You may wish to go white water rafting, visit one of the water parks or spend your time on the Gold Beach (金滩). The three islands of Wanwei, Wutou and Shanxin are home to the Jing people, Chinese citizens of Vietnamese ethnicity.
Get in edit
By train edit
Take a high speed train (up to 208km/h) to Fangchenggangbei and bus or rental car from there to Dongxing. Train has a weight limit to luggage: 20kg for each ticket, but that rule doesn't seem to be enforced. If you have more luggage you may decide to opt for the first class which has a bit more space for them. Children under 140(?) cm are free to travel but without a seat. Instead of getting three tickets from second class we opted for two in first class, which worked well for us but you should decide what works best for you.
By bus edit
Besides Fangchenggangbei, buses come from Nanning, Beihai and from Guangzhou as well. From Guangzhou it is best to take night bus, but take care of your belongings. Also night bus beds are about 180 cm, so they are very tiny for taller people.
From Vietnam edit
- You may wish to test if crossing border works the same way from Vietnam to China as it does on the other direction. See instructions from Mong Cai. Note that the border guards at Mong Cai are sticklers for the rules: if, when you try to exit Vietnam, they find something wrong with your entry stamp or visa, they well may send you back to the port of entry where you originally entered the country. Don't expect anyone to understand English, so you should have a phone or piece of paper telling your destination in Chinese.
- See also instructions on Ha Long Bay pages as well.
Dongxing is not much frequented by foreigners, and English is not widespread. The dialect spoken in Dongxing is a form of Cantonese, but most non-elderly locals are also able to speak Mandarin. Vietnamese is spoken by the Jing people living on the islands of Wanwei, Wutou and Shanxin.
- Border stones (Near seashore after the river has widened up as sea. Look for an over 8 meter bluish statue and a military posting). Border stones were set up after French - China skirmishes were ended with a peace treaty to mark the Southern border of China. On the stone #1 there are a few plates in English as well with more details about it. Minor curiosity point is that China claims there to have over 18,000 km seashore which would be halfway around the world. This statement is identical in Chinese as well. Bluish statue closeby represents harmony of sea and mountains in making China.
- Gold Beach (also Wanwei Beach and Jing Island) (a few km East from town). This is a beach well worth visiting, but do not expect clear blue water, as the quartz sand makes the water appear quite murky, even though it is considered to be safe for swimming. Waves are often nice sized, but shells are quite abundant, so you may need footgear to protect your feet if you try to stand on waves for a longer period. Beach is also popular after sun has set, but you should stay close to crowd in order to avoid mosquitoes. Free.
- Water parks (a few km North from town). There are two water parks: "old" and "new".
- Nature park (close to Fangchenggangbei). Highlight of this AAAA class nature park is white water rafting with plastic boats. Opinions on it have been divided to those that have enjoyed it and to those who thought it had been too dangerous, so definitely not suitable for smaller children.
- Golf courses (Mong Cai). There are two golf courses in Dongxing area: one in Mong Cai and another one in Fangchenggangbei.
- Cinema (New city parts). There are about nine movies rolling out in cinemas, but none of them are spoken or subtitled in English (2016/05).
- The street and the river embankment around the border crossing is lined with stores and stalls selling "Vietnamese specialties" (越南特产) - tropical fruit, cashew nuts, various banana-, sesame-, coconut-, durian- etc flavored candies and cookies, coffee, handicraft etc. Besides the better known durian and jackfruit, you can see here such exotic fruit as lucuma (鸡蛋果 jidanguo) and an unusual large purple fig species known as 牛奶果 niunaiguo.
- If you don't mind haggling, one cheap "shopping mall/street" is above the wet market in Dongxing center. They sell mainly clothes for women in there.
- Downtown Dongxing has a nice disco place with a class structure of these modern ages: To get a table you need to order a minimum quantity of drinks. Standing seats don't have any minimal fees and probably sponsor a drink or two to the female clientele. Western guests often get a free upgrade on this social hierarchy. If you would happen to be a black tourist, please let us know how they react to that :).
- You can typically get the best prices in CTrip when you travel in China.