Living in or travelling to Hong Kong means that you are only a stone’s throw away from mainland China, which has more than enough of it’s own attraction for visitors. It is relatively easy to cross the border into China, depending on the budget you have, how much time is available and if you want an adventure or not.
Importantly, you must secure your visa before you travel anywhere. Ensure that you have more than six months validity on your passport and that your visa is in order. Crossing into China without the correct paperwork is impossible and can actually land you in a lot of hot water. Obtaining a visa from Hong Kong is a slightly different process, as it’s special administrative status means that it has its own immigration process, customs offices and passport administration.
It is entirely possible if not recommended to drive into China from Hong Kong. The real danger is the use of different sides of the road, as China drives on the opposite side to Hong Kong. The road signs are also indecipherable if you have no grasp of Cantonese or Mandarin. Due to this, many people hire chauffeurs for the crossing. Expect to pay around $400-800HKD per hour, depending on the car and the service. Hiring a car is widely available but is extremely pricy. You may find that you can negotiate a better price, especially considering that you might be hampered by traffic which will see your hourly rate soar.
The train is much more affordable and very reliable. The Kowloon-Canton Railway connects Hong Kong with Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou, with journey times to Guangzhou taking around two hours. Of course, this depends on how busy the immigration offices are, so ensure that you have plenty of time to make the crossing. If you are staying in Kowloon itself, take the train at Hunghom. If you are staying on Hong Kong island or any other part of the zone, take the MRT to Kowloong Tong and follow signs to the station. The cost of a ticket is around $145HKD for the cheapest.
The ferry crossing to mainland China is quite fast and you can catch the ferry from both Kowloon and Hong Kong International Airport. The ferry has quite an extensive network of destinations, and it has many services connecting Hong Kong to Shenzhen and Shenzhen Airport. You can expect to pay around $120-300HKD one way, depending on the class and the destination.
If you are travelling deeper into mainland China then you should consider flying. Hong Kong has connections to over 40 cities in China but you will have to pay $90 extra for travelling internationally. Credit cards are not accepted at the airport so make sure that you have the fee handy, and in local currency. This is obviously the pricier option, but if you manage to secure a seat on one of the budget airlines then you will find that this is the fastest and most convenient way to arrive in mainland China.
Do you have any tips for those crossing the border into China? What’s the easiest way to do it? Comment below with your suggestions!