Places in Hyderabad to act out your Disney fantasy
Watching a Disney film is a magic ticket to a flurry of emotions; whether you’re laughing to the Emperor’s New Groove or crying to the opening of Up. With over 700 movies to date, you’re guaranteed to be transported to a whole new world every time you press play.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to hop on a magic carpet to witness unbelievable sights. Just head to Hyderabad, India and be overwhelmed by indescribable feelings when you visit places that look straight outta Disney.
We hopped on a Scoot flight and, after 4 days under the endless diamond sky, uncovered 12 dazzling places you never knew.
1. Amrutha Castle Hotel - Frozen
With gates barricading the entrance, it’s truly a kingdom of isolation
No Disney movie is complete without a castle and lucky for us, that’s just where we stayed! Amrutha Castle Hotel has all the makings of a quintessential Disney castle with its thick, stone walls, and turrets adorning its roof.
All my life has been a series of doors in my face...
And then suddenly, I bump into you~~
Step inside Amrutha Castle Hotel and imagine you're in Arendelle Castle with the path to your rooms resembling a medieval dungeon and a stained glass roof that blows white into the castle. Once you’ve admired the architecture; head to the roof for FREE amenities like a gym and pool!
Recreate the scene of Elsa freezing the lake!
With these luxe amenities and decor, you’d expect Amrutha to make a dent in your wallet but surprise! Accommodation was only $51/night and it came with a daily breakfast buffet, so if you’re all about that fancy living while being budget-conscious, this is the place to stay.
Address: 5-9-16, Opp. Secretariat, Saifabad, Hyderabad, Telangana 500063, India
2. Chowmahalla Palace - Beauty and the Beast
Ma chère mademoiselle, it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you to Chowmahalla Palace - a dead ringer for the palace in Beauty and the Beast.
The palace was built in the 1800s and was the official residence of the rulers of Hyderabad.
Now, it’s a glimpse into their opulent lifestyles with a grand hall supported by marble pillars, and chambers displaying royal family’s possessions like antique cars, weapons and cutlery.
Entry Fee: $4.20/pax, $1 for photography
Opening Hours: Sat - Thurs: 10 AM - 5PM | Closed on Friday
Address: 20-4-236, Motigalli, Khilwat, Hyderabad, Telangana 500002, India
3. Golconda Fort - Atlantis
With weathered granite walls filling the expanse and the wind whispering in the distance, the desolation in Golconda Fort will have you thinking you've unearthed the lost city of Atlantis.
As you explore the 11km labyrinth, pay attention to vestiges from its past, like cannons, drawbridges, and an acoustic chamber that amplified clapping sounds to signal the presence of enemy troops.
Keep a lookout for climbable structures that’ll make bombz IG posts.
Although reaching the top takes only 30 minutes, it’ll be wise to wear covered shoes and bring bottled water as the steps get progressively rockier and steeper. That said, the breathtaking bird’s eye view of Hyderabad from the peak will make the arduous climb worthwhile.
There’s also a stall at the peak, selling refreshments and ice-cream from just 40 cents!
Tip: Come early in the morning as it’s cooler and there are lesser crowds.
Entry Fee: $4.20/pax, 50 cents for photography
Opening Hours: 9AM - 5.30PM
Address: Ibrahim Bagh, Hyderabad, Telangana 500008, India
4. Japanese Garden - Mulan
The Japanese Garden is perfect for tricking your friends into thinking you’ve visited some place in Japan or China while still being in Hyderabad.
When will my reflection show who I am inside?
And, you can recreate Mulan’s Reflections here with the garden’s bamboo bridge, stone path and pond!
Or just be mysterious as the dark side of the moon.
Opening Hours: 6 - 10 AM & 12.45 PM - 5 PM daily
Address: 8/A, Road Number 2, Park View Enclave, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana 500033, India
5. Charminar & Laad Bazaar Street - Aladdin
Built right smack in the intersection of 4 busy streets, Charminar is a testament to the beauty of symmetry - flanked by grand arches and tall minarets, each facing a road.
