We recently took a ~3-days family trip to the coastal town of Visakhapatnam (Vizag) in Andhra Pradesh. Our primary intent was to get away to a sea beach, sit back and do nothing. Chirala was the first on our list, but we later decided to try Vizag for access to kid-friendly activities.
Northeast side of Vizag features the happening places - the beaches of Bheemili, Rushikonda; or the Kailashagiri, VMRDA and Tenneti parks and the aircraft, submarine museums. Southeast coast has the port, and the Yerada beach known for secluded and pristine sands. Away from the coast, Vizag is known for Araku valley, Borra caves, Simhachalam and Annavaram temples. We had covered the valleys and temples in an earlier trip. We spent time in the northeast area in this visit.
Beaches, museums and parks
Rushikonda beach tops the list of places to spend quality time. We took two trips to the beach - an afternoon visit for our kid to play on the sands and taking a stroll around the little rock formations along the beach. And a morning trip to play with the waves and bask in the sun. Both were awesome. Mornings have lesser crowd and the water is just right for a few swims. We even found few adventurous souls surfing there. Water sports start around 10 A.M.
We visited the VMRDA park in an evening. It was lively with kids practicing on a skating rink. They have a small boating facility. Though the grandeur of a not-so-crowded sea beach about 100 meter away is going to pull you away from it 😄 During our visit, there was a classical music festival ongoing nearby. Beach, sunset and the melodious music made the experience heavenly. Do note that it gets dark early (~5.30 P.M.) in Vizag, plan to visit a bit early if you’d like to enjoy the beach.
Tenneti Park park is situated near Kailashagiri on the way towards Rushikonda beach. The park is literally layered on a hill with an easy descend giving you access to a pristine sea beach. Our highlight was the MVV MAA cargo ship parked out there on the coast. We learned that the 2020 cyclones brought the ship to this coast, and later the Tourism Department purchased the ship with a plan to develop it into a restaurant in the future. Ship deck etc. are not accessible to public. But it is an amazing view to behold. We spent an hour or so basking on the Sun sitting on a rock, and our kid played with his new friend, the ship 🚢.
Our toddler loved the TU142 aircraft museum and some of the war stories. This museum gives access to the interiors of the aircraft. Definitely recommend a visit. Choose the evening time for photos with the majestic aircraft.
All for the food
We enjoyed a sumptuous ala-carte lunch and an equally mouth-watering breakfast in the Another fine day restaurant in both of the visits to Rushikonda beach. Lovely seafood - we savored the chilli crab, prawn vindaloo curry and the local breakfast delicacies. This is the best place to eat around that area. Do note that it may be slightly farther from the main beach, better drive instead of walk.
Night food market in the city is worth a visit for sampling various fish delicacies, chaats and fast food.
Some one-time visits
The Kailashagiri park is a nice children friendly place to spend a couple of hours. Our toddler enjoyed the ropeway, toy train ride and children activities. For the grownups, the view points overlooking eastern ghats and Rushikonda beach may be enticing. It was quite crowded for our taste.
We tried a lunch buffet at The Square restaurant housed in Novotel, Varun Beach. Spread was good but was not entirely worth the price. The restaurant has a nice infinity pool and a little view point overlooking the beach for a few selfies.
Along with street food, we also explored various local eateries in the city. It was mostly okay with a disappointing attempt at savoring the Korean delicacies. Poor service with a long wait and much too salty preparation ruined it. I learned to skip the 4+ star ratings when the sample size is too small (~150 reviews in this case). Korean food still remains on our bucket list for another time.
Ramakrishna Beach is the most accessible sea beach in Vizag. Tons of crowd, and a very happening place especially during the Cricket World Cup matches broadcast live along the beach. There are small trenches of greenery with coconut trees planted along the sands - great for relaxing. You will love the food courts too. However, the water is visibly polluted and the traces of it populate the sands too. Our attempt to get wet didn’t go well 😞
Matsyadarshini is a small aquarium near the Ramakrishna Beach and was a few steps away from our stay. It houses some tortoises along with various baby shark and other fishes. Skip this place.
Stay and getting around
We booked a stay on the Ramakrishna Beach for easy access to the water and sands. On retrospective, it is probably worth going for stays nearer to the Submarine museum. The beaches are cleaner on that side.
We hired a bike for travelling around the city and hopping through the beaches, museums and parks. I’d highly recommend this over auto rickshaws or local transports. Most of the bike or car renting agencies have their business online (Google Maps for the win!) and were quite responsive when we reached out.