Compare Transportation Options from Hong Kong Airport to Shenzhen.
You’ve booked your flight to Hong Kong. Check. Next item up, figuring out your travel into Shenzhen. Hmmm…
While you might imagine it to be a simple next step, infrequent travelers to the region will find it a challenge to get from Hong Kong Airport to Shenzhen. Many are only vaguely aware of the available transportation options, and even less aware of what to expect during the journey itself. After reading this blog, however, you will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to effectively select the right transportation for you, plan the journey to transfer from Hong Kong Airport to Shenzhen, and have one less thing to worry about on your trip to China!
There are five main modes of transportation from Hong Kong Airport to Shenzhen; public bus, coach, shared shuttle, taxi, and private car. And each varies dramatically on the 4 key areas of concern below you should ask yourself regarding this journey;
- Time: How many hours do I have to spend to get from HK Airport to your Shenzhen destination?
- Convenience: How many transit switches and different modes of transport during this trip am I willing to deal with?
- Comfort: How comfortable am I sharing a full vehicle, and walking with all my luggage for some distances at various points in the journey?
- Cost: What is my budget for this journey? Am I willing to spend more for a reduced time, and increased convenience and comfort?
According to these main criteria, let’s first briefly compare and review each transport mode, then after we’ll take a more in-depth look at the pros and cons of each ground transportation.
Getting from Hong Kong to Shenzhen requires crossing an international border into mainland China. There are immigration checkpoints and customs clearance at both the Hong Kong side of the border and the Shenzhen side of the border, both through which all travelers must pass.
In addition to having your passport ready and in bearing in mind your country’s visa requirements to enter China mainland, please note that these two border crossings can often add significant additional time to the journey. The visa requirements significantly vary from Hong Kong visa requirements.
If time is a high priority for you, there are expedient private cars from Hong Kong to Shenzhen that allow you to stay in a vehicle and quickly pass through both Hong Kong and Shenzhen borders.
Quick Comparison & Review of Transportation Options
Option 1: Hong Kong Public Bus & MTR to Shenzhen
- Time: 3.5+ Hours
- Convenience: Very Low
- Comfort: Very Low
- Cost: $
- Travel Steps: HK Airport Arrival Hall → Airport bus terminus → Bus Route 1 Travel → Bus Route 2 Travel → Bus Route 3 / MTR Travel → HK Lok Ma Chau Border Immigration → China Futian Station Border Immigration → Taxi Queue → Taxi Travel → Shenzhen Final Destination.
In brief, public bus is the cheapest option but comes at a heavy cost. Expect a lot of inconvenience, missteps and discomfort due to multiple bus route changes, carrying luggage at each step, excessive time required, and the general need for a command of Cantonese language to achieve successfully. Recommended only for the very cash-strapped, adventurous traveler.
Option 2: Hong Kong to Shenzhen Coach Bus:
- Time: 2.5+ Hours
- Convenience: Low
- Comfort: Medium
- Cost: $
- Travel Steps: HK Airport Arrival Hall → Airport coach and shuttle ticket counters → Coach Wait / Queue / Board → Coach Travel to HK Border Immigration → HK Border Immigration → Coach Travel to Shenzhen Huanggang Border → Shenzhen Border Immigration → Coach Travel in Shenzhen → Shenzhen Final Destination.
In brief, the coach is a better overall option compared to the public bus because total travel cost is slightly higher while the travel to the HK border is direct and you enjoy a private seat on a coach. Once arriving at the border, however, the conveniences cease as you get off and on the bus twice to pass through both HK and Shenzhen immigration, and also need to wait and take a taxi on the Shenzhen side. Recommended for budget travelers with a decent tolerance for inconvenience and delay.
Option 3: Hong Kong to Shenzhen Border Shuttle Minivans:
- Time: 2-3 Hours
- Convenience: Medium
- Comfort: Low
- Cost: $$
- Travel Steps: HK Airport Arrival Hall → Airport coach and shuttle ticket counters → Shuttle Wait / Queue / Board → Shuttle Travel Through HK Border Immigration to Shenzhen Huanggang Border → Shenzhen Border Immigration → Taxi Queue → Taxi Travel in Shenzhen → Shenzhen Final Destination.
