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Airlines

There are flights between Hong Kong and around 50 cities in mainland China, including Běijīng, Chéngdū, Kūnmíng and Shànghǎi. One-way fares are a bit more than half the return price. Hong Kong is the hub city for Cathay Pacific (www.cathaypacific.com), a five-star airline.

Other carriers include:

Air China (www.airchina.hk) The national carrier, based in Běijīng.

Cathay Dragon (www.cathaypacific.com) Owned by Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon was previously known as 'Dragonair'; its flight schedules have been amalgamated into the main website. It specialises in regional flights to mainland China.

Hong Kong Airlines (www.hongkongairlines.com) Cheaper airline covering nearly 40 destinations in Asia Pacific and North America.

Hong Kong International Airport

Designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster, the Hong Kong International Airport is on Chek Lap Kok, a largely reclaimed area off Lantau’s northern coast. Highways, bridges (including the 2.2km-long Tsing Ma Bridge, one of the world’s longest suspension bridges) and a fast train link the airport with Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.

The two terminals have a wide range of shops, restaurants, cafes, ATMs and moneychangers.

Hong Kong Hotels Association Counters are located inside the Buffer Halls. HKHA deals with midrange and top-end hotels only and does not handle hostels, guesthouses or other budget accommodation.

China Travel Service Has a counter at Arrivals Hall A in Terminal 1 and can organise China visas (normally takes two to five working days).

Transport Options

Airport Express

Airport Express line is the fastest (and most expensive, other than a taxi) way to get to and from the airport. The trains have plug sockets and free wi-fi.

Departures From 5.54am to 12.48am heading to Central, calling at Tsing Yi island and then Kowloon en route to the city; the full trip takes 24 minutes. Tickets are available from vending machines at the airport and train stations.

Fares There is a marginal saving if you book a return rather than single; one-way is also HK$5 cheaper if you use Octopus. Return fares for Central/Kowloon/Tsing Yi, valid for a month, cost HK$205/185/120. Children three to 11 years pay half price. An Airport Express Travel Pass allows three days of mostly unlimited travel on the MTR and Light Rail and one-way/return trips on the Airport Express (HK$250/350).

Shuttle buses Airport Express also operates shuttle buses on Hong Kong Island (H1 to H4) and in Kowloon (K1 to K5), with free transfers for passengers between Central and Kowloon stations and major hotels. The buses run every 15 to 20 minutes between 6.12am and 11.12pm. Schedules and routes are available at www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/services/complom_free_bus.html.

AsiaWorld-Expo The Airport Express is the same train that deposits visitors at the AsiaWorld-Expo venue; a two-minute journey in the opposite direction to the city centre.

Bus

There are good bus links to/from the airport. These buses have plenty of room for luggage, and announcements are usually made in English, Cantonese and Mandarin notifying passengers of hotels at each stop. For more details on the routes, check the Transport section at www.hkairport.com.

Departures Buses run every 10 to 30 minutes from about 6am to around midnight. Airport buses use the designation 'A' ahead of their route number. There are also quite a few night buses (designated ‘N’).

Fares Major hotel and guesthouse areas on Hong Kong Island are served by the A11 (HK$40) and A12 (HK$45) buses; the A21 (HK$33) covers similar areas in Kowloon. Bus drivers in Hong Kong do not give change, but it is available at the ground transportation centre at the airport, as are Octopus cards. Normal returns are double the one-way fare. Unless otherwise stated, children aged between three and 11 years and seniors over 65 pay half-fare.

Tickets Buy your ticket at the booth near the airport bus stand.

Limousine

There are limousine service counters in the arrivals hall and at the ground transportation centre, including Parklane Limousine Service (www.hongkonglimo.com) and Intercontinental Hire Cars (www.trans-island.com.hk). In a car seating up to four people, expect to pay HK$650 to HK$850 to destinations in Hong Kong Island and urban Kowloon and from HK$650 to HK$1000 to the New Territories.

Bus

CTS Express Coach Buses to mainland China.

