Nanning (南宁; Nánníng) is the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south-west China. It is a large, modern city and a transport gateway for travellers to and from Vietnam.
Nanning Wuxu International Airport serves both domestic and international flights, though the latter feature is only offered on a few destinations on a non-daily basis. Since Nanning City is China's gateway to Southeast Asian countries, the local government is putting a lot of emphasis on connecting Nanning to the capitals of every Southeast Asian country. AirAsia recently launched  new route Kuala Lumpur-Nanning.
There is a shuttle bus every half hour to/from Chaoyang Lu close to the railway station. 元15, 45 minutes. Chaoyanglu is closed to traffic during the construction of the metro. Public bus no 301 runs between the airport and the city center. Journey time is approximately one hour and costs 元3. Taxis are also available. Fixed price to downtown is 元100. A taxi from the airport to Langdong bus terminal will cost 元120-130, but it is still possible to bargain for 元100-110. The drivers might refuse to use the meter but the price is not exorbitant as it may even cost more with the meter.
The railway station is at the northern end of Chaoyang Road at the corner of Zhonghua Road, just north of the city center. There are trains from
- Beijing - 23-24 hours (Z trains) or 13-14 hours (G trains)
- Guilin - 2.5-7 hours (ranging from faster D trains to slower Z/T/K/no letter trains) - book a few days ahead for these trains, or take the bus. The train is quicker and more comfortable, but buses are more frequent and are likely to have seats at short notice. Tickets can be booked in advance from the station. Note that the buses also leave from the train station and arrive outside the train station in Nanning.
- Guangzhou - 12-13 hours (K trains) or 4 hours (D trains)
- Kunming - 12-13 hours (K trains)
- Pingxiang - 13-18 hours (K trains) or 6-7 hours (G trains)
- Hanoi, Vietnam - T8701 sleeper through the borders from Nanning to Gia Lam (Hanoi). This journey takes about 4 hours. Tickets to Hanoi are sold from window 16 at the train station in Nanning (January 2013). Can also buy tickets in Guilin from window 1 for 215 RMB pp soft sleeper (best to ask your hostel to write this out on paper in mandarin as very little English spoken). When you board the train your bed is allocated by the conductor who replaces your ticket with a numbered card. First border crossing in Pingxiang at about 10pm for approximately 50 minutes - everyone gets off the train and goes through customs with luggage then gets back on the train. Second border crossing around midnight Dong Dang again everyone gets off the train goes through customs and gets back on. Can change some money with women at stalls offered 2,000,000 VND for $100 or about 490000 for 150 RMB (30/5/14). Sleep from about 1am to 5am Chinese time (4am in Vietnam). Have control over your own lights in the cabin. More people board at Pingxiang. On the trip back to Hanoi, they do not turn the lights off until you have been through both borders so only expect to get to sleep after about 2 AM, 8 hours.
Nanning has two major bus terminals:
- Langdong bus terminal is on Minzu Dadao (民族大道; Mínzú Dàdào) to the east of the city centre amongst all the new skyscrapers. Yunde (云德; Yúndé)  buses from Hanoi arriave at Langdong Bus Station. Buses for Hanoi are 元148, which includes a water, a lunch at Pingxiang and insurance. It is possible to opt out of insurance, which costs 元2, if you tell the ticket-seller. This is a through-service, which will bring you all the way to Hanoi, though the station you arrive at may vary by bus or time. You will have to exit the bus at the border crossing and take all your belongings with you, but you will get back onto the same bus on the Vietnam side. Just stay with your group as you move through the immigration checkpoints. Buses leave Langdong at 8AM, 8:40AM, 9AM and 10AM. The journey takes 7 1/2hours. The bus will stop about every 90 minutes for lavatory break, then the border crossing, then lunch, then around the 7 1/2 hour mark you should be arriving at a bus terminal. Don't take the taxis from the bus terminal, rather go to the street and flag one down. All the drivers waiting as the bus arrives have rigged their meters to increase the fare every time they honk their horns. There are also direct buses to Nanning from Haiphong and Ha Long Bay.
