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Poetic Nanning

Whether you are in search of some passionate excitement or a piece of quiet solitude, you will definitely find it in Nanning, China. Following the footsteps of Travel 3Sixty’s new writer on board, join us to discover Nanning together!

Original Text & Photography by Swee Har

Returning to Nanning as well as the Detian Waterfall after eight long years and a series of personnel changes at the workplace, my heart was overwhelmed with a myriad of emotions. I first visited Nanning on an annual trip with my previous company. This time, it was also a work trip. Right on the second day at my new job, I was sent by my new company on a study tour.

      As I watched the great curtains of water pouring magnificently down the cliff against an overcast sky with the intensity of a thousand horses running, I came to believe that my decision to take a three-year break from work was just so that I could come back to witness this landscape in all its grandeur.

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The Detian Waterfall traverses across international borders and plunge over cliffs. The soft mists look like white silk as the waters strongly impact the rocks below.

Detian Transnational Waterfall

I’m not a poet like Li Bai. I just couldn’t compose a poem as beautiful as “Beholding Lushan Falls”, which has been passed down through generations. Yet, upon arriving at Detian Waterfall, I quoted the great poet as anyone can experience the grandeur of “the impressive three thousand feet descent, akin to the Milky Way flowing across the Ninth Heaven”.

     The majestic Detian departs from E’quan River in the old province of Guangxi and surges towards Vietnam. After wandering around Vietnam for a while, the stream returns to the embrace of its motherland China, back to Detian Village in Shuo Long County, Guangxi Daxin where it flows into a chasm. There, it paints a magnificent picture of mighty water falling down the towering cliff. 

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The Detian Transnational Waterfall is on the right, with Vietnam’s Ban Gioc Waterfalls on the left. Guichun River is the source river of both falls.

     Guichun River is like a lost child, running away from its home in its youth. After experiencing the harshness of life in the outside world, he finally returns home. He discovers his place in life and lives it to the fullest. Upon encountering a dangerous three-fold cliff, Guichun River, now matured from the vicissitudes of life, valiantly takes on the challenge. Jumping over the natural barrier, it displays its perseverance and passion for life, subduing all obstacles with its overwhelming force.

     As I sat on my bamboo raft on this foggy winter afternoon and gazed upon the Detian Waterfall, I could hear the thundering watery curtains unfolding an impressive life story.

     Even as the flow of water ebbs in the winter, visitors are still amazed by the river’s coursing strength. In summertime when the waterfall is at its mightiest, it’s more than 200 meters wide and over 60 meters deep. Only those who have personally captured the breathtaking view of this huge surge of water billowing at full speed can truly share the thrill and excitement with others.

     For those seeking to be emotionally touched and inspired, I believe that a trip in the summer is the only way to fully experience the beauty of the majestic falls.

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Guichun River plunges down a high cliff of more than 50 meters in height. With its rushing waters resounding in your heart, Detian Transnational Waterfall, without a doubt, lives up to its name.

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      Fork out only RMB20 to take a ride on a large bamboo raft. You can ‘go abroad’ to Vietnam without applying for a visa. Also, experience the joy of shopping ‘across borders’ with the Vietnamese hawkers selling their goods by the river.   There is also a Vietnamese market 600 meters upstream of Detian Waterfall. Very often, you’ll find a man with a green cap greeting visitors “Welcome to Vietnam”, and at departure, he will gleefully greet you “Welcome back to China.” It’s pretty amusing! 

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Remember to haggle during your cross-border shopping. You can buy dried fruits, large cashew nuts, assortment of sweets, coffee, cigarettes, perfume, Vietnamese coins and many other local offerings.

     A visit to Detian Waterfall on a day trip or a two-day tour is a good idea. You can also visit Tongling Grand Canyon, Mingshi Pastoral, Yiling Cave, Longhu Mountain, Zuofo Mountain and Guichun River all at once.

     There are express buses that depart every day at 9:00am from Nanning Passenger Center and Langdong Bus Terminal to the entrance of the scenic spots of Detian. A one-way trip takes 4 hours, and the return trip takes off at 3:30pm. 

Mingshi Pastoral

It is said that the scenery at Guilin is the best in the world. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could enjoy Guilin’s ethereal landscape without having to go all the way to Guilin? You can when you are in the picturesque Mingshi Pastoral, a place where you can be alone in the serenity of nature.

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‘Wine is Purer at Home’, ‘Legend of Love: The Cowherd and the Weaver’, ‘The Herbalist’s Manual’ and other television dramas were shot at the Mingshi Pastoral.

     Located in Mingshi Village, Kanxu Town in Daxin County, Mingshi Pastoral has a reputation of being a beautiful “Little Guilin”. There is an interesting legend behind this scenic place, passed down through generations.

     A long time ago, there once lived a dragon demon in the Southern Sea that loved the gorgeous scenery of Guilin. Once, it turned into a man and visited Guilin, but when it was time to leave, he could not bear to leave that charming place behind. He had an idea and secretly cast a magic spell, shrinking the Guilin landscape and hiding it in his pocket. He then brought it back to the Southern Sea. Unfortunately, this angered the Jade Emperor, who sent the Thunder God to punish the dragon. The dragon was struck to death by lightning, and the beautiful piece of landscape fell out from his pocket and dropped to earth, becoming the Mingshi Pastoral that we know today.

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Mingshi Pastoral was selected by the China National Stamp Bureau as part of the “Homeland Frontier Scenery” themed postage stamps distributed on October 1, 2004.

     “The wise takes joy from the waters, the kind takes joy from the mountains”. When you take in the captivating scenery of Mingshi, you too will feel joy and longevity. Take a ride on a bamboo raft, and drift along Mingshi River to enjoy the tranquil solitude.

     As the raft drifted towards the mist, I heard folk-singing piercing through the silence of the surroundings. The men and women of the Zhuang tribe were singing melodious folk songs in their bright voices, expressing their love for each other. How delightfully romantic! The Zhuang ladies greeted us with a shout “Meng Nei” (which means ‘Hello!’ in the Zhuang language), and then shared with us the origin of the name “Mingshi”.

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The Zhuang tribe loves to sing folk songs, and thus the Zhuang Region is home to some of the world’s most nostalgic and sentimental folk songs.

     Mingshi was originally known as ‘Po Shi’ because of an old talented Zhuang lady skilled in handicraft. She was not only proficient in weaving Zhuang brocades and needlework, but was also able to turn any material into practical and useful daily products. Many Zhuang ladies came to seek her mentoring, and she unselfishly taught them her skills. She became very well-loved among the Zhuang tribe, and they named the place she lived “Po Shi” (grandma). As the old lady grew older, she knew that her final days were drawing near. She felt that the name ‘Po Shi’ did not sound good and suggested that they change it. Later in 1979, it was renamed ‘Mingshi’.

     Today, we may have lost the chance to meet that old lady in person, but we will still be able to see the skilled handiwork of the Zhuang people at the Zhuang Museum.

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The Zhuang people are proficient in weaving Zhuang brocades and needlework

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Useful daily products by the Zhuang people

       Mingshi Pastoral is located 210 km away from Nanning and 37 km away from the famous Detian Waterfall. Express tourist buses are available every 20 minutes from Nanning Beida Passenger Transportation Center to Daxin County daily. From Daxin County, you can catch a special Detian tourist bus, which runs at hourly intervals every day from 6:30am to 5:30pm.

Getting There AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Nanning three times a week. For flight information and the lowest fares, please visit www.airasia.com

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