Published on:
June 26, 2018

by: Guest

Guest Post: A Day Trip to Hong Kong, from Shenzhen

Hong Kong is a fascinating and unique part of China. A former colony of the British empire with a rich and traditional Southern Chinese history and culture, has made Hong Kong a fascinating fusion of East and West, and a must see destination for those living across China. It’s easily accessible, with cheap flights from the North and short train journeys from the South. Our Shenzhen blogger, Zoe, tells us all about her recent journey to this dynamic territory of China.

I love Hong Kong!


When I was deciding where in China I wanted to teach, proximity to Hong Kong was a huge factor in my decision. I had already been given the opportunity to spend three fantastic weeks in Hong Kong while taking part in a study-abroad program and I knew that three weeks was not enough for me. Hong Kong is easily my favourite city in the world; it has a fusion of East and West that is entirely unique and difficult to explain. I feel like you have to come to the city yourself in order tounderstand it.

Luckily for me, visiting Hong Kong from Shenzhen is an absolute breeze. I live in Western
Shenzhen, which is reasonably far from most of the border crossing checkpoints and I can still be
in New Territories in less than two hours. There are many options to get there from Shenzhen and
they are all relatively easy. You can take a ferry, bus, coach, taxi or metro and it is unlikely to take
you more than two hours unless you are caught in some really bad traffic. I personally prefer to
cross at Futian Checkpoint, which is considered one of the quieter crossing points compared to
Luohu or Huanggang which are the main crossings for tourists or those taking onward travel to
the airport.

A Quick Weekend Break


This weekend, I took a quick day trip to Hong Kong. Although my friends and I had to cut our trip
a little short due to bad weather but we still managed to make it down to the harbour. As much as
I enjoy going to Hong Kong Island, I prefer to stand in Kowloon (Tsim Tsa Tsui) as you get a
wonderful view of the old harbours coupled with the high rise towers and business districts.
Unfortunately, the weather was to unpredictable to go out onto the water this weekend, despite
the photos showing a wonderful blue sky which just as quickly turned into thunder and torrential
downpours, but I love riding the Star Ferry to get a wonderful view of both TsT and Hong Kong
Island at the same time.

As we were forced to seek cover from the rain pretty fast, we headed back towards Shenzhen
fairly quickly and back into New Territories. My favourite areas of Hong Kong are in New
Territories; I love the small coffee shops and independent stores dotted around the area there. We
managed to get some fantastic dim sum (or yumcha) which is absolute must if you find yourself in
Hong Kong. Wash it down with a milk tea and you’ve easily ticked off two of the must-do things in
the harbour.

Epic Shopping in Hong Kong


It is also worth mentioning the shopping opportunities in Hong Kong. Sure, Shenzhen has plenty
of shopping malls and you can even buy many Western brands there but it is so much better in
Hong Kong. There are many more options available out here (you can imagine my excitement as a
British woman spotting Marks and Spencer’s) and also next to no sales tax, so things are often
way cheaper than at home or even in China! The best part? If you have a Chinese Union Pay bank
card, you can use it in any stores or in ATMS and pay a very reasonable exchange fee.
Now, I’ve discovered how easy it is to get to Hong Kong from my little piece of Shenzhen, it’s
getting particularly hard to restrain myself from wanting to visit during all of my free time. I
certainly know where I will be this summer!

How do I travel from Shenzhen to Hong Kong?


I rarely ever cross at the other checkpoints, so here is a brief outline on how easy it is to cross at
Futian Checkpoint. You can get there from almost anywhere in Shenzhen just by taking the metro.
When you cross at Hong Kong, you can easily transfer to the Hong Kong MTR. I even own a
metro card which allows me to travel in both Hong Kong and Shenzhen MTR/metro services just
by topping up both currencies in stations either side of the border. It’s incredibly easy; you literally
step off the Shenzhen Metro at Futian Checkpoint, cross the border by walking across the glass
bridge and get on the MTR at Lok Ma Chau. If you are crossing from Shenzhen into Hong Kong,
most countries do not need a visa to stay in Hong Kong for a maximum of 30 days as a tourist. If
you are crossing from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, you will need a visa or residency permit as a
teacher. You can buy visas at the border, but it is not recommended as it’s often cheaper and
more convenient to just buy one from the consulate in your home country. When crossing, you will
need to pass through both Mainland China and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
(HKSAR) border controls, but as long as you have your passport and other documents, you will
have no trouble. Futian Checkpoint is one of my preferred checkpoints because it has foreigner
designated lines at the Mainland China side, meaning that if there is any issues, you will be
speaking with an immigration officer who can speak English. Also, our queues are often the
shortest to cross and I have been able to cross in as little as twenty minutes before.

Hong Kong is located in close proximity to many Opportunity China partner schools. Make sure you check out our city guides to find your dream location in China, and how best you can reach destinations like Hong Kong! Check out Jobs in the South of China near Hong Kong on our Job Board today.

Zoe is part of the February 2018 Teach China Graduate Program. Learn more about the program and how to apply here.


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