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 Hong Kong - Gateway to Mainland China

Hong Kong - Gateway to Mainland China

Written by CindyUpdated Dec. 31, 2021

Geologically and culturally speaking, Hong Kong is a key gateway to mainland China. It is a "halfway house" between West and East, and a diverse blend of multiple cultures. It is very convenient to travel from Hong Kong to the most fascinating destinations in mainland China.

Hong Kong Location

Why Go Through Hong Kong?

1. Perfect Location

Hong Kong is strategically located at the heart of Asia, conveniently connecting Asia, and especially China, with the rest of the world.

2. A Number of Flights Available

There are many flights between Hong Kong and major cities of the US, Australia, and Europe.

Hong Kong International Airport is China's second largest airport. Hundreds of flights take off every week between Hong Kong and mainland China's key cities. It is convenient to travel to the mainland via Hong Kong.

3. Relaxed Visa Policy

Hong Kong has one of the most relaxed visa policies in the world. Visitors from approximately 160 countries are allowed to enter Hong Kong without visas.

4. To Enable Visa-Free Transit Access to Mainland China

Travel from Hong Kong to Mainland ChinaTravel from Hong Kong to mainland China.

Many key cities in the mainland, like Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chengdu, and Guilin, have a 72-hour/144-hour visa–free transit policy. In the policy, Hong Kong is considered as a third country/region for transit purposes, providing a great opportunity for passengers to take an extension tour to the mainland, e.g. U.S. – HK – Beijing – U.S.

Hong Kong could even be used twice for two/three visa-free China locations, e.g., US – Hong Kong (3 days to adjust to Asia) – Beijing (3 days) – Macau (2 days) – Shanghai/Jiangsu/Zhejiang (6 days) – Hong Kong (2 days) – Chengdu (3 days) – US. Travelers could visit China for 2 weeks easily in this way without a visa.

See more on Visa-Free Cities.

Travel from Hong Kong to Major Cities in Mainland China

There are regular flights between Hong Kong and over 40 cities in mainland China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guilin, and Guangzhou. Most cities can be reached within 5 hours. It is very convenient to travel from Hong Kong to the mainland.

To Number of Direct
Flights Per Day (Approx.)
Journey Time (Approx.)
Hong Kong–Beijing 20 3 hours 25 minutes
Hong Kong–Shanghai >34 2 hours 30 minutes
Hong Kong–Xi’an 2 2 hours 35 minutes
Hong Kong–Chengdu >5 2 hours 40 minutes
Hong Kong–Chongqing 4 2 hours 20 minutes
Hong Kong–Guilin 1 1 hour 25 minutes
Hong Kong–Guangzhou 2 1 hour

What to Take Before Entering Into the Mainland

1. Passport and Visa

passportHong Kong has a relaxed visa policy.

Make sure that your passport has at least one blank visa page and is valid for at least six months.

Nationals of most countries do not require visas to enter Hong Kong. However, you will need a visa if you are traveling to mainland China. If you will be entering China more than once on your trip, apply for a multiple-entry visa. Learn more about how to apply for a Chinese visa.

If you are going to visit 72-hour/144-hour visa-free cities, you do not need a visa as long as you meet the policy’s criteria. Learn more about the Visa-Free Transit Policy.

2. Cash

The currency in the mainland is the Renminbi (RMB)The currency in the mainland is the Renminbi (RMB).

Even though credit cards are accepted in larger establishments in mainland China, cash is necessary for most things. The currency in the mainland is the Renminbi (RMB). You can change money in Hong Kong or in the mainland, or get yuan from ATMs supporting e.g. Visa/Mastercard. See more on our Practical Guide to Chinese Money.

3. Adapters/Converters

The standard electrical voltage in mainland China is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz. There are two standard sockets: Type A and Europlug (2-thin-pin and 2-round-pin) and Type I (3-thin-pin). If they are different from those in your country, you need to buy a portable plug adapter for your electronics.

They can be easily purchased at most electronic stores, travel supply stores, and airports. See China Power Supply and Adapters for more.

4. One More Thing: an Open Mind

China is developing very quickly, and tourism facilities in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai are well-developed, but the conditions in small cities and remote towns can’t compare to those of the big cities. It might be noisy in restaurants and there might be long queues for scenic spots… that is the real China. See How to Deal with Culture Shock in China Easily.

Take a Hong Kong Extension Tour with China Highlights

Touring China with China HighlightsTouring China with China Highlights

Want to take a Hong Kong extension tour to the mainland? Not sure where to go and what to see? Get some ideas from our Top Mainland China Tours from Hong Kong.

Please contact our travel consultants who will be glad to give you some recommendations and help to create a unique tour based on your interests and budget.

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