Places to visit in Chirala. After living in Bangalore for over half a year, visiting Chirala in Andhra Pradesh was a huge climate difference to face when I got off the train.
Chirala, to those who don’t know, is a small town 100 km from Vijayawada on the East coast of Andhra Pradesh. It’s well-known for its textile industry and its beaches – Ramapuram and Vodarevu.
While some sites like ClearTrip tell you how clear the beaches are, it’s not what we experienced. Some areas are clean, some aren’t. There’s more to know about it all on this list of places to visit in Chirala.
Places to Visit in Chirala: Things to know before Visiting
To those who are looking forward to a vacation by the beach, Chirala is a great spot to consider. Despite the heat and the offbeat location, I’d recommend visiting this place to any traveler out there.
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The real question is why’d I visit Chirala in the first place? Well, a friend of mine lives in Chirala. Without him, I wouldn’t have ever known the town. So I, along with another friend, tagged along and the three of us made an 8-hour train journey to visit this vibrant small town.
Based on my experience, here are all the things to know about Chirala before you visit.
Best Time to Visit Chirala
The best time to visit Chirala is ANY TIME of the year. As the town is on the coastal line, it’s humid all year round. So don’t worry about it.
One thing to consider is the peak season. The popular resorts get more crowded on the holidays. But as Chirala is an offbeat place, it shouldn’t make a difference even with the peak seasons.
How to Get to Chirala
The fastest way to get to Chirala is through Vijayawada. Land at the Vijayawada airport and then take a train/bus to Chirala. It’s a 2-3 hour drive from Vijayawada to Chirala.
For budget travelers, a train or bus is also available to this spot. From Bangalore to Chirala, it’s around an 11-hour trip by train or bus. I’d recommend taking the bus. We took the train – and we deeply regret it. Here’s why:
The train takes a longer route to reach and makes it a long strainful journey. To add to it, the timings aren’t favorable for travel at all. Most trains have odd day timings.
We opted for the 10:00 am to 9:00 pm route, and we did enjoy some epic mountain views on our train’s day journey. But sitting for eleven whole hours in a congested train with a family that sat beside us with a crying baby? A big NO from me!
- Go for the bus from Bangalore to Chirala when budget traveling. It’s expensive compared to the train, but it’s more comfortable and takes lesser time to reach.
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Where to Stay in Chirala
With Chirala tourism still growing, there aren’t many stays here. There are a handful of accommodations to choose from and even fewer resorts.
Some popular resorts by the beach here are the Seabreeze Beach Resorts, Riviera, Palm Coast. Most of these are available with great deals on Booking.com, check them out here.
All these stays are close to one another by the shore with the Riviera Beach resorts towards the end standing right before its beachfront.
Since we were visiting along with our friend, we stayed for two nights in a budget hotel opposite Chirala’s railway station and another night in his house. After all, we’re still not making money – we were on tight budgets!
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What to Pack
I brought along some denim jeans and other full pants and I deeply regretted that. Chirala, being in the coastal region, is extreme with its heat. So stick to nothing more than light clothes.
Some things to pack for Chirala:
- Shorts and swimwear
- Hats and sun lotion
- Light clothes
- Flip-flops (yep, don’t get shoes!)
That should be it to know about all the basics, now let’s get to the fun part. The best places to visit in Chirala!
Best Places to Visit in Chirala
Most tourists come here for its beaches. In fact, that makes up most of the places to visit in Chirala. Apart from the beaches, there’s more to check out here for travel enthusiasts.
Some of them are visiting the St. Mark Lutheran Church, checking out Chirala’s well-known drink with cashew nuts, and Chirala’s market. Let’s get right into it!
1. Ramapuram Beach
All the resorts start to pop up right after this beach. It’s located in front of the Palm Coast Resorts. Spread over a vast area, we had no issues finding ourselves a private spot to enjoy.
It’s great to visit this beach in the evening. With its fewer crowds, some come here for photoshoots. In fact, there was a wedding photoshoot going on nearby when we visited!
However, it isn’t as clean as some sites glorify it. While the waters look great to plunge in, there’s plastic and other waste washed up on the shores too.
