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Overland Kunming to Hong Kong

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This article is an itinerary.


Yunnan and Hong Kong are two of China's more popular tourist areas. This article discusses overland travel between them, passing through another famous area around Guilin.

Understand

South West China is, in some ways, the most exotic area of China, largely populated by various ethnic minorities with interesting handicrafts, languages, folk music and so on. It is also a poor area, relatively cheap to travel in overall.

Some areas have been or are being developed for tourism; there you can expect to find some modern amenities, Western food, English speakers, and (by Chinese standards) high prices. Once you get out of those areas, expect none of the above.

Prepare

Get in

The two end points, Kunming and Hong Kong, both have good air links to various places. See their articles and Discount airlines in Asia for details. Both also have rail connections to the rest of China.

Route

This article does not cover travelling around within Yunnan or near Hong Kong. See those articles and A week near Hong Kong for suggestions.

By Train (2 days / 700+ RMB)

There are two main overland routes betwen Kunming and Guilin:

  • train into Guangxi, with sensational mountain scenery, either stopping at Nanning or going all the way to Guilin
  • train into Guizhou, visit China's biggest waterfall, to Guiyang and Kaili, then by bus through less travelled country to Gulin

From Guilin, continue to the tourist town Yangshuo, then:

Either way, you can reach Hong Kong.


By Plane Ferry (4 hours / 850+ RMB)

The fastest and still cheap way from Kunming to Hong Kong or from Hong Kong to Kunming is by a plane/ferry combination. As most foreigners in China need to get a new visa every 6 or 12 months they are traveling to Hong Kong. It is the only place in the world where you can get such a business / multiple entry visa for bringing a foto and some money.

Kunming - Hong Kong

  • Take the plane from Kunming to Shenzhen (cheapest 650 RMB; normal 850 RMB)
  • Take the free airport bus from Shenzhen airport to Shenzhen airport ferry terminal
  • Take the ferry to Hong Kong Kowloon (about 200 RMB)

That's it. For about 850 RMB you can go to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong

  • Take the ferry from Hong Kong to Shenzhen airport (about 200 RMB)
  • Take the free airport bus to Shenzhen airport
  • Take the plan from Shenzhen to Kunming (about 700 RMB)

A very convenient way to book the ferry and plane ticket together is at the China Travel Service (HK). It is easy to find as it is placed directly in the opposite of the Chunking Mansions in Hong Kong Kowloon where most backpackers like to stay. Turbojet Ferry Schedule

Sleep

Stay safe

These areas are generally quite poor and petty theft is common. Take precautions against pickpockets and watch for things like razor attacks on luggage during bus or train rides.

Armed robbery is rare, but has been reported. Victims are generally lone travellers, often female. Try to stay in a group, especially on treks through isolated areas.

Altitude sickness is a risk in some areas. especially if you go west of Kunming up toward the Himalayas.

Get out

You can fly from Kunming to many major Chinese cities and to some places in Southeast Asia. From Hong Kong, you can fly almost anywhere. See those articles for details.

Both cities are also well connected to the Chinese rail network. From Kunming, the possibilities are:

  • West to Dalian, a popular overnight tourist route.
  • North into Sichuan, heading for Chengdu.
  • Northeast into Guizhou, described in routes above. That train continues on into central China.
  • Southeast into Guangxi, described in routes above.
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