Solo Woman Backpacking Around Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh: Planning

I would be visiting the city of Vijayawada in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India for an academic conference and my first thought is what other places I can visit backpacking around Vijayawada? Whenever I Google for places to visit around any spot, most of the results are temples. Not beautiful sceneries and waterfalls or museums and buildings but temples. I guess the largest chunk of tourism in India is around Hindu temples. In earliest times the only reason people went out of home and traveled was pilgrimage and even today, traveling for pleasure is not really a thing. While some Indians like Gujaratis and Bengalis are known to be avid travelers and can be found traveling to world destinations, they are the exception. Most Indian families travel nearby places and for religious purposes. They are not really travelers.

Coming back to my search, I am not interested in temples. I want to see beaches, riversides, do some activities, I like to explore local markets, arts and crafts, villages sides, local cuisines. As I searched for these on Google, I realized one thing. Google search results are overpopulated by commercial entities and the days of finding relevant information from like minded ordinary people’s blogs are long gone. For example, when I searched for whether buses are easily available to travel from Vijayawada to Vizag, I just got results showing all kinds of bus companies and travel companies like Red Bus, Abhi Bus. No matter how much i crawl down I only found companies selling me a bus ticket but the information I truly needed were of more descriptive nature and first-hand experience related. Such as, how frequently are buses available, which is the popular bus stop, whether it is safe to travel by bus or not, whether the journey is comfortable or not and so on. When internet was new, we used to get these information from Blogs. Before that, travel magazine in print or books and newspapers used to provide these information.

For women solo backpackers more than commercial market related information we need information from peers, co-travelers as to what they learnt during their travels. We don’t need so many apps and web portals for hotels, bus and train bookings. We need information on whether we can book hotels and homestays as a walk-in customer, what are the local people’s attitude towards solo women travelers, what documents do they want to see before they provide an accommodation etc.

My journey is next week, I would keep this blog updated. From losing years to the Covid pandemic to the pre-occupation with my day job and a PhD research, it has been ages since I last traveled anywhere as a solo backpacker. But resuming soon.

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