My Trip To Nanning, China
Don's Life In Thailand
Since 2003, I have had a pen pal from Nanning, China (Ai Ling (Angelina).  In 2005 she married an Englishman while in  
England. She still lives in England with her daughter Ting Ting (Katrina).  Ting is attending the University in England.  She told
me her that her cousin, who lives in Nanning, China was getting married.  Ai Ling and Ting Ting were going to China for the
wedding.  She invited me to the wedding.  

   Since I had wanted to visit China, I thought this would be a great opportunity to go, plus I would have a tour guide that     
   speaks English.  Ai Ling has a slight British accent, but Ting has assimilated into the culture and has a more oblivious
   accent.  I know this because we spoke on Skype before leaving for China.

   Ai Ling left a week early than her daughter and myself so she could help with the wedding arrangements.  I was suppose to
   meet Ting Ting in Guangzhou.  Then, we would be on the same plane going to Nanning so her mother would only have to
   make 1 trip to the Airport to pick us up.

   It turned out to be very sad.  Because of the volcano erupting in Iceland, Ting Ting was not able to leave England.  

   I started my trip on April 20, at 8:25am from Chiang Mai Airport (CM).  I had to fly to Bangkok because there are no flights
   from CM to China.

   Upon arrival in Bangkok I checked in at China Southern Airlines.  Their website doesn't list any flights direct from Bangkok
   to Nanning,  however, after checking in, the lady told me that if I had arrived 10 minutes earlier, I could have flown direct to
   Nanning.  Just my luck.

   Arrived in Guangzhou, changed planes and arrived in Nanning at 17:50.

I proceeded to the lobby where Ai Ling and her friends were waiting to pick me up.  I recognized her immediately  from her

It's a long ride from the Airport to the City   I was told that most Airports in China are located away from the city.  They took me
to my Hotel to check in.

You won't believe this.  I stayed at the "Hawaii International Hotel".  It was about a 5 minute walk to where Ai Ling was
staying with her brother.  Very nice hotel.  It also came with 2 breakfast coupons every day.  Ai Ling would come over every
morning and we would have breakfast together.  Since her family kept her up very late every night talking, we always had a late

Nanning is the cleanest and greenest city I have ever seen.  It is a very modern city.  This city has more palm trees than
Hawaii.  They have employees in orange and yellow uniforms walking around the city, day and night, to pick up trash off the
streets.  Look at any street, side street, low income area, etc and you will not see any trash on the streets.  None.  There is
also no trash on the river banks.

This is from Wikipedia

Because of its subtropical climate, Nanning is famous throughout China, and has been dubbed “the Green City”, and rightfully
so. Nanning wears this label with pride, and has won several awards for its eco-friendly practices, including “China Ten Top
Cities for Eco-environmental Construction”, “Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment”, as
well as the original “Award for Excellent Living Environment in China”.  “Nanning” actually translates to “peaceful south”.
Ai Ling's family and friends were fantastic.  They treated me like family.  They took me to places that I probably never would
have seen as a tourist.  Unfortunately, only 2 of them could speak English (Ai Ling and her niece Jun).  Oh, and Jun's boyfriend
was learning English.  We were able to communicate ok.

The Wedding reception was held at the Nanning Hotel.  It was a big affair with about 500 guests.  

I would have been lost on my own.  All the signs are in Chinese Script.  The only signs in English were KFC, McDonald's and
Walmart.  You may find this hard to believe, but there are no 7-11's there.  

When I was on my own and needed a taxi, I would hail the taxi, then call Ai Ling on my cell phone to give instructions to the
driver.  Taxis in Nanning cost RMB 7 for the first 3km, with a surcharge of RMB 1.2 for each additional kilometer.  In addition to
this add a flat charge of 1 RMB for gas charge.

Chinese like to eat.  I have been to many 10-12 course Chinese dinner over the years, but this is the first time I've been to one
almost every day.  My last day in Nanning was a 15 course dinner.  I only had one complaint.  Usually there was Duck and
Boiled Chicken (both of which I like).  But it was mostly bone, fat and skin.  I kept asking Ai Ling "where's the meat"?

Freedom Pass - After a 3 hour ride from Nanning we arrived in Freedom Pass Tower which was originally built during the Han
Dynasty.  It sits on the border between China and Vietnam.  This is the site of previous bloody battles between China and
vietnam.  Once inside we visited the bunkers, cannons and museum.  To read the history of the tower enlarge and read the
picture below.

Hot Springs---Gentle Uptown Hot Springs (Jiahecheng)-

This place is huge. I would highly recommend this as a place to visit. The hot springs named Jiahecheng was located on the
outskirts of the city,  They have excellent  facilities, nice environment, professional staff, reasonable entrance ticket prices,  ,
They give you a key for a private locker for storing your clothing and belongings like wallet, mobile phone and camera. Plenty
of showers and hair driers were available. After that you exit the locker room and enter the water world.

There are several spots for hot springs, like several theme parks (Chinese style, Japanese style, Finish style, Jordan style, and
Caribbean style).  There is also a Fish Therapy Pool (See below).  They also have a sauna room and a steam room.  You
could easily spend the entire day here.  They also have a nice restaurant (it's a little expensive though).

I didn't take my camera inside so I got these pictures from their brochure and their website.

Fish Therapy -

My favorite pool at the hot springs was the Fish Therapy.  This pool is about 30 ft x 30 ft.  You immerse your whole body into
the water then the fish start nibbling you.  I keep thinking "It's a good thing I have a bathing suit on"  More than 50,000 kissing
fishes have been put into the hot spring pool at the Hot Springs These so called kissing fishes is a kind of small fish which can
live in hot spring. They eat the dead skin of human beings and are believed to be capable of healing certain skin diseases.
For those interested, here are population statistics for Nanning

Nanning Population

The following data is valid at the end of 2008.

Current Population of Nanning         6.84 Million (2007)  
Permanent Residents                        
6.86 Million (2005)               
Non-permanent Residents                0.25 Million (2003)                
Population Density                             
648 per square kilometer

Population growth rate                      5.25‰ (2005)
Birth rate                                               10.5‰(2005)
Death rate                                             2.74‰ (2005)
Population by sex
Female                                                  47.74% (2007)
Male                                                      52.26% (2007)
Sex ratio                                               109.46 (Male to female) (2007)
Life expectancy at birth
Total population                                    72.95 years (2006)
Han Chinese                                         95.33% (2005)
Ethnic groups                                        4.67% (2005)
City of Nanning
Nanning Airport
Hawaii Int'l Hotel
Angelina (Ai Ling)
Katrina (Ting Ting)
Click Pictures To Enlarge
Boiled Chicken
Roast Duck
Click Picture To Enlarge
Nanning Hotel
12 Course Dinner
Bride/Jun (Glasses)
Reception Hall
Me at Reception
Me Presenting Envelope to
Bride and Groom
I'm standing in China  
That's Vietnam behind
History of Tower
To read inscription,
click picture to enlarge,
then click again to
enlarge further to read
One of the cannons at
Freedom Pass
Click Pictures To Enlarge
Click Pictures To Enlarge
Click Pictures To Enlarge
Click Pictures To Enlarge