Overland Kunming to Hong Kong
- This article is an itinerary.
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.
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.
Kunming to Nanning
From Kunming, you can take a train through sensational mountain scenery, to the provincial capital Nanning, the capital of Guangxi. From Nanning, it is a short trip by bus or train to tourist center Guilin.
There are also flights possible to both Nanning and Guilin from most major cities in China.
To Guilin via Guizhou
From Kunming, you can travel either by train or bus into Guizhou, a relatively poor and untouristed province with many ethnic minorities, then by bus through less travelled country to Guilin. Places en route include:
- Anshun, and China's biggest waterfall nearby
- Guiyang, the provincial capital, not particularly interesting
- Kaili, trading town with many interesting villages nearby
The overnight Kunming-Anshun bus is not recommended; it is at least 16 hours and neither clean nor comfortable. Take the train or break up the journey with an intermediate stop.
Guilin to Hong Kong
From Guilin, continue to the tourist town Yangshuo, then:
- either go on by overnight bus to Guangzhou, Zhuhai or Shenzhen
- or come back to Guilin to get a train to Guangzhou
Either way, you can reach Hong Kong.
Nanning to Hong Kong along the coast
Kunming to Hong Kong by (mostly) air
The fastest reasonably priced way from Kunming to Hong Kong or vice versa is by a plane/ferry combination, about 4 hours / 850+ RMB. You could fly direct to Hong Kong, but it is usually significantly cheaper to land in Shenzhen and take a ferry.
Many foreigners in China need to get a new visa every 6 or 12 months and Hong Kong or Macau are good places for this. For most passports you can get a multiple entry business visa with just a photo and money. The plane/ferry combination is the usual method for such "visa runs".
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.
- 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 many backpackers stay. Turbojet Ferry Schedule
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.
Both cities are also well connected to the Chinese rail network. From Kunming, the possibilities are:
- West to Dali, 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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