With Hong Kong being next door neighbours with China, a lot of visitors take a day out of their Hong Kong itinerary to go to China. The two places are separated by a border, and use different currencies - the Hong Kong Dollar and the Chinese Yuan. Visitors will need to apply for a separate visa to enter China, so here are some things to know while you plan your day trip.
It normally takes 4 working days to issue a visa after application, and a single-entry visa costs HKD 620. Applicants will need a valid passport (at least 6 months before expiration), a completed Chinese visa application form A & B, and one coloured passport photo taken in the last 6 months.
For visitors who only intend to go to Shenzhen (the most popular day trip from Hong Kong), a 5-day visa is provided to persons of most countries. Shenzhen is an easy and efficient option for visitors to Hong Kong. The visa is provided on arrival and at a much lower cost than the regular Chinese visa. Nationals of Australia, Canada, Ireland, UK, New Zealand and most EU passport holders are eligible for this visa. The standard price is HKD 215 (depends on nationality) and visitors can only pay in HKD or CNY. Nationals of the US, Saudi Arabia, India, and UAE will have to get a regular Chinese visa.
From the Hong Kong International Airport
HKIA offers direct coaches and ferries that go to various destinations in China. Ferries are only available for transit passengers and not visitors originating from Hong Kong. By coach, there are several tour operators, like the China Travel Tours Transportation that arrange buses to major cities in Guangdong Province, such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Zhuhai, and Zhongshan. More information can be found at the Coach Station in Terminal 2 of HKIA.
By Train from Hung Hom
At Hung Hom Station, there are international trains that go to Beijing and Shanghai. Trains leave on alternate days. Journeys to Beijing take 23 hours and tickets go up to HKD 1200, while journeys to Shanghai take 19 hours and tickets go up to HKD 1000. Tickets to Beijing and Shanghai will need to be booked a couple of days before, at Hung Hom Station or via travel agents, such as China Travel Service (CTS). They have several branches, including one at 1/F, China Travel Building, 77 Queen’s Road Central.
Nearer to Hong Kong, there are frequent trains (hourly) to Guangdong Province - Dongguan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Tickets to Guangdong Province can be bought on the day with a valid Chinese visa at the station or online on the MTR website, for around HKD 200. The journey is around 2 hours.
Get to Hung Hom Station via the MTR. If you are coming from the Airport Express, alight at the Kowloon stop. There are regular shuttles between the Kowloon and Hung Hom station. You cannot stay in the station overnight. ATMs are available as well as small shops and restaurants.
In Beijing, visitors must see the famous Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Summer Palace. In Shanghai, must-dos are seaside promenade The Bund, the Oriental Pearl Tower, Yu Garden, and Nanjing Road for nightlife, shopping and dining. In Shenzhen, popular attractions are the theme parks Window of the World and Splendid China. Also visit the Dafen Oil Painting Village for a dose of culture and art!
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