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Hong Kong airport tax refund
Passengers flying out of Hong Kong International Airport are liable for a departure tax of HK$120 per person (12 years and above), but if you travel to Hong Kong by boat, airplane or helicopter, you don't need to pay this tax. Because this tax is already included in your ticket, you need to go to a special counter to get the money back.


Last Updated ( Sunday, 18 April 2010 )
Visa Shenzhen
Every foreigner who wants to enter China needs a visa. Normally, you would get a visa in the country where you live at the embassy. If you fly to Hong Kong and want to visit Shenzhen, there is another possibility though; you can get a visa for short stay in Shenzhen. There are many conflicting reports about this kind of visa for Shenzhen though. This article provides an overview of the facts.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 18 April 2010 )
From Hong Kong airport to Shenzhen

When you arrive at Hong Kong Airport, there are several options to reach your final destination in Shenzhen. There is quite a lot of information available via the website of the HK Airport, but for exact information you still need to visit some Chinese websites. This guide will provide you with all information you need to easily make it across the border :)


Q: Ferry or Bus?

A: In general I suggest taking the bus:

The ferry sails from 09:00 to 21:20 (English link ). Tickets cost about 260RMB one way for adults (prices ). The ferry goes to Shekou. If that's your final destination (or the greater Nanshan area), it's a good option to take the boat. If you want to go to Futian or Luohu, then you still need to take a bus or taxi from Shekou. The subway line starting from the ferry pier is not yet finished.

There are several bus operators, tickets range from 100-160RMB one way for adults. You can take busses to the border (Huanggang), or into Shenzhen to various major hotels. More details about busses below.

My advice: if you need to go to Shekou, just take the boat. If you go elsewhere - or just want to save some money - just take the bus.


Last Updated ( Friday, 05 August 2011 )
Transport Hub Shenzhen

On the 2nd of July 2009 the first airport waiting hall inside Shenzhen Special Economic Zone opened. The building is located in Futian district and is a huge glass structure. I pass it everyday on my way to work and it looks very modern and advanced. Travelers using the Shenzhen airport can check in for their flights, buy tickets and insurance and read the latest information about inbound and outbound flights on a digital screen. There are 600 free parking spaces for people who fly from Shenzhen Airport.

update august 2009: added photos!
Last Updated ( Saturday, 30 January 2010 )
Shenzhen checkpoints border

Shenzhen has 10 checkpoints in total, composed of eight land ports and two sea ports. The five most well-known land ports are:

  • Shatoujiao,
  • Luohu (open 06:30 - 00:00)              This one is most popular, in Luohu district, so a bit to the east.
  • HuangGang (open 24 hours per day)  Often used to travel to HKIA, also quite busy
  • Futian (open 06:30 - 22:30)              Less well known
  • Shenzhen Bay (open 06:30 - 23:30)   New crossing at the end of the long bridge in Shekou, good option instead of the ferry

And the two sea ports:

  • Shekou (see article about Shenzhen Ferry )
  • Fuyong passenger terminals.

If you need to cross the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen after midnight, you only have one option: the 24-hours border crossing at HuangGang custom. 

Hong Kong
Subway Shenzhen
HongKong MTR
 Luohu  Lo Wu 06:30 - 00:00 Shenzhen Line 1 (06:30 - 23:00), station LuoHu,  extends to Shenzhen Airport in 2011 MTR East Rail Line last stop (Lo Wu)
connects to KowLoon (about 42 minutes / ~33HK$)
Shenzhen Rail Station, many busses / taxis
 HuangGang  Lok Ma Chau 24 hours
Busses & cars to Hong Kong Airport
 Futian  Lok Ma Chau 06:30 - 22:30 Shenzhen Line 4 (06:30 - 23:00), station Futian Custom,
 exchange to line 1 at Exhibition Center
MTR East Rail Line to Lok Ma Chau station (from Hung Hom) ?
 Shenzhen Bay
 Shenzhen Wan 06:30 - 23:30  - -
Cars to Hong Kong Airport

There is some confusion about the names HuangGang and the Cantonese name Lok Ma Chau.
  • Lok Ma Chau will normally mean the HuangGang/Lok Ma Chau 24-hours border crossing. But it's also the name of the MTR railway station at the border crossing with Futian custom!
  • HuangGuang will normally mean the same 24-hours border crossing, but it also used to refer to the last station of Shenzhen's line 2 subway at the Futian border crossing. Note that this has been changed into Futian Custom subway stop, so it makes more sense now.

