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Getting There

The first express bus to Nanning leaves for Jiang Nan station at 6am and then every 30 minutes until 6pm; it costs ¥60 ($7.80/£3.90) and takes about 3 hours, passing through some very spectacular scenery. The bus station (tel. 0771/852-0958) also has services to Haiphong over the border in Vietnam at 12:30pm and to Hanoi at 10:20am and 4pm. Tortuous sleeper buses run to Guangzhou at 6:10, 7, 7:30, 8:10, and 8:50pm, and to Shenzhen at 4:30pm.

The town has two railway stations, north and south. The north station (tel. 0771/8522-060) is just off the main square but is easily missed. Its front entrance is well concealed just next to a large billboard reading THE FIELD OF COMMERCE. Only two trains stop here every day. One is the 7312 to Nanning at 10:07am, arriving at 3:25pm; and the other is the 7311, which leaves Nanning at 10:30am and arrives in Pingxiang at 3:50pm.

The south station is approximately 4km (2 1/2 miles) out of town toward the Vietnam border. It is a brand-new silver building that is usually kept locked up 90% of the time. Tickets can be purchased in a scruffy converted stable just outside that houses the most irritable ticket seller in the whole country. Unsurprisingly, the only choice of train is to Nanning. The road to the south train station is notable only for the cement factory, where it can be seen how a limestone peak that took millions of years to form can be completely annihilated just a couple of decades.

Getting Around

Although there is a Giant dealership in town, they do not rent bicycles, and this instead has to be done the hard way. I asked an old bicycle repair man just a few doors down from my hotel, and the shoe shiner who was working alongside him offered me his rickety old runabout at ¥10 ($1.30/65p) for the whole day with just a ¥100 ($13/£6.50) deposit. It turned out that there was so little to see that I returned the bicycle after just 2 hours.

Santana taxis cost ¥5 (65¢/35p) for 3km (2 miles), then ¥1.60 (20¢/10p) per kilometer. Motorcycle taxis charge ¥3 (40¢/20p) around town.

Fast Facts

Banks, Foreign Exchange and ATMs -- The Bank of China (open 9am-5pm) has a branch with an ATM on the corner of Bei Huan Lu and Ji Zhou Lu

Internet Access -- There are a number of small wang ba on Bei Huan Lu, just up from the post office on the opposite side of the road, all charging ¥2 (25¢/15p) per hour.

Post Office -- The post office (open 8am-6pm) is on the corner of the main square adjoining Bei Huan Lu.

Visa Extensions -- The Pingxiang PSB office at the bottom of Bei Huan Lu politely informed us that foreigners must go to Nanning or Guilin to renew their visas.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.