Inside you’ll see the minarets converging to a dome, topped with an intricate floral design.
Climb to the upper floor and see a fantastic point of view at each corner - from the gargantuan Mecca Masjid at the north to the vibrant Laad Bazaar Street at the south.
You may just rub your eyes, instead of lamps, given how shiny the bangles are.
Then, head to the bazaar and be transported to the streets of Agrabah as you navigate past street markets selling shining, shimmering wares like bangles ($2.10/packet of 4) and earrings (from 40 cents).
Entry Free: $4.20/pax
Opening Hours: 4AM - 11PM daily
Address: #20-4-1238/39,Between Mecca Masjid and Charminar, Charminar, Hyderabad, Telangana 500002, India
6. NTR Memorial Garden - Alice in Wonderland (Live-Action)
You’ll feel like you’ve just fallen down the rabbit hole as you step into NTR Memorial Garden. Lining the path towards the garden’s centerpiece are iron arches, reminiscent of the ones found in the Queen of Hearts’ castle.
Walk past all of them and you’ll come face-to-face with a dome, supported by 4 statues.
Since no animals are allowed inside, plop your back on the clean grass and have a tea party in this wonderland.
Entry Fee: 10 cents/pax
Opening Hours: 12:30PM - 9PM
Address: NTR Marg, Central Secretariat, Khairatabad, Hyderabad, Telangana 500011, India
7. Nimrah Cafe & Bakery - Alice in Wonderland (Animated)
Just the sight of Nimrah Cafe & Bakery’s cookies, displayed in teeming mounds, is enough to send you into a sugar rush.
Located just a stone’s throw from Charminar, this cafe serves over 40 different types of “perk-me-up” treats with their cookies and tea being crowd pleasers - all you need for an afternoon tea sesh with the Mad Hatter.
We were particularly impressed with their Fruit Biscuit (8 cents/piece) as it crumbled easily in our mouths and had a pleasant rose aftertaste which complemented the creaminess of the Tea (25 cents).
Unlike regular bakeries which use a conventional oven, the biscuits here are baked in a large firewood oven which cuts baking time to just 15 minutes - allowing more cookies to be baked to feed their snaking crowds.
Opening Hours: 4AM - 11PM
Address: #20-4-1238, Beside Mecca Masjid, Charminar, Hyderabad, Telangana 500002, India
8. St Joseph’s Cathedral - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The pink facade of St Joseph’s Cathedral harks back to Notre Dame with its bell towers evoking the scene of Quasimodo helping Esmeralda escape.
Living up to its title of “the most beautiful church in Hyderabad”, the cathedral’s grand architecture provides a stark contrast against the bare cityscape. There’s even a beautiful city square dedicated to the 12 Apostles!
And its interior is nothing to scoff at either; step inside and be greeted by dazzling glass chandeliers dangling from the ceiling and brilliant beams of light streaking through the stained windows, giving the sanctuary an ethereal atmosphere.
Opening Hours: 7AM - 7PM daily
Address: 5-9-305 Abids, Gunfoundry, Hyderabad, Telangana 500001, India
9. The Pirate Brew - Pirates of the Caribbean
Stowed away atop the plain-looking Empire Square shopping mall is the Pirate Brew - a treasure trove of cheap booze and bar bites just waiting to be unlocked.
As you crack open a cold one, marvel at the life-sized ship overlooking the bar; decked with sails and a wheel - all you need to bring forth your inner Jack Sparrow.
Don’t worry about the “rum being gone” as the wide assortment of alcohol served here - from Jack Daniels ($3) to Jagermeisters ($7) - will have you drinking till you shiver in your timbers.
Note: The bar is closed for renovation till early December 2017 but you can still play on the ship!
