Trains, buses, and border crossings – Shanghai to Hanoi

Getting from Shanghai to Hanoi overland is surprisingly quick and easy. We haven’t said it enough – the speed trains in China were incredible. The train from Shanghai to Nanning covered almost 2000 kilometers in under 12 hours. To put that in perspective – covering 5000 km on the trans-Siberian took us >3 days.

This post highlights the journey from Shanghai to Hanoi. The train from Shanghai left around 10am, and arrived in Nanning close to 10pm. Only spent the night in Nanning, and got on the 7.30am bus to Hanoi, arriving in time for afternoon tea. The journey was comfortable, interesting, and picturesque.

The train terminal at Shanghai. ENORMOUS! It took ages to walk from one end to the other. Platforms all underground.

Getting onto the speed train to Nanning.

A look inside the trains. This is the second class compartment.

A lot of legroom. Spacious even if you’re over 180cm/6ft!

Goodbye speed train! Arrival in Nanning

Took the South exit. Completely deserted at 10pm.

From the station, walked across a construction site to get to my hotel, cos the shortest path between two points is the line connecting them

The view from my hotel in the morning. Nanning! Didn’t get to explore it much though.

At the pedestrian crossing. (Scooters are people too!)

Grabbing a quick bite at the bus terminal before boarding

Our chariot awaits. To Vietnam!

Pretty decent care package. Breakfast and water, included in the price of the ticket.

Arrival at border control

These buggies transport us from buses to border control

Border control on the Chinese side

Then we walked over to Vietnam!

Got into our buggies….

… that transported us to our buses

The final bus into Vietnam drove past some amazing scenery. Most of our images are blurry given these were taken from within the bus. Take our word for it!

By late afternoon, we were in Hanoi, all set to explore the city!

Travel facts
Cumulative cost of travel so far
GBP: 3,077 plus EUR: 1,308 plus RUB: 43,765 plus USD: 454

Train, Shanghai to Nanning – 175GBP for 2 pax.
Booked via two days before travel, and picked up tickets from station the day of travel.
Bus, Nanning to Hanoi – 340 Yuan (approx 34 GBP). Booked at the bus station, on the day of travel.
One night, Nanning – 253 Yuan (~25GBP)

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