Chongzuo: Toeing the China-Vietnam Border Line

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4 Days
Spring, Summer, Fall
Nanning
Nanning
About this Journey

Border towns have a certain inherent romance and verdant Chongzuo near China’s southern border with Vietnam is no exception.

While the city’s greatest strength lies in its well-placed location for forays into the dreamland of karst mountains, rivers and waterfalls nearby, it is also a hotbed of traditional Zhuang culture and the perfect place to learn more about China’s largest minority ethnic group.

What we love
  • Enjoying a picnic at the top of the secret Dragon Head hills while watching the sunset over the karst hills, farms and lush riverine landscape
  • Riding through sugar-cane fields and rice paddies at the Mingshi Scenic Area
  • Exploring Tongling waterfall, the tallest in southwest China
Where we're going
Itinerary

Day 1Nanning arrival, transfer to Chongzuo

 

Nanning Arrival

Guangxi’s provincial capital lacks the roll call of tourist sites that other Chinese cities boast, but therein lies its charm. Laid-back, leafy and free from tourist crowds, Nanning is an authentic, 21st-century Chinese metropolis and an excellent place to truly appreciate the tone and timbre of southern Chinese culture in the modern age. Museums, parks and galleries mean there is no shortage of activities when not in one of the many excellent restaurants feasting on delectable local specialties such as lemon duck.
Upon arriving in Nanning, your local WildChina guide will meet you in the arrival hall with your private vehicle on standby to take you to your hotel at Chongzuo.

Next stop: Chongzuo

Border towns have a certain inherent romance and verdant Chongzuo near China’s southern border with Vietnam is no exception. While the city’s greatest strength lies in its well-placed location for forays into the dreamland of karst mountains, rivers and waterfalls nearby, it is also a hotbed of traditional Zhuang culture and the perfect place to learn more about China’s largest minority ethnic group.

Welcome Dinner

Many have heard that, when dining in China, it is considered rude to finish all the food on the table. What hardly gets mentioned is the fact that it is nearly impossible to polish off the entire spread at a typical Chinese group meal; portions are huge and the variety of dishes is seemingly unending. Tonight, celebrate your arrival in Chongzuo for your eyes and stomach as you get to know your guide and fellow travelers.

Day 2Chongzuo

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape

If prehistoric cave art were mocked up for a Hollywood movie set it would probably look a lot like the implausibly pristine paintings of the Luoyue people, immortalized on steep cliffs amid the riverine karst landscape of the China-Vietnam border. The vivid red human and animal figures, depicting the lives and rituals of the bronze drum culture once prevalent in the region, evoke a lost world of more than 2000 years before, and challenge the cultural aesthetic we all associate with China today. Enjoy the scenery of this UNESCO World Heritage Site both on foot and from the vantage point of the river as you glide along on a double-decker boat (50-minute boat ride time).

Dragon Head Hills with Picnic

Follow the flagstone steps laid by local farmers to this secret hilltop lookout known to few villagers and even fewer tourists. The panoramic views at the end of this short hike are profound, taking in the karst hills, farms and lush riverine landscape below. The sunset here is a stirring experience; a picnic will be arranged to do the scenery justice, with a laid table awaiting visitors at the top.

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

Day 3Chongzuo

Detian Transnational Waterfall

Waterfalls get a lot of travel coverage in Southeast Asia, but Detian, confidently straddling the border of China and Vietnam, is truly a waterfall to behold. Tumbling down from the leafy outcrops of karst mountains behind, wooden walkways provide multiple aspects of the falls as well as views across into neighboring Vietnam. On the border itself stands the China-Vietnam Border Market, a collection of souvenir stalls and food stands, which make for a great place to try a delicious – and cheap – Vietnamese coffee.

Mingshi Scenic Area Bike Ride

The Mingshi Scenic Area is sometimes called little Guilin, and while the undulating hills and meandering rivers are evocative of Guangxi’s travel capital, this is a wilder landscape, more untamed and with fewer tourists than its counterpart in the province’s north. Sail past sugar-cane fields and rice paddies by bicycle on what is an unforgettable 2.5-hour ride through intoxicating vistas and idyllic pastoral scenes. The excursion is family friendly and can be shorter depending on ability. Electric scooters are also available for the more leisurely-inclined. While cycling through villages, have a visit to a farmer’s house and chat with locals.

Farewell Dinner

Enjoy your last night in Chongzuo, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner. During dinner, you’ll get to know each other better and share the interesting stories and beautiful photos of the trip.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 4Chongzuo to Nanning departure

 

Tongling Grand Canyon

Tongling means to ‘connect with the spirits,’ and heading underground through the cool caves and caverns of Tongling Grand Canyon is without doubt an otherworldly experience. The route also takes in a powerful underground river, as well as winding through thick forested gorges beside pools of crystalline water. The jewel in the canyon’s crown is the Tongling waterfall, the tallest in southwest China, which caps the crescendo of this scenic route with a thunderous roar as it crashes into the plunge pool 168-meters below.

Your Flight Back Home

Your WildChina guide will escort you to the airport and help you check in for your flight home.

Meals included: breakfast and lunch

Your Accomodations

Mingshi Nali Hotel

Boutique

The Mingshi Nali Hotel combines simple elegance with understated luxury to produce a truly iconic location. A contemporary homage to village architecture, the hotel’s exterior fits seamlessly amid the rice paddies and sculptural limestone peaks that surround it. All of this is visible from the floor-to-ceiling windows within that bring the lush, tropical landscape beyond directly into the rooms.

Details

Recommended Seasons

What’s Included

  • All accommodations based on double-occupancy including breakfasts, as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals, as indicated in the itinerary, and drinking water
  • All admission fees and activity expenses, as indicated in the itinerary
  • Ground transportation, including airport transfers
  • Services of an English-speaking WildChina guide

What’s Excluded

  • International and domestic flights, domestic trains, plus relevant taxes
  • Chinese tourist visa, which is required for most foreign passport holders
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Meals, apart from those included in the itinerary, and alcohol
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary
  • Discretionary gratuities for guides and drivers
Why WildChina

We’re on the ground with you

Our team of advisors will design every detail of the trip with you through close consultation, then orchestrate your entire journey while on the ground. We’re in the same time zone as you, so we can fulfill requests and handle issues without a hitch. With over 40 staff in China and an expansive network of operational partners across the country, we have the manpower to ensure your journey is safe, reliable and comfortable from beginning to end.

Your trip, your way

Flexibility is our highest-ranking compliment. We pull off journeys for pioneers with a 6-hour layover to Hollywood’s elite, and everywhere in between. Our team regularly pulls off unprecedented logistical feats; nearly any time frame or budget is within our realm. No matter how you wish to experience China, we are here to bring that dream to life.

We embody passion

WildChina guides are carefully handpicked for their knowledge and charisma, then meticulously trained to maintain our exceptional service standards. They are expert storytellers and passionate natives of the regions where they guide, having the perfect combination of local insights and service know-how to bring you seamless once-in-a- lifetime moments all across China.

The little things, the big picture

Supporting inspired local economies allows you to experience the soul of the destination, while also protecting and cultivating China’s artisanal culture. From watching artisans creating their handcrafts, to picking organic vegetables for dinner on a local farm, our tours are designed to showcase and protect China’s heritage, both natural and human.

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