- Jiangnan bus terminal is on Xingguang Dadao way south of the city center. Buses from the south, Pingxiang near the Vietnam border (arrivals roughly hourly, 2.5 hrs, 元60), and Yangshuo (via Guilin) operate from Jiangnan. Bus 41 (元3, 20 minutes journey) connects Jiangnan to Chaoyang Road in the city centre. Catch them from the square in front of the terminal. Alternatively a taxi will take you for 元5-10.
- Note* Some bus routes may also end at the railway station, including those from Guilin.
Local buses serve the city, and most are 元2 per trip. Buy a bus map of the city for about 元5 for the routes around the city, which doubles as a city map. Bus 301 also serves Wuxu International Airport, and costs 元3 for the one-hour ride to the city. It terminates at the city centre.
Taxis are also convenient for getting around the city, and most rides within the city should cost under 元40. Fares start at 元9 during the day and 11 yuan at night. No extra charge for fuel.
- Guangxi Museum (广西壮族自治区博物馆; Guǎngxī Zhuàngzú Zìzhìqū Bówùguǎn), 34 Minzu Dadao (民族大道34号; Mínzú Dàdào) (vaguely opposite Minzu Square). 9am to 5pm (last entry 4pm), closed on Mondays. Has quite an eclectic exhibition. An English or Mandarin audio-guide is available for rental for RMB 10 (plus RMB 200 deposit). Alternatively, the mandarin audio-guide material is available for free using the WeChat app. Wifi is provided in the museum. As of September 2015, one hall is dedicated to the porcelain collection, which covers the entire history of the region. Another hall showcases the Ouluo ancient culture of this region; this includes a section on the famous bronze drums. A third hall shows famous painting collections. Beside the museum building, there is also an open-air cultural garden, with performances, and buildings showcasing the architecture and culture of some of the minorities. edit
- South Lake (南湖; Nánhú), Gucheng Road (古城路; Gǔchénglù). 8AM-5PM. Lake in the southeastern part of town surrounded by a park including bonsai and orchid gardens. 元2. edit
- Qingxiu Shan (青秀山; Qīngxiùshān), Qingshan Road (青山路; Qīngshānlù). 8AM-6PM. Qingxiu Mountain is about 9 km southeast of Nanning downtown. You can get there from Chaoyang Plaza on buses 10 or 33 for ¥2. The entrance fee is ¥20 for adults, ¥10 for students (including foreign students) and free for children under 120cm. Qingxiu Shan is not really a mountain, despite its name. It is actually an enormous park with many natural and manmade attractions, including sculptures, ponds, temples, pagodas, gardens and the China-ASEAN Friendship Corridor, which contains photos and information about all the countries of South-East Asia. There is beautiful lotus pond, a cycad garden with dinosaur sculptures, a monument to the students who fought against the Japanese in the second world war, a Thai-style Buddhist temple, an ancient walkway through the forest, natural springs, and a peach flower garden. At the Heaven Lake you can buy fish food for ¥5 and feed it to the ravenous carp, or hire a paddle boat. At the top of a hill near the lake there is Longxiang Pagoda which was originally built in Ming Dynasty (although the current incarnation was built in 1985). It is 51m tall and has excellent views, but it closes at 5pm so don't leave it til last! You can easily spend a whole day wandering around the park, taking in the sights. There are numerous rest stops with food and drinks for sale. If you don't feel like walking, there are bikes for hire, or you can take ride in one of the many open-air minibuses which zip around the park, although this will cost you ¥5 per trip! edit 
- White Dragon Park (百龙公园; Báilóng Gōngyuán), Renmin East Road (人民东路; Rénmín Dōnglù). edit
- Tak Tin Waterfall (德天瀑布). Guangxi is located in Nanning area border in Xinxian County, on the border of China and Vietnam at the junction of the river upstream of the falls, of great momentum, spectacular, and immediately adjacent to the Vietnamese board about waterfall connected, is the world's second largest transnational waterfall. edit
- Yi Ling Yan Rock cave (伊岭岩), (18 km away from suburb Nanning). 45 meters deep, covering 24 000 square meters edit
In China Nanning is called "Green City", as are many other cities.
- Guangxi Medical Botanical Garden, 88号 Xiangzhu Ave (in the very Northeast of the city, Xingning area, next to the Yongbin Highway), ☎ +86 771 561 7166, +86 771 561 1352. edit
It's a bit far off but a very interesting and big place with a great diversity of interesting plants and some huge trees. There is a big area for all kinds of medicinal plants with signs describing them.
