The Detian Transnational Waterfall is the largest waterfall spanning two countries in Asia, and the fourth largest in the world. Settled right on the border of China’s southern Guangxi region and Vietnam, it’s a really unique destination to visit in China and a place that really blew me away!
I took a solo trip here in January 2023 and was completely stunned by the karst landscape views, and of course the waterfalls. It’s especially cool if you’ve already visited Yangshuo and are looking for more karst landscapes to see in southern China, with a taste of Vietnam mixed in as well.
Here’s a complete guide for visiting the Detian Transnational Waterfall, including how to get there, the best things to do and see, and frequently asked questions I received about traveling here.
- About The Detian Transnational Waterfall
- When To Visit the Detian Waterfall
- How To Get To The Detian Transnational Waterfall
- Arriving At The Detian Waterfall
- Frequently Asked Questions For Visiting the Detian Waterfall
- Where To Stay / Hotels Around the Detian Waterfalls
About The Detian Transnational Waterfall
The Detian Waterfall is over 200 meters wide and has a drop of more than 70 meters. This waterfall system is comprised of two parts. On the Chinese side of the Guichun River is the Detian Waterfall, meaning Virtuous Heaven Waterfall (德天瀑布 Détiān Pùbù). Then on the Vietnamese side is the Ban Gioc Waterfall (Banyue Waterfall in Chinese).
When To Visit the Detian Waterfall
Most people recommend that the best time to visit the Detian Waterfall is from May to November during the rainy season when there is a higher water level and the area is much greener. From December to May, it is the dry season and the falls may not be flowing as much.
However, I visited at the end of January, and still had beautiful weather and a great trip! In January the weather was still 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit in the mornings and evenings, and 70+ degrees Fahrenheit during the day. I even got sunburned at the Waterfall! Because this area is so far south in China, you’re never going to have to worry about it being too cold. Just be cautious of rain or hazy days.
Combine your trip to Detian with other sights in Chongzuo! Check out my 4 Day Itinerary in Chongzuo, Guangxi: Detian Waterfalls & Mingshi Scenic Area
How To Get To The Detian Transnational Waterfall
The Detian Waterfall is located in Detian Village, Daxin County of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (广西壮族自治区崇左市大新县硕龙镇德天村). It’s about 3 hours (230 kilometers) away from Nanning, and 45 minutes away from the Mingshi Scenic Area.
There are a few ways to travel to Detian Transnational Waterfall depending on where you are traveling from. One thing to note, is that southern Guangxi near Daxin and Detian Waterfall is very rural area, so it’s best to carefully plan your route here! It’s not as easy to just visit on the fly by taking a train.
Locations to Know:
- Nanning 南宁市
- Mingshi Rural Scenic Spot 明仕田园风景区
- Detian Waterfall scenic area 德天跨国瀑布景区
There are multiple bus routes coming from Guangxi’s city of Nanning to Detian Waterfall, which takes around 2.5 – 3 hours. You could then choose to stay overnight, or take a bus back the same day (this just means you’ll have a really long travel day!)
For more details for this route, I suggest looking at Top China Travel’s How to Plan a Trip to Detian Waterfall from Nanning as well as Lonely Planet’s Detian Waterfall.
From Mingshi Scenic Area
I personally decided to stay in the Mingshi Village area, as the landscape there is incredible, and it’s also not far from the Detian Waterfall. By car, it’s around 45 minutes drive from Mingshi to get there.
My hotel helped me call a car, which cost me 300 RMB for a 6 hour round trip to Detian Waterfalls. The driver waited for me, then picked me up when I finished.
By Renting A Car
One of the best ideas for traveling around southern Guangxi is to rent your own car if you are able to. I’ve had several expat friends rent cars to drive around the area, and having your own transportation to go wherever you want is an awesome idea! Of course, this depends on if you have transferred your native driver’s license to a Chinese one.
Arriving At The Detian Waterfall
Ticket Costs and Tourist Center
Whether you arrive by car, bus, or taxi, you’ll need to buy a ticket at the Detian Waterfall Tourist Center. The center is actually 10km away from the waterfall, and you need to take an official tourist bus up to enter the scenic area. No other cars or taxis are allowed past that point. Everything is written in Chinese, Vietnamese and English, which is really cool.
- Ticket Cost: CNY 115/pp for the entrance fee plus the sightseeing bus</strong></li>
- Opening Time: 8:00-17:30; 19:50-22:00
Things to Do at the Detian Waterfall
1. Walk around the Detian Falls
The main attraction, of course! There are many pathways that lead around the waterfall for different viewpoints. It’s absolutely stunning!
