Wednesday, September 17, 2008

MY TRAVEL TID-BITS PART 1 - TRIP TO SURYALANKA

Sunrise on the Beach, at Suryalanka

I have always wanted to document my traveling experiences so that I can look back and remember for a long time to come. Let me start with a few of the latest trips I have made in this year. At the beginning of the year I went for a trip to Suryalanka - Yes you got that right the first time! Its not Srilanka this was in the first week of February. I had been to this place along with my roommates.

Overview of the place

The Suryalanka Beach is situated at a distance of 9 kilometers from the historical town of Bapatla, in the Guntur district of the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a quiet, hidden pristine clean beach on the east coast..this is the closest to Hyderabad at around a distance of 350 kms is Suryalanka. Not many people know of this place; the state tourism department is the only one to offer a fantastic beach side resort called Punnami beach resort. So you have the beach practically for yourselves, with the waves a few meters away.....you just walk into the sea from your room in a jiffy. Otherwise you can enjoy the fantastic sight of the waves and waters to the horizon from the balcony of your cottages or enjoy the sea breeze from the pergola just by the beach. A schools of three dolphins could be spotted at about a few hundred meters from the beach .

Food, sight-seeing and shopping

One note of caution, this place is definitely not for the ones looking for the typical tourist spas, souvenir shops, resorts with discs, gym and swimming pools, etc. or ones expecting a shoppers paradise. This place is virgin and untouched. This is its beauty. There is only this one AP tourism resort with basic good clean AC cottages and the fantastic sea and beach. It is a perfect weekend get away, where you can relax with some nice drinks and simple preparation of dal, rice, rotis etc, for vegetarians and fishand other sea food for the NVs....hot spicy food with drinks, bon fires and music on the sea side....I couldn't ask for more. The more adventurous types can go on long walks by the sea or venture into the surrounding fishing village or better still the wilderness by the seaside. When in the restaurant, stick to the local andhra preparations...thats what they make best....great spicy hot curries, hot sambar, and not to miss the hot steaming idli and chutney prepared for breakfast!!! Please do not expect to be served chinese, continental and italian cuisine at this place.

Sruthi, Saru and me playing on the beach

For siteseeing you can visit Bapatla, where there is the 19th century famous Bahunarayan temple. There is apparently a meuseum and zoo at this place too ( we did not visit the zoo and the museum.)

At the Bahunarayan temple, Bapatla

For shopping, we went to Chirala, this is a small town about 10 km from Bapatla, this is also called the textile hub of Andhra Pradesh. We visited the Mahatma Gandhi cloth market there and trust me it is crazy. There are about a hundred cloth wholesale shops here. The cotton, polycotton fabrics are damn cheap here. This place is famous for its cotton sarees too. You must bargain really well here if you want a good deal. The price difference that I found is, we get cloth materials almost at half and one third of what we get in Hyderabad or other places. So for all you girls, who dont sway the 'branded' way here is ur chance to grap some real cheal and cool stuff. The kurtas fabric that I picked up from here was for 100 bucks the entire material and is still going strong.

Activities & things to do

Sun, sand and sea!!!! Play in the waves, swim if you dare, make sand castles, bury your friends under dunes of sand, get a tan, walk along the beach, explore the beach for shells, crabs, driftwood etc. You can get up early to see the spectacular sunrise and dolphins so close to the shore. You can also view the fishermen getting their daily catch. Evenings are for some beach games or a bonfire by the shore along with some soothing music.

Enjoying the view of the beach from our cottage steps in the evening

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc.

Reach Bapatla by the APSRTC semi-delux buses (no ac Volvos ply on this route) or by many Hyderabad-Chennai trains ; Suryalanka is about 9 kms from there. You can take the local eight seater tempos to drop you to Suryalanka. They are damn cheap. Trust me! for 4 people they charged 40 bucks to drop us to the resort 9 km away.

Two routes from Hyderabad-
A) Hyd-Vijayawada[NH9] - Vijayawada-Guntur-Chilakaluripet{NH5} take left and towards Chirala - Bapatla [ 381 Km] , from 30Km before Vijaywada till chilakaluripet excellent road 6 lane then state road starts which is very good without any potholes but be prepared for speed breakers
B)Hyd-Vijayawada {NH9}- Vijayawada -Guntur{NH5}
Guntur - Bapatla{ state road } via Chebrolu,ponnur [350km] road is good but a 2 lane one without dividers

Please make your resort reservations atleast 2 weeks in advance as there are only 11 cottages and they all are booked for the weekend. The rent for each cottage is Rs. 1000 per each day doule occupancy. For more info on bookings please call/visit any of the APTDC offices in Hyderabad.

Our resort(cottages) by the beach

Please carry your own, drinks, chips, munches, music system, fresbees, balls, etc. As there is not much available around here to buy. You need to come for this stip as though you are going in to the jungle for a camping trip.

All I can say is, you need to experience it! This place truely rocks and I cant wait to get there soon again.

3 comments:

Suresh said...

Nice Post... Really enjoyed it.

kranthi P said...
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indhu M said...
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