Before making any plans to get between Hong Kong and mainland China make sure your visas are in order. You need visa to enter Hong Kong and a different visa to enter China.
Once that is figured out, you are left with deciding where you want to go and then decide how you plan to travel. Flights, ferries, buses and trains offer a lot of options for all budgets.
Should you plan to get from Hong Kong to Shenzhen or Guangzou, then taking the train or the ferry is the best option. For further destinations, such as Shanghai and Beijing, your best bet is to fly, if you are in a hurry. Otherwise, the train is a good option but be careful when planning because it doesn’t run on a daily basis.
Flights from Hong Kong (airport code: HKG) to China
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is the most important gateway into mainland China and is hub for Air Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Dragonair and Hong Kong Airlines. Especially if you plan to get to central or northern China, flying is the fastest option.
You can get from Hong Kong to Beijing in about 4 hours (non stop flight). Fare start around US$250 one way.
It’s also fast to get from Hong Kong to Shanghai . The flight time is about 2 ½ h and the single fares start at US$270.
>>read more about Airfare to Hong Kong
Trains from Hong Kong to China
Traveling by train between Hong Kong and China is fast, safe and reliable. The Kowloon-Canton Railway connects Hong Kong with Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzou.
You can get from Hong Kong to Shenzhen in about an hour but the border formalities take another 30-40 min. A single adult ticket is HKD36.50 /US$5.
You can also get from Hong Kong to Guangzou , the further stop on this line. The distance is covered in about 2 hours but you need to add the border formalities to the total travel time. The single adult ticket starts at HKD190 / US$25.
It’s possible to travel by train all the way to Shanghai . There aren’t daily connections and the travel time is about 20 hours. Single adult fares range from HKD508 / US$65 (hard sleeper) to HKD1,039 / US$135 (deluxe soft sleeper). Make sure to book the ticket ahead of time.
You can also get from Hong Kong to Beijing by train. The journey is 24 hours but there aren’t daily departures. The single tickets range from HKD587 / US$75 (hard sleeper) and HKD1191 / US$155) (deluxe soft sleeper)
Buses from Hong Kong to China
Another low cost option for traveling between Hong Kong Guangzhou is by bus, for single fares starting at HKD80 / US$10.
However, there aren’t any long distance buses available. So you cannot get from Hong Kong to Shanghai or Beijing by bus.
Ferries from Hong Kong to China
A fast and comfortable way to get between Hong Kong and China is taking the ferry. They depart from both Kowloon and Hong Kong International Airport and are operated by various companies.
You can get to Shenzhen in about 50 minutes and the single adult fare is HKD105 / US$13.50. There are six ferries per day on this route.
You can also get to Guangzou by ferry. The travel time is 75 min and the single adult fare starts at HKD147 / US$20. The ferry terminal in Guangzou is located further from the city center, but there are buses offering reliable connections.
Driving from Hong Kong to China
Renting a car in Hong Kong and driving to China is not recommended. First of all, you’ll switch from driving on the left hand side of the road (Hong Kong) to driving on the right (China). Then, the traffic signs are more like hints for the locals. So , if you do want to travel by car, you can consider letting someone else driving you.
Photo credits: Hong Kong Airport , Beijing train station , Hong Kong Ferry