In brief, the shared shuttle from Hong Kong to Shenzhen provides a similar experience to the coach at a slightly higher cost. Both require ticket purchase and loading at Terminal 2 of the Airport, both are direct routes to the border, both finish at Shenzhen border where you pass through Immigration on your own, after which you’ll need to take a taxi. The shuttle offers a bit less comfort because you are cramping into a van with 6 others with bags for upwards of an hour, but does offer a bit more convenience because you get to stay in the shuttle all the way to the Shenzhen border, passing through the HK border in the vehicle. Recommended for budget travelers who can accept some discomfort, inconvenience, and delay.
Option 4: Hong Kong Airport Taxis:
- Time: 2-3 Hours
- Convenience: Low
- Comfort: Medium
- Cost: $$
- Travel Steps: HK Airport Arrival Hall → Airport Taxi Stand Wait / Queue / Board → Taxi Travel To HK Lok Ma Chau Border → Hong Kong Lok Ma Chau Immigration → China Futian Station Border Immigration → Taxi Queue → Taxi Travel in Shenzhen → Shenzhen Final Destination.
In brief, taxis are a more expensive direct option to the border compared to shuttle and coach (though if you are with a friend the taxi fee could be potentially split and reduced), but similar to both shuttle and coach you still must cross the border on foot and finish the journey in Shenzhen by taxi .
The main advantage of taking a HK taxi compared to shuttle or coach is that the trip from the Airport to Hong Kong border is a bit more spacious, relaxing – assuming you are 3 or less in the group, and quicker because the taxi leaves immediately while shuttle and coach both run on schedules that depart every 20 min or when enough passengers have arrived to fill the vacant seats. Recommended for budget travelers okay with some inconveniences and delay, and willing to pay a bit more for expedience and comfort on the first leg of the journey.
Option 5: Hong Kong Airport Private Car & Limo:
- Time: 1-1.5 Hours
- Convenience: High
- Comfort: High
- Cost: $$$$
- Travel Steps Summary: HK Airport Arrival Hall Driver Greeting → Private Car Travel Through HK and Shenzhen Huanggang Border Immigration → Shenzhen Final Destination.
The “X” factor of options 1-4 above is “the number of people crossing the border at the same time as you”. Approach the border at the wrong time of day and the immigration process can take an hour itself, sometimes longer. Private car service avoids this risk because it’s door-to-door. This means you are met by the driver as you arrive in HK Airport Arrival Hall, travel direct to the border, pass through HK immigration from within the car in special vehicle lane, then pass through Shenzhen immigration (China gov’t requires travelers to pass through Shenzhen side immigration by foot – will exit vehicle to do immigration, then re-enter vehicle after immigration), and continue on to your hotel or final destination.
While significantly more expensive than all the other options, the private car offers by far the highest level of convenience and comfort, as there is no waiting, queuing, or changing modes of transit, and it assures that you complete the journey quickly without expended effort. Some may consider this worth the high cost after a long international flight. Private car service from Hong Kong Airport to Shenzhen is recommended for time-sensitive business travelers and leisure travelers with a low tolerance for inconvenience and delay.
Note: With the exception of private car service “option 5”, you will need to take a taxi in Shenzhen upon clearing any of the borders on the China side to finish your journey. The drivers will not speak any English, however, as long as you have your destination address written clearly in Chinese you should encounter no problems. You should avoid taxi hawkers shouting “taxi” and encouraging you to take illegal transport. There are always licensed taxis even if there is a wait. You may end up significantly out of pocket and at the wrong destination by taking an illegal car.
A private transfer is the safest, quickest way to travel from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. China Car Service is a trusted transportation service helping Hong Kong business travelers for almost two decades. We provide door-to-door service at competitive prices.
