For Vizag & Araku Valley GUIDE, please CLICK HERE.
DAY 01: Reach Visakhapatnam in morning and local sightseeing in day by APTDC bus, NS: Visakhapatnam
DAY 02: Araku Sightseeing by APTDC bus, NS: Visakhapatnam
DAY 03: Yarada Beach in morning and return train in evening, NS: Visakhapatnam Shalimar Superfast Express
DAY 05: Reach Kolkata in morning.
*NS – Night Stay
My Total Expense: Rs. 7,000 (approx.)
For Vizag & Araku Valley GUIDE, please CLICK HERE.
DAY 01: My train arrived at Visakhapatnam Railway Station at 2 am in morning, and was surprised to see the Travelers’ Club Lounge in the railway station which I had booked for a few hours to spend the night looked more like a 5 Star hotel lobby with charging points and clean washrooms. I spent the night half-laying in the lobby, and in the morning had an expensive breakfast in the lounge, though the food quality was very good. I kept my backpack in the Cloak room, taking some essentials in a small bag and walked upto the RTC Complex which is 2 km far, from where my Vizag local sightseeing tour in APTDC conducted tour bus was scheduled from 9 AM. I went to their office, they checked my booking printout, and were set to go. The bus cruised through the Mudasarlove Road with hills on both sides as the guide introducing himself and the city.
Our first destination was Simhachalam Temple. The guide advised us to open our shoes inside the bus and took us to the temple. There were free lines that’d take more time to get Darshan, and there were several paid lines that took less time to get there. The more you pay , the more quick you’ll be to get Darshan.
Next was Kailashgiri Park. The guide showed us the ticket counters for the toy train which had AC and Non AC coaches. The toy train runs extremely slowly, however giving a good view of the hills, the city, the sea and it’s beaches as well from the top of the hill. There’s a ropeway ride as well from the bottom to the park. The park had view points that gave good views of sea alongside the hills, specially the titanic View Point which is beside the car parking. It has the famous Shiv Parvati Statue and was a beautiful park to spend leisure time. Next was Thotlakonda, a place of archeological importance which is a 2000 yrs old ancient Buddhist civilization. There’re domes constructed for living and small ponds dug up to store water during rain. However it’s said the domes were rebuilt and weren’t the original ones. You can read the story here.
Next was the Rushikonda beach which was quiet crowded and featured some boulders laid a few meters towards the sea. The hill and sea beach seen from the tip of the boulders looked beautiful. Scuba diving and boating facilities are said to available under APTDC. We’er taken to the APTDC Haritha Resorts located opposite the small hill of Rushikonda beach for lunch. The resort provided a very good view of the beach with hills and surroundings.
Next was Submarine Museum. INS Kursura after decomissioned in 27 February 2001 was converted as a museum shows the inside image of a Submarine, life of the Navy personnel while operation and the machinary. She participated in the Indo-Pak War of 1971. It felt amazing as our bus cruised through the beach road between the hills and the sea. The lst spot was the watch tower in the port area, which was inactive and gave a good view of the port from the top. It is inactive now and it’s replacement is built on the top of a hill few meters away. The guide announced the end of the tour and collected tips from the tourists and I got down at RK Beach to spend some time as it was still late afternoon.
DAY 02: My destination today was Araku Valley. Most people prefer train to reach Araku as the it goes through hills and several tunnels offering beautiful views on way. However, I couldn’t get tickets in train and so booked for the APTDC conducted tour. I arrived at the RTC Complex APTDC office to have my tickets checked and the bus started at 07:00. Firstly we had our breakfast in a APTDC hotel in Vizag and the tour started. The guide introduced himself and briefed us about the tour.
The hills started and our first stop was the Coffee plantations. We went up the hill to check out coffee plants and found many temporary shops selling readymade coffee on the streets. I had a cup but don’t know whether it’s made from there itself or the usual powdered coffee.
Next was Galikonda View Point which offered a beautiful view of the surrounding hills and greenery with clouds rushing in as it was raining lightly. It has paved platform for tourists to click photographs and enjoy the beauty. While the bus started, the guide told us about the Bamboo Chicken, famous in Araku Valley and written down our orders to save time and pre order them in a eatery outside Tribal Museum which was our next destination(Bamboo Chicken is not included in the package and to be paid separately). We visited the Tribal museum which featured several tribal stories, their lives, their huts and shops which sold goods made by tribals there. The guide stood at the main gate of the museum and directed me to the eatery to have my Bamboo Chicken which was made by only their marination of local spices and herbs on the chicken put it in a bamboo chopped in a way that it acts like a deep cylindrical container and putting them in fire and cooking until the bamboo turns black and cracks appears. The bamboo is closed on both sides and the resultant chicken has a flavour of the herbs, spices and the bamboo too.
Our next destination was the Botanical Garden which featured some rare plants and had a statue of the Shiv Parvati. We’re next taken to APTDC Haritha Valley Resort for lunch. The arrangements were superb with Tribal Dance arranged after lunch.
Our last destination for the day was Borra Caves. We’re given an hour to explore the cave which was huge and featured an amazing light show on the rocks on way which made it look even more beautiful. The bus halted for a tea and snacks break at the APTDC Jungle Bells located in the hill forest between Vizag and Araku. It had separate cottages designed to give a feel of living in the forests. Also it had a place for dining and Bonfire and is said to arrange small treks in the nearby forest. The tour ended as the guide collected tips and the bus dropped us at RTC Complex in the evening. I took my backpack from Cloak Room and found a room at Mahalaxmi Residency beside RTC Complex for Rs. 700 per night. The room was neat and spacy but the staffs seemed to be asking for tips for no reason.
DAY 03: I had my returning train in evening and the morning I decided to visit Yarada Beach, but the night before the coast was hit by Cyclone Phethai, resulting in heavy rains and strong wind forcing me to cancel my plans. However, I went to the RK Beach where due to strong winds it was very difficult to stand with the umbrella as it turned upside down and the wind attempting to fly me too. I returned to my hotel, packed my bag and walked to the Railway Station to board the Visakhapatnam Shalimar Superfast Express back to Kolkata.