2. Take a boat ride close to the falls
This costs an additional CNY 30/pp for the bamboo rafting, but is a fun way to get up close to the waterfall.
3. Ride the “Magic Carpet” conveyor belt up to the Glass Walk
If you’re not afraid of heights, this is a great way to get an overview of the whole waterfall area! The Magic Carpet conveyor belt costs 68 RMB per person.
After walking on the glass bridge, you can either choose to slide down, and they give you some shoe coverings and pants to wear. I opted to walk down the stairs, because there was no line and much less crowded! Also, the VIEWS!
4. Enjoy Vietnamese coffee or snacks
There are various shops, stalls, and snack streets around the scenic area where you can enjoy food. There is Vietnamese coffee everywhere in this area and lots of free samples they will offer you!
My Itinerary for the Detian Waterfall
- 9:35 – I left the Mingshi Scenic Area
- 10:15 – Arrived at the Detian Tourist Center and bought a ticket
- 10:40 Boarded sightseeing bus for a ride to the scenic area
- 10:55 Arrived at the Scenic Area
- 1:50 Hiking down from the Glass Bridge
- 3:20 Took the bus back to Tourist Center
After hiking down I was led towards the exit. I found it hard to go back to the beginning spots. So, make sure you do everything you want to in the beginning as it doesn’t easily connect all around!
Frequently Asked Questions For Visiting the Detian Waterfall
Q: Should I bring my passport?
A: Yes bring your passport! On the way to the Detian Waterfall, we were stopped by a Security Border Control, because it is so close to the Vietnam and China border. I also needed to show my passport for buying a waterfall ticket, as your ID is linked and printed on your ticket.
Q: Is it easy to public transportation within the area?
A: In a short answer, no. The waterfall is in a more rural part of China, and there aren’t many public transportation options around. In fact, it’s really difficult to get taxis or call a Didi here (I tried calling a Didi several times or scheduling a time for later in the day and no one picked up).
If you’re not already part of a tour with a driver or bus, the best option is to have your hotel help you arrange a car to drive you for the day, as most hotels will have contacts with local drivers. I arranged for one driver to take me round trip to the waterfalls, and another driver took me from the Mingshi Scenic area to the Nanning Airport.
Q: Is it easy to travel here alone? I want to go but not with a tour group!
Yes it is possible to travel alone here like I did! Just be prepared to pay for the expense of private transportation. I would not say it’s the easiest, cheapest, or most convenient solo trip I’ve done in China, but it was very worth it to me.
Q: Is the waterfall kid friendly?
A: I would say yes! There were lots of families at the Detian Scenic Area, with all age ranges of kids. There are some stairs along the walking paths and going up to the Glass Walkway (but because of the “Magic Carpet” conveyor belt it’s not a ton.) Ultimately it depends on your kids and what you feel they (and you) can handle.
Q: Can you swim in the waterfall pool?
A: Many people asked me if you can swim at the Detian Falls: Definitely no. There is fencing around the falls when you get close, and security is really strict about how people get on boats (you are on a country border after all!).
Q: Is it a strenuous or difficult day?
A: I would not say it’s a very strenuous day, however you will do a lot of walking! I did 10k steps around the waterfall area, so make sure you wear good shoes! There are also many places with stairs to go to certain viewpoints as well. Take it easy and go at your own pace for things.
Where To Stay / Hotels Around the Detian Waterfalls
- Shuolong Town (硕龙镇) is right next to the Waterfall, if you want to be really close
- Mingshi Village is 45 minutes away from the Waterfall and has a beautiful scenic area
- Nanning is 2.5-3 hours away and is a much bigger city for easier transport to other places in China
I stayed in the Mingshi scenic area at the Kongshan Xiaozhu Hotel (大新孔山小筑酒店) for 2 days, then stayed at the Mingshi Mountain Hotel for 2 days. Some people choose to stay close to the Waterfall area, and there are lots of hotels and shops around so it’s also a good choice.
On Trip.com and Booking.com you can find many options, depending on the area you want to stay in.
Food & Restaurants at the Detian Waterfalls
There are many restaurants, Vietnamese coffee shops, and snack options around the tourist center, the hotel areas, and the Detian Waterfall area itself. At the end there’s an area with more restaurants and snacks, and lots of places selling coffee. If you have picky eaters or are worried about finding good options, you could also bring your own food and snacks in.