Eternal East Cross Border Coach Mainland destinations from Hong Kong include Shēnzhèn, Guǎngzhōu and other Guǎngdōng cities.

Car & Motorcycle

Hong Kong's transport system is so far-reaching and efficient that you will not need your own vehicle unless getting stuck in traffic is your idea of fun.

Ferry

Regular scheduled ferries link the China Ferry Terminal in Kowloon and/or the Hong Kong–Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island with a string of towns and cities on the Pearl River Delta – but not central Guǎngzhōu or Shēnzhèn.

Mainland destinations from Hong Kong include:

Shékǒu One hour

Shùndé Two hours

Zhōngshān 1½ hours

Zhūhǎi 70 minutes

SkyPier is a fast ferry service that links Hong Kong airport with nine Pearl River Delta ports including Shēnzhèn, Guǎngzhōu and Macau. The service enables travellers to board ferries directly without clearing Hong Kong customs and immigration. Book a ticket prior to boarding from the ticketing counter located at Transfer Area E2 at least 60 minutes before ferry departure time. For more information, see the 'Mainland Connections' tab under Transport on the airport website (www.hongkongairport.com).

Train

The new high-speed Kowloon West rail terminus opened in September 2018. Costing HK$9 billion, the terminus comprises joint immigration and customs for travel to mainland China and is partly governed by mainland laws. Built to hook up to mainland China's high-speed rail infrastructure, it has roughly halved the time it takes to reach Guǎngzhōu, to 48 minutes.

Other intercity trains to Guǎngzhōu and the rest of Guǎngdōng province, Běijīng and Shànghǎi leave from Hung Hom station; Shēnzhèn can be reached via the MTR East Rail line.

Intercity train tickets can be purchased at the Intercity Through Train Customer Service Centre in Hung Hom Station, and ticket offices at Mong Kok East, Kowloon Tong and Shatin MTR stations, plus the Tourist Services counter at Admiralty MTR station. Sales open 30 days in advance for the Guǎngzhōu line and 60 days in advance for Běijīng and Shànghǎi.

Shēnzhèn

  • There are two border crossings for Shēnzhèn, at Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau, both of which have their own station on the MTR East Rail line, 200m from the mainland border.
  • The MTR's Tourist Cross-Boundary Travel Pass (1/2 consecutive days HK$100/140) allows unlimited travel on the MTR and two single journeys to/from Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau stations.
  • The first train to Lo Wu/Lok Ma Chau leaves Hung Hom station at 5.30am/5.35am, the last at 11.07pm/9.35pm, and the trip takes about 45/49 minutes.
  • The border crossing at Lo Wu opens at 6.30am and closes at midnight. The crossing at Lok Ma Chau is open around the clock.
  • Lo Wu is the main checkpoint for foot passengers and tourists. Queues can be bad at both checkpoints during peak times.

Guǎngzhōu

  • High-speed MTR intercity trains leave Hung Hom station for Guǎngzhōu East train station 12 times a day between 7.25am and 8.01pm, returning from that station the same number of times from 8.19am to 9.30pm. The trip takes approximately two hours.
  • One-way tickets cost HK$210/105 for adult/child aged five to nine.
  • A cheaper but less convenient option is to take the MTR East Rail train to Lo Wu, cross through immigration into Shēnzhèn and catch a local train from there to Guǎngzhōu. Trains take between 30 minutes and one hour 40 minutes and depart several times an hour.
  • Tickets to Guǎngzhōu can be booked with a credit card on the MTR website (www.it3.mtr.com.hk).

Běijīng & Shànghǎi

  • MTR intercity trains run between Hung Hom and both Shànghǎi and Běijīng, departing on alternative days.
  • Trains to Běijīng West train station (hard/soft/deluxe sleeper from HK$574/934/1191) depart at 3.15pm, arriving at 3.30pm the following day.
  • Trains to Shànghǎi (hard/soft/deluxe sleeper from HK$508/825/1039) also depart at 3.15pm, arriving at 10.37am the following day.