There are multiple ways of traveling between Hong Kong and Shenzhen which include the MTR, train, high-speed train, ferry, and bus. With the two regions being close together, many people move daily between the two making it a popular route, and fortunately, it’s not too difficult, so here we will provide a guide to the all options.
A rough map showing ferry routes, Shekou Port, Shenzhen Bay Port, Futian and Luohu Border crossings. The blue line being the new GZ-SZ-HK Express Rail Link. The alternating black/white line being the MTR (HK) and on the Shenzhen side the Metro, the red line being the ferry services and a green line for the airport ferry connection.
First: You’ll need a visa. There are many options for getting a China Visa in Hong Kong before heading over to Shenzhen. Many travel agents will assist with getting a visa, such as CTS. There is a short-term ‘Shenzhen Visa’ which allows you to visit Shenzhen for 5 days, which is available at the Luohu border, to some nationalities. Visa laws are relatively fluid and changing often, and also vary based on nationality.
GZ-SZ-HK Express Rail Link | MTR East Rail Line | Luohu Border (via East Rail Line) | Futian Border (via East Rail Line) | Futian Huanggang (via Cross-border bus) | Shenzhen Bay Port Nanshan (via Cross-border bus/public bus/taxi) | Shekou Ferry | HK Airport to Shenzhen
Hong Kong to Shenzhen via Train
This is the most popular way to connect between the two cities. It’s affordable and relatively straightforward (from Kowloon area at least), although do note that the metro/train systems on either side of the border get really busy around peak transit times being the morning and afternoon rush hours, and on public holidays/special events.
There are now two train options being the new GZ-SZ-HK Express Rail Link (XRL) which departs from Futian Station/Shenzhen North Station and the East Rail Line which is boarded after crossing the border into Hong Kong at Futian or Luohu.
Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL)
This new fast train service operates between Guangmingcheng, Shenzhen North Station, Futian Station, and Hong Kong West Kowloon Station. Futian Station is located in the Futian CBD area and can be reached easily via metro with easy walkable transfers to the XRL line. More info on Futian Station here.
Train services are frequent with trains departing at no more than 15 min intervals between 7:38 and 22:36 from Futian Station. There is no need to book a ticket in advance. Second class, first class, premium, and business class seating is on offer, the indicative fares listed below are for second class.
XRL Stations in Shenzhen to Hong Kong West Kowloon Station
|Guangmingcheng||光明城||no metro connection||Bao’an, Shenzhen||
HKD $ 109.0
RMB ¥ 95.0
|Shenzhen North||深圳北||SZ Metro line 4 and 5||Longhua, Shenzhen||
HKD $ 78.0
RMB ¥ 68.0
|Futian||福田||SZ Metro line 2, 3, and 11||Futian, Shenzhen||
HKD $ 86.0
RMB ¥ 75.0
For this train service, border formalities are all handled on the Hong Kong side at West Kowloon Station.
The East Rail Line HK to Shenzhen – Lo Wu/Luohu Border and Lok Ma Chau/Futian Border
The East Rail Line connects from Hong Kong Kowloon to the Shenzhen border at Luohu and Futian.
If you are in Central, or Tsim Sha Tsui, you’ll want to get to Hung Hom station and take the East Rail Line as laid out further below. If you are in Mong Kok you can get onto the East Rail Line at Mong Kok East Station or Kowloon Tong depending on which is closer.
For an example, Hung Hom to Lo Wu (Luohu border) costs 40HKD for a standard ticket and 80HKD for first class, taking around 45 mins.
On the HK side, the East Rail Line takes you to either Lo Wu (Shenzhen Luohu Border) or Lok Ma Chau (Shenzhen Futian Border). When the train stops at Sheung Shui Station the line splits and heads to either Luohu or Futian. While stopped at Sheung Shui station they will announce which station that particular train is going to. If the train is going to Lo Wu (Luohu on the Shenzhen side) and you’re going to Futian District of Shenzhen, get off and wait for the train (on the same line) that heads to Lok Ma Chau (Futian Border), otherwise stay on that train and continue on to Lo Wu and cross the border into Luohu Shenzhen.
Lo Wu/Luohu Border
The border crossing from Lo Wu Hong Kong into Luohu Shenzhen is straightforward, it’s more or less two buildings on either side of the border connected via an enclosed bridge, for all purposes it feels like the same building.
After departing the train simply follow the signs, have a completed departure card and your passport ready to show the Hong Kong border officer as you officially leave HK, then walk more or less straight ahead for a few minutes to reach the China mainland border officers. Show your completed arrival card and passport.
Passing that point you’ll walk straight ahead and be in Luohu, where, if you are outside at ground level, you’ll see a large public square to one side of which will be Shenzhen Railway Station and to the other side Luohu Commercial City (the railway station is the longer of the two buildings) and two levels beneath you will be the Metro (aka subway). To catch a taxi, if you are at ground level, go down one level and kind of underneath the Luohu Commercial building you’ll find a large taxi rank.