- Nanning People's Park, (fairly central). edit
- Nanning South Lake Park. A big park - a lot of walking. edit
- Nanning Shishan Park, Northeast of Nanning City. 24x7. Free. edit
Getting there: No 81 or 22 buses will drop you near the park. Buses usually cost 2 yuan, but some of the older buses are still only 1 yuan.
ShiShan (Lion Hill) Park was founded in 1962 around the Yong Wu forest plantation. Lion Hill Park was once called ZhiQing Bamboo Park but officially opened to the public as Lion Hill Park in 1995. The park encompasses 64.5 square kilometers to the northeast of Nanning city and includes a wedge of water measuring 6.5 square kilometers. It is famous for the natural greenery, architecture and fresh air inside the park. Each year millions of visitors come to Lion Hill Park to walk along the tree and bamboo-shaded walkways and enjoy the marvellous views.
With over 30 different buildings representing South-China's architecture, ShiShan Park focuses on displaying South-China's garden architecture and bamboo art. The park is divided into six regions for tourist attractons as Hydrophilic activity area, Entertainment area, Natural Grass Area, Nature Interpretation Area, Pine-Bamboo Resting Area, Bamboo Shaded Entertainment Area. The most famous tourist sites are the Bamboo-shaded bridge, Heron Lake, Bamboo Garden, Lotus Garden, Flower Garden, Palm Garden, Red Bean Canyon.
The park is family oriented with exercise and play equipment provided free for adults and children. At different times you may see people around the park dancing, exercising, playing, flying kites, singing karaoke, practicing er-hu or violin or doing tai-chi. Paid activities generally cost between 10 and 25 yuan and include rides for the kids, playing pool, a bbq area, a rollerskating rink, a ferris wheel, a small rollercoaster and large plastic balls you can walk inside on a lake. Make sure you bring a camera to capture some nice photos.
The park's goal is to be an area of nature conservation and provide visitors to Nanning city a place for entertainment, nature appreciation and outdoor activities.
- Nanning Shimen senlin Park. edit
Though the older people speak Cantonese (广东话 guǎngdōnghuà), the younger generation mainly speak Mandarin (普通话 pǔtōnghuà). Nanning is regarded as one of the most successful cities in China in terms of popularizing Mandarin or 'common language'. So it is a very good place to learn Putonghua for foreigners. Universities offering Chinese courses are many, including Guangxi University for Nationalities and Guangxi University. However, be aware that Nanning people, like virtually all Chinese in the south, have a non-standard pronunciation for many of the basic sounds of Mandarin (which comes from the northern Han people).
Note also that Nanning, as the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, embraces the Zhuang ethnic language, and virtually all public building signs in Guangxi display the Zhuang written text alongside Chinese. It is not to be confused with pinyin, the standard romanization of Mandarin.
As a regional capital, Nanning has a lot of work opportunities compared to other cities of Guangxi Province. The booming import and export business exchanges between Guangxi and Vietnam means that there is a big demand for people who can speak both Chinese and Vietnamese. Also, if you are a native English speaker, teaching jobs are also abundant. However,if you do plan on teaching, be aware that government regulations have tightened considerably, post-Olympics, and to gain employment you must be under 60, have two years teaching experience; have a minimum Bachelors degree, and preferably, additionally, ESL/EFL certification. Although, with the demand for teachers far outstripping supply, those who don't meet these qualifications can still find teaching work (just without the comfort/legality of a working Visa).
- Chao Yang Road, 朝阳路; Chao Yang Lu. The main shopping street lined with department stores, like Nanning Department Store, and Walmart, in addition other intentional brands and local brands. It is also a nice place to go people-watching, as people from all walks of life can be seen here: youngsters, street performers, roadside vendors, etc. edit
MixC There is a new shopping mall in the modern eastern part Langdong. You can buy imported products ranging from German beer to Feta cheese.
Zhongshan Rd (中山路) is Nanning's food street, with a vast assortment of street stalls serving many kinds of Liang Guang (literally, the two Guang provinces, Guangxi and Guangdong) foods, as well as food from neighbouring provinces, such as Hunan and Yunnan. It is diagonally opposite the Wanda Plaza, home of Wal-Mart. Throughout the city there are many good-value restaurants. Few have English menus. The newly developed eastern end of the city (around Langdong, and the APEC Exhibition Centre) has lots of up-market restaurants, cafes and coffee lounges.
