World Borders: How to get from Hong Kong to China (Hung Hom to Guangzhou Express Train)

Hong Kong to China Hung Hom Guangzhou train

World Borders: How to get from Hong Kong to China on the Hung Hom to Guangzhou route.

In my ongoing series of World Borders, I give you the ins and outs of crossing borders around the world. Having spent 2 years living in Hong Kong and having been to China over 10 times, I know a bit about the different borders that exist between these two countries or two parts of the same country (if that’s what you believe). Today I look at the Hung Hom to Guangzhou route. This is your fastest and easiest way to get from Hong Kong to the mammoth city of Guangzhou in the Guangdong Province of China. It’s a train border without a border checkpoint on the actual train and without any stop in between – otherwise known as an “express train”. If you read my Kwun Tong to Huanggang post, you’ll find the Hung Hom to Guangzhou route severely more lax in terms of passport checks, but ultimately faster.

Hung Hom waiting room train to china

The waiting room in Hung Hom for the train to Guangzhou, CHINA.

How to book a ticket from Hung Hom to Guangzhou

Turn up at Hung Hom MTR Station in Kowloon in Hong Kong and head to the mainland trains terminal. On the way to the entrance there are ticket desks. You don’t normally have to book too far in advance as this is a busy border so trains run regularly. There are a number of agencies near the entrance selling tickets. We used the China Travel Service and bought them about an hour before boarding. This is a direct train from Hung Hom in Kowloon, Hong Kong to Guangzhou East station in Guangzhou, China.

Hung Hom station tickets to china

The China Travel Service – one of the ticket places in Hung Hom station to buy tickets for the train to China.

How much does the Hung Hom to Guangzhou train ticket cost?

OK this will vary depending on class, time of day, when you book etc. Our tickets were 190 Hong Kong Dollars and when we went in January 2013 this was the standard price. But you can get them from as cheap as 145 Hong Kong Dollars if you don’t go all the way to Guangzhou.

train tickets hung hom to guangzhou

Train ticket prices from Hung Hom to Guangzhou East vary.

I was happy enough with the price. I was heading with my girlfriend to go backpacking round the city of Guangzhou, basically because it’s not really a city to go backpacking in!

getting from Hong Kong to Guangzhou

My ticket for the fast train from Hung Hom to Guangzhou East – 190 Hong Kong Dollars.

You should pay for your train ticket in cash by the way – credit card may be an option but it’s inconvenient. Trust me. You can also buy a return train, we didn’t as we decided to come back a different way.

Food Street sign Guangzhou China backpacking

At the entrance to Food Street while backpacking in Guangzhou, China.

What Visas do you need to get from Hong Kong to China?

From a British and Irish perspective you will need a valid China Visa. On exiting Hong Kong at Hung Hom your passport will be stamped, but oddly they never checked if I had a valid visa for China. I currently have a multiple entry visa for China anyway but they didn’t check in Hong Kong. Once you get your Hong Kong entry stamp you board the train and take you seats which are written on the ticket. For details on getting a Chinese Visa check this link.

valid visa for china from hong kong

You will need a valid visa for China to do this route! Plenty of details on that on other posts on here.

What currency do you need to get from Hong Kong to China?

Hong Kong Dollars are not acceptable in China – you need Chinese Yuan (RMB) so get them changed in Hong Kong – there are countless money change places in Hong Kong. Well you can do it in Guangzhou as well, but for all my trips to China we get our money in Hong Kong first. It’s just easier and the better way to do it. People in mainland China don’t particularly want Hong Kong Dollars anyway.

Chinese RMB for Hung Hom to Guangzhou

Make sure you get your Chinese RMB/Yuan in advance – Hong Kong Dollars are hard to spend in Guangzhou. You’re better off getting your money changed in Hong Kong.

What is the train from Hung Hom to Guangzhou East like?

It’s all you would expect to be honest. It’s comfortable, spacious, fast, efficient and mostly clean. Your ticket price also includes a “free” bottle of water (not much consolation for the price but at least it’s something) and you can buy drinks and snacks on board.

Getting on the Hung Hom to Guangzhou train

Boarding the Hung Hom to Guangzhou train. Another of my world borders on Don’t Stop Living.

