A Guide to Shenzhen-Hong Kong Border Crossings

A Guide to Shenzhen-Hong Kong Border Crossings
By Pete Cowell , eChinacities.com

For many expats living in Shenzhen, crossing the border to Hong Kong is something of a regular occurrence. Depending on what type of visa you are on, you may be required to exit Mainland China every 30 days, or indeed you may be able to come and go as you please. For expats living and working in Shenzhen, the most obvious choice is to cross one of the several land or sea borders and head to Hong Kong. Many people just do a quick u-turn and head straight back through China customs, whilst others may spend a couple of days taking advantage of shopping and leisure opportunities.

However, there are several ways you can cross over to Hong Kong, and most foreigners use one of five checkpoints. These are the land borders of Luohu, Huangguang and Futian, the bridge at Shenzhen Wan and the ferry at Shekou. This article will highlight a few of the idiosyncrasies of each crossing to help you decide which method of leaving Mainland China is the most convenient for you. 

No matter where you live in Shenzhen, one of the border checkpoints is usually accessible by taking a taxi or jumping on the metro system. If you are taking a cab, simply say your destination followed by the element kou’ an meaning “border”. For example, saying “Huangguang kou’an” to a taxi driver will usually get you there without any hassle or confusion. Depending on where you live or what budget you are on determines what crossing you will choose, but conveniently there are crossings in each main area where foreigners tend to live; Luohu, Futian and Nanshan districts.

1) Luohu

This is one of the busiest border crossings between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The easiest way to get here is to take the metro to the Luohu stop, and you will find yourself at the busy Shenzhen Railway Station. This train station has direct high speed trains to Guangzhou, as well as to other destinations outside of Guangdong Province. As a result it can be incredibly hectic, so keep a good hold of your personal belongings as pickpockets are endemic around the station. From here you simply have to walk through both sets of customs before embarking on another train that takes you directly to Kowloon. The crossing is open from 06:30-24:00.

2) Huanggang


Situated a little further west from Luohu, Huanggang border crossing is designed specifically for vehicles. If you avoid the mad commuter rush hours of morning and early evening, you are likely to find that this crossing is a lot quieter with queues vastly reduced in size. Another convenient feature of Huanggang is that it is open 24 hours a day with buses leaving for many destinations in Hong Kong. This border is used a lot by expats living in Shenzhen who go for a night out in Hong Kong but want to avoid paying for costly hotels. However, once you have caught the bus, keep hold of your ticket as you will be required to change buses after you travel from the mainland side to the Hong Kong checkpoint. Open 24 hours.   

3) Futian
As another land border, Futian is accessible by metro. Peak times can be busy, but probably less so than at Luohu and Shenzhenwan. The area surrounding this checkpoint on the mainland side is the Futian Free Trade Zone, and subsequently many expats who work in Hong Kong live close to this crossing, as it is very convenient. Once you have entered the cavernous hall you will traverse a walkway that crosses the Shenzhen River, separating the mainland from the New Territories of Hong Kong. Once you have passed through customs you can catch a train that takes you directly to Hung Hom MTR station in Kowloon.  Open 06:30-24:00.

4) Shenzhenwan
Shenzhenwan used to be a maddeningly frustrating way to get to Hong Kong because of the huge queues of people that would sometimes extend out of the entrance, especially during weekends. Thankfully due to recent construction work, they have extended the size of the entrance hall to lessen the waiting time. There is no metro station serving this border crossing, so you will have to take a taxi. Nevertheless, as it is situated in Nanshan District, it is fairly central to the majority of foreigners in Shenzhen, many of whom live in Shekou. Once you are through Hong Kong customs, you can take a bus over the kilometer-long bridge to many destinations or just jump in a pleasantly air conditioned Hong Kong taxi, although this is an inevitably more expensive option if you are going to Hong Kong Island. Open 06:30-23:30.

5) Shekou
By far the most expensive way to travel to Hong Kong (around 120 RMB each way), but certainly the most convenient for Shekou-dwellers is to take the ferry. Due to the higher cost of travel, customs is usually a lot quieter so your waiting time will be heavily reduced compared to Shenzhenwan kou’an or Luohu kou’an. From here you can take ferries to Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong International Airport, Macau and Zhuhai and so it is a popular way to cross the border for many expats living in Shenzhen. Check their website for sailing times.

No matter what crossing you choose to use, make sure you have filled out your mainland China exit card as well as a Hong Kong immigration slip, otherwise they might just send you to the back of the queue.

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