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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 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.
Apparently a former French colonial building on the Chinese part of the
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.
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
Many travelers skip Guangxi as there is "nothing to see or do."
This is of course with the exception of Yangshuo and Guilin. But
for the rest, why bother... and still, there's some really good cycling
to do in Guangxi: