The southwestern Guangxi region is the perfect getaway in China for nature lovers. With karst mountain landscapes and winding rivers, there is so much to see across the region.
When most people think of Guangxi, China they might be familiar with Yangshuo, a town next to Guilin that is especially famous for its karst mountains and river scenery. But there is actually so much more to see in this region!
At the southernmost part of Guangxi in a city called Chongzuo you’ll find equally stunning karst mountains, along with spectacular waterfalls, bike routes, and lesser visited areas than Yangshuo.
I recently took a solo trip to Chongzuo, Guangxi for 4 days and had a wonderful trip. Below is a full itinerary and guide for my trip, including the Detian Transnational Waterfall and the Mingshi Scenic Area, two big highlights of the area.
- Where To Stay in Southern Guangxi
- Day 1: Arrive in Chongzuo and Explore the Mingshi Village
- Day 2: Detian Transnational Waterfall in Guangxi
- Day 3: Explore the Mingshi Village Area
- Day 4: Biking Around Mingshi Village
- Day 5: Leaving Mingshi Area
Watch my video on YouTube to see more about my trip in Chongzuo, Guangxi!
Where To Stay in Southern Guangxi
There are several options for where to stay if you’re taking a trip to Guangxi, depending on how long your trip is and which attractions you want to be close to.
- Nanning (南宁) is capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and a large city with many transportation options. Some people might choose to stay in Nanning and take day trips from here. (This is farther from all the attractions though, which means more driving time everyday and less time at the attractions).
- Chongzuo (崇左) is a prefecture-level city in the south of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region near the Sino-Vietnamese border. It’s around 1 hour from Nanning, and closer to the Mingshi Scenic Area and Detian Waterfall.
- Mingshi Village (Ming Shi Tian Yuan 明仕田园) is a scenic area about 2 hours 20 minutes from Nanning and 45 minutes away from the Detian Waterfall. In my opinion, this is the best area to stay in, as it’s close to attractions and also very beautiful.
- Shuolong Town (硕龙镇) is right next to the Detian Waterfall and convenient if you want an early start or evening next to the waterfall area.
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. On Trip.com and Booking.com you can find many options, depending on the area you want to stay in.
Important note about transportation in the Mingshi and Detian Waterfall area: This is a very rural area of Guangxi. There isn’t any public transportation here, including public buses, trains, or even Didi or taxis. If you don’t have prearranged transportation with a tour group or your own car, it is best to arrange cars with your hotel, which is what I did.
Day 1: Arrive in Chongzuo and Explore the Mingshi Village
Morning: Flight from Beijing to Nanning
There are several ways to travel to Guanxi Region, and the route you pick will really depend on where you’re coming from and where you want to start your trip in Guangxi. I took a 3.5 hour flight from Beijing Capital Airport to the Nanning Wuxi International Airport first.
Afternoon: Arrive in the Mingshi Scenic Area and Explore
I landed around 1:30pm, and then took a cab from Nanning straight to the Mingshi Scenic Area in Chongzuo, which took around 2 hours and 20 minutes. There are other transportation options, such as trains and buses, or renting your own car to travel around the area which is highly recommended.
Taking a cab was the most expensive option as a solo traveler, but the most convenient option for travel time and efficiency. For a full guide about how to travel to this area, check out my Guide To Visiting Mingshi Scenic Area: Daxin, Chongzuo, Guangxi.
- Address: Mingshi Village, Daxin County, Chongzuo City, Guangxi
- Search in Chinese: Ming Shi Tian Yuan 明仕田园
Once I arrived, I checked into my first hotel, the Kongshan Xiaozhu Hotel (大新孔山小筑酒店) in the Mingshi Scenic Area. I stayed here for 2 nights and it was exactly what I was looking for price and location wise. I chose to stay in the Mingshi Scenic Area because it’s has a cluster of hotels and restaurants, and has lots of bike routes nearby. It’s also not far from the Detian Waterfalls.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening walking around, just enjoying my surroundings and seeing what was nearby. I grabbed food at a local restaurant, before turning into my hotel in the evening to be ready for my big day at the waterfall!