Lok Ma Chau/Futian Border
If you are going to Futian take the East Rail Line to Lok Ma Chau, and follow the signs through the Hong Kong border checkpoint, go through China Customs into mainland China and you’ll be in Futian Port. In the same building is Futian Kou An Metro Station, this metro station is part of line 4 which connects to line 1. Refer to the picture below and the Shenzhen Metro map.
Sometimes Lok Ma Chau border point is not as busy as Luohu, but both border crossings get busy during weekends, holidays and during the morning and afternoon ‘rush hours’ of people heading home/to work.
For planning your train/metro needs in HK visit http://www.mtr.com.hk/jplanner/eng/planner_index.php
Futian Huanggang Port
Huanggang Port, located in Futian, offers the city’s only 24-hour border crossing. There are many cross-border bus routes heading between Huanggang and areas in HK inc. Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, Wan Chai, Tsuen Wan, Kam Sheung Road, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Hong Kong International Airport.
Ferry From Hong Kong Central to Shenzhen
The ferry service departs Hong Kong from the HK Macau Ferry Terminal/Pier (located at Sheung Wan) and docks at Shekou Prince Bay Port (aka Shekou Cruise Center/new Shekou Ferry Terminal).
The ferry between Shekou and Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal (in Central) leaves at regular intervals and is a fairly comfortable ride taking around 1 hour.
The Shekou Cruise Center & Ferry Terminal is a very new building capable of handling not only ferry services but also cruise ships. Moving through customs is normally quite quick when compared to other HK/SZ borders which is a definite advantage.
There is a free shuttle bus which connects the new ferry terminal and the Shekou Port Metro Station (which is on line 2). This line will connect you to line 1 of the metro at the Window of the World Station, from there you can get to just about anywhere, see the Shenzhen Metro map which has details on all the lines and stations.
Ferry Timetables for CKS (Chu Kong Passenger Service) from Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal to Shekou Cruise Port
9.00 (10.00 on weekends), 11.30, 13.15, 14.20, 15.30, 17, 18.00, 19.30 and 21.30 (only on weekends) | Ticket Coast 140 HKD.
Timetable updates and ticket purchase can be made via CKS http://www.cksp.com.hk.
See more info on getting to and from the ferry terminal and timetables on our Shekou Cruise Center page.
Note: if you are arriving or departing via flight via HKIA, you can also take a ferry between Hong Kong Skypier and Fuyong Ferry Terminal at Shenzhen Boan International Airport.
Shenzhen Bay Port
Also known as Shenzhen Wan Kou An (深圳湾口岸), this border crossing is convenient if you are in, or going to, Nanshan District/Bao’an/Shekou. If you time the crossing right, it’s pretty quick and painless too, like everything in China though, it gets busy around 8 am and 5 pm. It’s especially busy on holidays, perhaps even best to be avoided.
Heading in the SZ to HK direction – Catch a bus or taxi to Shenzhen Wan (Shenzhen Bay Port). Public buses heading to the port are listed further below, and a taxi from Nanshan or Shekou will cost between 20 and 30 RMB. After you cross through mainland customs, and then HK customs, you can catch public buses, shuttle services, or a taxi, to multiple destinations in HK.
For Cross-border Buses
For the privately operated shuttle buses, which are comfortable A/C 40 seater buses, operated by numerous companies inc. Trans Island and CTS, you buy the ticket BEFORE you enter the border building on the Shenzhen side. The ticket booth is right at the entry gate, you cannot miss it. Here are the bus timetable and destinations in HK which include Causeway Bay, HK Macau Ferry Terminal, Tseun Wan, Mong Kok, Teun Mun, Ocean Park, Disneyland, and Tung Chung via Trans Island. Once you have the ticket, then proceed through China Customs, then HK Customs and once you walk out the building head right with your ticket in hand.
The journey takes around an hour depending on destination and tickets start at 40 HKD.
For Public Buses
This is perhaps the cheapest transport option for crossing the SZ-HK border.
As soon as you walk out of the building, head left, there are signs pointing to the public bus pick up/departure area. KMB, Newbus and New Lantao Bus all have services running from this port. Hong Kong buses are clean, mostly new and in all my travels they are English friendly.
From Shenzhen Wan to Kowloon/Central: Catch the B2P bus (timetable) and get off at the first stop being Tin Shui Wai Station (about 15-20 mins – 8.50HKD) walk up a small flight of stairs and across the pedestrian bridge and into the rail station for the West Rail Line. This rail line runs through to Hung Hom Station (about 40 mins – 19HKD). If you are going to Central you can transfer to the Tsuen Wan line at Mei Foo, or at East Tsim Sha Tsui (you’ll have to walk 5 mins to Tsim Sha Tsui Station), you can also transfer to the Tung Chung Line at Nam Cheong. The MTR Journey Planner to plan your trip on Hong Kongs metro/rail. From HK to SZ is simply the reverse, get on the West Rail Line to Tin Shui Wai then walk out Exit B, when you walk out the door turn right and down the stairs.