There are dumpling stalls and small eating houses all over the city. Fresh, tasty and very cheap. Zhongshan Rd food stalls are also worth a try. Try the local rice noodle soup, laoyoufen (老友粉; literally old friend rice noodle). It is traditionally made with pork based broth, pickled bamboo shoots, fermented soy beans, and other typical Chinese spices. It is an acquired tasted due to the pickled bamboo shoots.
- Nanning night food market, Zhongshan Rd (15 minute walk south from the train station). This is a 300 meter long stretch where you will find a vivid display of various exotic dishes ready to be served. (22.814647,108.318517) edit
- Huoju Lu, Nongyuan Lu (火炬路,农园路) A night market popular with students lies in the Northwestern part of the city, next to the university. There are many snack and shopping opportunities. You can stay late eating BBQ and drinking beer outside here. There are a few bars, too (see 'Drink').
About 90% of the restaurants in Nanning would fall into this category.
- Med Holiday Cafe, Xiuling Lu (right opposite of the East Gate of the University (XiDa Dongmen). Look above the KFC, the blue sign on 2nd floor). They advertise their wood oven pizzas, which are pretty good. The best one is probably Salami. For 10 Yuan extra they'll give you a lot of cheese. They also serve other Western dishes and wine. It's a comfortable place. They have delivery service for the university area but of course you need to speak Chinese. 30 to 70 yuan. edit
- Babel's Tower, Xingning Lu (near the crossroad Minzu DaDao Chaoyang Lu, go into Xingning Lu, it's in the beginning on the left side, up.). They have good burgers, sandwiches and salad. 30 to 70 yuan. edit
- Little Fat Sheep (Xiaofeiyang), Dongege Rd and Henyang Rd. Chain serving traditional hotpot, with lamb the meat of choice. edit
- Old Chengdu, Youai Rd (just off Dongge Rd in the south). Sichuan hot, spicy food. edit
- Mao's Home (Mao Jia), Youai Rd (at the Henyang Rd intersection, in the north west). National chain serving Hunan spicy food. edit
- Andy's, Dongge Sixian Lukou (at the Rd intersection, there is a big public toilet at one corner, the restaurant is next to that). German owned restaurant serving Chinese and German dishes (different sausages, potato salad and more). 10 to 60 yuan. edit
Anything in/around Langdong or the Five Elephant Plaza (financial district); the YongJiang Hotel, by the river, has an excellent buffet, with fresh seafood, and good quality meat BBQs.
The MixC shopping Mall in Langdong is now the fashionable place to go. There are buffets and international food.
Many popular bars are to be found along Minzu Da Dao (民族大道), the long avenue that runs from east to west through the city, bisecting South Lake. Many have a cover charge, and offer a variety of international as well as domestic beers, in addition to the standard supply of liquors.
Bar Street A popular bar and club street crossing Minzu DaDao is Xinghu Lu BeiYiLi (星湖路北一里).
South Lake (Nan Hu 南湖) More upper class clubs can be found here.
Sunshine 100 (阳光 100) bar area (near the city library) has a cluster of up-market bars and coffee lounges, many featuring live music.
XK Bar A British owned bar called XK Bar lies in a dark back street near the crossroad of Minzu Dadao and Yuanhu Lu (民族大道园湖路口) in the first West branch of YuanHu Lu (园湖路西一里).
The Queen's Head (英格兰酒吧 YingGeLan JiuBa) owned by two foreigners in JiangBei DaDao 22 near 303 hospital. (江北大道22号三0三医院旁)
A number of more intimate, low key bars and pubs can be found in the university district in the north west of the city, around University Road (Da Xue Lu) and Mingxiu Road.
Such as Deep Blue Bar (深蓝酒吧 ShenLan JiuBa) in Huoju 1st Branch Road (火炬一支路).
Around the square in front of the station are several hotels offering bargains for rooms and dorm beds with dorm beds starting at 元15.
