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If you’re like me who want to travel on a budget comfortably from Nanning to Hanoi, getting your ticket in person may be the best option. If you are making an immediate connection, between the Z5 from Beijing and the T8701 to Hanoi, you have around 2 hours to get your ticket sorted out, with another 20 minutes to get to the waiting room and board your train.
Tickets from Nanning to Hanoi are only sold at Nanning and stations and travel agents where the train departs from. Your first priority would most definitely be the Nanning Railway Station itself.
Go through the security checks to enter the station compound.
Make your way to the manned ticket office.
Head for Counter 1, which is the English-speaking counter, and is the only counter to sell Nanning – Hanoi train tickets. The booking system is different than the one for domestic trains.
In my case, tickets were sold out from the counter. I quickly ran through my mind for my planned backup option which was to stay overnight in Nanning and get a bus the next morning to Hanoi, where I’ll still be able to make my already-booked train connection from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.
However, I was redirected by the staff to look for travel agents around Nanning, and there was one located across the street.
Once you exit the station compound, you will see this agency with a blue sign, loudly proclaiming “火车票” or “Train Tickets” across the road.
The name of the travel agent is Guangxi Ningtie International Travel Limited Liability Company along Zhonghua Rd, Xingning, Nanning, Guangxi, China.
Enter the left door where there is a ticket counter without the waiting area.
There’s a sign in pink stating that they do sell international train tickets for the Nanning – Hanoi (Gia Lam) route.
You may wish to use the following words to assist you when booking your ticket in China:
- 火车 – huŏ chē: Train
- 票 – piào: Ticket
- 越南 – yuè nán: Vietnam
- 河内 – hé nèi: Hanoi
- 嘉林 – jiā lín: Gia Lam
And they have plenty of tickets.
Wasn’t sure why, but my personal guess is for the commission they will make for booking the ticket through them.
Fare from the travel agent: CNY215 + CNY50 commission = CNY 265
Note that the travel agent only accepts cash. There doesn’t seem to be any money changers nor ATMs nearby, not even in the railway station. I did, however, anticipate this situation and thus set aside CNY300 for the Nanning – Hanoi ticket, and thankful to myself to do that, despite budgeting on food a little while in Beijing. You should too.