneshwar at 8:35AM and reaches the city in the evening at 4:10PM. The train is however infamous for its delays and is less preferred.
- Falaknuma Express (train number 12703/12704) connects Howrah Junction to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction. The train departs from Secunderabad at 4PM, arriving the following early morning in Visakhapatnam at 3:30AM. This train on return leaves Howrah at 7:25AM and reaches that night at 9:10PM. It runs faster than most other trains and is the fastest, non-special train. The train is taken by office-goers as it arrives early at Visakhapatnam plying from the nearby towns.
- East Coast Express (18645/18646) connects Howrah Junction to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction. This train leaves Hyderabad at 10AM and is scheduled to arrive at Visakhapatnam at 11:35PM that night. On the reverse the train leaves Howrah at 11:45AM and reaches the next day early morning 4:15AM.
- Janmabhoomi Express (12806/12805) is a day time seater train that connects the city to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction. In Hindi, 'Janmabhoomi' means 'birth place'. The train's rakes are composed of ordinary chair cars and air conditioned chair cars. There are no sleeper berths on this train. It leaves Secunderabad in the morning at 7:10AM and is scheduled to reach Visakhapatnam by that day evening 7:40PM. The train leaves Visakhapatnam at 6:15AM in the morning and reaches its destination that day evening at 6:35PM.
- Garib Rath Express (12740/12739) connects the city to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction. Up to 2012, this was the fastest train between the two cities. The train stops at a very few stations. The train is fully air conditioned. However, blankets, bed sheets, and pillows are not included in the fare and have to be bought separately after boarding the train. No food is made available in the train so the passengers have to carry some along. The train was originally launched under the Garib Rath scheme to provide air conditioned trains for the poor. The train leaves Secunderabad at 8:15PM in the evening and reaches Visakhapatnam the next morning at 7:30AM.
- Duronto Express connects Visakhapatnam to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction in 9 hours and 30 minutes. This is the only non-stop rail service between the two cities. It is equipped with fully air conditioned coaches. The train costs a little more than ordinary trains.
- From Delhi:
- Link Express (train number 12861) connects the city with Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin station. The daily train departs at 3:10PM and reaches the destination at 4:05AM on the third day. So if the train starts on a Sunday it will reach on Tuesday.
- From Mumbai: Konark Express, LTT Visakhapatnam Express, Pune–Bhubaneswar Express
- From Vijayawada: Ratnachal Express, Simhadri Express, Vijaywada-Visakhapatnam Passenger
- From Chennai: Coromandel Express, Howrah Mail
- From Bangalore: Prashanthi Express, YPR HWH Express
- From Howrah: Chennai Mail, Coromandel Express (the fastest train passing through Andhra Pradesh at 140 km/h), Falaknuma Express, East Coast Express, Gurudev Express, Thiruchirappalli Express, YPR Express
Visakhapatnam has several satellite stations:
- Simhachalam (North)
The Andhra Pradesh State Road Travel Corporation (APSRTC) runs buses from almost every city and town to Visakhapatnam, 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 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.
Visakhapatnam has no commuter rail service. However, APSRTC operates a lit of buses from 6 principal bus complexes in the city. They are:
- Visakha Steel City
Dwarka Bus Station or RTC Complex depot is the largest bus station and complex in the city.
There are mainly two types of buses operated for suburban travel in Visakhapatnam.
City Ordinary: can be identified by its orange or red colour. It is operated on almost all suburban routes. Some of the main routes include RTC Complex- Gajuwaka(via NAD), Maddilapalem- Railway Station, RTC Complex- Gajuwaka ( via Scindia), Railway Station- Madhurawada, etc. These buses stop at almost every bus stop. The frequency is more than that of Metro Express buses. These buses sometimes become overcrowded during peak hours on weekdays. Some popular route numbers include 222, 400, 99, 25, 900, 60C, 300, 6A, 28, 38 and 12D.
