HERE ARE SOME USEFUL TIPS TO HELP
YOU GET AROUND
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION :
They are the only reasonable way to get around. Easily available, reasonably accommodating and not too honest. But getting one in a residential area late at night is difficult. They do not ply by metre unless you really take them to task. After 10 p.m., autos generally charge 50% over the metre and they may charge extra to go to remote and far away places. If invited for dinner, it would be a good idea to get a lift back and anyway, people here usually go out of their way to give one a hand. If hiring an auto for a round trip - fix the price in advance and be explicit in your instructions to the auto driver regarding the time of your pick up etc.
There are a large number of them reaching out to most of the remote areas. They start early at 4 a.m. and ply till almost midnight.
There are quite a few private cab companies offering round the clock service. You need to fix up the rates before you set out on your journey. Most of them are standard, and rates are usually charged per kilometre, though they will vary for A.C and non A.C. cars.
You can give your taxi driver around Rs. 20/- or Rs. 25/- each time for his lunch and dinner. Anything you pay after that is again entirely upto you, taking into factors like, the time taken for your trip, how well he drove, how courteous he was etc.
EATING OUT :
There are a few star hotels, ordinary hotels and also quite a few other places where good food is served. The price factor is something that should not worry you in the ordinary places. Carry your own water preferably, especially when venturing out with your children if not eating in a known place or a big hotel where you are almost certain you will be served mineral or filtered water.
Bars close at 11 p.m. and the last order is usually taken around 10.30 p.m., some restaurants though, stay open till 4 a.m. Eating out after the bars close is best done in a 24 hour coffee shop that is there in most of the big hotels.
Tipping is entirely upto you and most of the time anything is appreciated. Vizag is not such a rich city and lots of people depend on tips for their livelihood. So it would be nice if you were reasonably generous, but try not to go overboard!!
It is fashionable to be late in Vizag. If you are invited at 8 p.m., people do not expect you to arrive until 9 p.m. and many a time if you arrive early you might not find your host and hostess! People generally drink until dinner is served often quite late, so it's a very good idea to grab a bite before you go. Dinner also signals the end of the party. So, one wouldn't think anything of you if you politely excused yourself after the meal.
When buying in bulk, remember, you can always ask for a discount, and shopkeepers will usually oblige. Otherwise, fixed price is the convention.
Returns / Exchange
Shopkeepers here are quite understanding and will usually exchange an item for you if you have your bills.
It is a good practice to carry a lot of change for local telephone calls which are charged at Rs. 1.50. Look out for the "ISD/STD/PCO" signs and pay as per computer printout. Pay phones @ Re 1 per local call are quite difficult to find.
Dressing is very informal and most of the local women wear sarees or salwars while the men are in jeans or trousers. Wear jeans and skirts and you won't feel uncomfortable. Shorts are also very widely accepted here if for a walk or a day to the beach. Suits are preferred for business meetings.
People of Vizag are generally quite informal and a lot of them here are used to taking of their shoes before entering other peoples homes. What exactly the reason is, one is not sure, whether it is to keep the place clean or for the sheer comfort of walking barefoot. Anyway, footwear is not allowed in temples and other places of worship.
Drink mineral water or aerated drinks. Toilet paper may not always be available, so its better to carry a roll with you.
Vizag is relatively safe. The police confirm that organised crime is minuscule, though we have been hearing about quite a few cases of robbery in the recent past. Still, be careful and don't flash too much of money around. If in doubt, check routes in advance. Leave valuables/ passports in your hotel safe or with someone you can trust.
One last word of advice
Smile and be happy. You will remember your stay in Vizag, the City of Destiny for a long time.