Took a trip to Guangzhou to visit the humongous Canton Fair event, which is held in April and October each year. I haven’t been up to Guangzhou in a while so it was nice to get out of Hong Kong and visit for a day. While there are a few methods to get up to Guangzhou, bus, train via Shenzhen, and direct train, I decided on the direct train.
Officially the Hung Hom – Guangzhou East train is called the MTR intercity passenger service. The journey takes exactly two hours with a stop in Dongguan. If you take the train without the stop in Dongguan, it’ll shave 10 minutes off the travel time.
I find this method the easiest in terms of convenience, since immigration is done at both ends, similar to the airport. There is no need to stop at the border for immigration checks. Also, the immigration lines are shorter than the border generally, since there’s only one train.
While more expensive than the other options, I still find it reasonable at $190 HKD each way for first class. There is a more expensive $230 HKD premium class if you take the MTR operated trains. Tickets can be bought at Hung Hom Station, from the MTR website, or other outlets like China Travel Service.
There are two train operators on this route; MTR and China railways. The MTR trains are designated with a “KTT” on the timetables. In the past the China trains were a bit tired and drab, but they’ve since replaced them with new trains. Don’t let the exterior fool you, it looks the same boring white, but inside is nice and comfy. I suggest using the toilet before you board, since it’s a hole in the ground on the mainland trains (aka squatter style.)
MTR suggests you arrive at the train station 45 minutes before departure, but you can arrive later and still make the train. I suggest 30 minutes. In Guangzhou East station there’s a large number of immigration counters at departure, and they don’t differentiate if you’re a Chinese National or foreigner; on the HK side they do separate HK residents at departure and arrival.
Lastly, just keep in mind that this train terminates at Guangzhou East station in TianHe, not Guangzhou station which is in the old city. There is a Metro station at Guangzhou East, and taxi stand for you to get to your final destination. It’s about 35-40RMB if traveling to the old Guangzhou railway station.