Travel to Hong Kong
Flying to Hong Kong
Airlines offering direct flights to Hong Kong from the UK include British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic. Cathay Pacific operates direct flights from the USA. You can bag cheap flights to Hong Kong if you book early, but airfares tend to rocket and seats are tricky to find in the fortnight before Christmas and Chinese New Year. The same applies to the end of March when the Rugby Sevens are held in Hong Kong.
From London - 12 hours; New York - 16 hours; Los Angeles - 15 hours 30 minutes; Toronto - 15 hours 45 minutes; Sydney - 9 hours 15 minutes.
Travel by road
Hong Kong traffic drives on the left and the minimum age for driving is 18 years. Routes are designated by a number (such as Route 1, the main expressway route to China, or Route 3, from Hong Kong Island).
Speed limits are 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas, 70/80kph (43/50mph) outside built-up areas, 100kph (62mph) on expressways, and 110kph (68mph) on the North Lantau Highway. An International Driving Permit is recommended, although not legally required. A valid national driving licence is accepted for up to 12 months. Third-party insurance is compulsory.
The Hong Kong Automobile Association - HKAA (tel: +852 3583 3618; www.hkaa.com.hk) can provide more information.
Emergency breakdown services
HKAA (tel: +852 9080 9843).
The most accessible places you can drive to are Lantau Island (for the airport) and Guangzhou. Although there is no theoretical reason not to drive to and from the mainland, few visitors do.
There are bus and coach links to destinations on the Chinese mainland. Citybus (tel: +853 2873 0818; www.nwstbus.com.hk) and CTS (tel: +852 2998 7888; www.ctshk.com) offer coach services to Guangzhou and Shenzhen, departing from the China Hong Kong City Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, and other pick-up points, including the Island Shangri-La Hotel in Admiralty.
Time to city
From Lantau Island - 30 minutes; Guangzhou - 3 hours.
Travel by Rail
MTR runs the railways leading north from Hung Hom, Kowloon. Immigration facilities and baggage inspection are handled before boarding; passengers are asked to arrive 45 minutes before departure.
Hong Kong Station, located in the International Finance Centre Mall, Exchange Square, Central, serves the MTR Airport Express link. Passengers wishing to connect to the mainland rail lines must cross to Hung Hom by MTR or ferry.
Local MTR trains run daily to Lo Wu (the last stop before the Chinese border). It is possible to then cross the border to Shenzhen (the first city in China over the border) with a visa for China.
MTR (tel: +852 2881 8888; www.mtr.com.hk, for local trains or www.it3.mtr.com.hk, for international trains) operates a regular service from Hung Hom to Dongguan (Changping) and Guangzhou East. There is also a service from Hung Hom to Foshan and Zhaoqing. Besides the express service from Kowloon to Guangzhou, there are direct express links on alternate days to Beijing and Shanghai, as well as sleeper trains and stopping services to many other Chinese cities.
From Hung Hom: Dongguan (Changping) - 1 hour 15 minutes; Guangzhou East - 2 hours; Foshan - 3 hours; Zhaoqing - 4 hours; Shanghai - 19 hours; Beijing - 24 hours.
Travel by boat
The Port of Hong Kong, Victoria Harbour, is situated between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. It is a major global maritime hub, and is administered by the Marine Department of the Government of Hong Kong (tel: +852 2542 3711; www.mardep.gov.hk).
Hong Kong harbour's Ocean Terminal (tel: +852 2118 8951; www.oceanterminal.com.hk), situated on Kowloon, is a major cruise destination, able to accommodate the largest liners. The terminal contains 24-hour customs and immigration services, left luggage, banks and bureaux de change. The facilities at the adjacent Harbour City mall are extensive and include banking, duty-free shops, department stores, cafés and restaurants.
Some hydrofoil and ferry services (including daily ferries, every half hour to and from Macau depart from China Ferry Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Others depart from the Shun Tak Centre to Macau.
Many cruise lines serve the Port of Hong Kong. Hovercrafts and jet catamarans link Hong Kong Island and Kowloon with Chinese ports in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other neighbouring centres, including Shenzhen Airport. There are also a number of ships sailing to major Chinese ports, although these are less frequent.
TurboJET (tel: +852 2859 3333; www.turbojet.com.hk) runs fast hydrofoils from Hong Kong Island and Kowloon to Macau, from Hong Kong Island to Shenzhen Airport, and from Hong Kong International Airport to Shenzhen Airport, Macau and Guangzhou.
Ships berth at the China Hong Kong City Terminal, in Tsim Sha Tsui. Cruise ships of the Star Line also berth at the Ocean Terminal, giving a superb view of central Hong Kong from arriving boats.