There was a time when Shenzhen was mostly visited by Hong Kongers looking for fake handbags and cheap spa days. Today, HK’s neighbouring city has rapidly grown and now offers a tantilising F&B scene, art districts, amusement parks and jaw dropping architecture, as well as the fake bags and cheap spas. So whether you live in HK or you’re just visiting, hopping over to Shenzhen is worth the trip. It’s pretty easy to get there but there are a few different methods you can choose from. So, we’ve done the research for you and shared all you need to know to visit Shenzhen from HK.

First things first — visas

To assist with the economic growth of Shenzhen and encourage tourist and business travel, the city has been labelled as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and gets its own set of special visa requirements as a result. Visitors can obtain a 5 day single-entry visa upon arrival (at certain entry ports). No preparation is required, you just need to carry a valid passport (with a minimum of 3 months validity and some blank pages) and complete a form upon arrival with the cost of the visa varying depending on nationality.

This visa will only allow you to travel within Shenzhen and the entry ports where it can be obtained are; Huanggang Port, Luohu Port (LoWu), Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport and Shekou Ferry Port. If you’re entering the city from HK via one of the ports that does not support the visa on arrival (VOA) option, you need to apply for a regular China visa before you leave, which will allow you to continue travelling in China should you choose. You can either do this in your home country before you arrive or at several agencies across HK. It should also be noted that each entry port has different opening hours so make sure you check these ahead of time before you travel.

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High speed rail (fastest)

Adult: HK$74.00HK$82.00 Child: HK$37.00HK$41.00 (second class, one way)
14-18 minutes
West Kowloon Station. To: Either Futian or Shenzhenbei

Operating since 2018, the high speed railway offers the speed without racking up the prices. Departing from the HK West Kowloon Railway station to either Futian (14 minutes) or Shenzhenbei (18 minutes), the trains leave HK roughly every 5 minutes and tickets will cost you less than HK$100.00. Tickets can be purchased at the station or in advance on the China railway website. Whilst this option is certainly the fastest, visas on arrival are not available at either Futian or Shenzhenbei station so you must organise your China visa beforehand, which can somewhat take away from the convenience of the speedy train.

MTR (most convenient)

Adult: HK$50.80 Child: HK$25.40 (one way, with Octopus card)
Approx 1 – 1.5 hours
From: downtown HK (e.g Central / Wan Chai). To: Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau

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Probably the most straightforward of all the options (other than a private car), the East Rail Line of the HK MTR will take you directly to either Lo Wu station, where you can enter Shenzhen at the Luohu port or Lok Ma Chau station for the Futian port. Accessing the MTR is easy in HK, just dive into your nearest station and head towards Admiralty (HK island), Hung Hom (Kowloon) or Tai Wai (New Territories) to connect to the East Rail line.

Choosing which station to get off the train just depends where you want to end up in Shenzhen. Luohu is one of the most popular tourist destinations with the huge Luohu Commercial City shopping centre right as you exit immigration, as well as the easy connections to the Shenzhen Metro. Futian port is a better entry place for certain hotels and is also well connected to the metro so just work out where you want to be first before you decide.

Bus (slowest)

Approx HK$44.00HK$201.00 (adult, one way)
Approx 1-4 hours
From: 25 stations across HK, including the HK International Airport and downtown. To: 12 stations in Shenzhen

The bus is potentially one of the cheapest options (depending on where you get on and off it) but it’s also the slowest. The journey can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours and fares also vary depending on the departure point. Ticket prices and bus schedules are regularly updated and can be found on the Trans Island Bus Company website.

Buses begin departing from 6:15am and there are numerous destinations within Shenzhen to choose from including; Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, Window of the World Shenzhen Bay Port and Shenzhenbei. If you’re looking to do your visa on arrival though, you need to get off at either Huanggang Port or Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport. You can also book your trip to and from Shenzhen online from HK$50.00 with more limited departure and arrival points.

Boat (expensive)

HK$136.00HK$448.00 (adult, one way)
1 hour
From: Either HK Airport, or HK Macau Ferry Terminal. To: Shekou Cruise Center or Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport

The boat could be a good option for those getting off a plane in HK and wanting to go straight to Shenzhen or for those who simply prefer travelling by sea. Passengers have the option to board at either HK airport or at the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung wan on HK island, but the ferry from the Macau ferry terminal only goes to the Shekou Cruise Center. Visas on arrival can be processed at either entry port so where you choose depends on where you want to continue to after you arrive.

The sailing time is about an hour and it’s a pretty straight forward journey. With tickets ranging from HK$136.00HK$448.00(depending on ticket class), it is one of the most expensive options so it just depends on your budget.

HK Taxi (expensive)

Approx HK$400.00 (depends on journey duration)
round 1 hour
From: HK International Airport taxi stand. To: HK taxis can only go to the HK/Shenzhen border at either Huanggang or Lok Ma Chau

Hong Kong taxi to shenzhen
Typical Hong Kong taxi cars and buses | Photo by

Cheaper than a private car but still offering a similar level of comfort and convenience, passengers can opt to pick up a taxi from HK airport. Taxis are not permitted to cross the border though so you are limited to which ports you can enter.

Private Car/Transfer (most expensive)

Approx HK$800.00HK$2,000.00 (prices vary per operator)
Around 1 hour
From: Anywhere you want. To: Any of the immigration points

Typically recommended for those on business trips, the private car option is definitely the most expensive but it does mean that you can be picked up from any location you choose and can choose your own schedule, too. Various operators are available with multiple car sizes on offer too depending on the group of your party. This private transfer through Klook is available from HK$958.00 depending on starting point.

See our article on transport options from Hong Kong to Macau for how to get to another popular city neighbouring Hong Kong.

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Filed under: Getting Around | Travel