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Hanoi to Pingxiang to Nanning to Guilin in a Day

Vietnam by land

Having traversed Vietnam by train I was hoping top also finish the journey in the same fashion. This is no longer possible, so instead I did Hanoi to Pingxiang to Nanning to Guilin in a day and by land.

And while this was indeed no walk in the park, it was also far less pain than I gad expected it to be, and indeed pretty god damned cheap too.

Can you take the train from Hanoi to Nanning

In case you had not noticed I am the quintessential train geek. Therefore it has been my plan to take Reunification Express from Saigon to Hanoi, before transferring to the international service.

This went great at the start with me taking the train from Saigon to Da Nang, Da Nang to Hue, Hue to Vinh and finally Vinh to Hanoi.

Previously there had been an international service from the Gai Lam Station that would cross the border and have you delivered 12 hour later in Nanning. Therefore I went to both Hanoi Railway Station, which claims that Lonely Planet said it is the best in the world, to Gia Lam Station only to be emphatically told that this no longer went. I did not find out why, but can assume it was Covid related.

Therefore I had to things by land and on a budget. Challenge accepted

Hanoi to Pingxiang

Initially I had looked at buses all the way to Nanning, but this was costing out at $60 plus p-p, before I went into an agency where there was an extremely helpful lady. She suggested a bus to the border and then crossing by foot. This would cost a mere $18 to the border, would start at 8 am and take under 4 hours.

This was done in a mail truck, much like how I have traveled to Kampot and Svay Rieng and was much less painful that it sounds.

At the border area you then spend 12,000 Dong, or 50 cents for a buggy that I her named a “Venga Bus”. Sadly I had forgotten exactly how this all worked, but thankfully my Chinese was less rusty than I had thought.

The Vengabus then takes just 5 minutes oro so before you are delivered at the border area. Exiting Vietnam is duly quite easy before you have to basically hike to the Chinese side.

I do not know what it is but Chinese immigration has become very strict and not only was it time consuming, but they even asked to see my old passport. Big Brother is indeed watching you……

Pingxiang to Nanning

Pingxiang is ashit hole devoid of life, but it does have nice benches to procrastinate on. Sadly since the Hanoi train was stopped you can no longer take this route, which is a shame as I fancied stopping at Chingzuo.

Initially I was going to take 1 $50 train to Guiyang, in Guiyang province somewhere I once had fun many years ago, but instead proved up a shared taxi. This lowered the price to $20 a person, from where I would be dropped at Nanning East Railway Station.

I have considered staying in Nanning, but there truly are few redeemable characteristics about this place.

Nanning to Guilin

Getting from Nanning to Guilin by second class is just $20, meaning that overall I had saved over 50 bucks on going via Guiyang. It also meant I did not have to spend the night in some shit hole.

And there is also the fact that Nanning station has McDonald’s, sometimes you just need a good McDonalds.

And getting on the train at 5.40 pm meant that I was also gifted with the sublime view that there are on this journey, surely one of the most epic there is – alongside Da Nang to Hue.

Sunset was duly enjoyed before I arrived just two and a half hours later in one of my many home away from homes, Guilin.

So, Hanoi to Pingxiang to Nanning to Guilin in a day and at a combined cost of $38.40 cents……