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Hong Kong to Shenzhen Transportation Options in Detail
1. Hong Kong Public Buses & MTR
Summary: We will start with the least of the easiest ways to get from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, the public bus. While Hong Kong itself is extensively served by bus routes directly from the airport, there are no direct public transport routes from Hong Kong Airport to Shenzhen. For business travelers without experience in reading traditional Chinese, or the patience to change routes and modes of transport to the Shenzhen border, we do not advise this method. Even for the cost-conscious, the cross-border coaches provide a more expedient, and direct, route to Shenzhen at a similar cost.
Recommendation: Only for adventurous travelers with zen-like patience would we truly recommend bus transfer to Shenzhen as a viable option. If that describes you, then upon entering the Airport Arrival Hall, exit straight ahead and make your way out to the right, where the Airport bus terminal is located. Here are a list of Hong Kong Airport bus routes and schedules.
Travel Steps & Timeline: Exit Hong Kong Airport, find bus terminus, board bus and wait for departure (15-25 min) → travel to border using any number of bus routes, for example the A22 to the E34 to the B1, and disembark at the Hong Kong Border at Lok Ma Chau (2hrs+) → pass through Hong Kong immigration (15-25 min.) → walk across border on foot (5 min.) → pass through Shenzhen immigration (15-25 min.) → wait in taxi queue ( 10-20 min.) → take taxi to Shenzhen destination (10-30 min.)
2. Hong Kong to Shenzhen Cross-Border Coaches
Summary: There are a number of private cross-border coach options conveniently located in Terminal 2. Destinations are not limited to Shenzhen, but another 109 cities in the Pearl River Delta Region. From Terminal 1 follow the directions to “Terminal 2” and “Transport to Mainland China”.
Once at the coach ticket purchase windows, finding a ticket won’t be a problem. You will quickly be approached by a keen sales representative from any of the 4 coach companies at desks c10 – c13. The main bus routes are detailed below:
(Coach service hours: 0700 – 2400)
Huanggang border, located at the foot of Shenzhen’s CBD in Futian District, is usually the most expedient route to China, especially if traveling to hotels in Futian or Luohu Districts. Travelers will need to disembark the coach at the Hong Kong side of the border, remove their luggage, pass through immigration and clear customs, and then board another coach that takes you to the Mainland China side of the border where the process is repeated on the China side of the border.
Shenzhen Bay Port
(Coach service hours: 0700 – 2220)
For travelers heading to the Shekou, Nanshan or Baoan Districts Shenzhen Bay, located in Shekou’s Dongjiaotou area, is the most convenient route to China. Fortunately, travelers do not need to disembark at the Hong Kong side in this case as both customs checkpoints are in the same building.
(Coach service hours: 1045 – 1730)
The lesser-known Shataukou, or Shatoujiao in Mandarin, may be an option for those heading directly to the Yantiangang Free Trade Zone.
Once the coaches reach the Hong Kong border, passengers will need to disembark, gather luggage, pass through Hong Kong immigration, re-board the coach, travel to the Shenzhen border, disembark the coach, pass through the Shenzhen immigration, make your way to the taxi stand and wait for a taxi.
Recommendation: If on a tight budget that outweighs your need for quick travel time and convenience, then taking a coach from Hong Kong to Shenzhen is a decent option. The total cost of travel shouldn’t exceed more than 200 HKD. Be prepared for some inevitable delays – wait & queue for initial coach departure, again at the Hong Kong border, again to re-board the coach, again at the China border, and again at the taxi stand once in Shenzhen … not to mention the pain of having to deal with your luggage at each step of the way if you are carrying heavy luggage.
Travel Steps & Timeline: Enter into HK Airport Arrival Hall and walk to Terminal 2 Airport coach and shuttle ticket counters (5-10 min) → purchase ticket and wait to board coach (15-25 min) → Travel to the border by coach Coach (40-60 min.) → Disembark coach at Hong Kong side of the border and pass through Hong Kong immigration & customs (10-15 min.) → Board coach again and travel to China side of the border to pass through China immigration & customs (15-20 min.) → Make way to the taxi stand, queue and wait for a taxi (10-20 min.) → Take a taxi to Shenzhen destination (15-20 min.)
