After witnessing the steady decline of Yangshuo over the years I have started to develop a borderline obsession with finding the “next” Yangshuo. I’d heard a lot of great things about the county of Ningming; I’d even passed through it when taking the train from Pingxiang to Chongzuo, but I’d never managed to visit.
I decided to remedy that, whilst simultaneously solving the abject lack of internet information pertaining to this town.
This is my travel guide to Ningming.
How to get to Ningming
Ningming and this whole part of Guangxi, China really didn’t get the memo about the fast-paced development of China, as there are no fast trains here! If you’re starting from Nanning, the capital of the province, then it’s either a slow 4-hour RMB 25 train, or a quicker (2 hours) and thus more expensive (RMB50) bus from Nanning.
The train from Nanning is actually quite the treat if you’re into old trains and the beautiful scenery of the province.
Accommodation in Ningming
You want hotels here? There’s less than 10 hotels, all of a very similar standard, and all around the RMB 100 -200 mark. For whatever reason, they seem to go down the extremely hard and uncomfortable bed route. Not cool man! There’s one resort-type place out of town that looks decent, but there’s not really much of a reason to go to a resort here.
What to see in Ningming
According to Trip Advisor there’s 3 things to do; hell, we might even include a 4th!
- Huashan Rock Painting (8 reviews) – Neolitichic rock paintings that are impressive, but hardly a reason to come there in themselves;
- Longrui Nature Reserve (1 review) – I didn’t go, but supposedly it’s average;
- Yinyang River – I heard from a friend that were trying to copy the Yangshuo light show here, but did not find evidence of it.
- “Old Street” – not very old, and not much happening here. Ningming is not Yangshuo;
- Old Counties– my time was restricted, so I really did not have that much time to explore, but apparently the elusive Yangshuo-like place was here. Not sure if I will come back to find out though.
What to eat in Ningming
In the pseudo-old street there’s outside hut-type eating establishments which pump out loud jingles to get customers in. Pickled vegetables seem to be the speciality here, and there’s lots of restaurants selling Guilin noodles and Vietnamese fare, but overall not much to write home about.
Nightlife of Ningming
Karaoke, beers at BBQ. There is not really any nightlife in Ningming.
Is it worth visiting Ningming?
I was expecting something like Yangshuo, but in reality Ningming just looks like a small developing Chinese town. Perhaps there’s more to see here if you travel around a bit, but on first glance there’s no real point in travelling to Ningming, unless you want to break up the land journey to Vietnam.
It’s 40 minutes north to Pingxiang, and thus the border with Vietnam, or there’s long-haul buses to Nanning and Shenzhen. The slow train is an hour from Chongzuo and Pingxiang, or 4 hours to Nanning.