Vizag – Goa of The East Coast
For a resident of Bangalore, there could be no better holiday than a weekend at the beach. A lot of you would agree. Bangalore has the weather, the people, and places to hang out as well. But we seriously miss having a beach nearby. Vizag, or Vishakapatnam, is the second largest city in Andhra Pradesh and is famous for its natural port, apart from the tourism of course. It’s about 1300kms from Bangalore and hence my initial thoughts were to take a flight. But after finding out the ridiculous cost of a flight ticket to Vizag, I decided a train was better. By train it takes about 18 to 20 hours depending on the train you’ve taken (as I found out when coming back, it could take a LOT more than that, so be prepared). I was pleasantly taken aback by the weather when I arrived. It was very much like what I was used to, cool and calm. Surprising for a beach town. The Vizag railway station however lacks a lot of basic amenities, including a (working) air conditioned waiting room. This would turn out to be such a big damper on my return journey. More on that later.My room was booked at the government APTDC Haritha Beach Resort at Rishikonda. That was another 15kms from the railway station and travelling there would be only by auto. Be prepared to pay a couple of hundred bucks unless you can talk Telugu. One thing though, the auto drivers there don’t hassle you like in Bangalore. So you can let your guard down… a little. Coming to the resort, the staff were extremely helpful. Language was not a problem as I could (sorta) follow Telugu. They’re quite fluent in Hindi, just in case. The rooms were fantastic and we had a stunning view of the beach from our second floor deluxe room. One does not have to worry about food either. The room service was quick and the food was brilliant. There’s even a very nice restaurant called Offshores. A view of the beach and the sound of the water make a very scenic background for a quiet dinner. Don’t forget to order sea food. Cooked in traditional Andhra style, you can expect a spicy affair for your taste buds. My only qualm about Rishikonda was that it wasn’t a private beach. However, the crowd was small and the people weren’t privy to what tourists were up to. All I wanted to do on this vacation was to laze and enjoy the beach. There are a lot more things to see in Vizag though. The Borra Caves, Arakku Valley, more beaches, and lots of temples. If you love to drive, it would be well advised to rent a car because the city has some breath taking scenic roads that one will thoroughly enjoy driving. My experience with the return train journey was horrible. The train was initially delayed by 3 hours, and it only kept increasing. It finally arrived a whole 5 hours late! This did give me an opportunity to explore the city, and I managed to sit through a whole Telugu movie – for the first time. All in all, Vizag is a truely beautiful beach town to visit, and for me, it really was the Goa of the East Coast.
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