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Home » Backpacking Tips, Travel Planning

Beijing to Hanoi by Rail, the Backpacker’s Choice

Photo from Flickr by New Cham

Photo from Flickr by New Cham

Both China and Vietnam offer a diverse selection of attractions and sites that allow you to experience the many variations in cultures, customs and languages that will amaze even the most experienced of travelers. Whilst you could spend months traveling around these great countries, one of the best and cheapest ways to get a taste of your own China tailor-made or Vietnam tailor-made adventure is through the extensive and impressive interconnecting rail system that allows even the most budget of travelers to move around with ease.

One of the most popular routes is from the northern city of Beijing down to the northern city of Hanoi, in Vietnam. Ticket’s ranging from as little as, 2,156 RMB ( 220 or $320). Below is a small peak at some of the must see areas and sites but does not do enough justice to how much these amazing countries have to offer.


Beijing, the capital of China consists of a blend of the old and the new, encompassing a reputation of being the nations political, economic and international trade center, set amongst some of the world’s greatest historical and cultural sites.

The Great Wall of China, one of the great wonders of the world, being visible from space, is a truly breathtaking site not to be missed. Other must see attractions whilst in Beijing include the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Summer Place.


Zhengzhou lies in north-central China and is great destination to embrace the local culture. Be sure to dine at an authentic Sichuan restaurant whilst drinking a bottle of Dynasty wine, followed by an evening enjoying the famous local music of the Henan Province at the Yu Opera. Other must see sites include the Shaolin Temple and the Henan Provincial Museum.


Guilin lies in the South and is renown for being one of the most picturesque places in all of China. The unique landscape boasts some of the most beautiful and enchanting rivers, lakes and caves. Take a boat ride down the scenic Li River; explore the Reed Flute Cave and witness the spectacular views of the Longsheng Rice Terraces.


Nanning is the capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and is just 160 kilometres from the Vietnamese border. As Nanning is not as well known on the tourist track, the people are remarkably friendly and one should not be surprised to receive an offer to visit one of the local people’s homes for dinner.

Some great sites to visit include Yangmei Ancient Town and the Guangxi Museum.


Hanoi being the capital of Vietnam is a city of great beauty, and one too easy to find yourself lost within. Walking through the enchanting laneways and side streets, you will soon find yourself in the middle of one of the many market places bustling with people and noodle stalls. If time permits, a great way to experience the local cuisine and culture is by taking a Vietnamese cooking class.

Some great sites to visit include the French built Opera House and the Temple of Literature.

Aaron Bradford has written 156 articles. Aaron is the leader, mentor and chief geek of the Happytime team. He put together this crack team of travel writers known by codename “The Firm“. Twitter: @b4ubackpack | Google profile |

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