The easiest way to travel between Guangzhou and Shenzhen is by train, although the bus can be a cheaper option.
Where are Guangzhou and Shenzhen
Guangzhou and Shenzhen are both in Guangdong Province, China. Guangzhou is the capital of the province and one of China’s biggest cities – the host of the world famous Canton Fair – while Shenzhen is a major city in its own right just across the border from Hong Kong. Guangzhou and Shenzhen are about 100km apart.
Train between Guangzhou and Shenzhen
The easiest option and the most popular is the regular train service between Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Train services between Guangzhou and Shenzhen run as often as every 10mins during peak times and run from around 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. The idea is that the service should be as frequent as buses.
With cutting edge, bullet like trains and just a handful of stops between the two cities, journey time is an hour or less. A handful of these trains will also run further south and terminate in Hong Kong.
Where can I buy tickets?
Tickets can be bought at the station prior to departure, either from the ticket booths or the automatic ticket machines. The price of a standard ticket is 80RMB.
Given the frequency of the service, there is no need to purchase tickets in advance although be aware that there can be long queues for the tickets at rush hour; 7-9am and 3-7pm.
What are the trains like?
The actual trains themselves are some of the best in China. Modern, fast and clean, you’ll find open plan carriages, air conditioning, and comfy seats. Air conditioning comes as standard and there is usually a small snack trolley being wheeled around.
Is train travel in China safe?
Absolutely. Trains are as modern and well maintained as in the US and Europe.
Passports and visas
Not something you’d usually consider for an intercity, same country, same state trip, but things do work differently in China. You should – by law – already be carrying your passport with you wherever you go but you will certainly need it if you are traveling by train; sometimes to buy tickets, sometimes to gain access to platforms, sometimes both, usually neither. Certainly, have it with you.
Remember, the five days, Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Visa is not good for Guangzhou. If you have a SEZ visa and want to travel to Guangzhou, you will need to get a full Chinese tourist visa and you cannot get this on arrival at the station.
Buses between Guangzhou and Shenzhen
With the frequency of the trains between the two cities, there isn’t a great demand for bus travel. Those that do exist are often direct routes between certain neighborhoods. What the bus does offer is cheaper fares, with tickets from around 60RMB or less and a travel time of around 2 plus hours. It can be a good way to see a bit of the local countryside, although most of the journey involves being whisked up the freeway.
If you do fancy the bus, there are a couple of companies running services from the front of Lo Wu train station that runs regular minibus services.
What about Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is on the same track as Shenzhen and Guangzhou and around a dozen, trains travel between Guangzhou and Hong Kong every day. There are also coaches from Hong Kong Airport to Guangzhou and bonded ferries (where you don’t need to pass Hong Kong passport control) to Guangzhou and Guangzhou Airport.
The connection with Shenzhen is more frequent and the two cities MTR, subway systems connect at the Lo Wu border crossing, meaning you can effectively travel between the two on the metro. Most visitors to Hong Kong don’t require a Hong Kong visa.
What about Macau?
There is currently no train connection between Macau and Guangzhou or Shenzhen. The best way to travel between Macau and Shenzhen is via ferry to Hong Kong and then MTR or via direct ferry. For travel between Macau and Guangzhou, there are a number of direct ferries.