I would like to go to Guangzhou and then high speed train elsewhere from Guangdong South station. The last leg by train is much less expensive and less transition than a domestic fly.

After some search, I find that having HK as a transition to Guangzhou will provide more international flight options with less prices and less overnight overlay. So I focus on selecting a flight to HK, and prefer not to spend a night at both cities, because I am not sure if it's easy to find cheap places to stay. I can stay at the airport overnight.

The last train I need to catch from HK to Guangzhou is 17:12, so that I can catch the last train departing Guangzhou. If I miss it, I will stay at Guangzhou for one night.

The last train I need to catch from HK to Guangzhou is just 2 hours and 27 minutes ahead of the arrival of my flight at HK at 14:45. Is it sufficient, considering taking 2 hour rapid PCR at Prenetics at the airport, and transition to west Kowloon train station during the two hours of waiting for the test result? Where is the checking for PCR test results for entering mainland? Can I find a place to wait for my result, by waiting in the line to be checked.

There's an alternative flight which will arrive one hour earlier and therefore give me one more hour, i.e. 3 hours and 27 minutes, but it has overnight transition and requires me to leave 9 hours early. Reducing my time of travel preparation. Can this flight likely help me catch the train from HK to Guangzhou at 17:12?

If living one night at either city is inevitable, which one is cheaper? If one night in HK, I may just take the 24 hours standard PCR at HK$150. I guess it's more expensive to live in HK than in Guangzhou, so I lean towards t spending HK $500 on 2 hour rapid PCR than HK$ 150 or 250 on 24 hour standard or 12 hour express PCA in HK. Let me know if I am wrong

There's an international flight to Guangzhou $160 more expensive than the previous two, which happen to have almost the same price, and a long overnight overlay. It also requires me to take PCR before the travel at $100 or $200. The arrival at Guangzhou will be at 21:00, and I have to wait till the next day, probably by staying at the airport, less expensive than looking for any place outside the airport

Note $ means US dollars.


  • 2
    Going directly to Guangzhou will be a lot easier since you don't have to enter and exit Hong Kong and you only have to deal with one set of rules & requirements. In my experience even before Covid entering China from Hong Kong can be a big pain in the neck (depending on what border crossing you use). Directly flying into China was a lot easier. This being said: I have never done it with the train and the last time I did this is probably 3-4 years ago.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 17:09
  • 1
    Always go direct, you won't risk to miss the train and what @Hilmar said. 2h27 is extremely short, especially if you need a PCR. Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 17:20
  • 3
    2h27 to deplane, get to border control, queue, exit, buy a ticket for the AirPort Express, wait for the next train, travel to Kowloon, get out of the station, go to Kowloon West, queue for border control, plus all the Covid-related checks? That seems quite optimistic. If it were your ideal train but there was a later train you could change to, maybe, but if that’s the last train of the day that seems kike a very bad idea.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 17:27
  • 3
    @jcaron They need to get PCR tested, which makes it nearly impossible honestly Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 17:28
  • Thanks. How about the one with 3hr and 27 minutes?
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 17:29

2 Answers 2


Is it sufficient,

Not really. If everything goes super well, you might make it but in my opinion it's extremely risky.

Can this flight likely help me catch the train from HK

Sure. Taking an earlier flight will certainly help but it's in no way guaranteed. I personally would not do that either. Border controls can be very slow and are notoriously unpredictable. Covid adds a lot more uncertainty as well.

Here is another option:

You can avoid Hong Kong by taking the ferry to Shenzhen (or maybe even Guangzhou ) At the Sky Pier at the airport you can enter the mainland directly without having to go though Hong Kong. In Shenzhen you can spend a night and then grab a train to wherever you want to go the next day.

  • Shenzhen doesn't have a train for me
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 17:59
  • @Tim There are trains from both Futian (closer to HK) and Shenzhen North (Shenzhenbei) to Guangzhou South (Guangzhounan). Don't think there's a convenient transfer from the ferry to either, though, but I'm definitely not familiar with the PRC side of the region.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 0:00

Let's imagine our flight arrives on time, and the aircraft door opens right at the scheduled time.

I'm not counting anything Covid-related because I have no idea what the current procedures are or how long they take. I'm not counting your side trip to get a new test done either.

  • Time to deplane, travelling in coach on a wide-body: 10-15 minutes
  • To to get to border control: HKIA is very efficient and well-organised, but it's huge, large enough that there's a people mover inside the main terminal. If you're lucky enough to arrive at gate 1, sure, it'll be quick, but if you arrive at gate 50 or 70, or at the midfield concourse, it'll probably take a good 20 minutes from the gate to border control.
  • Border control can be quite busy. Again, you can be lucky and get through in a few minutes, or it could take 20-30 minutes wait.
  • Let's suppose you don't have any checked luggage, zip through the baggage hall and customs and on to the arrivals area.
  • Count 5 minutes to buy a ticket at a kiosk, or more if you have to use the service center.
  • Airport Express trains are frequent, but if you just missed one, it can be up to 17 minutes until the next one (usually slightly less, but the schedule is more irregular than I remembered)
  • 22 minutes to Kowloon
  • Probably 15 minutes to get from the depths of Kowloon station, wander through the Elements mall, and on to West Kowloon station
  • You should probably count at least 30 minutes for border control procedures
  • Doors close 5 minutes before the scheduled time.

So it could take up to 2h39 from aircraft to train.

So, no, 2h27 is not feasible, and 3h27 is probably cutting it very very tight.

And, again, that's:

  • Without any delay of your incoming flight
  • Not counting Covid-related formalities in HKIA
  • Not counting the detour to get a new test
  • Without any issues anywhere.

The usual recommendation for a self-transfer within the same airport is at least 4 hours (when missing the second flight is not too much of an issue). Here you have a lot more travel and formalities on the way. Either get there much earlier, or plan to spend the night.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .