Monday, 9 September 2013

Crossing China and Vietnam by Land.


This post might be normal to some of you but it's big to me and I would love to do it again.

Where should I start? 
How the idea came? The idea came on May 2013 after a couple of months of my first bag-packing across Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. Then the travel dreams stopped for few months to focus studies. Won a debate competition and ta-ra, next exploration. 

I'd a lot of researches and studies which part of Southeast Asia I wanted to see the most. The very first idea was India. Only God knows, as a young traveler that loves colorful cultures, girls wearing sares, polluted roads, three-wheels yellow cabs, astonishing temples and buildings, I swear few blocks away from my home can hear I screamed excitedly. 

The expensive ticket kills the excitement.

Ha Long Bay in Vietnam was the second idea. I fall in love with the bay, crystal blue water and Chinese old ships sail around. That what I saw in the internet. 

Then it would be a waste of money if only I trace my money only for Ha Long's beauty.So I decided to spend a week crossing China and Vietnam. Yes a week wasn't enough for China. I only traveled Guangzhou, Guilin and Nanning then took a train to Hanoi.

17th August 2013 until 23rd August 2013. The overall cost is only 1700 MYR (570$). 

The flight ticket Malaysia Airlines (booked a month early) : 700MYR - Departed from Singapore arrived at Guangzhou (the funny thing was I transited at Kuala Lumpur which took a longer route but surprisingly cheaper)

The expenditure
Transportation :- 
Guangzhou - Guilin : Bus RM 110
Guilin - Nanning : Hard Seat Train RM 35
Nanning - Hanoi : Soft Sleeper Train RM 100
Taxi/Busses/ Tuk-Tuk to go around the cities: RM 100
Cheap hotel: RM 200 
Food (halal was very expensive, it would be cheaper if you can eat anything): RM 300
Entrance fee (Guilin Solitary Peak, Ha Long Bay Cruise and etc): RM200  

The original plan was Guangzhou-Shenzen-Guilin-Nanning-Hanoi. But I've a hard time in finding train and bus to go to Shenzen due to a Utor Typhoon. Skipped Shenzen and directly headed to Guilin.

Be prepared:- 
It was hard to find someone who can speak English in China. Be ready to do a lot of awkward movements for a better understanding to the locals (or bring dictionary or learn Mandarin)

Do some researches
Trains and buses in China are using Mandarin (place name and ticket are in Mandarin). In order to avoid any difficulties study them on the internet. Suggested website

Halal food
Muslim traveler, halal food is hard to find. Bring your own easy-to-cook instant food would be a brilliant idea.

Bring extra money
Bring extra money in US Dollar as money changers are hard to be found in China. But if you don't mind to withdraw cash and get extra charged, don't bother this and Guangzhou/Hanoi serves you great goods with cheap prices (don't forget to brush up your bargain skills).

I learned a lot from this trip, you can share problems with random people you met, they can be your free therapist, challenge yourself to do things that might kill you (ride a bamboo raft on a deep Guilin green lake), kayaked around Ha Long, watched very famous water puppet in Hanoi, cycled around Old Quater.

I'll feed you with photos later.

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