Hong Kong to Beijing by high-speed train
 

Bullet to Beijing...  Hong Kong West Kowloon to Beijing by high-speed train at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).

Full details of how to buy tickets.  For other Chinese train routes & a beginner's guide to train travel in China, see the Train Travel in China page...

Kowloon to Beijing, 1,516 miles in 8h56...

The Hong Kong high-speed rail link opened on 23 September 2018, and it's now possible to travel between Hong Kong & Beijing in a single day.  A daily bullet-nosed Fuxing train covers the 2,441 km or 1,516 miles in a remarkable 8h56 - that's an end-to-end average of 168 mph including 6 station stops.  You experience China's impressive new high-speed rail network while you take in the scenery, catch up on your reading and enjoy a beer or two from the bar car.  The high-speed rail link from Hong Kong to China is jointly operated by Chinese Railways Guangzhou division and MTR (the Hong Kong transit company), although the train to Beijing is run by the Chinese.

  Train times

  How much does it cost?

  How to buy tickets

  Boarding at Hong Kong West Kowloon

  What is the high-speed train like?

  What's the journey like?

  Travel tips:  Luggage, food & drink, WiFi...

  Video guide:  Hong Kong to Beijing by high-speed train

  Hotels in Hong Kong & Beijing

  Other train & ferry services from Hong Kong

Train times northbound...

 Hong Kong ► Beijing

 

Every day

 Train number:

G80

 Hong Kong West Kowloon depart

08:05  day 1

 Beijing West arrive

17:01  day 1

In Hong Kong, the station is Hong Kong West Kowloon Terminus, the new high-speed train terminal which opened in 2018.  See map of Hong Kong showing station location.  You should arrive at least 45 minutes before the train leaves to complete Hong Kong & mainland China border formalities.

Border formalities when leaving Hong Kong:  Hong Kong & Chinese border formalities take place at Hong Kong West Kowloon station before you board the train.  You should arrive at the station at least 45 minutes before your train, although I found we were through formalities and waiting in the departure lounge a mere 15 minutes after entering the station.  It might take longer at busy times!  On arrival in Beijing there are no further formalities, you just walk out of the station.

Train times southbound...

 Beijing ► Hong Kong

 

Every day

 Train number:

G79

 Beijing West depart

10:00  day 1

 Hong Kong West Kowloon arrive

18:58  day 1

In Beijing the station is Beijing West (Beijing Xi in Chinese), see map of Beijing showing stations.  You should arrive at the station in good time (perhaps 20-30 minutes before departure) as there's a baggage X-ray check when entering the station, but there is no check-in as such.

Border formalities when travelling towards Hong Kong:   There are no formalities to go through before boarding the train in Beijing, other than the usual ticket check and X-ray baggage scan which you should expect when entering any Chinese station, whether mainline or metro.  Beijing West is a big place so don't cut it fine, but turning up 20-30 minutes before your train is sufficient.  Hong Kong & Chinese border formalities take place at Hong Kong West Kowloon station after the train arrives.  You take the lifts or escalators from the platform on Level B4 up to Level B2 where you go through mainland China passport control, mainland China customs (another X-ray bag check!) and then Hong Kong passport control.  It took me just 25 minutes to pass through Chinese exit & Hong Kong entry formalities from the time my train arrived to the time I walked out of Hong Kong West Kowloon station into Austin MTR metro station, although at very busy times it could take up to an hour.

How much does it cost?

 Fares

 One-way per person

2nd class

1st class

Business class

 Beijing - Hong Kong

RMB 1077 ($157)

RMB 1724 ($252)

RMB 3369 ($491)

How to buy tickets...

Alternatively, take a sleeper between Hong Kong & Beijing...

There's also a classic sleeper train from Hong Kong's Hung Hom station to Beijing West every second day taking around 24 hours, and if you don't mind a change of train at Shenzhen or Guangzhou South, a high-speed sleeper option that is the most time-effective of all as you can leave in the evening and arrive in the morning, sleeping in a comfy bed on board the train.  They're both cheaper than the high-speed day train.  You'll find these options explained on the Train travel from Hong Kong page.

Hong Kong West Kowloon station...

If you arrive on foot, you enter at ground level (Level G).  Most of the station is underground.

Hong Kong West Kowloon station, at ground level

Ticketing & departures concourse...