Metro Express: can be identified by their blue and white colour. These buses run in most important routes such as 400, 211, 500, 99, 28, 38 etc. These buses don't stop at all bus stops and the fare for these buses is also a bit higher than that for city ordinary buses.Many of these buses are JNNURM funded and sport digital display boards which display route number and route details in both English and Telugu. Also most of these have cushioned seats which are comfortable and many of them also have air-suspension which makes the journey more comfortable. These buses don't get as crowded as City Ordinary buses.
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 Anakapalle and Thagarapuvalasa.
The bus fare to get to Madilapalem from the railway station is only ₹8. 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 a month. With the pass, you can board any APSRTC bus and travel anywhere within the city limits. An ordinary RTC-Pass costs just ₹750 which is around 13 dollars and in USD. The RTC complex is 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.
- 1 Kailash Hill (Kailasagiri). 6 km (3.7 mi) away from the city centre. The ride to this hill offers a spectacular view of the sea. There is a park atop the hill, with a beautiful view of the city, the sea and Eastern Ghats merging into the sea. Sagarnagar Beach and Rushikonda Beach are on the right and left hand sides. There is a huge sculpture of Shiva and Parvathi. One can take a ropeway directly facing sea and city. The up and down fare for the ropeway was ₹44 in Dec 2006. On the hill top there is a beautiful toy train offering a tour of nature. Several view points give a pleasant look of the nature, especially in the evening, when the city is lit up. This is less commercial than other hill stations and there is less hassle by tourist guides. After descending from Kailashgiri one should visit Tenneti Beach Park. Its beauty and luxuriant carpet grass intertwined with concrete pathways makes it ideal for romantic couples. There are several points from which the beautiful rocky beach down beneath can be seen. This provides spectacular views of sunrise, sunset and the pristine waters. Many movies were shot here. Hillocks in the park which are about 50 ft (15 m) in elevation give a beautiful view of the sea, beach road and the beach park. The hilltop includes a children's play area, a doll museum and a couple of eating areas. Has several "viewpoints" affording wonderful views of the city on one side and winding beaches adjoining green hills on the other side. It is a likeable beach city, especially after visiting Kailasagiri.
- 2 Borra Caves. Once charming, these caves have been modernized by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC). There is an entry fee of ₹30. Separate charges are there to enter with still or video camera. It is a must-visit place for all tourists visiting Vizag. Bring drinking water.
- Jagadamba Center (Jagadamba Junction). Most of the famous shopping centers and malls can be found here. Named after the Jagadamba movie theatre, one of the best movie auditoriums of the country when it was constructed and even today.
- 3 Kambalakonda. A gorgeous nature preserve that many people in Vizag itself seem to be unaware of. Kambalakonda is uncrowded and peaceful and within 20-25 minutes drive from the city center. A nominal entrance fee of ₹10 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.
- Matsyadarshini Aquarium. This aquarium is situated on the left side of Kali temple of R.K. Beach. It has marine and freshwater fishes. Entry fee is ₹20 per person (December 2006). The exit gate of the aquarium resembles the open mouth of a huge white tipped shark. 'Kala Shrusti', a handicrafts shop, is atop the aquarium.
- Ross Hill. Near Ross Hill there are 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. There is a view of the port channel, once ships' entrance to the inner harbor.
- 4 Simhachalam. This is an 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 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. It also has a local railway station.
- War Memorial. This is a remembrance of the Victory at Sea in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. It is on the Beach Road, opposite the Submarine Museum. There is a fighter plane, a tank and few replicas of missiles kept as exhibits. There is no entry fee and it can be viewed from the road.
- 5 Bojjana Konda. It is near Sankaram village in the hamlet of Anakapalli, 40 km from Visakhapatnam, and offers 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 other 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.
- 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.
- . This presents India's maritime history with pictures, models and content of Indian maritime history.
- Naval Aircraft Museum. This is unique in India, located opposite to the submarine museum on Ramakrishna beach. This museum houses a decommissioned anti-submarine aircraft of Russian origin, which has been restored for the public. It is possible to see the inside of the aircraft and real engines are displayed. It justifies the ₹100 entry fee for adults.
