The capital of Guangxi province in southwest China, Nanning is a green metropolis, with fine museums, parks to explore, and easy access to the beauty of northern Vietnam.
Nanning's city center has plenty to keep visitors occupied. The Guangxi Provincial Museum is a standout, with its collection of stunning golden drums, but the Guangxi Ethnic Relics Center is also enchanting.
The area around Nanning has some sublime scenery. The highlight is definitely Qingxiu Mountain, with its lakes, pagodas, flower gardens, and dinosaur sculptures.
Using Nanning as a base, you can easily reach Guangxi's attractions, including Hundred Demon Cave and Bapan - where residents routinely live past 100.
The food from Nanning can be sublime. Head to Zhongshan Road to try distinctive rice noodle soups, paper-wrapped chicken, and rolled rice pancakes.
Nanning is a stone's throw from Vietnam, making day trips to Hanoi simple.
Established in 1954, the Guangxi Provincial Museum sits on 12,900 square kilometers of land. Its stately and symmetrical display building was constructed in 1978. The Guangxi's elegant appearance gives it a place amidst China's most attractive architecture. Inside the museum you can find some fascinating artifacts, the most notable being 334 ancient bronze drums. View the world's biggest bronze drum along with a host of other collections such as the Guangxi Historic Relic Display and the Guangxi National Folkway Exposition.
Located within the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is the aquarium blue Detian Waterfall. Its waters originate from the Guichun River that flows through Vietnam. The roaring of the tumbling waters can be heard kilometers away. The best time to visit the Detian Waterfall would probably be in the small hours of the morning, when you can enjoy the magical colors of the rainbow that appear on the horizon as a result of the sun's morning rays coming into contact with the mist of the waterfall. The ticket charges are: adults 80 yuan (12 USD) and children between 3.9 and 4.6 ft. tall 50 yuan (8 USD).
Surrounded by a river on each side, the Yangmei Ancient Town has existed for more than a thousand years. Constructed during the Song dynasty, further development took place during the Ming dynasty. Today, it still preserves and maintains the architectural styles of the Ming and Qing dynasties in the form of houses, shrines, pagodas, etc. This is a place boasting a wealth of ancient buildings and scenic spots. In the evening, relax in one of the eight noted beauty spots, the best being the Moon Night on the Beach and Pine Forest.
A world-class natural reserve in Guangxi, Daming Mountain has an average height of 1200 meters. Its central peak (which reaches 1764 meters) is the highest in the south-middle region of Guangxi. Daming Mountain presents something new in each of the four seasons, therefore providing an all-year-round sightseeing experience. Visit the four well-known seasonal sights of Daming Mountain - the waterfall in the summer, the clouds in the autumn, the snow in the winter, the mist in the spring - to get a taste of what each part of the year has to offer.
Formed over a million years ago, the Yiling Cave is situated approximately 18km away from the Nanning city suburb of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. It covers 24,000 sq. meters and stretches for about 1100 meters in length. Formed from a subterranean river, Yiling Cave is known in the local Zhuang dialect as Gan Palace, which means a 'phenomenal palace-like cave.' It consists of many scenic areas such as the Xianshan Temple and Zhuang Village.
The best time to visit is October and November, which is Nanning's festival season. Catch folk music, food events, and great sightseeing weather when you visit in the fall.
Nanning Wuxu International Airport (NNG) is well connected to the rest of southeast Asia. From there, take buses 1,2,3, or 4 to various central destinations (¥20 in all cases). Taxis will cost around ¥100.
Trains from Beijing to Nanning take around 23 hours, and it's about 13 hours from Hong Kong.
From Guangzhou or Hong Kong, take the S26 then the G80. From Hanoi, take the AH1 to the border before taking the G7211 to Nanning.
Most intercity buses run into the Langdong bus terminal, and state-operated services run from all major Chinese cities.
Accommodation highlights in the city include the modern Nanning Marriott and the even more luxurious Guangxi Wharton International.
Zhongshan Road - Nanning's culinary hub, Zhongshan Road is the place to go for the city's famous soft noodles and rice pancakes.
Chaoyang Road - Nanning's main shopping neighborhood, Chaoyang Road is a great place to find apparel and souvenirs, and has a lively street entertainment scene too.
Nanhu - the largest park in central Nanning, Nanhu includes a huge lake and paths that are lined with tropical palms.
Local buses cost ¥2 per journey and cover pretty much the whole of Nanning.
Nanning's taxis charge around ¥9 per mile, so you should be able to reach most central areas for less than ¥50.
Rental companies in Nanning include Wangdian Car Rental and Wanchenghong Car Renting Co. Rates should be about ¥90 per day.
Head to Chaoyang Road to pick up leather goods and apparel from department stores like Diamond Square, or visit Xingning Road to check out Nanning's finest jewelry makers.
Supermarkets in Nanning include Walmart and Chinese companies like Ren Ren Le. Expect to pay about ¥13 for 12 eggs.
Guangxi's cuisine is among the best in China, with great noodle, chicken, and pancake specialties to try. For the best food in town, try Nanning Muslim Hotel and Líyŭ Cūn, while you won't go wrong by picking somewhere on Zhongshan Road. Prices range from ¥20 for street food snacks to ¥60-80 per head at fine restaurants.