- GreenTree Inn Nanning Wuyi Hotel, No. 28 East Wuyi Road, Nanning (The hotel is on the south side of Youngjiang River, close to Yonghe Bridge), ☎ +86 771 2246611. checkout: 12:00. , a small nice hotel, little off center. Nothing luxurious but quite and clean, and the staff understand some English. Unfortunately there is no restaurant in the hotel so you have to eat out or buy some food and bring to your room. Free Wi-Fi in the lobby. There are four GreenTree Inn Nanning so check the address and not rely blindly on the Map apps and such. On both side of the road outside the hotel there are bus stops. To get to the center, select the bus number 9 on the opposite side of the road from the hotel seen, the journey takes about 10-15 minutes and costs 元 1. edit
- Jingtong Business (Nanning Dongge) (精通商务酒店 (南宁东葛店); Jīngtōng Shāngwù Jiǔdiàn (Nánníng Dōnggédiàn)), 100 Dongge Rd, Qingxi District (青秀区东葛路100号; Qīngxiùqū Dōnggělù Yībǎihào) (3km to centre). Ordinary rooms, business rooms and luxus rooms ranging from 15m2 to 20m2. Business and party facilities. Recently renovated with large and bright rooms. Good service. Doubles from 元330 but seen discounted to 元128. edit
- March Flower Hotel (三月花大酒店; Sānyuèhuā Dàjiǔdiàn), 119 Dongge Rd, Qingxiu District (青秀区东葛路119号; Qīngxiùqū Dōnggělù Yībǎishíjiǔhào) (2.5km to centre, bus 1, 12, 16). Three star business hotel close to park and lake with nice view. Well designed hotel with well equiped rooms. Rooms including ordinary, business and luxus. Rooms ranging from 15m2 to 25m2. Free internet in the rooms. Business facilities. From 元288, seen discounted to 元128. edit
- Nanning Civil Aviation Hotel, 82 Chaoyang Rd (near the railway station, in front of the bus stop to the airport), ☎ 867712099000. Rooms with air con, electronical lock, cable TV and internet. Very rude staff and poor facilities. Discounted rates from 元168. edit
- Yingbin Hotel, (directly in front of railway station, on the right side of Chaoyang Rd if looking away from station), ☎ 86-771-2116288 (email@example.com), . Huge budget hotel with long corridors of rooms. Rooms are small but adequate. English-speaking staff on 24 hour duty and a comprehensive list of train and bus connections. All rooms have loose ethernet cable hook-ups. There is currently (June 2011) building works going on in the eastern side so expect to be woken up early. Twin rooms from 元80, rooms with a computer 元100. edit
- Wan Xing Hotel, There are two branches of this hotel, 47 Minzhu St and 41-2 Beining St (a 5-minute walking distance separate the two, both are about 2km from the train station), . Excellent, clean and elegantly-decorated rooms that have air-conditioning and come with ensuite bathrooms are available. Chinese breakfast that is adequate, though not something that you would wake up especially for. Counter staff speak some amounts of English and accept international credit cards. From 元198. edit
- Yin He Hotel, 84 Chaoyang Rd (right in the centre of town just south of the railway station and next to airport bus terminal), ☎ +86 771 2116688 (fax: +86 771 2420303). Some rooms newly renovated. Rooms from 元388, better ones from 元470. edit
- Jinyue Hotel, 59 Xinmin Rd (about 20 minutes walk or 10 minutes by taxi from the railway station, access to hotel is from a ramp from Minzhu Rd opposite post office). Oldish business hotel with recently upgraded rooms in 2006. Clean and comfortable rooms, all with bath, telephone and TV. From 元388. edit
- Marriott, 131 Minzu Ave, Qingxiu District (in the eastern area of the city's CBD district, opposite the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center), ☎ +86 771 5366688 (fax: +86 771 5366699), . Excellent Chinese and Western cuisine. Hotel staff are excellent. Good for families and business people. Halal food available during China-ASEAN Expo period. From 元768. edit
- Best Western Premier Red Forest Hotel, 127 Minzu Ave (near the Guangxi Exhibition hall, and generally within the business district), . This five-star establishment offers excellent rooms at a reasonable rate. Higher rooms also offer a great view of the city, as rooms are furnished with floor-to-wall windows. Hotel amenities include an indoor pool and gym, and hotel staff are attentive and efficient. Doubles from 元488. edit
- Guangxi Wharton International Hotel, 88 East Minzu Ave (in the Landong Development Area). The hotel is nice and centrally located. If you have a family, ask for a suite. There are a pool and a gym on the premises and a few restaurants inside as well. The Chinese restaurant in the basement (the Shenzhou Food Street") offers the best value. About US$120 for a nice sized room. edit
Chinese cities are generally speaking very safe and Nanning is no exception. But petty robberies are quite common. On buses, be extra-careful about your mobile phones and wallets.