- 6 Submarine Museum, RK Beach Rd, Kirlampudi Layout, Chinna Waltair, Pandurangapuram, ☏ . A museum in a decommissioned submarine of the Indian Navy. This is the first of its kind in eastern Asia. This submarine is one of the earliest submarines procured from Russia. The experience of working in the submarine is explained. The museum is manned by retired naval people. The entry fee is ₹.25 for adults and there is a fee to take a camera or video camera inside. ₹40 for adults, ₹20 for children.
More than anything else, Vizag is known for its beaches. It boasts a number of beaches that are 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. 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.
- 7 Bhimili (Bheemili Beach). About 25 km from the city and is what used to be a small village also called Bheemunipatnam. Apart from the beach, the village has the remains of a Portuguese church, Dutch cemeteries and a Buddhist Monastery (Pavurallakonda) .
- 8 Ramakrishna Beach. R.K.Beach is the most popular beach 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 see that the entire beach comes alive, but not in a 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 walking along. Caution: a lot of people have died while swimming due to the presence of dangerous "Rip currents". Take an evening stroll at RK Beach; it offers good pedestrian tracks, beautiful parks, museums, beaches and some wonderful open air restaurants.
- 9 Rushikonda (Rushikonda Beach). 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 has a beach resort (Punnami) on the hillside overlooking the beach. Caution: A lot of people have died while swimming/playing at this beach due to rip currents. This beach gained "Blue Flag" certification status in 2020.
- 10 Yarada Beach. It is perceived as a private beach but actually it is not. Tourists can visit the beach directly or through the Yarada village. Yarada is the village behind the dolphin nose. To go to this beach, bus facility is available from Scindia junction. Also you can hire a cab to go there. The view of the beach and Vizag city from the top of the Dolphin's nose is memorable. The drive from Scindia to the top of dolphin nose, dolphin nose to Yarada is really enjoyable.
The beaches are lovely, but, there are water sporting activities which started out initially like marine rafting and scuba diving, there are few beach cafes and restaurants. A water sports centre was started in Rushikonda. Vizagites are traditionally quite conservative and though the beaches and the hills are beautiful, but there is much here to interest the average tourist.
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.
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.
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:
- Chandana Brothers
- Bommana Brothers
- Kankatala silk palace
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:
- Vaibhav Jewellers
- Mahaveer Jewellers
- Tanishq Jewellers
- Khazana Jewellers
- Joyalukkas Jewellery, Sampath Vinayaka Temple Rd, Near Sampath Vinayaka Temple, CBM Compound, Asilmetta, ☏ .
While definitely not considered a shopper's paradise, Vizag offers some unique handicrafts and can found in by the Andhra Pradesh State-owned handicraft store, Lepakshi, at Jagadamba center. It has an impressive collection of sandalwood sculptures, stone art, etc.
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.
- Jyoti Book Depot
- Shoppers stop
- Big Bazaar
- CMR Shopping Mall
- South India Shopping Mall
- Shoppers Stop
- 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.
- Visakhapatnam Central (beside CP office). Most happening place is Visakhapatnam Central, where you will get all branded apparels, fashion jewelries, life style merchandise like watches, shades and color cosmetics. It is typical of malls which you can find anywhere in metro cities. Very expensive too.
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.
- Blue Sea Fine Dining, Pakkis Complex, Opposite ICICI Bank Road, Dwarakanagar 2nd Lane, Dwaraka Nagar, ☏ .
- Daspalla Executive Court, ☏ , fax: .Eleven, 10-1-4 & 5, 4th floor, Siripuram (Infront of Ice Age), ☏ . Noon to 11PM. This is one of the best new restaurants opened for Fine Dining. Food is value for money and tasty. They probably serve the best food in Vizag.
- Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) (Opp waltair club), ☏ . 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.
- Horizon (live music during dinner) at Dolphin Hotel, +91 891 2567000.
- Hotel Daspalla, ☏ , fax: .