2. Vodarevu Beach
The Vodaveru beach is also called the Chirala beach. Or at least they’re both in the same spot on the maps. We didn’t visit this beach during the day as it was crowded.
When you come from the main road, this is the first beach you’ll see. As many people come here, you’ll find many food carts selling a variety of snacks like panipuri here.
We visited it just before it got dark and got ourselves a round of panipuri. While the breeze by the sea here was something to experience, it was disappointing as we left.
Most of these stalls that sell street food items to tourists don’t have a waste disposal system in place. After eating, there was no place to throw the waste cups but on the sands on the beach.
3. Suryalanka Beach
This beach, also known as the Bapatla Beach, isn’t in Chirala, but it’s close by in the Guntur district. It takes almost an hour to reach the beach from Chirala.
This beach being 100 kilometers away from Vijayawada – one of Andhra’s hotspots of tourism, it’s usually crowded with tourists. We visited it in the evening when all the fishing boats were already ashore. However, the temporary stalls were still around with music and bright lights late in the evening.
While walking by the shores, we came across individual chalet-type accommodations. The Suryalanka Haritha Beach resorts. These weren’t anywhere in Chirala but here – and they looked fine as hell!
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4. Muntha Vari Center (For the Katora Drink)
The pink drink with cashew nuts in it is a must-try when you visit Chirala. I’ve always wanted to go to a native and try their authentic specialties in food as a traveler. And this was my first one!
I asked my friend from Chirala, “Is there any special drink that Chirala has to offer?”
“Katrikous,” he answered and took us there right away! I looked around for this drink, and it’s called many names by the locals. It’s called Katrikous, Katora, or Katrigonlu.
Now, about its whereabouts, it’s found on the streets of Munta Vari Center locality at Kotla Bazar in Chirala. When you see a hustling corner shop with a lot of people sipping the cool drink from their long white cups in the hot afternoons, go get yourself one too!
5. Chirala Markets
Chirala is known for its growing handloom industry. It’s one of India’s most popular handloom hubs and stands out for its uniqueness in cloth weaving. They’re known to specialize in making traditional sarees from cotton and khadi.
As a result, the Chirala markets offer high-quality textile products at cheaper rates here. Be it curtains, furniture, bedspreads, variety of bodywear, they’re all available.
Now speaking of where these shops and handlooms are, they’re spread across the marketplace. However, they’re all close by. The Mahatma Gandhi Cloths, Shri Balaji, Soundarya Silks, all these popular shops here are steps away from one another.
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Other Places to Visit in Chirala
Here, tourism isn’t a major revenue contributor to the town. The main income here is through the textile industry, fishing, and farmlands. But with more people visiting over time, it’s on its way.
If you’ve visited all the beaches and markets, some other things to look into are the temples, churches, and cashew manufacturing places. We didn’t visit it ourselves, but that’s something Chirala’s known for too – growing cashews.
For the places of worship, some places to visit in Chirala are the St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and Sri Veera Raghavaswamy Temple.
Places to Visit in Chirala: How to Get Around in Chirala
That concludes on all the places to visit in Chirala. Apart from the Suryalanka beach on the list, all the spots aren’t far from one another.
But for transport, there aren’t many options here. It’s best to have your own bike or car to travel here. In case you don’t, the best public transport to use in Chirala is the autorickshaw.
No online services like Ola work here. The same goes for payment – mobile payments and cards aren’t commonly used. Only a few large shops and restaurants have online payment options. So it’s better to keep cash handy with you.
What I loved most about Chirala is its vibrant nature. The bridge over the railway track, the buildings, they’re all literally vibrant and give off a lively vibe at all times.
Its people are equally vibrant – people with large hearts. We took an autorickshaw and fell short of some money. But the driver didn’t mind and let us go without asking further. I doubt this would ever happen in a metropolitan city.
Throughout the whole town, I couldn’t find a single traffic signal pole and yet everyone manages fine. I couldn’t find a single accident either.
There’s a lot more to this town than just beaches and clothing industries. I’ll talk about it some other time.
For now, this concludes this piece on places to visit in Chirala :)
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