Hong Kong, located on the coast of southern China, is easily accessible from Shanghai on the mainland. A tourist visa may be required to travel from China to Hong Kong, which has separate immigration and customs procedures. Depending on your country of citizenship and your itinerary, you may be eligible to travel in Hong Kong visa-free for seven to 180 days.
Once in Hong Kong, it's best to hire a driver so you can ride comfortably and go at your own pace, but more adventurous travelers may find Hong Kong's bustling subway and ferry system very efficient for moving about Hong Kong.
Duration: 2 hours and 45 minutes
Flying affords the quickest travel time between Shanghai and Hong Kong, but by the time you factor in security screening and travel time to and from each airport and potential flight delays, it's easier and more reliable to take the train.
There are more than two dozen nonstop daily flights from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, just 8 miles (13 km) west of the city center, and the busier Shanghai Pudong International Airport, which is 18 miles (30 km) to the east, to Hong Kong International Airport.
Duration: 8.5 hours to 19 hours
More than RMB220 billion was spent to build China's high-speed rail system (gāotiě)—the largest in the world—which makes it an enticing option (though much slower than flying). Each day, only one high-speed train travels up to 186 mph (299 kph) along the 1,237-mile (1,990-km) route from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Hong Kong West Kowloon Station. Second class, first class and business class seats are available for passengers who wish to take the scenic route.
A much slower classic sleeper train option is available from Shanghai Railway Station to Hong Kong's Hung Hom Station, but it's a long, 19-hour journey that departs every other day. The options on the slower train include soft sleeper, hard sleeper, and superior soft sleeper.
Once passengers arrive in Hong Kong, they clear customs and immigration for both China and Hong Kong from within the train station. Most trains have a food serving counter or dining car, and local trains have snack carts with similar items that can be found at convenience stores in and around the train stations.
If you decide to take the night train and book a hard bed option, don't be surprised if you wander off to the restroom or dining car and return to your door-less cabin to find other passengers sitting on the foot of your bed or even curled up in your lower berth bed Booking a soft sleeper (there are four beds in each cabin) or the superior soft sleeper (there are two beds in each cabin) is more comfortable and secure as there is a door that locks. In the morning, music is played to wake travelers up and welcome them to Hong Kong.