Does the train stop on the China border?

This is the strange thing for me – no it doesn’t. The train we got was an express – a direct train straight from Hung Hom to Guangzhou East. What this means is you pass the border fast and quick without even a stop in Shenzhen. You’re suddenly in China.

Hong Kong to China train landscape views

A glimpse of China from the Hung Hom to Guangzhou East express train – it flies past the border without stopping!

The most interesting thing about this is once you get out at Guangzhou, you will have been in China for longer than an hour without having a visa or passport stamp. In fact you could in theory get on the train without a visa – they didn’t check in Hung Hom. Enjoy a trip through Chinese countryside then head back to Hong Kong! You really could do that, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

How long does it take to get an express train from Hung Hom to Guangzhou?

OK this train doesn’t stop on the way – that’s the beauty of it – it’s an express train. Here’s a timeline overview of our journey from Hung Hom to Guangzhou East by train:

7:15 am – Bought the tickets in Hung Hom station, Hong Kong.

7:45 am – Through to immigration and the waiting lounge before boarding.

Jonny Blair and Panny Yu Hung Hom to Guangzhou train

Travelling Northern Irishman and Travelling Hong Kong girl on the Hung Hom to Guangzhou express train.

8:05 am – Boarded the train in Hung Hom and took our seats (allocated on the ticket).

Hung Hom to China border by train to Guangzhou

The interior of the Hung Hom to Guangzhou train which takes you across the Hong Kong to China border.

8:15 am – The train left Hung Hom station in Hong Kong

8:45 am (or thereabouts) – The train crosses the bridge at Lo Wu and we have now left Hong Kong and are in China. It was that fast and that simple.

10:25 am – We arrive at Guangzhou East, alight the train and proceed to immigration.

world borders arrival in Guangzhou China from Hung Hom

Arrival in Guangzhou East train station in Guangzhou, China.

10:40 am – We are through immigration and now in Guangzhou, China. I had actually passed through Guangzhou a few times before, but this was my first time to see it. I loved backpacking my way round the city!

Backpacking in Guangzhou China

Admiring the Guangzhou skyline from the riverside.

What do you do once you get to Guangzhou East?

Decide what you are doing. If you are going straight to your hostel then check your bearings and head their first. The Guangzhou Metro System is cheap, fast, efficient and easy to use. They even have English translations.

Metro system in Guangzhou China

Once you get to Guangzhou the metro system is easy to navigate round.

If you want to know how to get from Hong Kong to China via Hung Hum to Guangzhou, I hope this post helps you out. Check out my previous post on things to do in Guangzhou. Happy travels, safe border crossings and Don’t Stop Living!

Videos on how to get from Hong Kong to China via Guangzhou:

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9 thoughts on “World Borders: How to get from Hong Kong to China (Hung Hom to Guangzhou Express Train)

  • As a regular traveller between Hong Kong and Guangzhou, I find that using the MTR, crossing at Lo Wu and then catching the Shenzen Guangzhou train to be both faster, more flexible and cheaper. No need for early check in for the Shenzen train.

  • Hi Wai, thanks for the comment. Yes, this is just one border, there are many others to cross of course and I have also done the Shenzhen numerous borders down the years, this post merely tells my readers about the fast and easy train from the Kong to Guangzhou. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Jonny!
    I have a question about travelling between Hong Kong and Guangzhou. If it’s possible to get 24h visa in Hung Hom station? I’m going to leave China before 24h from entry, but I’m planning to get there by train, so it’s little confusing. Thank you for answer!

  • Hi ANita, thanks for the comment. I must be honest – I always had a visa for China in advance and it is around 4 years since I last did this route. But definitely if you have a visa in advance, it is an easy crossing. It was a train and is a nice journey. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Does One Need to re apply For Hong Kong Visa while returning from Guangzhou or the Old Visa is Valid .

  • Hi Kalpesh, it was years ago since I was there but yes – you will either need a new visa or come from a country which is exempt from a visa to Hong Kong – UK and Ireland are two such passports which don’t require a visa for Hong Kong. Safe travels, Jonny

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