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Visakhapatnam: Inside the Gem of Andhra Pradesh

Updated on July 28, 2018
Mohamed Leen profile image

Mohamed is currently studying in India, and he loves taking every opportunity to explore the country's wonders.

The Tribal Museum in Araku Valley.
The Tribal Museum in Araku Valley.

After hanging out and enjoying in Delhi and Manali, I parted with my friends to head back to reality. However, I took a pit stop before concluding my vacation; I embarked on a solo trip to the city of Visakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. In this article, I share with you the story of three amazing days I spent dawdling around in this gorgeous city.

The harbor area where fishing boats are docked. Cargo containers which are stacked in the seaport area can be seen in the background.
The harbor area where fishing boats are docked. Cargo containers which are stacked in the seaport area can be seen in the background.

First off, let me introduce you to Visakhapatnam, the industrial heart of the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh. Also known as Vizag, the city has a seaport, and the livelihood of most people also revolves around fishing. It is a peaceful and cozy town, and its people were really kind and friendly. Although Vizag is surrounded by a serene atmosphere, people are always getting busy going about their daily lives. I particularly remember the Uber driver I met upon arrival; he guided me through the city and showed me the sights. People like him are what made this trip exceptionally memorable and wonderful to me.

The main attraction inside Vizag is the beachfront. When I wasn’t sightseeing, I spent most of my time in the Ramakrishna beach area, where people came out to relax and have a good time. Swimming in some of the beaches in Vizag is prohibited, but I happened to see quite a few groups frolicking in the water not too far off the beach. The bustling local market area is also another amazing place to explore, along with the hectic fishing boat harbor that is right by the seaport.

One of the other places I visited was the INS Kursura Submarine Museum, which is located down the beach area. It was quite a novel experience to get a glimpse into the life of submariners.

INS Kursura Submarine Museum
INS Kursura Submarine Museum

The “main course” of my visits was the Araku Hill circuit. I started the day-long sightseeing tour in the Padmapuram Botanical Garden, where I got to look at a huge variety of different plants and take in a lot of greenery. Let me tell you that an early morning in a botanical garden is perfect for meditating and simply reflecting on your life. The Tribal Museum was where I found myself next, learning much about the history of Vizag. I also visited the Borra caves. However, I couldn’t enjoy the place as much as I wanted to, as the place was teeming with visitors by the time we got there.

Padmapuram Botanical Garden
Padmapuram Botanical Garden

Araku Valley coffeehouse was another great experience. I am not a coffee person, but I completely enjoyed learning around the history and production process of the globally craved beverage. What’s more, I enjoyed some great blends made from the freshly ground coffee beans. It was also nice to see that this coffee plantation provided major support for the local community by creating employment for people in the area.

A freshly brewed cup of Arabica coffee, at the Araku Valley coffeehouse.
A freshly brewed cup of Arabica coffee, at the Araku Valley coffeehouse.

During my stay, I mostly walked around the city, trying to get lost in backstreets. On a couple of occasions, I did use Ubers. As I mentioned earlier, the Uber driver who picked me up from the airport was great, and we instantly hit it off. He offered to show me around and take me around the Araku Valley area. He even took me to the great cafes and tea stalls in Vizag. Which brings us to the matter of food.

Main market area in Vizag. A lot of local produce and spices can be found at this marketplace.
Main market area in Vizag. A lot of local produce and spices can be found at this marketplace.

During my stay in Vizag, I didn’t eat a huge variety of local foods. It’s not a bad thing though, because all I had was biryani, biryani and more biryani! The whole city was abundant in quaint and cozy food stalls where you can enjoy a bellyful of mouthwatering biryani along with sides of onion, lime and curd. I was hooked since the first biryani, and I could not get myself to stop eating more biryani from various biryani joints over the next three days. The great taste of the biryani can probably be attributed to the influence of the neighboring city of Hyderabad, renown for their exquisite biryani. Biryani wasn’t all I enjoyed though; I experienced some authentic south Indian taste from roadside stands and stalls. I cannot quite forget the taste of the samosas and the Idli, which is an Indian rice cake.

For a full-on local experience, you have to dig in with your hands.
For a full-on local experience, you have to dig in with your hands.

I splurged a little and treated myself while in Vizag. However, you would be surprised to know that I only spent about 90 USD during the course of this short trip, and half of that was spent for the Araku Valley tour. Booking a cheap hotel room online weeks earlier helped me save a ton of money, and I recommend you do the same in your travels.

I spend three days on this detour to Vizag, and it was a great first solo travel experience for me. What’s more important and profound than being engrossed in the tranquility of Vizag was being able to take some time just for myself and reflect on my life. Many little “ingredients” blended together in a perfect recipe for a beautiful trip to this gem of a city.


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