- Hotel Green Park, ☏ , fax: .
- Hotel Jabilly Beach inn, on R K Beach, ☏ . noon. All rooms face the sea, pure Bengali food is available. ₹650 to 1200.
- Subway - Subs & Salads in Siripuram's Dutt Island, +91 891 278491.
- Ambica sea green - on Beach Road, Kirlampudi Layout, ph. 08912821818
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 time. Two new really cool breweries have opened up in the city .
- Punnami, near Rishikonda has pub very close to the beach and serves alcohol.
- Vihar, Near Rishikonda, Opp. GITAM University (8 km from the city). Best hangout place with friends, only concern is it was too far from the city. Even though, worth visiting "Offshores" at Vihar. There's an Awesome beach view from the middle of the hill.
- Ironhill brewery- above pmj jwellers, siripuram.
Vizag has both high end hotels and affordable lodges. The Daspalla, The Grand Central Hotel and Green Park are well-known.
- 99 Residency (Value for Money Hotel), # 10-50-39/2, Waltair Main Road, Ramnagar (Next to Waltair Club), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: Noon, check-out: Noon. starting from ₹1,500 per night.
- Athidhi The Guest House, ☏ , .
- 1 Beach View Guest House, RK Beach main road, besides Novotel Hotel (Varun Beach) (towards collecter office route from novotel), ☏ , email@example.com. All rooms face the beach. Wi-Fi available.
- Dolphin, ☏ , fax: .
- Dwaraka Inn (At Dwaraka Nagar).
- Fortune Inn Sree Kanya, Dwaraknagar, Diamond Park (Sree Kanya Road), ☏ .
- The Grand Central Hotel (at Jagadamba Junction).
- Green Park, ☏ , fax: .
- Hotel Akshaya, Station Rd (Opp to D.R.M.Office.), ☏ , , (mobile).
- Hotel Athidiinn, D.No.9-1-47, New Resapuvanapalem, ☏ , (mobile), fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 24 hr. ₹1,500-2,200 per 24 hours.
- Hotel Daspalla, 28-2-48, Suryabagh, Jagadamba Junction, ☏ . Check-in: 24 hour check-in. Complementary breakfast, free WiFi, four restaurants and wheelchair accessible. From ₹4,000 per night.
- Hotel Saraswathi Orchid, #30-15-193,Opp: Dolphin Hotel Garden Gate, Main Road, Dabagardens (Opp: Dolphin Hotel), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com.
- Hotel Supreme, At R.K.Beach.
- Hotel Talasila Continental, Station Road, Dondaparthi, ☏ .
- Meghalaya, ☏ , fax: .
- Royal Fort.
- 2 Four Points by Sheraton Visakhapatnam, 10-28-3, Waltair Main Road, ☏ , fax: .
- 3 Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach, Beach Road, ☏ , fax: .
- 4 Th Gateway Hotel, Beach Road, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 5 The Park Hotel, Beach Rd, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com.
- 6 Welcomhotel Devee Grand Bay, Beach Rd, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fairfield by Marriott - KSR prime R&B junction Visakhapatnam
- Palm Beach hotel - beside the park hotel
- Best Western Ramachandra, 8-8-36, Gajuwaka, ☏ , email@example.com.
- QualityInn Ramachandra Hotel, 31-41/10/1, Duvvada, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 3-Star Hotel
- 11 Araku Valley. Six hours by train or public bus, this is a scenic valley. A slow, passenger train leaves the Vizag station early in the morning (at 6:50AM), and the train ride is enjoyable. Arrive at least an hour before its departure to get a seat. The train runs through small mountains and tunnels. "Shimiliguda" railway station, on the route, is the highest railway station in India on broad-gauge track. Araku Valley is definitely not a day trip, but the APTDC facilities can serve as a decent lodging. Book your APTDC rooms early. Padmavathi botanical gardens is worth visiting. November to February are the best months to visit and making an early reservation in the lodges is advisable as Araku Valley has few 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 through the valley to Bora caves; the ride is amazing.