If you’re traveling from Hong Kong to Beijing or Shanghai, then why not try out the new high-speed sleeper trains? For one, they’re more convenient and comfortable than flying. So, here’s everything you need to know about the newest sleeper trains between Hong Kong and Mainland China.

Hong Kong has long been connected to the Mainland via railway but it was only in 2018 that the first high speed trains began operating from HK to Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Since then, the HK-China High-Speed Network (HSN) has worked to add more and more destinations to its network.

As of June 15, 2024 passengers can now take a high-speed sleeper train from Hong Kong to Beijing or Shanghai (and return to HK of course). These trains will cut the journey time to 12 hours 34 minutes to Beijing and 11 hours 14 minutes to Shanghai, compared to the regular trains that also run this route.

Why take a sleeper train from Hong Kong to mainland China

It’s never been easier to get from Hong Kong to Beijing or Shanghai. | Photo by via Getty Images.

Previously, the only options to get to the mainland from HK were buses (cheap but slow), ferries (limited destination points), regular speed trains (less comfortable), or flights (expensive and often delayed). With 78 destinations now included in the HSN, it is becoming increasingly more convenient, comfortable, and cheaper to reach numerous locations across China.

In fact, there are already bullet trains running for the HK-Beijing and HK-Shanghai legs. And whilst these are actually several hours faster than the sleeper trains, they only run once a day, during day time hours. Instead, the new sleeper trains depart at night. This allows you to arrive at your destination bright and early, ready to start exploring (or working, if you’re on business).

You can save time before your trip too. Immigration checks take place before you board, and no further checks are required at the border or at arrival (unlike some of the alternative travel methods). We recommend allowing 45 minutes for these checks before you depart, or even more time if you are traveling over a public holiday or festive period.

Note: You still need to be in possession of a valid China visa or travel document no matter how you choose to get to China.

Where and how to buy tickets

Hong Kong West Kowloon Station.
West Kowloon Station. | Photo by iStock.com/estherpoon

Our top recommendation is to buy tickets online ahead of time.

Currently, both the Beijing and Shanghai sleeper trains only depart once each per day, four days a week, from Friday to Monday. Both depart from HK West Kowloon Station, easily accessed via Hong Kong’s MTR network or by bus/taxi. The train to Beijing leaves at 6:24 p.m. and arrives at 6:53 a.m. at Beijingxi (Beijing West Station). Meanwhile, the Shanghai train departs at 7:49 p.m., and arrives at 6:45 a.m. at Shanghai Hongqiao (connected to Hongqiao International Airport).

Tickets come second class (no bed) and sleeper for the HK-Beijing route, with an additional deluxe sleeper class for the HK-Shanghai route. A standard sleeper consists of two bunk beds (passengers can select lower or upper berths), and the deluxe cabin has one bunk bed plus a sofa and wardrobe.

Prices vary depending on class and whether you select an upper or lower berth. Ticket prices currently range from HK$682.00 to HK$2,128.00 for the HK-Shanghai route and HK$937.00 to HK$1,506.00 for the HK-Beijing route.

In addition to booking online, you can buy tickets via the official China Railway ticketing site. Alternatively, there are automatic ticket machines and ticket counters at West Kowloon Station. Designated ticket agents will also sell them.

Pro Tip: Ticket machines at the station randomly assign tickets depending on availability, so if you don’t want to share your bunk with a stranger and want to guarantee being in the same cabin as your travel buddies, opt for booking online or at the ticket counter in person.


  • From March 14, 2024 to December 31, 2025, the following countries can visit China without needing a visa: Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Malaysia, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand, and Poland.
  • Not from one of the countries listed above? Keep in mind that you may need a visa for China even if you don’t need one for Hong Kong. If possible, it is best to arrange your visa in your home country before starting your journey.
  • If you are a resident of HK, you can apply for your visa at the China Visa Application Centre.
  • If you are a permanent resident of HK, you may benefit from China’s newly unveiled policy. Starting from July 10, 2024, non-Chinese permanent residents of Hong Kong and Macau may obtain a five-year travel permit with multiple entries to the mainland for short-term purposes such as investment, visiting relatives, tourism, business, seminars and exchanges.

Frequently asked questions about the Hong Kong sleeper trains

How fast do the sleeper trains travel?

The sleeper trains are classed as a D train in the China railway network, which means they operate slightly slower than some of the other bullet trains with max speeds of 250km per hour.

What services are available onboard the sleeper trains?

There is a dining car available with beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee, and tea on offer, as well as some prepaid meals and snacks. Food is limited though, so we recommend bringing your own meals and snacks. There is complimentary cold/hot water available (bring your own bottle) and a kettle in each of the sleeper cabins.

Seats and cabins also have a power socket and reading light. Currently, WiFi is not available on these trains, so make sure you have some TV shows downloaded or have a good book with you. All cars are air-conditioned and there are western and squat toilets as well as barrier-free facilities.

What to do once the train arrives?

For both stations in Beijing and Shanghai, you will be required to show your passport and tickets to station staff to exit. Then, simply follow signs for either the metro, bus, taxi, or private car areas and enjoy your trip!

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

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