Do you ever wake up one morning while on your holidays and think, ‘yeah that seems like a good idea?’
I am sure it happens to the best of us and whether you end up on a winner in the thinking process all depends on the ultimate experience.
In theory, the idea of going on a day trip to Shenzhen from Hong Kong seemed like a good idea, it’s all under one Chinese government and obtaining a Visa shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
At least that’s what I thought when the idea of getting a Hong Kong to Shenzhen visa surfaced the mind.
In reality, getting a China Visa in Shenzhen isn’t too much of an issue with proper research.
However, mistakes were made on my travel to Shenzhen from Hong Kong, and when you’re travelling with a family, any setback can bring a few minor consequences, frustrating delays and the embarrassment of getting walked back into Hong Kong by the authorities in China. More on that later.
With the added dramas of getting a Hong Kong to Shenzhen visa, I feel like I’m in the perfect position to let you know of what to do and what not to do. Therefore, in future, you can avoid the silly mistakes I made to get into China proper hassle-free.
What went wrong when getting a Hong Kong to Shenzhen Visa
Let’s cover the big mistake that was made by myself when entering Shenzhen from Hong Kong.
In the grand scheme of things, this is quite a simple error of judgement to make, and on the day, we weren’t the only clueless travellers to make the same error.
It’s a simple error of judgement. Mainly because, when you are travelling into Shenzhen China by train, there are two border checkpoints when travelling on the light blue East Rail MTR line with a regular Octopus Card.
One of the MTR stations in the Lok Ma Chau MTR takes you to the Futian Checkpoint, here, you can get through to Shenzhen if you already have a Visa or you’re a Chinese resident.
The mistake comes when you have not previously purchased a Visa.
At the Futian Checkpoint at Lok Ma Chau, there is no Visa department office to instantly give the tourist a 5-day Visa pass to get into Shenzhen.
In that instance, when you have no pre-organised paperwork, you are politely marched back through border you previously came from for entry back into Hong Kong.
It’s not the end of the world in this scenario.
You only need to get back on the MTR, change trains at the next stop at Sheng Shui and take the Lo Wu train on the East Rail line to the other checkpoint area into Shenzhen.
You have now arrived at the second checkpoint for entry into Mainland China. To which Lo Wu, they have a VISA office which will give you direct entry into Shenzhen with a five-day Visa.
It’s a quick process of getting a Shenzhen Visa, unfortunately, a bit of time was lost at the Futian Checkpoint and we only planned a Shenzhen day trip. Still, in the end, we made it.
The Right Process for your Shenzhen China Visa
Below, through my personal experiences, I’ll run through the exact process of getting to Shenzhen from Hong Kong by train when you have not already purchased a Hong Kong Shenzhen Visa.
it’s quite a simple process when you get it right.
- Catch the Hong Kong MTR train on the (light blue) to Lo Wu MTR to obtain your Shenzhen 5 day Visa for China and immediate entry into Shenzhen.
- At Lo Wu, once you clear the Hong Kong MTR and scan your passport at the Hong Kong checkpoint area, you need to go to the foreigners VISA office on level 2 to obtain your visa before heading to the entry checkpoints on the lowest level.
- At VISA office you need to do the following things:
- Press the machine button at the entrance for your ticket number.
- Head to the booth to take a photo, to get your photo taken, using your passport number for details, once you take photo, grab the paper slip and keep it with you.
- Wait at your seat for your number to get called out.
- Once called, go to the booth allocated and present your passport, photo ticket, from there authorities will take the passport to check if you’re eligible for clearance into Shenzhen.
- Next, you pay the 168 Chinese Yuan at fee booth and go and sit down to wait for your Shenzhen VISA approval. A credit card will be accepted.
- When your number is called again, collect your Visa and passport. You are now ready to spend a maximum of five days in Shenzhen. The whole process, if all goes smoothly, will last around 20-30 minutes.
- From obtaining your China VISA, you go to the lowest floor at the foreigner’s checkpoint, scan for your fingerprints at the finger scanning machine, before queuing up in line. Make sure you do your fingerprints before lining up. Otherwise, you’ll be told to go back and do it all again.
- Once the fingerprints are scanned, queue up and wait to clear customs, which at this point there should not be any issue.
Congratulations you are now in the China mainland! At that time, you may be confused about whether it is all one country, I have my doubts. Anyway, once through the checkpoints, make your way to the Shenzhen MTR to go deeper into the city, single journey trips will suffice at this stage.
Remember, at this point, you’re using Chinese Yuan and not Hong Kong Dollars, so you may need to exchange cash before heading out into the city. The excellent news about Shenzhen travel, however, is that everything is much cheaper than in Hong Kong and that includes MTR, shopping and food. Happy days!
What to do in your Shenzhen Trip
I’m not an expert in Shenzhen travel since I was only in the city for around half a day. I only have the previous experience of what to do or not to do when entering into the mainland. Therefore it’s probably pointless for me to give you great advice on what to do in Shenzhen.
We did in the short time in the city wander the streets of Shenzhen, check out the long underground shopping malls that lead to subways and explored the boutique Wongtee Plaza, for our hit of Starbucks coffee, browse the retail outlets and check out their rooftop garden.
The biggest thing we did do in Shenzhen was head the Ping An Financial Centre, the fourth tallest building in the world, which is a significant business area and shopping mall that has fantastic restaurants.
While at Ping An, we went up to the Free Sky Observation deck which sits at 562-metres in height, making it the third-highest observation deck in the world.
The cost to go up to the Free Sky is 200 Chinese Yaun. Appropriately priced for an observation deck and the views from the top are magnificent, even if it’s hindered on an overcast day.
There you have it, details on how to go about getting your Hong Kong to Shenzhen Visa and brief travel guide at what to do in Shenzhen City. I hope this clears up and concerns or queries you may have and good luck with your future travel ambitions, for now, farewell from your Fair Dinkum Traveller.