One floor down from ground level is Level B1, the Ticketing & Departures Concourse.  If you arrive by taxi, there's a taxi drop-off at this level.  If you arrive by metro at Austin MTR station, follow the signs from the metro ticket hall through a short pedestrian tunnel sloping gently upwards directly into this level.  Levels G, B1 & B2 curve around a vast atrium, the photo below is taken from Level B1.

On Level B1 you'll find the ticket counters, the entrance to departures, ticket machines, shops & cafes.  The level below, B2, is for arrivals.  The seats you can see at the bottom of the atrium are the departure lounge on Level B3 where you wait for your train to board.  The platforms & trains are underground on level B4.

Inside Hong Kong West Kowloon station

Ticket collection...

On the Ticketing & Departures Concourse Level B1 there is a row of 28 ticket counters, see the photo below.  Window 1 is on the left, window 28 is on the right.  All ticket counters are clearly marked with their purpose, with an efficient queuing line.  It can easily change, but at the time of writing:

On this quiet February day (even at the tail end of the Chinese Spring Holiday) there were no queues at these counters and collecting tickets only took a minute or two.  But it may be busier in summer or at peak holiday times, feedback is always appreciated.

Ignore the self-service ticket machines, meaning both the many MTR machines and the machines signed 12306.cn (the name of the Chinese Railways official website).  These only work for sales or collection if you have a Hong Kong or Mainland China ID card, which most visitors won't.  You will need to go to a staffed counter.

Hong Kong West Kowloon station ticket counters

The row of ticketing counters.  This photo shows counter 16 on the left & counter 28 at far right.  The vast station atrium is behind me.  If I turned slightly to my right you'd see the entrance to departures...

Ticket collection for Chinese tickets   Ticket collection for MTR tickets

Counters 6-10, marked as for collection of tickets booked via the Chinese Railways ticketing system...

 

Counters 21-25, clearly marked as for collection of tickets from Hong kong booked via the MTR ticketing system...

Customs & immigration on departure from Hong Kong...

You should get to the station for boarding at least 45 minutes before the departure of your train.

The entrance to departures is clearly marked on Level B1, see the photo below - if I swung the camera to the left you'd see the ticketing counters.  The atrium is behind me.  At the entrance a member of staff checks you have a valid ticket, then a few metres further on you put your ticket through an automatic ticket gate.

You then put your bags through an X-ray baggage scan and walk through the metal detector.  It's much quicker than at an airport, there's no fumbling with laptops or large plastic boxes, no removal of belts or shoes, you literally just place your bag directly on the conveyor and pick it up on the other side, it takes a minute or two.

You now descend the escalators or use the lifts to Level B3.

Hong Kong West Kowloon station departures entrance

On Level B3 you first go through the Hong Kong passport check.  There are automatic passport gates, these worked just fine with a UK passport.

You then walk on over the broad yellow line on the floor marking where Hong Kong authority changes to mainland China. 

Now comes the mainland China passport check.  There are one or two separate counters for foreigner visitors.  On this February day there was no queue, I was through in a minute or two once my passport had been checked and my face and fingerprints scanned and confirmed.

Immediately after the mainland China passport check there's yet another baggage X-ray, this time for mainland China customs.

You emerge into the departure lounge with plenty of seating in the bottom of the vast atrium, see the photo below.  On this occasion the whole process took 15 minutes from entering Departures on Level B1 to sitting in the departure lounge on Level B4, but it can take longer at busy times.

Hong Kong West Kowloon station departure lounge

Business lounge...

If you have a business class ticket you can use the business lounge.  This means going up one level by lift to Level B2, but it's clearly marked. Your ticket is checked at the reception desk.  The lounge is spacious but rather empty, those windows overlook the main departure lounge below.  I was offered a nice cup of Chinese tea, but there are few other benefits.  You return to level B3 when boarding starts...

Hong Kong West Kowloon business lounge

Boarding the train...

Your ticket may show the boarding gate number at top right, mine showed Gate 7B.  The gates are located at either end of the departure lounge, all clearly signed.  The platforms are numbered 4 to 18.  Platforms 4-9 are long enough to take 16-car trains, platforms 10-18 only long enough for 8-car trains.  The 'A' gates are at the southern end of each platform, for boarding 8-car trains or the rear 8 cars of a 16-car train.  The 'B' gates are at the northern end of platforms 4-9 for boarding the front 8 cars of a 16-car train.

