Although American families end their adoption trip in Guangzhou, China, many will travel to Hong Kong to fly home. There are a few reasons for this. First, the Guangzhou airport has a reputation for having major flight delays. Secondly, Hong Kong was a port city to the West for many years. For this reason there are more direct flight options available. Fares are often significantly cheaper departing from Hong Kong, enough to make it worth the trouble of traveling there and getting an airport hotel for the night. Most families travel to Hong Kong by either private van or train (tickets are around $25/adult plus taxi fare to the station). However, taking a bus is a lesser known option. This is a guest post from adoptive parent Kaylin who recently returned from China. She has helpfully provided photos as well.
We are flying out of Hong Kong in the morning and came to HK by bus this afternoon. I wanted to provide some additional information as my research indicated this is an underutilized resource. A $400 private van or challenging (yet more economical) train ride are not your only options for getting from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. I made notes as we used the CTS Bus this afternoon and am including as much detail as possible so that hopefully others will benefit from this information. The bus station is literally steps away from the entrance to the China Hotel. When you exit the China hotel (where we stayed), you immediately turn left and walk down the sidewalk. You basically will run into the bus station. Have your guide help you purchase tickets the day before you plan to use the bus… there are tickets that are direct to the airport and others that aren’t. Our guide was able to help ensure we got on a direct bus. The bus runs about every 30 minutes from 5:30am to 9:00pm.
The bus is an approximately 50-passenger air-conditioned Greyhound-style bus. It costs 210RMB ($32.81 USD) per ticket; Free for kids under three. We bought two tickets for 1:00 pm today since our daughter is 2. At 12:50 we arrived to the bus station and an English-speaking CTS staff looked at our ticket and told us which bus to get on. We loaded our own suitcases onto the luggage area beneath the bus. The bus left China hotel promptly at 1:00pm. It made no additional stops but other passengers were on the bus who had already been picked up. The bus was a little over half full.
At 2:52pm, we arrived at HK customs/immigration station where everyone got off the bus. As soon as we got off the bus, CTS staff (in shirts indicating they worked for CTS) identified us, confirmed where we were going, and told us to grab our luggage. They directed us to a minivan going to the airport. Before we got in the minivan, we were handed short immigration forms to fill out. We were directed by CTS staff to the appropriate minivan going nonstop to HK airport. The times with just an airplane beneath them are direct to the airport.
At 3:05 pm, after we got into the minivan, we gave the completed forms and our passports to the driver. One other passenger was in the minivan going to HK airport. The first stop the van made was to China immigration inspection. The driver simply handed the agent the form we filled out and passports. The other passenger was asked to show his boarding pass (he handed them his phone with that info pulled up), but we weren’t asked to show a boarding pass. We stayed in the van. The driver then drove forward to the customs declaration kiosk-an agent came to van and took our temperature with an infrared thermometer — again, we stayed in the van whole time.
By 3:11pm, we were heading to the airport. No additional stops were made.
At 3:46pm, we arrived at the HK airport. The other passenger in the minivan with us got out and then we asked the driver if he would take us to our hotel (Marriott Skycity) which we could see from the airport drop off spot. He graciously complied. If he hadn’t, we would’ve found the shuttle to the Marriott Skycity that runs every 20 minutes.
At 3:51pm we arrived at Marriott Skycity. The whole process took just under three hours. If we had planned to take the bus from china hotel to HK airport tomorrow morning to make our 2:30 pm flight, our guide was suggesting that we leave at 5-6am due to the possibility of traffic in GZ and HK. We did not run into traffic at the hours we traveled today. That would’ve made for a very long travel day so we opted to come to Hong Kong a day early. The bus also stops at the garden hotel.