From Shenzhen Wan to HK Airport/Asia World Expo: Catch the B3X bus (timetable) and get off at the last stop being Teun Mun Town Centre (20 Mins – 11HKD), cross to the other side of the road via the pedestrian bridge, walk under the building to see the KMB airport buses. Normally there is staff there to help guide you. Catch the E33 bus (timetable) to the airport (66 Mins 13.9HKD), or the A33 (timetable) (55 Mins 27HKD) both are run by KMB. You can also catch the B3 bus, but make sure you get off at the right stop as this one keeps going after Teun Mun Town Centre. From HK to SZ is simply the reverse, catching the E33 or A33 to the final stop, then take either the B3 or B3x to the border.
If you are returning to Shenzhen Bay port around 4 – 7 pm there can be a line up for taxis on the Shenzhen side, it could be handy to know the number of the public bus that will take you in the right direction. Buses terminating and departing from the port include 123, E19, 90, M206, 245, B602, B688, B737, B794, B813, B816 and a Shenzhen Airport Line.
HK Airport to Shenzhen
There are cross-border buses which go between hotels in SZ, SZ Airport, Huanggang, and Shenzhen Bay Port, to Hong Kong and out to Hong Kong Airport. Tickets are available at the Coach Station which is located at Terminal 2. See the links for timetables. Travel time is approx 1 HR 45 min and tickets begin at 170 HKD.
Via Airport Express/MTR
From Hong Kong Airport to Shenzhen, via MTR you have to make 4 line changes before you get onto the East Rail Line which takes you to the Shenzhen/Hong Kong border at Lo Wu. And it will cost around 100 HKD. The bus or ferry would be more convenient.
From HK Airport take the Airport Express train to Tsing Yi station and then transfer to the MTR line that heads to Lai King station where you get off again and transfer to the MTR line heading to Prince Edward station where you get off again and transfer to the line that heads to Kowloon Tong where you get off again and transfer to the East Rail Line.
Via the A43 bus & East Rail Line
You can also catch the A43 bus at the HKIA and get off at Sheung Shui, then catch the train on East Rail Line to either Lok Ma Chau or Lo Wu, more about that below. The bus costs around 30 HKD and takes around 90 minutes. See the Hong Kong public bus company website http://www.kmb.hk/en which has journey planner, fares, and routes.
Via the E33/A33 Bus
Take the E33 or A33 from HKIA to the final stop, then take either the B3 or B3x to the border at Shenzhen Bay Port as listed in more detail under Shenzhen Bay Port (Shenzhen Wan Kou An – 深圳湾口岸).
Door to door service in luxury people movers. It’s a shared ride in a seven-seat van, it’s usually comfortable and quick but that may depend on traffic. Tickets are available at the Coach Station which is located at Terminal 2. Service available from 07:00 – 24:00 every day
Ferry from HKIA to Shenzhen Airport (Fu Yong Ferry Terminal)
The ferry from Hong Kong Airport Skypier terminates at Shenzhen Fuyong Ferry Terminal where you catch a transfer bus to the Shenzhen T3 Airport. Tickets cost 295HKD with discounts for children.
Ferry Timetables for Hong Kong Airport (HKIA) to Shenzhen Airport (Fu Yong Ferry Terminal)
Daily: 11.50, 15.50 | Tickets cost 295HKD with discounts for children.
Ferry Timetables for Hong Kong Airport (HKIA) to Shenzhen Airport (Fu Yong Ferry Terminal)
Daily: 9.20 | Tickets cost 235HKD with discounts for children.
Ferry from HKIA to Shekou Ferry Terminal
You can catch a ferry from the Skypier at HKIA to the Shekou Ferry Terminal/Shekou Cruise Terminal. Ticket cost begins at 200 HKD and services depart regularly between 8:15 and 21:45. For timetable see the CKS website here
Map – HK <> SZ Border Crossing Points
More detail on the Shenzhen/Hong Kong border crossing checkpoints and operating times.
Links to Ferry, Bus, and Metro/MTR resources and official websites
Shenzhen 2018 Metro Map
Hong Kong Metro map
2020 Shenzhen Metro map – shows future metro lines
Shenzhen Metro – features a journey planner, fares, and timetables
Hong Kong MTR – features a journey planner, fares, and timetables
Hong Kong MTR Station Maps – maps of MTR stations showing exits, nearby streets and attractions.
Hong Kong MTR travel guide – maps, tips and a super guide to understanding the main lines that you’ll want to use.
GZ-SZ-HK Express Rail Link (XRL) – the new high-speed train connecting Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong
Shenzhen Public Bus (in Chinese only)
Cross Border Bus Timetables
This page was originally published on Jan 18, 2011, and updated on Sep 2018