If you fancy seeing more of the countryside between Nanning and Vietnam, Hua Shan is well worth the slight effort. Set in a beautifully isolated spot where tall karst peaks flank the Zuo River, waterfront cliffs at Hua Shan are daubed with rock art associated with prehistoric local culture. You can only get here by boat, and it’s a placid journey up the Zuo, with buffalo wallowing in the shallows, people fishing from bamboo rafts and tending family plots, and the banks thick with spindly-branched, red-flowering kapok trees. The boat docks by the paintings, where steps lead to viewing platforms to see them close up. Nobody has worked out a definitive interpretation of the 1900 figures, but they include drummers and dancers, dogs and cattle, a dragon-boat race, men with arms bent upwards, a “king” with a sword, and just two women, long-haired and pregnant. Interesting as the paintings are, as with many of the best travels, the journey there is more rewarding than the destination.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Hong Kong

An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Hong Kong

Hong Kong floats between old China and the west; its futuristic harbour has become one of Asia's most famous views but you'll also find pockets of traditiona…

28 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
China travel tips: 8 things you need to know before you go

China travel tips: 8 things you need to know before you go

Even 20 years ago China was not a conventional tourist destination. Despite the allure of its beautiful landscapes and history-filled cities, politics, poverty,…

13 Jan 2017 • Simon Frank insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month