So where was I going today? I was taking a four hour bus ride to Detian Waterfalls, which are on the Chinese/Vietnames border.
I arrived at the Bus Station, checked the information board which, erm, wasn’t working.
I asked the woman at the Enquiries Desk who vaguely pointed me around to the numbered bus stands.
The attendant at Stand Number 3 asked me where I wanted to go and told me I needed to be at Stand Number 16.
I am repeatedly astounded by just how friendly and helpful Chinese people are. The attendant at Stand 16 told me to wait until the bus arrived, at which point she came over and told me to get on.
She also fetched Jonathan from Oregon who was sitting elsewhere waiting for the same bus.
He and I, with five Chinese people made up the entire passenger list. The other people helped us read our tickets to find our seats, but once the driver had confirmed that we were the only people on the bus, we all chose our own seats.
The one stipulation given was that we had to wear seatbelts. Fine.
To ensure we were our seatbelts, today’s public information film in the bus was all about bus crashes. There were recordings of actual incidents – collisions with other vehicles, landslides and buses running off the road to crash down the hillside.
It was a little more exciting than the recycling film that was played over and over on the Nanning Metro.
The journey is around 150 miles from Nanning to Detian Waterfall and the road wound through the most beautiful farmland – crops and flowers.
After two hours the bus stopped at a small village for a toilet break and we bought a bunch of small bananas from the roadside sellers to snack on.
Travelling once again, the road began to climb through the Karst Mountains and the bus had to stop for animals in the road… monkeys!
Yes, I will continue to be excited when I see monkeys. In the UK, it’s usually sheep or cows on the road and the most exciting animal to be seen is a horse.
After almost three hours, the bus arrived at a bus station in a fairly large town. Three guys got off when we pulled up next to the toilets.
The bus then pulled away and drove to the opposite end of the station to refuel. I presumed that the driver had explained this plan to the three guys otherwise they were in for a shock when they came back out.
It was over four hours before we reached Detian Waterfalls, but was it worth the ride?
On arrival at the main complex, we then had to take a shuttle bus up to the actual Falls.
A guide had got on the bus when we had arrived in Daxian and though tickets to the Falls were 115Y, she gave Jonathan and I each a discount of 10Y. Every little helps. Message here is find a friend to take this trip.
See for yourself.
Close to the border with Vietnam, they’re the largest transnational Waterfalls in Asia, geography fans. And for further pub quiz bonus points they’re over 200m wide and 70m high.
When it was time to leave, the guide who had joined our bus appeared to have been looking out for us. She hurried over to make sure we knew which one to get on.
I say again: people here have been extremely kind, considerate and helpful. It has been a lot of fun travelling around China.
The journey home was a surreal mix of brutal bus safety videos – seatbelt wearing is clearly taken very seriously here – and a family slapstick farce. It started fairly lighthearted but then descended into people being stuck in washing machines and foot massages going horribly, horribly wrong.
Jonathan and I were probably the only people on the bus who were watching the entertainment though we weren’t entirely sure what to make of the movie.
I can only say it must have been the product of a diseased mind.