We loved spending time around Yangshuo, in Southeast China, which is an area of immense natural beauty. It can be described as Halong Bay on-land because of the similarity of the hills that stretch as far as your eye can see with a couple of very scenic rivers running through.
Traveling by train from Vietnam, our initial stop was Nanning, the first major town across the border. This is my first visit to China, apart from a few work trips to Shanghai and one of my first impressions is how smiley, friendly and helpful most people are. Our Chinese is limited to hello and thank you but armed with a phrase book and our best charades skills we have successfully tackled a number of situations and had lots of friendly banter. We have found it easy enough to buy tickets and navigate the trains as long as you allow plenty of time. In fact the stations are organised a bit like airports with separate waiting rooms for different trains and it would be very hard to get on the wrong train.