3. Hong Kong to Shenzhen Shared Shuttle Minivans
Summary: Shared shuttle ticket booths can be found in the Airport’s Terminal 2 directly next to the Coach ticket booths, offering shared ride services from Hong Kong Airport to Shenzhen border. Service hours operate between 07:00 – 24:00 and the total cost of the trip to your hotel using this travel option to the border shouldn’t exceed HK$300, depending on the quantity of luggage and your Shenzhen destination. Shuttles carry six passengers and depart only after the full carrying capacity is reached. Otherwise, shuttles depart every 15-20 minutes.
One advantage of taking a shuttle from Hong Kong Airport to the Shenzhen border is that there is no need to disembark until you arrive at mainland China immigration. For Hong Kong immigration you are simply required to show your passport from inside the vehicle. Afterward, you’ll then be taken on through and delivered to the mainland border where you’ll depart the vehicle, and perform the China immigration on foot with your luggage. Passing through immigration, make your way to a taxi loading area (queue length depends on time of day) while skirting past the fake taxi hawkers vying for your business. Make sure to have your destination address in Chinese ready to show the driver.
Recommendation: Shared shuttle is another decent option for a budget traveler, slightly more expedient than coaches because you are able to stay in the vehicle during the Hong Kong immigration process. The major disadvantage is the often cramped conditions you find yourself in, which can lead to an uncomfortable 45 min.+ journey to the border. In this respect, a seat on a coach offers more comfort. Also pay attention to your arrival time in Hong Kong, as service is suspended at midnight.
Step by Step Timeline: Enter into HK Airport Arrival Hall and walk to Terminal 2 Airport coach and shuttle ticket counters (5-10 min) →purchase ticket and board coach at Hong Kong Airport (15-25 min) → travel to Hong Kong border (30-45 min.) → disembark, pass through Hong Kong border immigration, re-board coach, and travel to Shenzhen border (10-20 min.) → pass through Shenzhen immigration (10-20 min.) → wait in taxi queue ( 5-20 min.) → taxi to Shenzhen destination (10-30 min.)
4. Hong Kong Airport Taxis To Shenzhen
Summary: Taxis can be a good option to get from Hong Kong Airport to the Shenzhen border, especially late at night when both coach and shared minivan services are suspended. They are located to the left of the Mainland Coaches in Terminal 2. As with the other cross-border modes of transport, there are a number of borders to choose from:
- Service hours: 0630 – 2400
- Rates: HK$250+ to the border
- Service hours: 24 hours
- Rates: HK$300+ to the border
Lok Ma Chau (adjacent to Huanggang)
- Service hours: 0600 – 2220
- Rates: HK$300+ to the border
As with the other cross-border methods of transport, it’s important to consider where you are traveling in Shenzhen and when you are traveling. The Huanggang checkpoint is in fact 24 hours, despite the coach services suspending much earlier. It can be reached by taxi at any time of day, thus, is your only choice after 12 am.
Similar to taking a coach, the taxi will drop you off at the Hong Kong side of the border. From there you will pass through Hong Kong immigration. Unlike a coach though, you must make your own way to the Shenzhen side of the border. At Huanggang border this involves taking a bus, while at Lok Ma Chau and Shenzhen Bay you walk to the Shenzhen side of the border.
If during daylight though, the most common border for taxis to take you is the Lok Ma Chau border. It is also the most centrally situated border in Shenzhen, located in Futian District. (Shenzhen Bay Port is used for Nanshan District dropoff destinations). Lok Ma Chau is convenient in that both sides of its border control are located in the same building; once you pass through Hong Kong border control you simply walk across the border through a long hall to the Shenzhen side of the border and pass through Shenzhen immigration. The taxi queue, while often just as long as Huanggang border taxi queue, does offer the convenience of not having to go up and down stairs with your luggage in order to get to the taxi station (which you must do to arrive at the Huanggang taxi station).
