Is it possible to take a high speed train from Hong Kong to China? As of 2020, the answer to that question is yes. Although controversial, the new high speed rail link has cut travel times between mainland China and Hong Kong by more than half. Here’s everything you need to know about taking the new Hong Kong high speed train.
China is home to the largest and fastest growing rail network of any country in the world, and they’re continuing to build at break-neck speed.
In many ways, it’s faster to take a train than to fly between cities in China.
This is true if you’re trying to travel between Beijing and Shanghai and it’s also the case when traveling between Hong Kong and mainland China.
For years, it’s been possible to take a train from Hong Kong’s Hung Hom train station (紅磡) to Guangzhou’s East station (广州东站) and beyond into China, but these trains are of the slower, older variety.
For the high-speed trains, it’s a new process and a new set of train stations. Here are the details you need to know for the China to Hong Kong high speed trains.
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Ticket Purchase | Hong Kong High-Speed Train
As you begin your search for tickets, make note that you’re specifically looking for a train between the Hong Kong West Kowloon station (香港西九龍站) and the Guangzhou Nan station (广州南站).
Tickets for the Guangzhou to Hong Kong high speed train can be purchased one of two ways:
- Buy Tickets Online: There are various ways to purchase Hong Kong high speed train tickets online, but the easiest is to use a travel service like China Highlights. They’ll purchase the tickets on your behalf (for a per ticket fee) and then deliver it to the hotel where you’ll be staying. Click the link or use the search box here to search for “Hong Kong West Kowloon” to “Guangzhou” schedules. The search will show “G” trains, which are all high-speed trains.
- Buy Tickets at the Train Station: Of course, it’s also possible to purchase tickets once you arrive at the train station in Guangzhou, Shenzhen or Hong Kong. I recommend you search online for the train you want to take and be prepared with some backups in case that train is full. You need the passport for each traveler (or a copy) in order to make the purchase in person.
It’s also possible to purchase train tickets directly online, but this method requires an ability to read Chinese characters as well as a Chinese bank account to pay. For more details, read through this tutorial on purchasing China train tickets online.
Tickets can be purchased up to 30 days in advance if done online or 28 days in advance if you purchase at the train station.
On most days, you’re likely to find open seats on the day of departure if you’re pressed for time.
RELATED: Read through the Ultimate China Train Guide for 2020
Pricing & Schedule | Hong Kong High Speed Train
The high-speed trains used for the Hong Kong route are divided into three different classes:
- Second class
- First class
- Business class
Honestly, since the trip is so short it really shouldn’t matter what class of seat you purchase and I would personally recommend buying the second class seats.
First class seats provide more room and the business class seat is like a lounge chair.
Hong Kong – Guangzhou
- 2nd Class – 215 RMB (~US$31)
- 1st Class – 323 RMB (~US$47)
- Business Class – 452 RMB (~US$65)
Hong Kong – Shenzhen
- 2nd Class – 75 RMB (~US$11)
- 1st Class – 120 RMB (~US$17)
- Business Class – 226 RMB (~US$33)
**Note**: Children below 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) do not need a ticket. If your child needs a seat, you can purchase a child ticket (one per adult).
The trip between Hong Kong and Guangzhou takes about an hour, give or take 10 minutes depending on which train you take.
The trip between Hong Kong and Shenzhen on the high-speed train takes only 19 minutes.
Schedules tend to change slightly throughout the year, so I don’t want to mislead you with specific departure times.
Instead, I’ll tell you that the Hong Kong to Guangzhou high-speed train runs about twice an hour between 8am and 10pm. Trains between Hong Kong and Shenzhen are about the same, but they start as early as 7am in the morning.
For specifics, check the Hong Kong high-speed train schedule.
What to Expect | Hong Kong High-Speed Train
As with all of China’s newer high-speed trains, you can expect the Hong Kong to Guangzhou high-speed trains to offer plenty of comfort and a smooth ride.
Here’s a bit of what you can expect when you take this train:
- Luggage: There is space for luggage overhead, but any larger luggage can be placed in the luggage compartment near the door of each train car.
- Power & Wi-Fi: There are two more awesome perks of taking the Hong Kong high-speed train. Not only do all the seats have access to power outlets for charging your phone or computer, the train also has Wi-Fi (although it will be censored, so you’ll need to have a good VPN for China). Work fast…the trip doesn’t last long!
- China Customs: Remember when I told you that this train was a bit controversial? The reason is that if you’re departing from Hong Kong, you end up going through Chinese customs in the West Kowloon train station. Technically, you’re on Chinese soil once you enter the station and are subject to Chinese laws (as opposed to Hong Kong laws).
Remember that while most passports are granted visa on arrival for Hong Kong, you’ll need a visa to enter China.
At this time, the popular China transit visas is only available for 72-hours for Guangzhou, so if you need a longer time or want to travel beyond Guangzhou, you’ll need to apply for a proper China visa.
Conclusion | Hong Kong High Speed Train
If you plan to make the trip between China and Hong Kong during your travels, the new high-speed train is definitely worth a look.
It’s possible to fly, board a China bus or even take the slow train across the border, but none of these options offer the same speed and value as the high-speed train.
Check the schedule, buy your tickets and enjoy the comfort of this newest mode of transportation. I have no doubt you’ll enjoy it.