Heading from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, but not sure how to make the trip? Then you’re in the right place. There are several ways to get to Guangzhou from Hong Kong with pros and cons to each option, so we’ve done the research so you can make the most out of your trip.

Sure, there are more than enough things to do on in Hong Kong for it to be your only destination. But, if you’re keen to explore further, Guangzhou is a good option.

Guangzhou, or the “city of flowers” as it is known, is one of China’s biggest cities and also one of its oldest. It has quickly caught up with its modern neighbors, and the mix of old and new architecture makes it a fascinating place to explore. That, plus the thousands of restaurants, luxury hotels, year-round flowers, endless shops, and the third highest tower in the world, are just some reasons to visit this vast cultural city.

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The best ways to get from Hong Kong to Guangzhou

The train is the fastest and most convenient option in terms of total journey time, train frequency, and the fact you can clear immigration for China before you leave HK. However, it is not the cheapest and train tickets can get booked up quickly, especially over holiday periods. The cheapest way is to go by bus, but this is also the slowest method and you need to change buses at the China border. A private car is definitely the most comfortable option and is fast (depending on traffic), but it’s the second most expensive after taking an airplane so it’s not for those on a budget.

Transport options: Hong Kong to Guangzhou

TransportCost (approx)Travel timeHow to book
TrainHK$243.00HK$516.001-1.5 hoursBook online via Klook
BusFrom HK$110.003-5 hoursBook online via Klook
BoatHK$220.00HK$360.00)1-2.5 hoursIn person
CarHK$1,500.001-2 hoursVarious providers
PlaneHK$3,380.001-1.5 hoursIn person

Pro tip: Leave that heavy suitcase behind when you book convenient luggage storage with Radical Storage.

Train: For speed and convenience

Between HK$243.00HK$516.00 depending on class
Approx 1-1.5 hours
Book online via Klook

The train is definitely one of the fastest methods you can choose with way more departure times available. Departing from HK West Kowloon Station, there are about 30 trains that run every day to Guangzhou South that take just over an hour. These start running at 8:28 a.m. until 10:39 p.m. and cost between HK$243.00 and HK$516.00 depending on class.

To Guangzhou East, there are 10 trains running daily from 8:06 a.m. to 9 p.m. which take around 1.5 hours and cost between HK$243.00 and HK$391.00 depending on ticket class.

One of the most appealing aspects of the train option is that you complete immigration checks for China in Hong Kong before you board, meaning you can walk straight off the train once you arrive. With this in mind, make sure you have all your documents ready and arrive at least 45 minutes before your scheduled train departure time.

Tickets can be purchased online via Klook but it’s also possible to purchase tickets in person at the West Kowloon Station. Trains get very busy during peak season times, especially on public holidays, so make sure to plan ahead if your trip coincides with a holiday date.

Pro tip: Make the most of your time in Guangzhou by booking a private city tour. An English-speaking guide will meet you at the train station and show you all the best parts of the city. Private transport within the city is included, and the itinerary is completely customizable.

Bus: For budget and flexibility

3-5 hours depending on traffic and immigration lines
Around HK$110.00HK$250.00
Book online via Klook

If you’re on a budget, or you prefer a more leisurely option, then the bus is for you. Buses are also one of the most accessible options when it comes to frequency and departure/arrival points. There are about 15 stations across Hong Kong island, Kowloon, and the New Territories you can use.

The bus will stop at an immigration checkpoint first (usually at Shenzhen Bay Port) where you will need to disembark with your luggage to cross the border. This can take up to an hour, depending on how busy things are. Then you get on another bus and continue your journey to Guangzhou. The journey takes a total of 3 to 5 hours depending on traffic. You can book tickets easily online via Klook.

Boat: For surprisingly convenient transfers from HK International Airport

Around HK$200.00HK$360.00
Approx. 1-2.5 hours depending on route

The business centres on both sides of the Pearl River in Guangzhou. | Photo by Getty Images

If you’re landing in Hong Kong and the connecting flight times don’t suit you, you can get a connecting ferry instead. There are a number of airlines that allow you to land in Hong Kong and transfer to Guangzhou without having to go through HK immigration.

Once you land, make your way to Transfer Area E2, present your baggage tags, pick up your ferry ticket, and board your ferry from the SkyPier Terminal. Make sure you arrive at the SkyPier at least 90 minutes before your ferry departure.

Ferries from the airport take around 2.5 hours to get to Guangzhou. They arrive at Pazhou Ferry Terminal, part of Guangzhou’s downtown district and the closest terminal to the city center. There are currently four departures a day. Ferries also depart from the airport to Nansha Ferry Port, which is a shorter ride (around 1 hour), but there’s only one departure per day.

Ferries from Hong Kong International Airport to Guangzhou can only be used by transfer passengers. If you’re looking to travel by boat from HK city, head to the Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal, which is just a short walk from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station. From this terminal, there are three daily sailings to Nansha and two sailings to Pazhou.

For all ferry options, there are typically three classes to choose from and prices range from around HK$220.00HK$360.00 depending on class and which route you choose. If the weather is bad, keep an eye on your ferry information as services will be suspended in poor conditions.

Car: For those who like doing things their way

From HK$1,500.00
Around 1-2 hours depending on traffic

Crossing the frontier. | Photo by Getty Images

Driving is definitely the most expensive option, but it does mean that you can be picked up and dropped off from almost any location. Plus, you can choose your own schedule. Various private operators are available with multiple car sizes on offer, depending on the number of your party. You will still need to head to the immigration checkpoint first, but your driver will escort you through this. Afterwards, you get back into the same car.

Plane: Convenient in certain situations

Approximately HK$1,800.00
1-1.5 hours

There aren’t many direct flights to Guangzhou from Hong Kong. At present, Cathay Pacific is the only airline to fly direct, but there are only two flights per day. So flying may be a convenient method for inbound travelers into HK who can then hop straight on another plane, but for those already here, there are cheaper options with a greater variety of travel times available.

Traveling from Hong Kong to Guangzhou: A word on visas

Hong Kong and Guangzhou may share the same language (Cantonese) and are both home to the same cuisine, but Guangzhou is Mainland China whereas Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region. So, while most passports can enter Hong Kong visa free, you will need a visa to visit Guangzhou.

If you are a resident of Hong Kong, you can apply for your Chinese Visa at the China Visa Application Centre. If you’re flying directly from your home country, you will need to apply before you leave.

If, however, you have confirmed connecting tickets and are only passing through China, you can stay for 24 hours or less without a visa. There is also a 72-hour visa exemption possible if your passport is from an eligible country, you have a valid connecting flight, and you’re arriving in China at either Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, or Chengdu.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.

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Filed under: Getting Around | Travel

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