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Hyderabad: a city of grand palaces, an eclectic mix of cultures – and possibly some of the best Biryanis in the world. It’s very much a city with two distinct identities, with its old-world architecture and reputation as a global tech capital, or ‘Cyberabad’ as it’s been coined. You can expect all the colourful sights and intoxicating smells of a typical Indian city, but look a little deeper and you'll also find the Islamic influence at its core, from the buildings to its bazaars.
Hostels in Hyderabad are close to the centre or in the city's residential area, which is known for its green spaces and birdlife. Stay in a modern hostel near the city’s nightlife, or have a few nights in a place with a cool outdoor area. The best hostels in Hyderabad organise events such as cultural workshops, as well as having cosy communal spaces, making it easy to meet other travellers. On a budget? Look out for a Hyderbad hostel with free Wi-Fi, free breakfasts and shared kitchens.
Abids is the city’s most central district – it’s where most travellers start because of its central station and old city attractions like the Charminar monument and mosque. For somewhere the guidebooks don’t tell you about, you’ll need to head north to the Maqtha Art District for its colourful buildings covered in murals. Elsewhere, the Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hill have more of an upscale vibe with their chic bars, fashionable microbreweries and green spaces.
The Charminar ('Four Minarets') is the one of the city’s most iconic monuments. You can have a browse around its surrounding markets before climbing the tower for far-reaching views over the city. Another one of Hyderabad’s architectural must-sees is Golconda Fort. Built on a steep hill, this 14th-century wonder makes for an energetic climb to the top. The Birla Science Museum is also well worth a visit, combining a planetarium and science centre with an art gallery. Curry fans can visit one of the local restaurants for a genuine Hyderabad Biryani.
The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is 26km outside the city centre. The TSRTC's Pushpak air-conditioned bus runs a service from the airport to various points across Hyderabad. If you’re travelling from inside India, you can catch a bus from Aurangabad, Bangalore and other major cities. There are three major train stations in Hyderabad with routes to Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai. In town, there are lots of ways to get around including rickshaws, bus, taxi and the fastest of them all, the Multi-Modal Transport System (train).