Boarding starts 10-20 minutes before departure.  Your ticket is checked at the gate, either by staff or by putting it through an automatic gate.  You then go down an escalator or in a lift to the platform on Level B4.

Boarding train G80 to Beijing   Train G80 to Beijing boarding at Hong Kong West Kowloon

Boarding the rear of train G80 to Beijing at Gate 7A...

 

Platform 7, train G80 to Beijing is good to go......

Train G80 from Hong Kong to Beijing, at West Kowloon

The business end of train G80 to Beijing, ready to leave Hong Kong West Kowloon.

What is the high-speed train like?

The G80 and it's southbound equivalent the G79 are operated by 16-car CR400AF Fuxing (revival) high-speed trains.  These are the world's fastest passenger trains, designed for up to 400 km/h and operating in service at up to 350 km/h (217 mph), although you're unlikely to exceed 300 km/h (186 mph) on this route.  The train has 2nd class, 1st class & business class plus a small cafe counter selling Chinese tea, coffee, beer, snacks & microwaved hot dishes.  Unlike some other Chinese high-speed trains there are no sit-down cafe tables, just the serving counter.

The Hong Kong to Beijing train G80 at Guangzhounan

The G80 from Hong Kong to Beijing, stopped briefly at Guangzhou South...

2nd class seats on the Hong-Kong to Beijing train   First class seats on the Hong-Kong to Beijing train

2nd class seats are arranged 3+2 across the car width.  Perfectly comfortable if you're on a budget, but not much space per person, especially if you get a middle seat.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats are in cars 2, 15 & 16, arranged 2+2 across the car width.  There's a power socket for each pair of seats in the seat base.  The extra space is well worth the extra money.  Larger photo.

Business class seats on the Hong-Kong to Beijing train   Business class seat reclined

Business class seats are arranged 2+1 across the car width, except for the pair of seats immediately behind the driving cab at each end of the train where the train body tapers, where seats are 1+1 across the car width.  On this 16-car CR400AF-A train, the whole of car 1 is business class, and there's also a small 5-seat business class area at other end of the train in car 16, seen here.  Car 1 is normally at the rear & car 16 at the front when going north to Beijing, car 1 at the front & car 16 at the rear when heading south to Hong Kong.  The seats recline electrically and become a flat bed at the touch of a button, a blanket & cushion are supplied.  Each seat has a power socket.  The fare includes one hot tray meal (pictured below right) and a steady stream of Chinese tea, coffee, apple juice, orange juice or soft drinks.  You'll also get a complimentary box of strange Chinese biscuits & sweets.  There's a VIP lounge for business class passengers at Beijing West & Hong Kong West Kowloon.  Business class is expensive even by western standards, but if you can stretch that far it's well worth it.  Click the images for larger photos...

Business class seat controls   Business class meal

Business class seat controls - Business class seats fold fully flat & a blanket is provided...

 

Business class meal.  In 1st or 2nd class you can buy these meals from the trolley or the buffet car.

Buffet car on the Hong Kong to Beijing train   Hot water dispenser   Luggage on the Hong Kong to Beijing train

Buffet in car 9 - the small serving counter is just round the corner.  There are no tables.

 

Boiling water dispenser in each car for tea, coffee, noodles.

 

Luggage just goes on the racks...

What's the journey like?

This is a 1,516 mile journey right across China, exclusively using China's massive and expanding high-speed rail network.  The impressive scale of this network and of the vast high-speed rail stations in these cities needs to be seen to be appreciated...

The train from Hong Kong to Beijing arrives at Shenzhenbei station

The first part from Hong Kong West Kowloon to the Chinese border is underground, with speed limited to 200 km/h.  The train emerges into daylight at the border and soon afterwards calls at the massive new Shenzhenbei (Shenzhen North) station, pictured above...

Scenery between Hong Kong & Guangzhou

Once in China the train keeps up a steady 300 km/h (186 mph), stopping at 6 major cities between Kowloon & Beijing for just a few minutes each. 

Scenery between Hong Kong & Guangzhou

You really get a feel for how fast China is developing...

Train G80 Hong Kong to Beijing at Guangzhou South

Just 50 minutes after leaving Kowloon - a 2 hour journey by classic train - the G80 arrives into Guangzhou's enormous South station...

Scenery from the Hong Kong to Beijing train

After Guangzhou you'll see plenty of rural valleys and rice fields in southern China - although it somehow never becomes as deeply rural as you might expect.

