The Friendship Pass (友谊关; Yǒuyì Guān) border is located about 18km south of Píngxiáng on the Chinese side, and several kilometres from the obscure town of Dong Dang on the Vietnamese side; the nearest Vietnamese city (Liàngshān; Lang Son in Vietnamese) is 18km away. The border is open from 8am to 8pm Chinese time (China is one hour ahead of Vietnam), but some travellers have reported that passports aren’t always stamped after around 4.30pm.
To get to the border crossing, take a pedicab or taxi (about ¥40) from Píngxiáng. From there it’s a 600m walk to the Vietnamese border post. Onward transport to Hanoi, located 164km southwest of the border, is by bus or train via Lang Son.
If you’re heading into China from Friendship Pass, catch a minibus to Píngxiáng bus station, from where there are regular onward buses to Nánníng and beyond. A word of caution: though train tickets to China are more expensive in Hanoi, it isn't advisable to walk across the border from Dong Dang and buy the ticket on the Chinese side. Dong Dang is several kilometres from Friendship Pass, and you’ll need someone to take you by motorbike. If going by train, buy a ticket from Hanoi to Píngxiáng, and then in Píngxiáng, buy a ticket to Nánníng or beyond.
There are still reports of Lonely Planet’s China being confiscated by border officials at Friendship Pass. We advise copying vital information and putting a cover over your guidebook just in case. Note that all bags are searched as you walk into the train station. Once you leave Píngxiáng, you won’t have a problem.