Day 2: Detian Transnational Waterfall in Guangxi
The biggest draw to visiting southern Guangxi is taking a trip to the Detian Waterfall. It sits right on the border of China and Vietnam and is the largest waterfall spanning two countries in Asia. I recommend a whole day for visiting the waterfall, to make sure you have enough time for walking around the entire area.
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.
- Opening Time: 8:00-17:30; 19:50-22:00
Best Time to Visit: May to November
Tickets: CNY 115/pp for the entrance fee plus the sightseeing bus; CNY 30/pp for the bamboo rafting; CNY 198/pp for the night entrance ticket
I spent several hours walking along the paths around the waterfall, where you’ll find lots of scenic spots that overlook Detian. There are several things to do at Detian, including:
- Taking photos at the scenic spots
- Take a boat ride on the river next to the waterfall
- Ride the “Magic Carpet” conveyor belt
- Walk on the Glass Bridge overlooking the Waterfall
- Take a break at the Vietnamese coffee shops and snack stalls
You will be doing a lot of walking, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes and bring sunscreen! For more details about visiting the Detian Waterfall, see my Guide To Visiting Detian Waterfall.
Day 3: Explore the Mingshi Village Area
Once you’ve checked off the Detian Waterfall, your time in Mingshi can be more leisurely, depending on your time and schedule! The best thing about this area is its very customizable based on what you want to do.
Many people will choose to use this time to walk more about the Mingshi Area, drive around to see other waterfalls, go biking, or even spend the time at their hotel. There are some fabulous hotels here, like Lost in Nature, the Chongzuo LUX resort, and the Mingshi Mountain Villa that have pools you can lounge by, enjoying a scenic backdrop and a chill day after a busy day at the waterfall.
On this day I moved hotels to the Mingshi Mountain Villa (明仕山庄) to stay for 2 nights. It was more costly than my first hotel, but the amenities were very nice here, as well as the service. (And like I mentioned, it has a pool! You do need to pay extra to get a pool pass though). The breakfast is nice, and what you’d usually find for a Chinese international hotel. There was coffee & milk as well!
Full disclosure: I had plans to go biking on this day and exploring the area more, but I got sick the previous evening, and spent this day resting. I think I got sick from a combination of the food I ate at dinner (it didn’t sit well at all! But it was normal Chinese dishes I’ve eaten loads of times), plus dehydration and being outside all day. I’ve lived in China for 7 years and have traveled solo in China loads, but it’s always a good reminder to slow down and rest when your body needs a break!
Day 4: Biking Around Mingshi Village
Morning/Afternoon: Biking Around Mingshi
Feeling back at 100% again, I was ready for a big biking day around the scenic area! The whole area has been paved with bike routes that wind through the mountains and along the river side. There are many different routes that are conveniently labeled with signs. I rented a bike from my hotel and spent several hours biking around and stopping for photos or rests whenever I felt like it!
After several hours of biking, I returned my bike in the mid-afternoon to have a rest and grab some food. You could use this time to go to a restaurant or the local Vietnamese coffee shop, have a nap, or go to the pool.
In the evening after resting, I went inside the “official” Mingshi Scenic Area, which is right next to the Mingshi Mountain Villa and has a scenic lake and picturesque photo spots built in. With my hotel card I could get in for free, but outside visitors will pay 80RMB. There are performances in the night also.
Day 5: Leaving Mingshi Area
I didn’t include Day 5 in my itinerary officially as I literally woke up, had breakfast, then took a car back to the Nanning Airport to fly back to Beijing. The previous day I asked my hotel to help me arrange a car (as I mentioned, Didi and other taxi services don’t work well here). Depending on when you leave the area, you might have time to do more on this Day than I did.
Overall, I had a fantastic trip to the Chongzuo area of Guangxi! It blew me away with it’s beautiful scenery and tranquil environment. It was the best kind of mountain and nature escape from city-life (and Beijing cold) that I was looking for. I highly recommend a trip here!