Scenery from the Hong Kong to Beijing train

With a succession of valleys and tunnels, this is perhaps the most scenic part of the trip...

Misty mountain scenery from the Hong Kong to Beijing train

...on this February day the hills were shrouded in mist.

Rural scenery from the Hong Kong to Beijing train

Villages, towns, industry, endless half-finished construction sites...

Changsha South station

The train calls at Changsha South station, with another CR400A Fuxing on the other side of the platform...

Flatlands in northern China

In contrast to the hills & valleys down south, you'll now see mile after mile of flatlands further north towards Beijing.  In many fields you'll see one or more strange piles of stones looking like graves - which is exactly what they are.  Traditional field graves can be seen dotted across rural China, which can't make ploughing or planting any easier.

The G80 train enters Beijing West station

Entering Beijing West station, with a classic green-and-yellow sleeper train leaving from a far track...

Arrival at Beijing...

There are no formalities to go through on arrival at Beijing West (Beijing Xi in Chinese) as these were all done in Hong Kong.  Just remember to keep your ticket as you need to leave the station through automatic ticket gates.  Also be prepared for yet another baggage X-ray at the entrance to the metro - but you'll soon get used to this in China!

Train G80 from Hong Kong at Beijing Xi

The G80 arrives at Beijing West, 1,516 miles from Hong Kong - and on this occasion 17 minutes late.  On the right is a CRH380A, of the sort used between Beijing & Xian...

Train G80 from Hong Kong arrived at Beijing West

All change!

Ticket gates at exit from Beijing West station   Beijing West station

Keep your ticket for the exit gates...

 

Beijing West station, south square side...

Travel tips:  Luggage, food, power sockets...

Video guide:  Hong Kong to Beijing by train...


Suggested hotels...

In Hong Kong:  The famous Peninsula Hotel, check prices & book...

The oldest and most famous hotel in Hong Kong is undoubtedly the venerable 5-star Peninsula Hotel, opened in 1928.  Used as HQ by the Japanese in WW2, it was in this hotel that the governor of Hong Kong surrendered to Japanese forces on 25 December 1941.  For more about the history of the hotel see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Peninsula_Hong_Kong.  The Peninsula charges 5-star prices and might be outside many travellers' budget, but afternoon tea in the grand lobby has become something of an institution and costs rather less than a room!  The hotel is located in Kowloon, 5 minutes walk from the Star Ferry terminal, one stop on the MTR metro from Austin (for Hong Kong West Kowloon High Speed Rail Terminal) and 17 minutes walk from Hung Hom station from where the conventional trains to China leave.  You also get superb views across Hong Kong Harbour from the huge glass viewing windows at the Felix bar & restaurant on the 28th floor of the tower at the rear, although at almost 10 for a beer it's not cheap.  Check prices & book the Peninsula Hotel.  Tip:  Ask for a room in the original 1928 building at the front if history matters to you, as half the rooms are now in a modern tower at the rear opened in 1994, just visible in the background in the photo below right, rising above the old building.

Room at the Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong   The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong

An immaculate room at the Peninsula...

 

The Peninsula Hotel, decorated for Chinese New Year...

In Beijing:  Beijing Hotel Nuo Forbidden City, check prices & book...

The Beijing Hotel Nuo Forbidden City dates from 1917, making it one of the oldest hotels in Beijing, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beijing_Hotel.  It's superbly located just a few minutes walk along the main road to Tiananmen Square and the entrance to the Forbidden City, and 3 minutes walk from Wanfujing Metro Station.  Service is excellent and the colonial-style rooms spacious.  An extensive breakfast buffet is served in the modern extension behind the main building.  The hotel was originally Block B of the Beijing Hotel, Block C next door dating from 1954 is now the Beijing Grand Hotel and Block D dating from 1974 retains the name Beijing Hotel and is a state-run hotel.  Tip:  The hotel has some rooms in the original 1917 block and others in the modern block behind, ask for a room in the original 1917 building.

Beijing Nuo Hotel lobby   Beijing Nuo Hotel Landmark Room.

A cheaper option, still with good reviews and reasonable location, try the Pentahotel Beijing.  It's informal, comfortable, and walking distance from Beijing Railway station - although you're better off taking a taxi if you have luggage.  There's a bar and noodle bar downstairs.


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