Sometimes nicknamed Cyberabad because of its special economic zone for IT industry, Hyderabad has a very rich history, plenty of interesting sites to visit (you won’t have time to see them all in a week end!), good restaurants, and that little something that you can only feel in places not featured in large travel agencies.
How accessible is it from Singapore?
The total door to door journey from (your home/office in) Singapore to your hotel will take you about 6 hours and 45 minutes. The trip includes airport transfers by taxi and the direct flight.
The flight timing allow you to spend the weekend there without taking any day off… if you are ready to go straight to the office after an overnight flight back to Singapore… If not, you will have to take a (half) day off on Monday to get some rest.
How much is this going to cost us?
Transport wise, the total return trip will cost about SGD 860 for 2 persons. This estimate includes taxis and flights.
Accommodation wise, you will find a wide range of options. Anywhere from SGD 4 to SGD 800 for a palace. Food and drinks are very affordable
How remote and risky is it?
Hyderabad is a large city so medical infrastructures are good for Indian standards. For international standards it’s acceptable. On the spectrum between the easy relaxing weekend in a luxury hotel by the pool and an off the beaten track volcano trek, a visit to Hyderabad probably ranks somewhere in the middle in terms of comfort/difficulty.
What about the kids?
Hyderabad has been ranked by Mercer as the best city to live in India for expatriates in terms of quality of living. You can take your kids there however traffic can be quite stressful and there are not many kid friendly activities available for tourists.
When should we go?
Connections from Hyderabad
Hyderabad is a good stand alone destination for a weekend.
Getting from Singapore to Hyderabad
From Singapore fly directly to Hyderabad (HYD). Tiger has cheap direct flight with good timing for a weekend. Air India also fly there direct. You can fly there on Friday night and fly back on the Sunday night and arrive Monday morning.
Getting there: Tiger – Singapore to Hyderabad – 10.40 PM – 0.40 AM (4h 30 flight)
Coming back: Tiger – Hyderabad to Singapore – 1.40 AM – 8.50 AM
Return ticket from SGD 390
Get your ticket NOW to enjoy the best fares.
Getting from Hyderabad airport to the city centre
Taxis are available at the airport. You will need about 30 minutes to reach city centre and it will cost about INR 400. Use prepaid taxis at the airport.
The airport is OK. You will find a few restaurants and shops.
Where to stay in Hyderabad
If you split the city into 5 zones:
- Central: The center of Hyderabad wealthy neighborhoods with restaurants and interesting sights.
- South: Old City. The majority of historical buildings are in this area. You can stay in the modest Taj Falaknuma for a whooping SGD 800 a night (breakfast included ;)!
- North British Cantonment area of Secunderabad. Cleaner and less lively than the rest
- West: Pretty much the central business district.
- East: Most universities are in the East.
Staying between Charminar and ‘Ladi Ka Pul’ is a good idea. From there, you will be able to visit lot of places with a INR 50 tuk-tuk ride. If you’re looking for backpacker prices, try around Abids.
As always, we recommend you book early to enjoy the best rates
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To see & to do in Hyderabad
There are many interesting places to visit in Hyderabad! Make your choice carefully if you only stay for a couple of days.
The icon of Hyderabad. Supposedly (there are a few different potential reasons) erected to celebrate the eradication of plague. Note that Charminar is also a mosque so wear appropriate clothes. Foreigners need to pay a 100 INR entrance fee.
The Makkah Masjid (Mecca Mosque)
Few steps away from the Charminar, is the second largest mosque in India (according to locals, and after the mosque in Delhi). It can accommodate 10,000 worshipers. The central arch of the mosque is built with bricks made out of the soil of Mecca, hence the name. Architecture is typical from the Mughals area.
Nearby the Charminar and the Mosque you can find old bazaar and you can get some typical Indian bangles for as cheap as you can haggle them 🙂
That is where the Nizam used to live. Nizam were basically the princes of the Hyderabad region. And Hyderabad was the largest and most prosperous of all princely states in India, so you can expect a place to bit better than a 2 room Singaporean HDB! Modelled against the Iranian Sha palace, the collections of weapons, clothes, cooking wear are quite nice. You will also see the private car collection of the Nizam.