Don't swap your phone or buy iPhone 4 offered for sale for 2000 Yuan by men from Tajikistan around the train station. On the street they offer you to inspect a real (non Chinese copy) working iPhone 4 with a SIM card in it. If you decide to buy it they probably take your money and the iPhone 4 to take the SIM card out. Thereafter you most likely will get a working Chinese iPhone which is far from the real one.
- Vietnamese Consulate, 27th Floor, Yahang Wealth Center, No 55 Jinhu Road (Wuxiang Square) (you can either take a taxi there (元15 one way) or the local bus 6 (元1) bound south away from the railway station (the north-south part of the T junction), so get on at the train station on the same side of the road as the station, and get off at the second stop after you cross a big (100m long) bridge over the river, on the left as you go over the bridge is Guangxi Investment Building, with a large G logo on the top. Go down the street to the right of the Guangxi Investment Building, then take the first right. The consulate is in last building on the right, above Bank of China. Take the lift in the lobby to the right of the bank to the 27th floor. Coming from the bus station, you also take bus number 6. Buses 11, 29, 34, 39, 43, 79, 87, 206, 601, 603 also serve the consulate), ☎ +86 77 1551 0562 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +86 77 1553 4738), . Visa office hours are M-F 8:30AM-noon and 2:30PM-6PM, but they can be late to return from the lunch break, your passport with visa can be collected from 5PM, this means the earliest you can leave to Vietnam is the next morning, factor on spending at least two nights in Nanning getting your Vietnamese visa. The consulate issues Visas for Vietnam. Make sure you take a recent passport photo with you as they do not have a machine at the consulate. Nanning regular 1 month single-entry tourist visa costs 330CNY for most countries, but(!) you can ask them to pre-arrange your visa by emailing them the needed information (passports scans and application form), with no extra charge (so in fact you get the shortest process possible for regular price) Prices can vary according to nationality, and depend on your desired processing time: three days (standard)元330, two days 元430, one day (drop off in the morning, collect after 5PM) 元530. edit
- Cambodian Consulate, 2F, Nanfeng Tower, 85 Minzu Ave (市民族大道85号南丰大厦2楼), ☎ +86 771 5889892 (fax: +86 771 5888522). edit
- Thai Consulate, Room 2212, Guilin Tower, 1 Wenxin Rd (市文信路1号桂林大厦2212室), ☎ +86 771 5506698 (fax: +86 771 5506628). edit
- Northern Vietnam — within striking distance
— Train leaves at 18.20, arrives around 05.00. You can buy tickets from window 16 at the train station, hard sleeper costs 160元 and soft sleeper 215元.
— Buses leave from two locations Nanning International Tourist Distribution Centre and Nanning Langdong Bus Station 168元.
- Beihai — from Langdong or Jiangnan bus station, it is about 3 hours. Fast D-Trains also run from Nanning to Behai on the recently opened high-speed tracks (duration 1:25, 60元). The slow K-train service has been discontinued as of 2015.
- Kunming — there is a K-train going there, reportedly a slow amble through isolated mountainous country. Duration 12-14hrs, price 112元 for a seat, but a sleeper for 208元 might make the journey more comfortable. A high-speed track being built between Kunming and Nanning via Bose is scheduled to open in 2015.
- Guilin and Yangshuo — famously scenic tourist area, 400+km from Nanning (about 5 hrs by direct bus, train). New high-speed train takes about 2.5 hours to Guilin.
- Detian Waterfall — with a 75 meter drop, on the Chinese-Vietnamese border, It is about 4 hours from Nanning. Nearby is Chongzuo with one of the five leaning pagodas in China, and a stone forest. Accommodation at Detian Falls is limited. Do not attempt to cross the river from China into Vietnam (or v.v.) without your passport and visa.