Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Train Trip from China (Guangzhou) to Vietnam (Hanoi)

I have travelled from Guangzhou City to Hanoi (Vietnam) by train, stopping in Nanning overnight. This trip was memorable for several reasons:

1. Boarding the train in Guangzhou City, I almost lost my limbs trying to hold onto to my baggage as Chinese mainlanders pushed and shoved their way in.
2. The railway embankments along the side of the railway were filled with garbage for a considerable part of the trip
3. Chinese commuters spitting on the train - the highlight was a granny hurling a 'red one' in front of me. I hope her health improves.
4. Nanning was pleasant for the great food ate there. Had a good Indian curry at some classy hotel for just a dollar too.
5. Waiting overnight for a train to Hanoi on the border. The highlight was meeting some westerners in the streets on Day 2, then the three of us waiting 9 hours for a train departing at 2 midnight for Hanoi.
6. Being awoken at the border to complete paperwork for immigration. The highlight was the officials attempting to bribe everyone. They said we didn't have a required stamp. I said fine, I will pay more if they give me an official receipt and their ID. No problem :)
7. The Chinese side of the border had some very beautiful countryside - limestone tors like Halong Bay in Vietnam, but on this occasion the tors are on land with rivers flowing around them. The scenery was however diminished by the pollution or hazy blanketing the landscape.

This photo shows the train timetable to Hanoi at the Chinese border. We had 9 hours to read it, then it took the 7-odd passengers there 2 hours to be processed through immigration for the Chinese authorities. We witnessed 2 Chinese girls trying to bribe the officials to get on the train to Vietnam.

2 comments:

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Lanée Jensen said...

Do you have more information on this? Which trains you took, times and prices, etc. ?