Taking the Train From Hong Kong to Shanghai

Shanghai's Huangpu River and Bund district
••• Andrew Rowat/Stone/Getty Images

The train from Hong Kong to Shanghai is the easiest way to travel between the two cities, but knowing when to take the train and how to get tickets is imperative to complete your trip with ease. From Hong Kong, all trains run from Hung Hom station in Kowloon and arrive at Shanghai Central Station.

This train travels through Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, and Guangdong provinces with stops at Jinhua West, Zhuzhou, and Guangzhou East, and passengers may get on and off along the way except for those who are pre-cleared in Hong Kong for Shanghai.

Keep in mind that while this may be the easiest way between Hong Kong and Shanghai, it's not the fastest way to travel. Typically, the 1,327-mile journey takes around twenty hours including getting to the station in Hong Kong and catching the right train.

When to Travel by Train from Hong Kong

The timetabling can be a little confusing for service between Hong Kong and Shanghai, but basically, it depends on which month you’re traveling as trains run every second day, either on an odd day or an even day depending on the month.

Even-day months for 2018 include January, April, May, August, November, and December while odd-day months include February, March, June, July, September, and October. Trains from Shanghai to Hong Kong, on the other hand, run on the following day; so in January, trains from Shanghai run on odd days and in February on even days.

All trains depart from Hong Kong at 3:15 p.m. (15:55 in military time) and all Shanghai trains depart at 5:45 p.m. (17:55 military time), but you should arrive at least 45 minutes and up to 90 minutes before departure in order to go through customs and security; boarding closes 15 minutes before departure.

Buying Tickets and Passport Formalities

Ticket prices are for one-way adult tickets. Children, somewhat callously defined as 5 to 9 years old, are around twenty-five percent cheaper and under fives can travel free if they sleep on the same sleeper.

You should be aware that the train is quite popular and can be booked up a few days in advance, especially during peak travel holiday periods such as Chinese New Year.

You will need to buy tickets five days in advance, although this information is subject to frequent changes. Tickets can be bought online, from Hung Hom station itself, Shanghai Station, and also the Hong Kong Ticketing phone line—check the MTR website for more information.

Remember, Hong Kong and China have a formal border, including passport control and customs checks. You will also, most likely, need a visa for China. Passengers in Hong Kong should arrive forty-five minutes before departure for border formalities; in Shanghai, the advised time is ninety minutes.