China Travel Service CTS operates an inexpensive bus service between Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Buses ply the route all day long from around 6am to 8pm. The ride takes about 3.5 hours assuming no major delays. It can be convenient as it picks up and drops off at various hotels and points of interest in both cities.
From HK Island to Guangzhou, expect to pay about $100 HKD or from Guangzhou to HK Island about 90 RMB. Subtract about $10 if you’re leaving from Kowloon.
The buses are fairly comfortable for the price and are reddish in color, similar to the one in the picture. Keep in mind there are no toilets on board, only at the border crossings. The bus ride can be very uncomfortable depending on the driver and traffic conditions. In China, drivers like to switch lanes a lot, cut into traffic, honk, etc, so keep this in mind. Also, you’re subject to any traffic conditions. On my last trip back there was an accident on the highway so we were basically stuck in standstill for a whole hour.
Updated schedules and pick-up / drop-off locations are found below:
How it works
You can buy tickets at the departure locations and usually there are seats available for the next bus, unless you’re traveling during a peak period. Bring cash. Arrive at the bus at least ten minutes before departure, they do depart on time and won’t wait even if you plead. If you miss it they’ll usually just put you on the next one.
The buses cross the border at Huang Guang. This border involves getting off / on the bus a few times which adds to the inconvenience of the bus. If coming from Hong Kong, you’ll get off the bus at Huang Guang to go through HK immigration, get on the bus & cross the border to China, get off the bus and go through China immigration, get on the bus to Guangzhou. Reverse this if coming from China, so you have to actually get on/off buses 3 times in total.
Also be on the lookout for the CTS representatives when walking through the border. They make need to give you a ticket or direct you to the correct onward bus. You’re supposed to wear these small colored stickers so they can spot you, but when I went through the border they were too busy chatting so I wasted some time trying to figure out what I needed to do.
In general, I recommend the train over the bus. The train isn’t subject to delays as much, immigration is easy, and the ride is smoother. But if you decide to go via bus it’s certainly still doable.