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Pingxiang and the Vietnamese border
Day 3 of cycling from Nanning to Vietnam


Finally I was ready for my last day which would lead me from Pingxiang to the Vietnamese border. Many tourist come here, mostly because they arrive at the border by bus. Other come by train but most travelers give the city a miss.

On the way from Chongzuo to Ningming
Chongzhuo to Ningming

This story starts in the evening before day 3, when I am sorting out my directions. According to the map there is a road from Pingxiang to Longzhou. The Chinese map says it is 66km, which is OK with me. From there it is not far to the border town maybe another 30 km.

I get out of the hotel to get dinner and meanwhile I keep an eye on the boards. I see Longzhou mentioned so I don't worry too much.

 

On the way from Chongzuo to Ningming

After breakfast the next morning I leave Chongzhuo and follow the directions. It turns out the boards direct me back to Chongzhuo! I have no idea what happens but I feel less interested in a similar experience as I had in Nanning and keep cycling in circles.

On another board I see Ningming mentioned, 58 km. That's fine with me. From Ningming to Pingxiang should be another 40 km or so. It's the same distance, and it is fine with me.

 

On the way from Chongzuo to Ningming

The road I am on follows briefly the railway but soon I am alone in the midst of some limestone mountains. After the first little hill, I see a wide open land with mountains in the back. As I am still a little higher than the surrounding lands, I see a few villages here and there.

The railway and the highway from Nanning to Vietnam are also not far. Now the road starts slowly climbing. Never steep, never difficult and it is excellent asphalt.

On the way from Chongzuo to Ningming
After 20 km the road gets worse but it's great to cycle.

But that starts turning after altogether 20 km and will be bad for the next 20 km. In fact it is not so much that the road is that bad, it's just the combination with a slow climbing that makes me cycle slower. But it's fine with me. Occasionally I pass a village but there's not a lot of them here.

On the way to Pingxiang

Slowly I reach the highest point. By now the swindles around the hills towards the end of the valley. And once on top it goes quickly down but die to the road surface I don't make much speed but who cares?

At 15 km before Ningming the is a junction and the road from here on is in excellent condition. In a short time I am in Ningming.

Should I stay here? It's not even 1pm. I decide to give it a chance. Pingxiang is only 40 km away.

On the way to Pingxiang

Ningming doesn't look very attractive anyway. The landscape now changes with slow rolling hills and a road that swindles with the hills. I am not the first cyclist people see here. Contrary to other areas where I cycled, people here don't look surprised when I pass.

In Mingjiang I take a short break for drinks and some food. After some kilometers, I turn around a bend and see a very long valley in front of me with the typical conical shaped limestone tops following the valley. It's a magnificent view. It's clear why the railway follows this valley too.

On the way to Pingxiang

I pass the junction to Longzhou, a 4 lane road and realize I probably have chosen the right road anyway. There is still hardly any traffic. Since Pingxiang is connected with Nanning and Vietnam with a highway, most of the traffic takes that way.

On the way to Pingxiang

Just before Pingxiang I get a tiny climb but by now I am running out of water and that is always a problem especially if you don't know how long it takes to find it.

However, the climb is over before it began and I can see Pingxiang. Quickly I find a shop to buy a drink and I find a hotel.

Pingxiang city center
Pingxiang city center

Pingxiang to the Vietnamese border

The next morning I cycle out of town to the border. I am not very early as the border is only 15 km away and Lang Son, the first town in Vietnam is only 17 km from the border. No need to hurry.

French colonial buidling on the Chinese border

Apparently a former French colonial building on the Chinese part of the border

The road markers are clear. I cycle 5 km out of town and see a huge customs service station for trucks. I follow the main road. A nice Chinese guy helps helps me finding the right way. There is a short climb with plenty of truck but what I don't know is that this is the Tan Thanh border with China and it's cars and trucks only!

I have again taken the wrong direction.

The Chinese border
The border

With help from people in a hotel I am soon back at the junction and see to my surprise a small road to the left. This is the road to the border. Another 8 km with slight climbs here and there but at least I see the railway.

Passing the Chinese border and on the way to the Vietnamese
Passing the Chinese border and on the way to the Vietnamese

Soon I am in You Yiguan. Again I am a little puzzled. The road seems to end and I am directed to the highway. I ask and this time it's all clear, the border is 100 meter in front of me. My last minutes in China for this time. Soon I am in Lang Son and a new chapter of this journey starts.

Here are parts 1 and 2 of this journey from Nanning to the Vietnamese border

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