The new Futian Checkpoint border crossing, less well-known than HuangGang or LuoHu. Many locals use this one to buy stuff in Hong Kong.

HuangGang border, as seen from the Shenzhen side. The footbridge is a restricted area and inside the building are the queues for the passport checks. Where we are standing are many bus-stops and is also a taxi-stand. Here you can also buy tickets for luxury cars that drive you (and your luggage) directly to Hong Kong Airport. On the other side, after the passport check, you can immediately find many busses to Hong Kong. When you get in the bus, you will only drive a few minutes and then you need to get off, to go to the Hong Kong side of the passport checks.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 January 2011 )
Shenzhen airlines

Shenzhen airlines is a Chinese budget airline that flies from Shenzhen airport in Bao'an district. Shenzhen airlines currently flies to most Chinese cities and some international destinations in Asia (Hong Kong, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka,Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Seoul, Jakarta).

The airline’s first Shenzhen-Bangkok flight took off from the Shenzhen airport late on the 1st of April 2009, spearheading the expansion of an air network planned to cover most Asian countries.  A round-trip tickets to Bangkok costs 700 yuan (US$102) according to a spokesman. Seven routes to Singapore, Hanoi in Vietnam, Sabah in Malaysia, Phuket in Thailand, Manila in the Philippines, Phnom Penh in Cambodia and Dhaka in Bangladesh will be launched in 2009, while five more routes to cities including Jarkata, Siem Reap and Busan will begin in 2010. In 2011, the network will expand to four other cities such as Tokyo, New Delhi and Jeju Island in South Korea. (source )

Shenzhen Airlines website




Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 April 2009 )
Shenzhen Ferry

Via Shekou, Shenzhen is connected by fast ferry connections to Zhuhai, Macau, Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong Kowloon and Hong Kong Island (Central). Currently there is a lot of construction work going on near the Pier in Shenzhen because of the extension of the Metro system.


Shekou haven


Last Updated ( Monday, 02 February 2009 )
Shenzhen Bus

There are many buses in the city and all connections are good, but bus signs are only in the Chinese (no pinyin). Without a good map of Shenzhen or without speaking Chinese it is very difficult to use the bus. Buses are often overcrowded during rush hours. Depending on the type of bus (new air-conditioning buses are most expensive) and the distance it costs between 1 and 6 yuan.

Update:  since the start of 2008 it is possible to use a special transport card (for sale in the subway) for ALL busses in Shenzhen. You first need to save for example 100Y in the card. When you take the bus, there are two possibilities:

- some busses have a fixed fare rate. In those busses you need to 'beep' your card in the front of the bus.

- all other busses have variable rates. In these busses a ticket lady will ask you where you want to go. Make sure you know the name of the stop in Chinese! She carries a portable scanner and you need to hold out your transport card so she can 'beep' it. 

tip: be very careful of your posessions in crowded buses or at bus stops. Thiefs often try to strike here! 


Finding the bus number; there is no English language website to lookup busnumbers I believe, but there is a very good Chinese website that is relatively new: Also see my Shenzhen map page for more information about chachaba.


Inside a Shenzhen bus. Normally the busses have two lcd screens and the seats have enough leg-space.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 January 2011 )
Shenzhen Taxi

Taxi's in Shenzhen are relatively expensive with a starting fee of 10¥ (+2RMB fuel charge). Taxi's are separated in three different classes by their color: red taxi's are allowed to operate everywhere in Shenzhen, green taxis only outside the Special Economical Zone and yellow taxi's only inside the SEZ.

tip: pay attention that you don't get fake money from the taxi drivers! If possible, pay exact or small money so you will not get a fake bill of 50 yuan back! Also make sure the taxi-driver starts the meter; sometimes they refuse to do so. Just get out and take the next taxi.  

