How to Travel From Hong Kong to Guangzhou by Train, Bus, and Car

Guangzhou East Station Square

Maremagnum / Getty Images

Hong Kong and Guangzhou may only be separated by 111 miles (179 kilometers) and share a main language of Cantonese, but because Hong Kong is a Special Administrative District and Guangzhou is a part of mainland China, traveling between these two cities is slightly more complicated than traveling between two mainland cities.

There are no flights between Hong Kong and Guangzhou, but it is possible to travel between the two cities by train, bus, or car. Tourists may need to obtain a visa to cross into mainland China, if they don't already have one, and be prepared to change their currency if they're carrying any cash because Hong Kong uses the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) and Guangzhou uses the Chinese Yuan (RMB). Note that the estimated travel times below do not account for delays getting through the border.

  Time Cost Best For
Train 50 minutes from $11 Easy border crossing
Bus 2 hours, 30 minutes from $9 Budget travel
Car 2 hours 111 miles (179 kilometers) Flexibility

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Hong Kong to Guangzhou?

If your budget has no wiggle room, the bus is the cheapest way to get between Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Some bus operators that offer this cross-border route include Trans-Island Limousine Service, EE Bus, and China Travel Tours. Tickets usually cost between $9 and $18 with multiple daily departures available.

When you cross the border with the bus, you will have to disembark with your luggage and pass through immigration on foot. After you go through immigration, you won't be getting back on the same bus. Instead, the bus company will provide a new bus on the other side for passengers to board. There are many bus companies and each one has different arrival and departure points in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, so do your research to determine which company offers stops that work best with your travel plans.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Hong Kong to Guangzhou?

The high-speed train that runs between Hong Kong and Guangzhou takes just 50 minutes, but only leaves from Hong Kong West Kowloon Station and arrives in Guangzhou South Station. Tickets typically cost anywhere between $11 and $30. Unless you're staying near the train station, you should anticipate at least another hour of travel via subway or cab to get to the city center in Guangzhou.

Unlike the bus, all immigration procedures will take place in Hong Kong before you board the train. If you are not a Hong Kong ID holder, you’ll need to arrive at least one hour before departure time to account for border formalities. If you have a Hong Kong ID, passing through border control should only take about 20 minutes.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

If you need the flexibility of leaving on your own schedule, you can rent a car and drive, but driving in China can be unpredictable and difficult if you are inexperienced. The drive typically takes about 2 hours but could take longer depending on traffic conditions and delays at the border. Note that in Hong Kong, you'll drive on the left side of the road and when you cross into mainland China, you'll drive on the right. If you really need to take a car, consider hiring a car service or taxi to take you across the border instead. Overall, this is a better deal because you can pay just one price instead of having to worry about the cost of the rental car, tolls, gas, and parking. A driver can also help guide you through the border crossing smoothly.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Guangzhou?

The weather in the southern region of China is subtropical, which means summers are hot and humid and winters can be a bit cold, but it very rarely snows. Spring is the rainiest season, particularly in May and June, which makes the fall the best time to visit Guangzhou. Temperatures are mild and it's a great time to be outdoors and enjoy the fall foliage.

Casual travelers should avoid visiting Guangzhou during the Canton Fair, an international trade event in April and May that brings thousands of sellers and buyers to Guangzhou to do business. Hotels are packed at this time and hotel rates and airfares tend to shoot up in price.

Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Guangzhou?

You need a Chinese visa to visit Guangzhou, but you don't need one to enter Hong Kong, which is technically one of China's Special Administrative Regions. Remember, Hong Kong and China have a formal border, including passport control and customs checks. 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 mainland 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, which will stay valid for 10 years. You can also buy a Chinese visa while you're in Hong Kong, but it's smarter to apply for a visa before you leave home.

What Is There to Do in Guangzhou?

Guangzhou is a major commerce hub that attracts business travelers from all over the world. With a population of more than 11 million people, this is one of the largest cities in China and there is a lot for tourists to see.

Architecture-lovers should pay pilgrimage to the Guangzhou Opera House designed by Zaha Hadid and the Canton Tower, which holds the Guinness World Record for having the highest thrill ride in the world. Although the Sky Drop is over 1,500 feet in the air, the ride only drops you about 100 feet. While in Guangzhou, you should take the opportunity to go out for Dim Sum, which is a part of traditional Cantonese cuisine, or take a night cruise on the Pearl River to see the city lit up at night. For something unique, you may also consider visiting the historic Shamian Island, where you'll find remnants of the city's colonial past.

Was this page helpful?