Opening Hours: 12.30PM - 12.30AM
Address: 5th Floor, Empire Square, Road No. 36, Opposite P.Satyanarayan & Sons Jewellery, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana 500033, India
10. Taramati Baradari - Hercules
You won’t have travel to Athens for a taste of ancient Greece; just head to Taramati Baradari - a splitting image of a Greek temple. The pavilion boasts 12 doorways, allowing for cross-ventilation which’ll keep you cool as you recreate poses from Hercules.
And the Greece comparisons don’t stop there; at the base of Taramati Baradari lies Haritha Resort which sports a marble white facade similar to Santorini.
Take a quick dip in the nearby swimming pool ($3) to loosen your tired muscles or catch a dance performance at the open-air auditorium - which looks exactly like an ancient Greek stadium.
Entry Fee: Free
Opening Hours: 11AM - 6PM
Address: Near PBEL City, Ramdev Guda, Ibrahim Bagh, Hyderabad, 500031, India
11. The Ice Cream Cottage & The Coffee Cup - Snow White
Just like in Snow White, the homely facade of the Ice Cream Cottage beckons you to seek refuge after a long day of travelling. True to its moniker, the dessert place is modelled after a rustic cottage and serves delectable scoops of ice-cream for just ₹60!
Get cosy as you marvel at paintings of various comic book and cartoon characters.
For a more filling bite, walk upstairs to the Coffee Cup which serves Western nosh at cheap prices in a relaxed ambience. There’s live music every night and you can even play games like Uno and Jenga while waiting for your food.
Recommended menu items include the Chicken Penne Aglio e Olio ($5.20), a hearty dish with a spicy kick, and the Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Shake ($4.70), a decadent blend of choco milk and huge Ferrero Rocher chunks.
Opening Hours: 9AM - 11.30 PM
Address: E89, 1st Floor, Behind BP Petrol Bunk, Water Tank Road, Sainikpuri, Secunderabad, Telangana 500060, India
12. Ramoji Film City - Prince of Persia
From sun-kissed structures to intricately carved temple sets, Ramoji Film City gives off the vibe that you’re traversing across Persia. Spanning over 2,000 acres, it’s made its mark as the world’s largest film studio complex which is why getting around the facility requires a chartered bus.
Unleash your inner fanboy as you explore film sets used by Bollywood and Tollywood productions like the train station in Chennai Express and the throne in Bahubali - all as majestic as they are on screen.
But you don’t have to be a fan of Indian cinema to appreciate Ramoji as there are many things to do here besides visiting film sets. Have a go at their amusement park rides, watch a live stunt show, and explore their butterfly and bird parks - all included with the entry ticket.
Entry Fee: From $26.30/pax
Opening Hours: 9AM - 7.30PM
Address: Ramoji Film City Main Road, Anaspur Village, Hayathnagar Mandal, Hyderabad, Telangana 501512, India
Scoot to Hyderabad
We had a wonderful time in Hyderabad from visiting its breathtaking locations to meeting the super-friendly people.
And all we had to do to get here was hop on Scoot’s magic carpet ride. The direct flight took less than 5 hours and we were impressed with the lengths the service crew went to make us feel comfy - from helping us store our bags to assisting us with taking some shots.
Break free of whatever notion you had of airplane food and home in on their Hot Meals - perfect to keep you satiated during the flight. We got the Makhani Chicken with Basmati Rice and Teriyaki Chicken with Rice which came with a Heaven and Earth Jasmine Green Tea and Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Cornflakes!
Teriyaki Chicken with Rice
The teriyaki chicken had a sweet aftertaste with the rice being soft and fragrant.
Makhani Chicken with Basmati Rice
We loved the generous portion of tender chicken chunks and how well the creamy gravy mixed with the basmati rice.
You’re probably thinking that a trip to Hyderabad will break your bank account but you couldn’t be more wrong as Scoot now offers flights to Hyderabad at super affordable prices, now from just $115 (one-way)!
A comfy flight and dazzling sights - if you’re still holding onto that wallet after this, time to let it go.
This post was brought to you by Scoot.