After you pay, you also need to ask for the invoice (which is printed automatically when the car stops and the driver puts the 'available' sign up again).


Since 2010 Shenzhen also has several new environmental friendly electronic e-taxis. On the left you can see the traditional red taxis, and the new e-taxi besides it. It's actually a BYD E6 car. In the beginning we saw very few of them, but the number is definitely increasing as we now see them almost every day.
Last Updated ( Monday, 10 January 2011 )
Shenzhen Metro Subway

Since 2004 Shenzhen also has a modern metro-system and major extensions are planned for 2011 and beyond. The metro consists currently of fives lines (three lines are operational, but parts are under construction):

  1. Luobao Line : Line One runs between the Luohu Border Checkpoint via Windows of the World (Shi Jie Zhi Chuang) and Shenzhen University to Shenzhen Airport, from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. It operates at 6-minute frequency during rush hours and up-to-11-minute frequencies at other times. The extension to Shenzhen airport was completed June 2011 and is operational.
  2. Shekou Line : Line two from Shekou (including the Ferry terminal) to Window of the World has been finished and is operational as of 28 December 2010. Currently it runs from 07:30 to 19:30
  3. Longgang Line : Under construction (in 2010): Old Street to Longgang
  4. Longhua Line: Line Four runs from Huang Gang via Children's Palace (Shao Nian Gong) to Qinghu. It operates at 8-minute frequency from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  5. Huanzhong Line : Under construction (in 2010): Shenzhen West Railway Station to Tangkeng

Before you take the metro, you have to buy either a precharged subway card or a one-time use green token. The ticket vending machines are all bilingual and are very easy to use with touch-screens. You simply press your destination and insert money. The maximum fare is currently 5Y for one way Luohu to Window of the World. The metro is a very fast, clean and safe way to travel in Shenzhen. 

update december 2010: add information new metro fares + opening Shekou line 28 december 2010
update june 2011: more lines opened, just in time for the Universiade! Shenzhen Airport is now connected to downtown Shenzhen via metro. Great news!


Subway station at Coco Park - very clean and modern and also English signs
Inside subway Shenzhen
Inside subway in Shenzhen. On the right top, barely visible, is the electronic route map.
Last Updated ( Friday, 22 July 2011 )
Shenzhen train

The main trainstation of Shenzhen (called Shenzhen Railway Station)  is in Luohu district near the border with Hong Kong. It has regular services to Guangzhou  and long-distance trains to Beijing,  Shanghai, Jiujiang, Maoming, Shantou and other destinations. Also to Hong Kong there are several trains leaving at the crossing near Luo Wu. It takes about 40 minutes by train to the center of Hong Kong and the price is about 37HK$. The trainstation has only six lines and is extremely crowded at peak times such as Chinese New Year. 

You can take the metro to Luohu (end of line 1 / LuoBao). Then you exit the metro station (exit D) and you will easily see the train station and the ticket counters.

The second railway station (Shenzhen Xi) is in Nanshan District and is mainly used for a smaller number of long-distance routes.



Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 July 2011 )
Shenzhen Airport

Although most foreign visitors to Shenzhen fly to Hong Kong or Guangzhou, Shenzhen also has an international airport.  Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport (code SZX) is situated in Bao'an district, a little more than 30 km from the city center of Shenzhen. The airport was opened in 1991 and has148 Chinese and 11 international destinations. Over 10 million passengers use the airport yearly and there is a ferry connection with HK International Airport so people can transfer flights without having to check-in again. Shenzhen's airport is the fourth airport of mainland China (after Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing) and is the 81st in the world for passengers and 37th for cargo traffic.



tip! Always take your passport when you travel to the airport, since you will leave the city border. Even though nowadays the police does not check often anymore, there is still a chance they will check busses when you enter the city border.


Last Updated ( Friday, 05 August 2011 )
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