The train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou is the easiest way to travel between the two Chinese cities. It's important to research information on timetables, prices, and train stations in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Before you travel to Guangzhou, you may want to brush up on the visa requirements, the language, and other key tips. For example, you need a Chinese visa to visit Guangzhou, but you don't need one to enter Hong Kong. And people in both Guangzhou and Hong Kong speak Cantonese, not Mandarin.
Chinese Train Stations
In Hong Kong, all trains run from Hung Hom station in Kowloon and arrive at Guangzhou East station in Guangzhou. There is no direct connection between Hong Kong and the Canton Fair in Guangzhou but from the station, there are shuttle buses. The Canton Fair—which runs in the spring (April) and fall (October)—is also one of the busiest trade fairs of the year, so don't be surprised if hotel rooms get sold out quickly or are extremely expensive.
There are 12 trains daily between the two cities. It takes roughly three-and-a-half hours to travel from Hung Hom Station to Guangzhou Station East, so don't forget to bring a book to keep yourself occupied during the train ride. Make sure to check the timetable for up-to-date travel times before you go. Foreign passengers in Hung Hom and Guangzhou are advised to arrive 45 minutes before departure.
Prices and Tickets
Tickets can be bought up to 20 minutes before departure in Hong Kong, but must be bought six hours before departure in Guangzhou. Please note that you’ll need to allow time for border formalities, as the 20 minutes mentioned above is for Hong Kong ID holders who do not need to be checked by border control.
Tickets can be bought either at the station or through the tele-ticketing hotline on (852) 2947 7888. Tickets bought on the hotline can be collected at the station. The MTR website has more information if needed.
Remember, Hong Kong and China have a formal border, including passport control and customs checks. You will also need a Chinese visa because Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region while China is considered the mainland. Luckily, since the city is a major business hub and tourism area, Hong Kong's visa application and requirements are relaxed. In fact, citizens of the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand don’t need a visa to enter Hong Kong for stays of up to 90 days. Meanwhile, you do need to get a visa to enter China.
Make sure to check with the Chinese embassy or the nearest consulate to confirm you have all the necessary documents to apply for a tourist visa. You can also buy a Chinese visa while you're in Hong Kong, but it's definitely smarter to apply for a visa before you leave on your trip to Asia.