Hong Kong to Shenzhen – your local guide for border crossing

With its rapid expansion and thriving economy, Shenzhen is a magnet for travelers and businesses alike.

Hong Kong to Shenzhen – your local guide for border crossing
Source: Pexels/Donald Tong

From business trips to casual visits, crossing between Hong Kong and Shenzhen has become second nature to many. With its rapid expansion and thriving economy, Shenzhen is a magnet for travelers and businesses alike. But before you hop on that train or bus, there are a few things you need to know. Lucky for you, we've come up with a trusty guide to getting there. From finding the best port for foreign travelers to mastering the art of custom clearance, we've covered everything you need to know for your next jaunt over to Shenzhen.

Quick border crossing tips

  1. Check visa requirements: Double-check the visa requirements for your nationality before crossing the border to avoid any surprises or delays.
  2. Valid travel docs: Passport? Check. Visas? Double-check. You don't want to be stuck at the border without the right papers.
  3. Exchange currency: Have some local currency (CN¥) handy for snacks, rides and small purchases on both sides.
  4. Plan your transportation: Research the most convenient border crossing point to figure out the easiest way to cross – train, bus, taxi?
  5. Be ready for checks: Familiarize yourself with customs regulations and be ready for inspections, especially if you're carrying goods or electronics.
  6. Check the border hours: Don't get stranded after closing time! Keep an eye on when the border's open for business.
  7. Stay sharp: Keep your wits about you and watch out for any shady characters or sticky fingers in the crowd.

Types of visas

Eyeing a trip to Shenzhen? Well, before you start packing, let's talk about visas. Most people need a Chinese visa to set foot in mainland China. But the good news is there are a couple of visa-free options available for travelers and business types alike.

Shenzhen 144-hour visa-free transit

With this, you get to wander around Guangdong Province (including Shenzhen) for up to 144 hours – that's a solid six days – if you're from one of the lucky 53 countries on the list. This includes European countries under the Schengen Visa Agreement, other European nations, the Americas, Oceania and select Asian countries. So, if you're eligible, you can breeze into Shenzhen hassle-free via Shenzhen Baoan International Airport or one of the other appointed ports of entry.

Five days Shenzhen special economic zone tourist visa (visa on arrival):

If you're planning a quick jaunt to Shenzhen from Hong Kong or Macau, you might be eligible for the 5-Day Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Tourist Visa, aka Visa on Arrival. This nifty little visa lets you explore Shenzhen for up to five days straight from midnight after you arrive. Just keep in mind that not all countries are eligible for this one.

E-Channel pass

When it comes to crossing borders, expect the usual drill: luggage screenings, following signs and flashing your passport to border officers. But here's the lowdown on a couple of exceptions. If you're a frequent flyer, you might want to consider snagging yourself an E-Channel pass to skip those long queues. By qualifying for this perk, you'll breeze through self-service areas while others are stuck in line. Plus, it's free to apply. Just bear in mind that you'll need to apply for separate E-Channel passes for both the mainland China and Hong Kong sides.

Hong Kong to Shenzhen border crossing

Hong Kong to Luohu:

Luohu Port is a bustling gateway between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, a seamless connection between the Shenzhen Metro and Hong Kong MTR, making it a top choice for travelers near and far. But brace yourself for the crowds. Whether you're heading from Hong Kong to Shenzhen or vice versa, you'll find yourself in the midst of a bustling hall filled with eager border-crossers.

Here are detailed steps by MTR + Metro (about 1.5 hours):

  • From Hong Kong, take the East Railway Line of the MTR to Hung Hom Railway Station in Kowloon.
  • From Hung Hom Railway Station, follow the signs to Lo Wu Station.
  • At Lo Wu Station, go through the clearance procedures at the customs building.
  • After clearance, walk through the bridge path to enter Shenzhen.
  • Take Shenzhen Metro Line 1 from Luohu Station to reach your destination within Shenzhen, such as Futian District or Luohu District.

Hong Kong to Futian:

At Futian Port, just like its counterpart in Luohu, crossing the border is a breeze thanks to the seamless connection between the Shenzhen Metro and Hong Kong MTR. Situated snugly in Shenzhen's Futian District, this port links up with the Lok Ma Chau Control Point on the Hong Kong side. 

Here are detailed steps by MTR + Metro (about 1.5 hours):

  • Take the Hong Kong MTR East Railway Line from Hung Hom Railway Station to Lok Ma Chau Station.
  • Complete clearance procedures at Lok Ma Chau Station.
  • Cross the bridge to reach Futian in Shenzhen.
  • Follow signs to Futian Checkpoint Station on Shenzhen Metro Line 4. Then, head to Futian District.

Hong Kong to Huanggang:

Huanggang Port is your go-to 24/7 hotspot for border crossings in Shenzhen. While it might not be as famous as Luohu Port, the cross-border buses that zip back and forth between Shenzhen and Hong Kong make it a go-to choice for savvy travelers. And here's the kicker: with fewer folks around at midnight, it's like having the whole place to yourself. So, if you're itching for some late-night shopping shenanigans in Hong Kong, Huanggang Port is your golden ticket.

Here are detailed steps (about 1 hour and 40 minutes):

  • Head to Hong Kong Hung Hom Railway Station.
  • Take the East Rail Line towards Lok Ma Chau or Lo Wu, which takes about 45 minutes.
  • At Lok Ma Chau Station, go through customs.
  • Then, hop on the Huanggang Lok Ma Chau Shuttle Bus to Huanggang Port. It costs around HK$10 and runs frequently.
  • Finally, take Shenzhen Metro Line 7 to Huanggang Checkpoint Station.

Hong Kong to Shekou:

Shekou Port is where you want to head for your portal to and from Hong Kong, Macau and beyond. Situated in Nanshan District, this bustling port serves as a hub for cruises and ships heading to destinations like the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, Hong Kong Skypier, Macau Taipa and Macau Outer Harbor. So, if you're jetting off from Hong Kong International Airport and want hassle-free clearance, Shekou is your go-to spot.

China Hong Kong Bullet Train:

Hong Kong's got some speedy bullet trains zipping to and from China's mainland, hitting hotspots like Guangzhou, Guilin, Beijing, Shanghai and more—including Shenzhen. Hong Kong West Kowloon Terminus, nestled in the vibrant Tsim Sha Tsui area, is where all the bullet train magic happens. Plus, with one-stop customs and inspections, you'll be whizzing through the process in no time.

Here are detailed steps by China Hong Kong high-speed train (within 1 hour):

  • Board the bullet trains at Hong Kong West Kowloon Terminus.
  • Get off at either Shenzhen Futian Station or Shenzhen North Station.
  • Cruise through the exit and entry procedures at the Hong Kong Entry Floor on B2.
  • Swipe your train ticket, and you're out of the railway station.
  • Follow the signs to the Shenzhen Metro or grab a taxi to reach your spot in Futian or Nanshan District.
  • Schedules and prices