Recommendation: If you are a budget traveler willing to spend a bit more for comfort, then the taxi is a good option. While the total trip cost will be slightly higher using a taxi to the border (under HK$400 all-in), taxis offer more comfort as HK taxis are more spacious than shared shuttles and coaches (unless you are a group of 3 in the taxi), while the trip time is the same as shuttle and coach. Taxis are not too convenient, though, due to having to get out to cross the border and then take a taxi again once in Shenzhen to reach your final destination
Step By Step Timeline: Enter into HK Airport Arrival Hall and make way to Airport taxi pickup area (5-10 min.) → Queue, wait and board taxi (5-10 min.) → Take a taxi to HK Lok Ma Chau border and disembark (35-50 min.) → Walk with luggage to Hong Kong Lok Ma Chau Immigration for HK side processing (10-25 min.) → Walk across China/HK border to the China Futian Station Border Immigration for China side processing (10-25 min.) → Exit the border station and make way on foot to taxi queue (5-10 min.) → Queue, wait and board Shenzhen taxi (10 min.)→ Take a taxi to a final destination in Shenzhen (15-30 min.).
Note: There are options to take both red and green taxis from the airport. Green taxis are authorised only to travel within Hong Kong’s New Territories, which is the area adjoining Shenzhen. Green taxis are on average HK$20 cheaper than red taxis and usually have much smaller queues at the airport. So, save yourself both time and money by choosing the green taxi over the red taxi every time.
5. Hong Kong Airport Private Limousines To Shenzhen
Summary: Private car and limousine, whilst the most expensive choice, is by far the most expedient and comfortable way to travel from Hong Kong Airport to Shenzhen 24 hours a day. Many companies offer English speaking drivers and meet & greet services at the arrivals hall.
Upon entering the Arrival Hall, a professional driver greets you and escorts you to the vehicle, carrying your luggage. The journey to Shenzhen is door-to-door, meaning the same car will take you from Hong Kong Airport to your Shenzhen hotel, while you stay in the car throughout the entire journey, making this the most convenient and expedient mode of transport from Hong Kong Airport to Shenzhen.
Remark: At the HK border travelers can pass through immigration from within car, while at the Shenzhen border travelers are required by China law to go through immigration by foot, not from within the car.
Private limousine service vehicle options usually include both business MPVs that seat up to 6 passengers, as well as Mercedes S-Class executive sedans that seat up to 3 passengers. Because the service is fixed to your arrival schedule, there is no waiting period – as soon as you arrive at the Airport you depart for Shenzhen. Services are offered 24 hours a day enabling you to go directly to your hotel in Shenzhen from Hong Kong Airport regardless of your arrival time.
Recommendation: Private car service is quite expensive, but it is the only transportation option that requires you to do nothing except relax from the Airport to your Shenzhen destination. If you’ve just had a long international flight and have a busy work schedule ahead it is probably the right solution for you. If you require a more luxurious travel experience, it is the only Shenzhen transportation solution for you.
Step by Step Timeline: Enter into HK Airport Arrival Hall where you are greeted by waiting driver (1 min.) → Driver escorts you to the private parking area where you board the private vehicle (4-5 min.) → Travel in private car to the border, stay in car to pass through HK and Shenzhen Immigration and continue on in the car to your final Shenzhen destination (60-80 min.).
Once you arrive to Shenzhen, read our business traveller’s Shenzhen city guide that will help you make the most of the opportunities waiting around.
Hong Kong Airport to Shenzhen Summary
With the multitude of options available there’s no one “best way” to get to Shenzhen from Hong Kong Airport. However, depending on the priority of your requirements there are clear winners:
- If your number #1 concern is price and you aren’t concerned about time or the inconvenience of changing vehicles and crossing borders you should take a Cross-Border Coach.
- If your number #1 concern is relative expediency at an affordable price you should take a Hong Kong Taxi.
- If your number #1 concern is expediency, comfort and style then you should consider hiring a private limousine.