On your way to the north you can stop in front of the high court building, just to admire its nice architecture.
Birla Mandir temple
An Indu temple in white marble that will give you a nice view over the lake. Worth doing it for the view and the small colorful street leading to it.
The Buddah Statue
In the middle of that lake stands a big Buddah statue! You can take a boat from the Lumbini park to get there or just watch it from the road.
The largest Hindu temple of Hyderabad which owes its red color to the sand stone it is made of. Dedicated to the Hindu of Jagannath ‘lord of Universe’. The main part of the temple, its “Shikhara” (the peak/top) measures around 20 meters in height
Also once part of the Nizam properties, the palace has been renovated and transformed into a luxurious hotel. The palace was built in the shape of a scorpion with two stings spread out as wings in the north. The palace has a 101 seat dining hall, considered the largest in the world!
You can’t go to Hyderabad and not visit the Golconda fort. Once the theater of Epic battles that results in the triumph of the Mughals and the end of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, the fort is built on top of a granite hill. You can see all of Hyderabad from the top of it, and it will take you at least 2 hours to wander around. The region of Golconda was home to the only known diamond mine, some of the biggest and most famous diamonds in the word come from there.
Qutb Shahi tombs
Just few minutes away from the Golconda fort lies the tombs of the seven Qutb Shahi dynasty rulers. A very nice site with an anecdotic museum, the mosque and tombs architecture, with the garden surrounding it are totally worth the visit.
Hyderabad is home to the Chicken Biryani and you can try the famous ‘Paradise’ local restaurant highly recommended by locals. Also try the Karachi biscuits that are a local delight.And if you want to try some Tali we will recommend you can go to Chutney
The Bazaar around Charminar would have our preference but you can also try the GVK mall in the North. Being in the City of Pearls you can always try to buy some, just make sure they are not made of plastic! Most pearls actually come from China, out of freshwater farms. Uniformity and colors are the other things you should check for. Good luck
More info to prepare your trip
Wi-Fi is available in most of the hotels and guesthouses.
What to pack for Hyderabad
Your main bag
That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.
- Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
- Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
- Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
- Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
- Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
- Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
- Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
- Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
- Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
- Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
- Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
- Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
- Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
- Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.
Your small bag
That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.
- Your passport, cash, credit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
- Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
- Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
- Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
- Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
- Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
- Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
- Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
- Camera and its protection.
- Language: One of the hundreds of local dialects and English in most places in India
- Time zone: GMT + 5:30 anywhere in India. India is 2h30 behind Singapore.
- Currency: India Rupee (INR) or (Rs)
- Phone: + 91
- Electricity: 230V 50 Hz
Immigration and airport taxes on arrival
You must apply for a Visa before going to India. A tourist visa is valid for 6 months and the duration begins on the first day of issuance. Fees depends on your citizenship, from USD 13 to USD 93, take a look here for details.
National Public Holidays in India (Uttar Pradesh – Agra) 2015
|Monday||January 26||Republic Day|
|Tuesday||February 17||Maha Shivratri|
|Saturday||March 28||Ram Navami|
|Thursday||April 02||Mahavir Jayanti|
|Friday||April 03||Good Friday|
|Tuesday||April 14||Dr Ambedkar Jayanti|
|Monday||April 20||Parashurama Jayanti|
|Sunday||May 03||Hazrat Alis Birthday|
|Monday||May 04||Buddha Purnima|
|Saturday||August 15||Independence Day|
|Saturday||August 29||Raksha Bandhan|
|Thursday||September 24||Idul Juha|
|Friday||October 02||Mahatma Gandhi Birthday|
|Saturday||October 24||Muharram (10th Day)|
|Wednesday||November 25||Guru Nanak Birthday|
|Friday||December 25||Christmas Day|
* check the exact date as it varies from one year to another. Please check out this link.