Getting there & away
Bus stations are sprinkled throughout Nánníng. You can buy tickets for most destinations from a window at the corner of Chaoyang Lu and Huadong Lu. This is a good idea as the city’s stations can get chaotic.
The Lángdōng Zhàn bus station is east of town along the expressway. Frequent express buses depart to: Běihǎi (Y55, 2½hrs), Guǎngzhōu (Y180, 10 hours), Guìlín (Y80 to Y110, four to 4½ hours), Guìpíng (Y50 to Y63, three hours), Liǔzhōu (Y60, three hours) and Wúzhōu (Y90 to Y110, six hours). Bus 6 runs to the train station.
Northwest of the train station is the Beǐdà Kèyùn Zhōngxīn bus station; anything to the north departs from here, including buses to Dàxīn (Y30, 2½ hours) or Jìngxī (Y50, seven hours) and Bǎisè (Y50, three to four hours). Bus 52 links this station to the Yíndōng Zhàn via the train station.
For south-bound destinations, use the madhouse Jiāngnán Zhàn bus station, located south of Yong River. If the crowds toss you around too much, go to the information booth and look pathetic. Staff are usually too frazzled to be friendly but they do speak some English and will help foreigners buy tickets and walk them through the terminal to find their buses.
There’s a daily Hanoi-bound bus (Y110, 8am, 10 hours). It will take you to Friendship Pass, after which you cross into Vietnam on foot and then board a Vietnamese bus the rest of the way to Hanoi. Bus 41 departs from Chaoyang Garden and runs along Chaoyang Lu to this station. Buses leave Ānjí Zhàn station every 15 minutes for Wǔmíng, useful for travellers heading to Yiling Cave.
To get to Píngxiáng and the Vietnam border, consider the convenient morning train (Y40 to Y55, 7.58am, 3½ hours).
Major direct rail links with Nánníng include Běijīng (T6, 9.50am, 29 hours), Chéngdū (K142, 5.51pm, 37 hours), Guǎngzhōu (K366, 11.55pm, 14 hours), Kūnmíng (K393, 6.10pm, 14 hours), Shànghǎi (K182, 9.26am, 30 hours), Xī’ān (K316, 10.47am, 36 hours) and Guìlín (N802, 8.25am, five hours).
The T6 for Běijīng also passes through Liǔzhōu (three hours), Guìlín (five hours), Wǔhàn (17 hours), Zhèngzhōu (22 hours) and Shíjiāzhuāng (26 hours). The K142 to Chéngdū passes through Guìyáng (19 hours) and Chóngqìng (29 hours).
The T905/M2 from Nánníng to Dong Dang (Tóngdēng) in Vietnam departs at 9.15pm, but think twice before hopping on. It takes forever with lengthy delays in Píngxiáng and at customs.
Getting next-day tickets at the train station doesn’t seem to be too problematic. Foreigners can use any window, though window 15 is supposed to be ‘the one’; window 16 is the place to go to change tickets.
Domestic airlines fly everywhere, and there are multiple departures daily to almost all major cities, including Guǎngzhōu (Y730), Shànghǎi (Y1660), Shēnzhèn (Y890), Kūnmíng (Y630), Běijīng (Y2050), Guìyáng (Y650) and Hǎikǒu (Y610).
Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC; Zhōngguó Mínháng; 243 1459; 82 Chaoyang Lu; 24hrs) is generally efficient, though travel agencies often have lower prices. From 8pm to 8am doors are barred shut and tickets are sold from the window round the side of the building.