Hanoi, Vietnam to Nanning, China

Nanning Travel Blog

 › entry 20 of 111 › view all entries

We got up at 8:15am to get all our things ready for leaving at 9am to catch our bus to China! We hurried downstairs and checked out and got into our taxi. A few minutes into the journey he asked us if we were going to the airport. We hurriedly told him we were going to the bus station to get the bus to Nanning, so he changed direction and we made it to the bus stop with 15 minutes to spare before it left.

We got on the bus and headed towards the back, and lo and behold there was the French/Mexican couple we had met the previous day! They had been chatting to a  really nice Canadian guy who spoke a couple of languages including Vietnamese, sadly we did not catch his name.

 We also met the Chinese couple he was travelling with. We got chatting and played a few games, which helped pass the time. Along the way, we stopped off at a rest stop and got some food. Fab bought some kind of processed meat sausage steamed in a lotus leaf. He had asked the Canadian guy what it was and he baught one for him, it was quite tasty. Soon we had to get back onto the bus and head towards the border.

We arrived at the border after about 3 hours of driving and walked into the Vietnamese ‘departures’ section, where there was a mad bundle of people throwing their passports to the staff behind the desk. We ‘queued’ Vietnamese style by pushing to the front and handing the passports over. Moments later we’d been stamped out of Vietnam, and had to cross the border into China.

We walked outside and put our luggage onto this small golf cart type vehicle and we were driven across the street to a booth where we had to pay 3000 VND each as a departure tax. It was lucky we had some cash on us! The golf cart then drove us through the gate and towards the Chinese border and immigration office.

We wandered in and filled in our health declaration forms (re: Swine ‘flu/H1N1) and queued up. The Mexican girl was having problems with the staff, despite showing no symptoms of illness, because she was Mexican, which is where H1N1 was first discovered.

As we stood in line, we heard this strange beeping noise that kept going off near us. We handed the form to the Chinese officials and they asked us lots of questions about where we’d been, how long for, and when we left the UK.

It seemed like they were very suspicious of us. The next thing we know, we’re being told to take a seat and wait. Then the lady comes over to me with a thermometer and sticks it under my armpit! A friend of mine recently underwent the same treatment in China because they thought he was sick, so I was paranoid that I would have a temperature and not be allowed in (or be sent to quarantine!). After 5 minutes, she came back and checked the thermometer, which was fine, and we queued up again. It was then we realised what the beeping was. As soon as I got close to desk where the officials were, I was setting off the body heat alarms! (Hence the thermometer!). My theory is that the intense heat radiating from the sunburn on my back was to blame.

Nonetheless, they let us through and we went to get our visas stamped and step onto official Chinese soil.

This went smoothly, and we took our luggage and put it onto the golf cart again to be taken to the coach.

We got on board and the bus left a few minutes later. It was only a couple of hours drive to Nanning bus station, and upon arrival we said our goodbyes to the nice couple we’d been chatting with, and got into a taxi to our hostel.

We think we were slightly overcharged, but we didn’t worry about it, because she was very helpful and it did take a while to get there (the price we had been quoted by the hostel was much lower, but it was the cost from a different, much closer, bus station).

 We arrived at the hostel, which was really nice. There was a nice common room, with a big TV, Wii, guitar hero, DVDs, PCs and a communal fridge etc. The bathroom was a shared one, but it was spotlessly clean and really modern looking. Our room was simple, but the bed was really comfortable and it was just what we needed.

We freshened up then went out walking around the local area and grabbed a bite to eat. Again, we had McDonalds, but just for the convenience of it. It was really satisfying for a quick bite. We wandered back through the city and headed back to our hostel for a good night’s sleep.

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Nanning Hostels review
There is a fantasic common room, with a big TV, Wii, guitar hero, DVDs, PCs and a communal fridge etc. The bathroom was a shared one, but it was spo… read entire review
photo by: davidfeng